On Tuesday morning, I brought the pail of blueberry must up from the basement where it had been cold soaking for 72 hr at a nice, chilly 45 °F and let it warm up while I was at work. I came home and got my starter made and set it aside to grow while I double-checked my Brix and acid levels.
A couple of interesting observations were noted. One, the pectic enzyme and Lallzyme EX had worked wonders in breaking down the fruit solids to give a very liquidy must with this wonderful, deep, deep, inky dark color (more on that later...). Second, both my Brix and acid levels were lower that my tests when I mixed everything together. The Brix level had dropped slightly to Brix = 22.2 and the total acidity was back around 3.1 g/L. I added another 10 oz of sugar to reach Brix = 23.8 and another 10 g of tartaric acid to reach total acidity = 4.4 g/L. The acid levels are still on the low side, but I'm more worried about the pH at the moment because that has a big affect on getting fermentation started in blueberries.
So everything was going pretty hunky dory. After several hours the yeast starter was fermenting well, so around 10:00 PM I went to add the starter to the must. After dumping it in, I reached around for my sanitized spoon to scrape out the remnants of the starter, lost my grip on the bowl, and watched helplessly as it fell into the must.
Inky dark blueberry juice went flying all of the kitchen wall, floor, and nearby cupboard doors! It wasn't a lot of juice, but it sure made one heck of a mess.
It's late, my wife is in the bedroom doing her pre-bed relaxation routine, and I've got blueberry juice all of the wall. I grabbed a dishcloth and start scrubbing, only to find that the juice easily wiped away, but it left a purple stain on the paint and everything else it touched! Panic began to set in. I carefully eased open the bedroom door and asked quietly if we had any bleach in the house. No--crud! (to her credit, my wife did not come running in distress to see the horror that I had made of her new kitchen). Wild thoughts are running through my mind--can I repaint the kitchen by morning? And how many counts of paint will it take to cover up the stains? A quick scan of the laundry room to see what strong soaps were available, and I spied a container of OxiClean. What the heck, let's give it a shot...
Oh salvation! Wiping the walls down with a concentrated solution of OxiClean removed the juice stains with nary a trace! I did have to admit what had happened the next morning to my wife, but I'm proud to say that she could find no trace of stainage even after practically examining the walls with a microscope!
No, this was not a thinly veiled commercial for OxiClean. Although, I am open to an endorsement deal if the company would like to recreate the event--let's just do it in someone else's kitchen. I didn't have the luxury of time to take pictures of the mess and the end result, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
OxiClean--that stuff kicks a...!
a Wine Student