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Old 07-31-2012, 02:39 PM   #1
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Default Elderberry Wine Making

Last week I picked 15+ pounds of Sambucus from a nearby tree. This is the one I always go to, since it yields above and beyond the other local wild elderberry bushes. I made elderberry mead in previous years and it tasted excellent, but this year I wanted to try wine instead. I put the berries still clustered into the freezer because I find it easier to separate them from the clusters frozen than fresh.

Two days ago I prepared the must with the berries in a 6 gallon bottling bucket. Just a lemon-oj-sugar-raisin concoction with the berries and a little nutrient and some campden tablets. Yesterday I pitched some Red Star Premier Cuvee', which is my usual workhorse for my concoctions. Today it is pumping out CO2 like a machine.

I usually leaving it in the bottling bucket 4 days before racking it into a carboy sans pulp.

Elderberries aren't very tasty by themselves, but I've always made great stuff from them!

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Old 07-31-2012, 02:58 PM   #2
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I have and elderberry bush in my yard and yes they are nasty alone but make great things.
This is the recipe I have used for elderberry wine
10 lbs fresh, ripe elderberries
1-3/4 lbs finely granulated sugar
4-1/2 to 5 pints water
1 tsp acid blend
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 tsp pectic enzyme
Montrachet wine yeast
Elf wine very good

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Old 07-31-2012, 09:17 PM   #3
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1 tsp acid blend
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 tsp pectic enzyme
Montrachet wine yeast
Elf wine very good
I recently read about pectic enzyme and its purpose. I think I might get some when for a batch of pear wine I'm planning to brew after this stuff goes into the carboy this Friday. I never needed acid blend as the lemon-oj combo seems to accomplish this.
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:58 PM   #4
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I recently read about pectic enzyme and its purpose. I think I might get some when for a batch of pear wine I'm planning to brew after this stuff goes into the carboy this Friday. I never needed acid blend as the lemon-oj combo seems to accomplish this.
It is usually difficult to make a clear wine without using pectic enzyme, not to say it cannot be done. Pears can sometimes be a bit more difficult to get to clear, so you can go heavy handed on the pectic enzyme dosing at the start of the ferment and then again with the same dose when you transfer from primary to secondary/airlock. There is also an enzyme called Pearex Adex, specifically for pears, apples, quinces and other light fruits that are loaded with pectins.

BTW, I find elderberry and pear or blackberry and pear to make a nice blend, not that they are not great on their own.
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Old 08-03-2012, 01:38 PM   #5
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BTW, I find elderberry and pear or blackberry and pear to make a nice blend, not that they are not great on their own.
Another way to make elderberry taste better on it's own is to spice it a little with nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice (kind of like pumpkin pie.)

As for pectic enzyme, I tend to just let it settle on its own, racking a few times, until it clarifies. As a last resort I've used bentonite or EZ finings, both of which work great. I plan to use the enzyme on a batch of pears I'm about the use.

I've just moved my brew into the carboy yesterday, racking out the pulp. It fermented rapidly and nearly stopped yesterday (only three days of VORACIOUS fermentation), No worries, though. The mead I brewed last year did the same thing and it turned out good. I tried a little dreg sample and there was nothing disconcerting about it.

BTW: I am picking pears today.
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Old 08-06-2012, 04:31 PM   #6
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This year has been bad for most of our fruit plants but my reliance grapes are doing very well so thats my next batch. First time with these grapes hoping for the
best

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Old 08-07-2012, 09:21 PM   #7
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You know, raw elderberries contain a toxin called sambunigrin which can cause gastrointestinal distress in some people, which is why they're not eaten raw here in Austria. Wikipedia states that sambunigrin is not heat stable, and indeed a sweet delicacy called Hollerröster is made from elderberries and plums. An old book I read about making country wine also recommends that eleerberries be boiled before using them in winemaking.

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Old 08-12-2012, 01:11 AM   #8
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You know, raw elderberries contain a toxin called sambunigrin which can cause gastrointestinal distress in some people, which is why they're not eaten raw here in Austria. Wikipedia states that sambunigrin is not heat stable, and indeed a sweet delicacy called Hollerröster is made from elderberries and plums. An old book I read about making country wine also recommends that eleerberries be boiled before using them in winemaking.

Europe has Sambucus nigra (I believe), and North America has Sambucus canadiensis. Though our variety has toxin, it is mainly in the seed, and racking it out after 4 days or so takes care of it.
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Old 08-12-2012, 07:34 AM   #9
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Hmm, can't really say anything about Sambucus canadiensis' toxin content, afaik i the European species has the toxin in and around the seeds as well.
On another note, I think trying to use a boiled elderberry mash might have its merits taste-wise, the taste of European elderberry improves drastically when cooked.

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Old 08-12-2012, 03:16 PM   #10
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Growing up we always picked wild elderberries for wine and jelly. Always the purple-black ones, my mother said NEVER the red ones. But I never saw a red one. She always boiled them first. I just read an old recipe, that said to put boiling water over the crushed berries and leave overnight then strain. Then you can boil the berry liquid and proceed from there. Supposedly it helps with the cloudiness. Makes me laugh that they are now selling sambucus capsules/beverages in the health food stores and mom was making us pick them 40 years ago on Mystery Trips!

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