A simple and satisfying recipe - just watch out for those thorns!
- Brewing bucket
- Measuring jugs
- 1.5 kg Blackberries Washed
- 1 kg Sugar
- 1 tsp Pectolase
- 1 tsp Yeast
- 1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
- 5 litres Boiling Water
- 1 Campden Tablet
- The hardest part of this recipe is picking the wild blackberries. We have been very lucky this year (2020) as there has been an abundance of fruit. Something positive during the Covid-19 outbreak.Pick as many blackberries as you need as carefully as you can to avoid being scratched by thorns or stung by nettles. A word of advice - don't pick blackberries when it's windy!I find that a 1 litre plastic tub holds about 550 grams of blackberries. This equates to 3 tubs per gallon.
- Wash your fruit well to get rid of any wiggly things that may be stuck to them and the freeze it. I tend to freeze all my fruit as then I don't have to gather it all in one go. When you are ready to make your wine defrost the fruit as slowly as is possible. Freezing and defrosting helps to break the skin of the fruit and you seem to get a little extra juicy stuff.
- Once defrosted, place the fruit into a container and squash it thoroughly. I find that doing a small amount at a time in a preserving pan with a potato masher is the best solution. The squashed fruit can then be chucked into your clean and sterile brewing bin one dollup at a time.
- Add the sugar to the mess and pour the boiling water over the crushed fruit and stir it well. Wait until it has cooled down to about 21°C before adding the pectolase. Leave it for 24 hours.
- This is the time to check the specific gravity. If it's too high you might want to add more water. If it's too low then more sugar may be required. If you don't have a hydrometer to test the specific gravity don't worry too much as if you follow the recipe pretty closely the wine will turn out fine. When you are happy with the specific gravity add the yeast nutrient and the yeast. Stir well and cover the container and leave it for five days stirring daily.
- After five days or so you can strain the must into demijohns through nylon netting or a nylon sieve. If I am brewing a large quantity I tend to sieve the must into another brew bucket. Either way leave it ferment until the bubbling stops or the specific gravity is below 0.990. If you're not sure leave it another day or so.
- When you are happy that the wine has finished fermenting syphon it into a clean demijohn or brew bucket trying to avoid sucking up any sediment. Don't worry too much if a little gets through at this stage as we'll get rid of it later.Add a crushed campden tablet for each gallon (5 litres) of wine. Stir or shake as required - the wine, not you! This stabilises the wine and prevents further fermentation. There is nothing worse than finding a bottle of your wine has disappeared and all you're left with is a sticky mess with broken glass all over the place. Trust me, I know! Leave the wine settle for a few days and it should start to clear. This is the stage where my wine heads for the demijohns. Siphon it even more carefully than before into clean demijohns, add a bung and water trap and leave it. You might need/want to rack it a few more times before you are happy with the clarity.
- Taste the wine. If it is not sweet enough for your taste you can add some sugar to it. This is called back-sweetening and is totally dependent on your (and your partner's) taste. Personally, I pour some of the wine into a large jug and add a small amount of sugar and test the specific gravity. I aim for something between 1.010 and 1.020 depending on the wine. The last blackberry wine I made was sweetened to 1.017. It was perfect!By using a jug and small quantities of wine you can pour the wine back into the bucket or demijohn and start over if you add too much sugar. If you over sweeten a wine you can't un-sweeten it. The only way around it would be to make another batch and add the over-sweet wine to it at this stage.
- After a day or so the wine will have settled and will be ready for bottling. Use clean, sterilised bottles and a quality cork or plastic cap. Siphon carefully in case there is still some sediment lurking around. Seal the bottles and store for at least a month or two. The wine can, and has been, drunk at this stage but you will find the longer it stays hidden away the better.
Blackberries make a terrific wine on their own. However, when mixed with elderberries you get a fuller-bodied wine. Definitely worth a try.