First time brews

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dannyllama
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First time brews

Post: # 248229Post dannyllama
Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:39 pm

Hi everyone,

I've spent the summer gathering various berries with an aim to get some wines made. I've got the following going in the demijohns at the moment:

Damson Wine - http://www.lowcostliving.co.uk/home-bre ... n-wine.php
Apple Wine - http://www.ralpharama.co.uk/item.php?it ... ine+Recipe
Elderberry Wine - http://www.lowcostliving.co.uk/home-bre ... y-wine.php
Rowan Wine - http://www.landshare.net/users/adam1111 ... ine-frenzy (Still fermenting)

Possibly a bit adventurous for a first timer ? I started the Damson & Elderberry at the end of Sept and have just racked them off for the first time. There was about 1cm of lees (?) at the bottom, so I figured it was time to rack off. Both are still quite cloudy though...I know that the Elderberry will take months to clear but how long (on average) for the Damson ?

When should I take a reading with the hydrometer ?

Any other easy recipes that I can try ? Empty demijohns just seem so..empty :iconbiggrin:

Cheers,

Dan

PS 2 x bottles of Sloe Gin on the go too. I've even tried to make Sloe Bacardi...because nothing can make Bacardi taste worse !!

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Re: First time brews

Post: # 248232Post Green Aura
Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:04 pm

Sounds like things are progressing nicely. All the truly knowledgeable ones will no doubt be along later but in my experience the reds seem to take longer than whites to ferment and clear and then mature enough to drink (but that's because I add tannins to the reds). I think I worked out that from start to a decent drink most of our reds take about 13-15 months!

So we have been known to cheat and stick a 7 day kit on to keep us going between times :lol: Incidentally even those take about a month so maybe it's down to where we are - Liverpool is probably a lot warmer so yours should be quicker.
Maggie

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dannyllama
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Re: First time brews

Post: # 248421Post dannyllama
Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:15 am

Thanks for the response Maggie.

Are the tannins provided by a tea bag ? I am having a crack at ginger beer too, so should keep me going for the moment. I want to do a beer too, but need to get the kit :( !

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Re: First time brews

Post: # 248433Post MKG
Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:32 pm

For your damson wine, pectin may well be the problem (as it would possibly have been for your apple wine, but the recipe for that includes pectic enzyme). Damsons are high in pectin - so much so that you can make damson jam or jelly with no added pectin at all. Sometimes, but by no means always, the pectin comes out of solution and forms tiny particles which are held in suspension within the wine - hence the haze. Sometimes, the haze drops out with time. Sometimes it drops out with lowering temeratures. Sometimes it drops out after a couple of years when you'd despaired of it ever clearing. Sometimes it does none of those things and you're left with a hazy wine - but it's perfectly drinkable and does no harm at all. If you're really bothered, you can treat it with a double dose (two level teaspoons per gallon) of pectic enzyme. If you'd included the enzyme at the outset, it would have needed only one level teaspoon per gallon.

The elderberry is different as elderberries are low in pectin. As you say, that haze (which may simply be bits of remaining yeast and fruit debris) will almost certainly drop out given time and may even clear quite soon as long as you keep the wine in a cool place.

You can take a hydrometer reading any time you like, although it doesn't make a deal of difference - your wine is ready or it's not. The hydrometer comes into its own if you're interested in precise measurement of final alcoholic content or if you're attempting to make a sweet wine. As a rough guide, though, 1lb of sugar in 1 gal. of wine gives you all but dammit 5% ABV (so a kilo comes out about 12%) - but you have to take natural sugar content into account as well as added sugar. Sugar content of most fruits can be found using the wonderful Google.

You can look here ...

http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/

... for loads of recipes, but bear in mind that Jack is American - he uses US measurements. But to be perfectly honest (and I can sense someone preening here) I'd recommend Andy's book - Booze for Free - which has all manner of fine recipes (and a few odd ones :iconbiggrin: ). And remember that you can make wine from dried fruit, tinned fruit, cordial, fruit juice, fruit teabags etc. etc.

Yes, you can get your tannin from teabags. A half cup of tea made with one teabag left to go cold with the bag in it (or a full cup made from two teabags) provides enough tannin for most purposes - but check your fruit for tannin content beforehand (Google again). Elderberries, for instance, are massively high in tannin all by themselves. High-tannin wines mature much better than low-tannin ones, but you have to wait that much longer to drink them.

And, no, it's not overly ambitious. If you're going to do it, jump in at the deep end, I say.

Mike

Oh - be prepared to be a bit disappointed with your rowan wine. Some people like it, but I think it's a bit of a waste of time.
The secret of life is to aim below the head (With thanks to MMM)

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Re: First time brews

Post: # 248473Post Green Aura
Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:39 pm

MKG wrote:Oh - be prepared to be a bit disappointed with your rowan wine. Some people like it, but I think it's a bit of a waste of time.
Will it be as bitter as my bloody rowan jelly? I've still got 6 jars from 2009 - can't face it more than once in a while!
Maggie

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Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Re: First time brews

Post: # 248486Post MKG
Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:35 pm

It's your own fault, GA - you're supposed to use ordinary rowanberries, not the bloody variety.

Mike
The secret of life is to aim below the head (With thanks to MMM)

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Re: First time brews

Post: # 248491Post dannyllama
Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:03 pm

I made rowan and apple marmalade and I must say it's incredibly nice. Beautiful orange colour !

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Re: First time brews

Post: # 248634Post irigg
Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:09 pm

keep up the good work
homebrewed drinks are much better than the big boys offerings :santa: :santa: :iconbiggrin: :iconbiggrin: :santa: :santa: :drunken: :drunken: :santa: :santa:

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Re: First time brews

Post: # 249003Post dannyllama
Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:34 am

I've made some nettle beer as well, so it will be interesting to see how that turns out. I was actually surprised at how many young nettles there are about at this time of year. There were even some flowering still !

I took the previously boiled nettles and made some soup from them...seemed a shame to waste them :D

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Re: First time brews

Post: # 249016Post WILDBREW
Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:43 pm

Hi dannyllama
I like the look of your wine recipes,i will try the fireweed,rowan and the nettle wine as soon as poss
I try to make as much wine as i can from wild fruit & plants.
thanks a gain :snorting: :flower:

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