15 pounds frozen blackberries
20 cups sugar dissolved in 2 gallons heated water
4 black tea bags
1 Tbsp bentonite clay dissolved in 1 cup hot water
1 pkg wine yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water, and leave 15 minutes
Sterilize all your equipment, including primary fermenter, lid, long spoon, hydrometer and thermometer.
Start with frozen berries. It breaks down the walls of the berries and makes it easier to extract the juice. Defrost the frozen berries just until soft. Mash and juice them, straining out most of the seeds. Pour into your sterilized five gallon primary fermenter.
In a big pot, heat a couple gallons of water and stir in 10 pounds (20 cups) of sugar. Stir and heat just until dissolved. Add to primary fermenter.
Steep the tea in four cups of boiling water until very strong. Pour the strong tea in fermenter, discarding the tea bags.
Dissolve 1 Tbsp bentonite clay in 1 cup very hot water, stirring well. Stir into the primary fermenter.
Check the temperature of the wine "must" in the fermenter. It is probably still pretty hot. Add cold water until you are up to five gallons. Check the specific gravity of the berry mix. It should read around 1.070 - 1.100. Cover. When it cools down to about 30C, mix the package of fresh wine yeast with 1/4 cup warm water. (you can add a tsp of sugar) and let it froth a bit. Don't leave it for more than 15 minutes (if it isn't frothing by then, the yeast is dead and you need new yeast!) Mix well and stir into the wine "must" in the primary fermenter. Cover.
Elevate the fermenter at least 3 feet off the ground to make it easy to decant later. It should start bubbling and working within a couple days. In about a week, decant off the wine into a glass carboy (covered with dark paper), fit with an airlock.
Leave it for about three weeks, then decant into a second darkened carboy with airlock and leave in cool, dark place for three months.
Rack again at least one more time before putting in bottles. Should be ready to drink in six months.
ramblings of Nicole Narbonne