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Raspberry wine

Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:54 pm
by GeorgeSalt
Picking over the Autumn Bliss on the allotment has yielded another 2.3kg of raspberries to join 4 or 5kg already in the freezer.

Looking through Berry he gives two variations on raspberry wine, both very similar:
1.75 kg raspberries
1.5 kg sugar
Water to 4.5 litres
The sweet variation adds 300ml grape concentrate

Looking at this commercial recipe and adjusting the scale, I get the following for the same 4.5 litre batch:
3.25 kg raspberries
800 g sugar

Are the standard homebrew recipes least-cost formulated? ie. making something drinkable from the least produce? The plum wine I recently bottled I made with 2.5kg fruit and 1.5kg sugar.. it's sweet, strong, fruity and very nice.

Would I be doing my raspberries a disservice by sticking with Berry's lesser quantity or would I get a better result upping the raspberries to 2.5kg and dropping the added sugar to 1kg.

Re: Raspberry wine

Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:45 pm
by MKG
As with everything, George, it rather depends upon you. I can't speak from personal experience, never having had enough raspberries to make a single-fruit wine, but I have added them to wines based upon other fruits. And the one thing I can say is that you always know that you have raspberries in there - it's one of those overwhelming flavours. Blueberry is another one - so you are forewarned!

Berry's recipes aren't particularly designed in any way - merely recipes he had and used (well, most of them), and he suffered from incredibly bad editors (so much so that some of his published recipes are way out, only to find in the next edition that they've been altered - not, necessarily, an improvement).

A general (very general) guide in the UK is that 4 lbs of fruit will give you one gallon of wine if you chuck in a couple of pounds of sugar. Obviously, that varies tremendously with the flavour of the fruit (it's not enough for strawberries, for instance, but it may, depending upon your personal taste, be too much for raspberries).

But think about grapes, which I'm sure you've tasted - but how many wines have you drunk which actually tasted of grapes? I love the descriptions. You know the stuff - ranging from "reminiscent of black cherry" to Jilly Goulden's famous "burning rubber" guff. But there's nothing else but grapes in there. So you have a choice to make - do you want your wine to taste like the fruit it's made from, or do you want an acceptable wine which tastes ... errrrm ... of itself? When you're considering that, bear in mind that the taste we're talking about is NOT what the fruit tastes like as is, but what it would taste like with all of its natural sugars removed through fermentation.

The commercial recipe you quote is a good example of what I've just said, because they back-sweeten by adding up to 1 lb of sugar per gallon. I'll emphasise that - ONE BLOODY POUND PER GALLON which is post-fermentation and will therefore not go away. That will make the stuff taste like raspberry coulis - but that's the choice I was talking about.

What to do, then? Well, the answer is try both approaches - then you'll know which way you want to go. Only your own taste buds can tell you which method is the right one for you.


Edit: Re-reading your post, your comment on your own plum wine probably should have told me what you're after. You like the plum wine, and it's sweet. If that's what you're after generally, give me a nod and I can give you chapter and verse on sweet wines.

Re: Raspberry wine

Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 7:45 am
by GeorgeSalt
The plum wine isn't overly sweet, but you know its made from sweet plums (if you know what I mean). It's definitely a dessert wine to serve chilled and in small glasses. I don't want something quite like that, I was just giving the plum wine as an example of a wine that definitely tasted of the fruit used to make it. I also like my dry and fruity elderberry wine.

I'd missed the back-sweetening quantity of sugar - that's definitely more than I'd be thinking of.

Interesting you mention blueberries, I started an experimental juice wine yesterday with a little blueberry in it - just because I think they always taste like liquid winegums.