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Elderberry wine recipes please?
Fri 27-Jul-12
12:53 pm
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Aly
Normandy France

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Interesting stuff! Be good to hear how it all works out.

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Sat 28-Jul-12
11:14 pm
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Vagabondic
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Please don't be too hasty about bottling up your wine especially if you are planning to use normal glass bottles - there is always the danger of the wine  still fermenting which means glass bottles  may explode unless you kill the yeast using sulphite (camden tablets). The fermentaton will die down  from the initial frothing after a few days but will normally carry on for some weeks or months and how long you let it run for depends on whether you want a sweet or dry wine . The amount of sugar in the mix will affect how long it keeps fermenting for  - as does the type of yeast.  Elderberry is a wine best left in a demijohn under airlock for months  - it really is worth the wait. Topping up with a bit more sugar will generally keep the fermentation going meaning higher alcohol content

Sun 29-Jul-12
10:53 am
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lya
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Ok, so if I'm meant to bottle in 8 days time, do you think I should leave it for another 2 weeks? It has raisins in it and they have all floated to the top, the top ones look really dry. The bubbling has stopped, like you said, the fermentation has died down.  If I leave it in the demijohn, should I  shake it every couple of days?

The yeast I used was a standard wine yeast, suitable for red, white and sparkling. I have not added any sugar. Do you think I should? I mean, I am really flying blind here and take recipes at face value. ???

Sun 29-Jul-12
3:23 pm
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Hattie
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Hi lya,

You say you have not added any sugar, that is the reason your fermentation period is so short. The yeast has used up whatever little sugar there is in the berries & the raisins. You must add an appropriate quantity of sugar to raise the percentage of alcohol to turn it into real wine. Otherwise I think it will develop off flavours & may rot. I think you will have to add the sugar & make sure the mixture is in a large container as the mixture will start fermenting violently. I have no experience of adding sugar at this stage so I don't know if it is better to add it bit by bit. Perhaps someone else on here can advise you.

Best of luck.

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Sun 29-Jul-12
11:05 pm
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mike.
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Lya, if the wine has finished fermenting and you decide not to bottle yet, I would recommend syphoning the wine off the lees (the dead yeast which settle to the bottom of the demijohn) and removing any bits of fruit which might still be floating there.

If I'm making a still wine, I add a campden tablet and half a teaspoon of wine stabiliser (which I think might be potassium sorbate), which is more or less what vagabondic recommends. I add those, leave the wine to settle for a few days, then do the bottling.

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Mon 30-Jul-12
12:23 am
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Vagabondic
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Lya

 

I have had a search for BBC recipes for Elderberry wine and assume you are using the one which suggests adding  a large quantity of brandy.  If so this makes sense as the brandy obviously provides the alcohol which will effectively kill the yeast and preserve the young wine - in effect the method of making port by adding brandy to young wine. So what this recipe does is to effectively shortcut the fermentation process by adding alcohol rather than letting our yeasty friends make it themselves. I would agree with Bobquail that if you want to follow this route  it is best to syphon the wine in to a second demijohn so the lees (goo at the bottom) floating raisins and the like are all left behind.  Then add the brandy so you are not mixing it in the demijohn with all of the waste products still in it. The method should work although don't be tempted to skimp on the brandy as you will need to have a sufficient alcohol content to kill the yeast and preserve the wine. You might even want to add more brandy in order to achieve the degree of dryness you want.  Adding sulphite/wine stabiliser/camden tablet would be a belt and braces way to ensure the yeast is killed off and will not carrying on fermenting in the bottle so it wouldn't be a bad thing.  If you are not using brandy then keeping the fermentation going by adding sugar would make more sense so a reasonable level of alcohol can be produced.

Mon 30-Jul-12
2:31 am
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lya
New Zealand

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Oh, dear. Now I'm confused. Is it possible to add the sugar now? Only problem is, I have no vessel big enough to put the wine in once the sugar has been added. (I'm assuming that it will still need an airlock) If I did get a bigger demijohn and added sugar (how much tho?) would I leave bottling untill it had stopped fermenting?

I wonder if I should stick to the original recipe because I'm such a newbie at it?

Mon 30-Jul-12
9:26 am
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Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

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You could divide the mixture in half & use 2 demijohns & add the sugar to both of them. As to how much look at the recipe I gave you the link for originally & calculate how much fruit you put in. 

Yes, you will definitely need to leave bottling till well after the fermenting has stopped, otherwise your bottles will explode. Also one other thing, I think you said you intended to store your bottles in your garage.......not a good idea if your garage is not very well insulated & your spring/summer gets very warm. This could start a secondary fermentation & break the bottles (especially as you say you will be using screw caps instead of corks). Elderberry wine stains everything & shards of glass are very dangerous. You need to store it in a place which has a fairly even temperature (day & night).

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Mon 30-Jul-12
10:40 pm
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Vagabondic
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Apologies if we are being confusing,  overall following the original recipe  is  a good plan (is it the recipe which adds brandy?)  as the chances are it will work far better than swapping on to Plan B half way through.

All the talk of exploding bottles probably sounds worrying but it is rare and will  not happen if you take the precaution of finishing off the fermentation by adding something to kill the yeast - then there will be no danger of more fermentation in the bottle.  If you are at all unsure then just keep an airlock on the demijohn,  the airlock will show if it is still fermenting as the gas bubble pushes its way out.

Mon 30-Jul-12
11:59 pm
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Toffeeapple
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Think I'd rather go to the wine store...wink

I'll try that again!

Tue 31-Jul-12
1:59 am
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lya
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Toffeeapple said:

Think I'd rather go to the wine store...wink

Haha, Toffeeapple, I do buy wine,wine but they don't sell elderberry wine here.

But isn't it nice to try different things? If it isn't a success, I'll try again in autumn, if it is, I'll definately make it again.

Tue 31-Jul-12
2:05 am
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lya
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Thanks Vagabondic and Hattie,

I will leave it as is and bottle it next week. It doesn't get  hot here at this time of year as its still winter, so I'd say the garage should be ok, it is the coldest area I can find for summer. I will put a heavy sheet over the bottles like I did with the elderflower champagne, just in case.

I think next year, I will put it in 2 demijohns and add sugar as well.

Mon 6-Aug-12
10:08 am
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lya
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Well, I bottled the wine today, got 4 wine bottles, 1 small brandy bottle and a sauce bottle full. Have put it in the garage in plastic bags, on a shelf, covered in a folded sheet, in case there is an explosion and to keep it at a more constant temperature.

Hope to sample it at Christmas.   wink

Thanks for all your help!

Tue 7-Aug-12
11:08 pm
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mike.
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Good luck. Did you have a sneaky taste of the wine when you bottled it? I know you can't always tell if a wine is going to be good at this early stage but it can indicate whether its going to have plenty of body or not.

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Tue 7-Aug-12
11:26 pm
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lya
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Haha, yes I got a mouth full when I syphoned it off, I thought it was a bit tart. So hopefully it will improve with age. If not, I'll know to use a different recipe next year.

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