2018 Elderberry Batch #1
August 2018 – This concentrate was a spur-of-the-moment purchase — I was thinking about elderberry and then I spotted the package in American Brewmaster. I didn’t even read the ingredients until I reached home.
I discovered that elderberry is third on the list, behind corn syrup and apple juice, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I had purchased it, figured it would ferment — and besides — I’ve fermented far worse things. 🙂
Part way through I decided to split the batch. Batch #1 is 3.5 gallons of plain elderberry. I’ll probably sweeten it slightly to bring out the fruit flavors, but will produce at most, an off-dry wine.
Batch #2 is the remainder (about 2.5 gallons) that will be fed sugar to jack the alcohol up to 18%, then it will be sweetened. The plan is to make a port-style wine. My notes (below) will show how this experiment progresses. Click here to see the log for Batch #2.
|Fruit||1 gallon Vintner’s Best Elderberry fruit wine base
1 liter Global Vintners Inc red grape concentrate
|Yeast Nutrient||5 tsp + 1 tsp added to Batch #2 (see below)|
|Yeast Energizer||1 tsp added to Batch #2 (see below)|
|Grape Tannin||2 tsp|
|Pectic Enzyme||40 drops liquid|
|Oak||1/2 lb toasted oak chips|
|Yeast||Red Star Premier Rouge|
|Sulphite||1/4 tsp per racking after fermentation ceased|
|Sorbate||3/4 tsp at bottling|
|Following directions on the jug, I diluted the elderberry concentrate with 4 gallons water. For the first couple of quarts I used hot tap water to rinse the bottle — no point in wasting the goodness! The bottle said the SG should be 1.077. I got 1.076, but possible differences in dilution and temperature make this spot on. I was satisfied the label was correct.
Next added the red grape concentrate. The label said the brix would be 20-22, and I should dilute with 2.8 to 3.2 liters water. I used 2 liters warm tap water, which I used to rinse the bag. Again, no point in wasting the goodness! This brought the SG up to 1.078. I considered chaptalizing it up to 1.085 …. but decided to go with what I have.
I went with 2 liters of water instead of 3 as I’m looking for body and the 3/4 gallon extended the batch sufficiently that it will fill my carboy.
Added bentonite, yeast nutrient, grape tannin (just because), and pectic enzyme.
The oak chips were on hand and I decided to add it to see what it would do.
Sprinkled the yeast on top.
|Racked, moving the wine into a 5 gallon carboy and 1 gallon jug. Neither container was topped up, but fermentation was active so I didn’t worry about oxidation.||08/02/2018
|Racked. Filled a 3.5 gallon carboy with the basic elderberry. This is designated Batch #1.
The remainder is designated Batch #2.
|Racked. Topped up with commercial cabernet sauvignon.||10/13/2018
|Racked. Added 1/4 tsp sulfite and 3/4 tsp sorbate.
Sweetened with 3/4 cup sugar and bottled.
|Residual Sugar||1.8 %|
|Winemaking Notes||The first ingredient on the Elderberry concentrate label is corn syrup, the second is apple juice, the last is elderberry. The must smells good …. but the next time I do this, I’m going to look for a pure elderberry. It may make no difference, but the purist in me wants 100% elderberry.
I always add pectic enzyme to fruit wines. I’ve had to do it enough times when trying to clear the wine that it’s simply become a preventative habit. My local shop was out of powder, so I tried the liquid. It’s more expensive ($3 vs. $2) but the amount I used was tiny — this bottle will go bad before I use it up.
|11/18/2018||My elder son helped me bottle today. Like with the metheglin, we saved a full glass of unsweetened wine as a control, then added 1/2 cup sugar to the wine, stirring vigorously to blend it. A little bit of sugar made a huge difference in taste. The base wine is a bit sharp, the sugar rounded it nicely.
Then we added another 1/4 cup, again mixing well. This softened it even more, and we discussed adding more sugar. Time is going to soften this one, so I decided to stop. If I didn’t have 2 gallons I’ve made into a more port-style wine, I might have sweetened more, but it should be good as it is.