One of the first videos we (me Davin in front of the Camera and James working the camera) ever made was How to Make Blackberry Wine, which Sam (now the owner of Guitarbitz Music Store) edited and we then published it on YouTube in November 2013.
That seems so long ago and YouTube was only a baby, with babies like "Charlie Bit My Finger" being one of the most watched videos.
Well, As I write this, that video has been watched over 230000 times.
I made it as a very simple "how to" video and it seems to be a hit, with lots of people commenting on how nice their blackberry wine turned out. But I'm not just about do this, then do that, then do this. I like to let people know why they are doing it. There are lots of chemicals in brewing and it's nice to know why these are being added as well as adding in little life hacks like how to crush a campden tablet - still can't remember who I learned that from.
It got a lot of views straight away as at that time there werent many videos like ours on Youtube. Well hasnt that changed. You can now watch everything from a blockbuster movie, watching paint dry live, 3d VR rollercoaster rides, physics lessons with some of the worlds top scientists to even a simple video on how to put on nail varnish. Yep, I've watched a lot of videos.
Over the past 5 years we have been split between running 2 shops, Brewbitz and BeerCraft of Bath. We decided it was time to concentrate on one and Brewbitz won. I've been thinking of updating this video with some tweaks that I have picked up over the years as my knowledge of brewing has grown. So this summer I'm going to make "How To Make Blackberry Wine V2-2022".
So what am I going to change? Lets start by comparing the ingredients.
|V1-2013 Version||V2-2022 Version|
3lb of blackberries
6 pints of boiling water
1 tsp wine yeast
1 tsp pectolase
1 tsp yeast nutrient
3lb (1.5kg) of blackberries
2lb (1kg) Granulated sugar
1lb (500g) Brewing Sugar
6 pints of boiling water
1 tsp Red wine yeast
1 tsp pectolase
1 tsp yeast nutrient
I am making the change as I found it a little to sweet for me. I learned that there are lots of different types of sugar and they all do different things and more than that how they react on the tongue. Supermarket (granulated) sugar leaves a sweetness in the finished wine. And although I like sweet things, this was too sweet for me, so substituting 500g for brewing sugar will make a big difference as brewing sugar is not sweet, but the yeast do eat it and turn it into alcohol.
Overall, not much difference really, but the main ones are the sugar, fermentation stopper and finings.
The fermentation stopper and finings will help us speed up the whole process from 6 months to 6 weeks. This means we can bottle it sooner and then instead of waiting a year to try it, it should be ready to drink in 3-6 months. Bonus.
This means we will need to update the method slightly;
Remember to sterilise all equipment before use.
1 - Take the blackberries and put them in a fermenting bucket.
2 - Use a potato masher to squish them slightly to help release all of their lovely juice. If you don't have one, then get in there with your hands, but be warned, you'll have pink coloured hands for a few days.
3 - Pour on the 6 pints of boiling water and stir thoroughly.
4 - Add the 3lb of sugar and stir until thoroughly dissolved.
5 - Cover and leave to cool to 20°C.
6 - Crush 1 Campden Tablet and add this along with the pectolase and stir.
7 - Pop on the lid and put somewhere between 18-22°C for 24 hours to allow the pectolase to work it's magic.
8 - Take a hydrometer reading and save this for later.
9 - Stir in the yeast and yeast nutrient.
10 - Put the lid on loosely and transfer to somewhere warm (approx 20°C) for 7 days, stirring daily.
11 - After 7 days, using the muslin bag, strain into another bucket to remove most of the blackberries.
12 - Transfer the liquid into a demi-john to the top of the shoulder. Fit a bung and airlock (half filled with steriliser water) and transfer to a cool corner in the house, ideally between 16°C and 20°C to allow for the the fermentation to complete. This can take up to 2 weeks.
13 - Using the hydrometer take a reading. If it is 0.995 or below then continue. If not, leave for another week.
14 - Once the fermentation has completed, rack the wine off the sediment into a clean, sterilised demi-john being carful not to disturb the sediment at the bottom.
15 - Add 1 crushed Campden tablet and stir / swirl.
16 - Add 1/2 teaspoon Fermentation Stopper and stir / swirl.
17 - Refit the airlock.
18 - Swirl the demi-john 3 times a day for the next 2 days. This is to knock out any dissolved CO2 gas as this will prevent the finings from working properly.
19 - Add the finings by following the instruction of the finings you are using. Leave to clear for 1 week.
20 - Once clear, transfer to a clean sterilised demi-john trying not to disturb the sediment.
21 - Take the final hydrometer reading. You can use this along with your first reading to work out the ABV of your wine.
22 - Bottle and ideally leave for 3-6 months for its full flavour potential to be reached, but it is also great for drinking after just a month.
Just a couple of tweaks to my original recipe, just mainly speed and sweetness. It's flavours are all there. If you dont fancy adding in the extra ingredients then just stick to my original method.
Anyway, I'll be making a new video later this year of V2 once the blackberries are ripe.
Did you know that there are 365 different varieties of blackberries, so try and find ones that are plump and juicy as there are some out there that are more like lead shot.
I get a lot of questions on my method like why are you only using 6 pints not 8 in other recipes, why do you squish them, can i put them through my juicer. So to them all I say something similar, if you fancy tweaking my recipe for your needs, do it, but i can assure you, that if you follow my recipe, you will make an amazing blackberry wine that you'll wish you had made gallons of it as 6 bottles do not go very far.
Anyway, for now, thank for reading and happy brewing.