Saturday, March 1, 2008

Blueberry 2008--A Pressing Issue

The past few weeks have been very busy--computer troubles, a sick guinea pig (now there's an interesting story), and the usual work load, so I've been thankful that the blueberry wine that I started on Feb 12 has been quietly bubbling away in the kitchen corner. However, all good fermentations must come to an end, and indeed, the yeast activity on this batch began to significantly drop in the past few days. On Thursday night, it had reached Brix = 2.6 so I decided to press and transfer to a carboy.

Now some people use a small press for their fruit wines. Not me, I use a hands-on approach. I line a plastic bucket with a nylon mesh bag, pour the must into the bag/bucket, and then lift up the bag to let the wine drain out. Yes, it's a little labor and time intensive, but it's cheap (no wonder I fit into New England well), and easy to clean up. Plus, I get to get my hands dirty!

Disclaimer--I am not and never was a member of any "Athletic Department". Although lifting a 4 gal bag of fermenting mush isn't trivial! And I do seem to have the hairy chest to match!

For those who recall the mess I made when I added the yeast (see post), I am sitting on a layer of plastic. Note the stain free wall and cabinets behind me (Thank you, Oxiclean)! Now, don't freak out--there is no fire hazard in this process, that's just where I keep the extinguisher because I haven't yet hung it on the wall. Trust me, I'm not that dangerous in the kitchen!

After pressing, I poured the liquid into a carboy and topped with an airlock to let the fermentation finish. I'm not worried about the airspace in the carboy at this point because the must is still giving off CO2 that will displace the air in the carboy. I've moved the carboy to the warmest place in the house (the guest bathroom) to finish fermentation, and it is dutifully slowly bubbling away. Will probably be done within a week. At that point, I'll rack into a smaller carboy and top off to protect it from oxidation.

I'm quite pleased with the color extraction that I achieved. Adding the Lallzyme EX during the cold soak really gave a boost of color. Of course, a lot of that color will drop out as the wine clears, but we're starting at a very inky reddish-purple, so the final result should still be very dark.

So far, so good!

a Wine Student

Blueberry 2008 prior posts:
Initial Mix
Yeast Addition and Oxi-Clean

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