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Re: Random wine

Posted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:47 pm
by elfcurry
Here in Dorset, we've had very dry weather for many weeks until two weekends ago when I went camping at Larmer Tree Festival, when it was very wet for two days and a heavy downpour once or twice since. The lack of rain must have dented the crop but I expect the Autumn raspberries will produce a few pounds when we get some more rain.

I've just sampled some (purely in the line of duty) to enable me to accurately assess its value as as use for the fruit and in my opinion, it's a good, valid use for cosmetically-challenged raspberries.

Re: Random wine

Posted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:58 pm
by Green Aura
Sounds like a plan. :thumbright:

(I still prefer mine with cream though :wink: )

The best we can manage with home grown produce is dandelion! Just as well we love it. :lol:

Re: Random wine

Posted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:21 pm
by BernardSmith
Here's another suggestion for those who can forage only a very small quantity of berries or other fruit: what about making liqueurs? I was able to harvest about 400 g of mulberries so not enough for even a bottle of wine, but plenty for a liqueur, and so to these berries I added about 750 mil of an inexpensive vodka***(40proof). After a few weeks I strained the fruit and added about 1/2 C of simple sugar (1:1 sugar and water) to the liquor but this syrup could have been made with honey and I bottled it. You can do the same thing with nuts or coffee or cocoa nibs or flowers (elderflowers or hibiscus - or heather (and if you use scotch and sweeten the liqueur with honey it tastes much like Drambuie)
*** I would make my own vodka from fruit wines I make (12 - 14% ABV) except that in the US distillation is illegal...

Re: Random wine

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:55 am
by ina
I used to make liqueurs like that - but there is no inexpensive booze here anymore, so it's really too expensive these days.

Re: Random wine

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:26 am
by Green Aura
I make my liqueurs slightly differently, Bernard. I cover the fruit generously in sugar (no water) and let it suck out all the flavour and juice for a few weeks, until the sugar is dissolved. Then strain and add spirit of choice. Leave for a couple of months to let the flavours meld. So sloe gin, with sloes picked in the autumn, is perfect for Christmas (well there, I said Christmas, in August, someone had to!).

BTW if you're using sloes, plums or similar, you need to prick the skins first.

All the flavour, none of the watering down - unless I choose to add soda water or ice in the glass. :drunken: :lol:

Re: Random wine

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:55 pm
by BernardSmith
Interesting, Green Aura. I would have thought that alcohol is a better solvent than sugar and using sugar to extract flavor means that you in fact obtain fewer of the essential oils from the substrates and less of those you do obtain than using alcohol. Sounds like an experiment that is begging to be done.
That said, if I use vodka at 80 proof (40% ABV) I want to dilute the concentration of alcohol to about 25 -30% so that the "heat" from the alcohol does not overwhelm or mask the flavor of the substrates - the nuts, fruit, spices, herbs, or flowers. and using sugar to extract flavor means that you get fewer of the essential oils from the substrates than using alcohol

Re: Random wine

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:08 pm
by BernardSmith
ina wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:55 am
I used to make liqueurs like that - but there is no inexpensive booze here anymore, so it's really too expensive these days.
Hmmm... In NY we can get 1.75L of inexpensive vodka (80 proof) for about $19.00 and that converts to about $4.00 per 350 ml and if you add simple syrup that will increase the volume to about 470 ml which is close as damn it to the volume and retail price of a British pint - except that you drink this by the shot

Re: Random wine

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:34 am
by ina
A bottle (0.7 ltrs) of 40% spirit is £14.00 since the introduction of the minimum pricing. Used to be £10.00 - and that was a lot more expensive than in Germany, for example...

Re: Random wine

Posted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:28 pm
by Weedo
Our leaders index the excise (tax) on alcohol every six months based on inflation; not a huge rise every timemore like a slow, insidious creep. Excise is based on the volume of alcohol (proof) in the product; Beer receives a lesser tax per quaff than spirits - Wine has been treated differently to encourage industry growth and received rebates on the excise. THEY are now considering taking all excise up higher and removing the wine incentive. All for our own health benefit apparently.

Re: Random wine

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:10 am
by ina
Weedo wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:28 pm
Excise is based on the volume of alcohol (proof) in the product;
It's 50p per unit of alcohol now. Not much change for decent wine. What's gone up most is cheap spirits (like the ones you'd use for liqueur!) and strong cider. Might mean that some people drink less.

In Germany I used to buy pure alcohol from the pharmacy for making liqueur.

Re: Random wine

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:18 pm
by BernardSmith
What might happen as taxes on alcohol rise is that more folk may turn to making moonshine... Certainly not advocating this...merely making the observation. In the USA this is still illegal in every state as far as I know and the cost of licensure is prohibitive both in terms of time involved and cost.

Re: Random wine

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:20 pm
by ina
Well, I'll certainly make more of an effort to make wine in future... For various reasons I didn't do that this year.

Re: Random wine

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:16 pm
by Weedo
Ina - I don't think I could find a bottle of spirits of spirits in Oz for $25. 50p? ouch - ours is 21 cents Au (12p?) but, most of our spirits are imported so there are other fees and taxes associated with the import. - the only local ones are from small "boutique" distilleries and cost a fortune. Home distilling is illegal in Oz also.

Re: Random wine

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:52 am
by ina
As far as I know the cost of living is higher in Oz all round.... Difficult to compare. Taxes etc don't necessarily make things more expensive. Scotch whisky is cheaper in Germany than here!

Re: Random wine

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:01 pm
by BernardSmith
ina wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:20 pm
Well, I'll certainly make more of an effort to make wine in future... For various reasons I didn't do that this year.
Truth is that wine making is incredibly simple and takes virtually no time from a busy schedule. You can use fruit you forage or buy, juice you press or buy, edible flowers you forage or grow. For wine you want to add sugar but most fruit will have enough fermentable sugar to make a low alcohol wine of around 6 % alcohol by volume (12 proof ). You really do not need any special equipment as long as you can allow the wine to age a few months (though even that is not necessary - it will certainly taste better aged but is drinkable weeks after you add the yeast). That may mean that you have containers that you can fill to the tippy top and which allows the carbon dioxide to escape but does not allow air to enter: a heavy lid placed on top may be sufficient or a bung and airlock is more typical but airlocks can be jerry rigged from balloons or condoms or even tubing that fits the aging vessel at one end and ends in container filled with water at the other) -

In fact even adding (pitching) yeast is not always necessary either. I just picked up a pint of blueberries that were covered in yeast (I could see that from the "bloom") and simply placed the berries in a mason jar with some sugar and the yeast is slowly reproducing and in a week or so I may have enough yeast to use to ferment a new batch of wine. When you choose to use indigenous yeast ("wild yeast") you need to check to make sure that the yeast is robust enough to fully ferment your wine (wild yeast tend to suffer from alcohol poisoning just when lab cultured yeast begin to wake up) ; does not produce flavors that you dislike and that you have collected enough of the yeast to ferment the wine (with lab cultured yeasts you get billions of cells, with yeast on fruit you may have only a few tens of thousands of cells that you need to help reproduce before you have a large enough colony to take on the gallon/s of must you want to ferment.