Blackberry wine

It’s time for a catch-up brewing log post.

Two weeks ago I went over to a nearby vacant lot and picked 18 lbs of blackberries (I weighed them on my bathroom scale when I got home). Most of them went into 15 pints of jam; I froze one ice cube tray’s worth of the milled puree, and so far have used half of it for coconut milk ice cream; the runnings of blackberry juice from my larger-than-you-would-ever-choose-if-you-wanted-your-berries-to-come-home-unsmashed collecting jars, and the seeds & stuff left in the food mill after processing the berries for jam, went into the hooch bucket, with enough water to bring it up to a gallon. So did a handful of red oak leaves, for extra tannin. And, uh, probably somewhere around two pounds of sugar, 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme, and some yeast nutrient. OG 1.111 or thereabouts.

I found some nylon mesh fabric in a free pile – it looks like in its first life it was a sheer curtain panel and then someone had cut it up for mysterious craft purposes. So I used a big piece of that to wrap the blackberry pulp before putting it in the fermenter. Old curtains: A+ brewing equipment.

Then last night I wanted to transfer it to a carboy, but I only have one gallon jug and it was occupied by lilac hooch. So I bottled the hooch – including a campden tablet for stability. It’s a nice peachy-pink color, hazy (I only racked it once), and the taste is thin and sour. Here’s hoping it’s drinkable in 6 months.

This was my first time bottling anything with wine corks. My friendly local brewing store found an old wooden hand corker on the back shelf for me – the thing looks like a toy you’d find at a Waldorf school. It SUCKS to put corks in with that thing! The Mister eventually figured out the trick of it but all of the tops of the corks are still smashed all weird. Lesson learned: Pay the extra $20 for a fancy one with lever arms.

Also racked the osoberry piquette, which is *great*. I will be doing a bigger batch next year, with better attention to filtering early in the process.

Last but not least, I’ve been drinking the dandelion mead (which I did end up carbonating). It’s pretty dry and not detectably dandelion-flavored – but it makes a good base for champagne cocktails with a bit of herbal simple syrup.

I’ve also changed day jobs recently – or rather, I quit my day job in favor of full-time freelancing and working on a startup thing. If you have a data mining idea you need help with, let me know! I expect to be pretty busy for the next several months, but my schedule will be much more flexible and I can take short breaks to e.g. tend to a sourdough while I’m working from home. So we’ll see what effect this has on my foraging and blogging.

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