Blackberry wine is the perfect way to make use of a huge crop of summer blackberries. This one-gallon blackberry wine recipe can easily be increased to make a full 5-gallon batch if you have plenty on hand.
There are so many things to make with blackberries in the summertime. Blackberry jam is a must of course, along with a fresh berry pie. I’ve started canning whole blackberries for use in winter cobblers and that works wonderfully as well. In all the blackberry feasts of summer, don’t forget to make a batch of blackberry wine.
When there’s enough around to pick them by the 5-gallon bucket full, it’s no trouble to pull some aside for a sweet blackberry wine.
This recipe is adapted from The Home Winemakers Companion. The book describes it as follows:
“This is an outstanding dessert wine, well suited to many sweets like black forest cake, fruit pies a la mode, cheesecake, and fruit tarts. It is a reasonably easy wine to make and will earn accolades from friends and relatives.”
I like the fact that this recipe does not include any chemical stabilizers, but the original recipe had other fruits besides blackberries. The author included a full pound of mashed bananas and 1/4 pound of raisins as well. I’ve removed those and added more blackberries instead. If I wanted a banana wine, I’d make one. This one’s all blackberries!
The recipe also specifically calls for Wyeast Mead Sweet Yeast, which finishes with a heavy bodied sweet wine. That particular yeast packet is a bit expensive and might be worth the investment for a big 5 or 6-gallon batch. For a one gallon batch, try this one which also finishes sweet but is much more economical to buy in dried form. You can also go with a generic Premier Blanc wine yeast which works well in just about any wine.
Watch yourself during the primary ferment. This blackberry wine fermented more violently than any in my recent memory. While most wine, cider and beer recipes have you start the batch with either an open fermenter or a blow off tube, I often don’t bother. I have kids running around, and a cat who loves to jump into anything, so I usually just seal it up and check the fermenter every 8 to 10 hours to make sure it’s not bubbling up into the water lock. Not this time…
I made peach wine which big chunks of fruit in it without a problem, and even the matted flower petals from dandelion wine didn’t make their way into the waterlock. This blackberry wine is hell-bent on blowing up and it’s not stopping anytime soon. No more than an hour or two goes by without an eruption, so be warned.
I actually ended up filtering all the fruit out of the mixture after 24 hours, and moving the mixture into half gallon mason jars with simple silicone water locks from Mason tops. These water locks are much easier to clean and they’re perfect for use in a primary ferment. The silicone has a tiny pressure valve nipple that forms a water lock without water. They’re usually used for making vegetable ferments, but there’s no reason not to use them for winemaking and they work great.
After a week in the primary fermenter, go ahead and rack the blackberry wine back into a narrow neck fermenter with a traditional waterlock once the fermentation slows down a bit. Allow it to ferment in secondary for about 3 months, then rack again and leave it for 8 months to a year before bottling. Once bottled, age for at least 6 months before drinking.
So to recap:
- Ferment in primary for 1 week, watching for overflows
- Secondary for 3 months
- rack again and leave for 8 to 12 months
- Bottle and age for at least 6 months.
All in all, this blackberry wine won’t be ready to drink for at least 18 months. Now I’m wishing I had made a 5-gallon batch. I’ve written this recipe for a 1-gallon batch, but it can easily be multiplied by 5 for a full five-gallon batch. If you’ve only got a handful of blackberries and still want to give it a try, use a half gallon or quart fermenter as I describe in this post on making small batch wine.
- 4 lbs blackberries
- 2 1/4 lbs sugar, about 4 1/2 cups
- 1/4 tsp tannin powder
- 1 tsp acid blend
- 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
- 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient
- 1/4 packet wine yeast, preferably sweet wine yeast
- water to fill
- Sanitize all equipment.
- Smash blackberries and sugar together in a primary fermentation container.
- Bring 1 quart of water to a boil and pour over the blackberries and sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Allow the mixture to cool to around 70 degrees and add the remaining ingredients, adding enough water to fill your 1-gallon fermenter.
- Seal the fermenter with a blow off tube (this ferments a bit violently for a water lock) or leave open for the first part of the primary ferment. Stir the mixture daily for 5-7 days until the most vigorous fermentation is complete.
- After about a week, wrack the blackberry wine into a glass carboy. Allow the mixture to ferment for about 3 months before racking again.
- At this point, allow the mixture to ferment for 8-12 months before bottling.
- Allow the blackberry wine to bottle age at least 6 months before tasting.
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