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-   -   Dandelion Wine (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f79/dandelion-wine-21095/)

Yooper 02-01-2007 10:17 PM

Dandelion Wine
Dandelion Wine
3 qts dandelion flowers (Each quart weighs 90 grams, if you'd rather go by weight)
1 lb raisins
1 gallon water
3 lbs granulated sugar
2 lemons
1 orange
yeast and nutrient

Pick the flowers just before starting, so they're fresh. You do need to pick the petals off the flower heads, as the green heads give bitterness to the wine. Put the flowers in a large bowl. Set aside 1 pint of water and bring the remainder to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the dandelion flowers and cover tightly with cloth or plastic wrap. Leave for two days, stirring twice daily. Do not exceed this time.

Pour flowers and water in large pot and bring to a low boil. Add the sugar and the peels (peel thinly and avoid any of the white pith) of the lemons and orange. Boil for one hour, then pour into a crock or plastic pail. Add the juice and pulp of the lemons and orange. Allow to stand until cool (70-75 degrees F.). Add yeast and yeast nutrient, cover, and put in a warm place for three days. Strain and pour into a secondary fermentation vessel (bottle or jug). Add the raisins and fit a fermentation trap to the vessel. Leave until fermentation ceases completely, then rack and top up with reserved pint of water and any additional required to reduce all but 1 inch of airspace. Set aside until wine clears, rack whenever lees are 1/4" thick or every 60 days as needed, then rack and bottle. This wine must age six months in the bottle before tasting, but will improve remarkably if allowed a year (Jack Keller recipe, with minor modifications)

GWF 01-21-2008 05:17 AM

What does this taste like? I've never tried dandelion before but I'm willing to try it if it's nice.

Yooper 01-21-2008 12:04 PM

Well, it's hard to describe. Sort of fruity, dry and crisp. Kind of like a pinot grigio, to compare it to a commercial wine. I sweetened one batch and didn't like it as much, but other people did. It's really good wine, and I will keep making it.

HenryHill 05-08-2008 06:38 PM

Picking the dandelions isn't easy, but it is by the far the easiest part of working with them.

To make this as easy on yourself as possible, pick in late morning to early afternoon, so the blossoms are open and the grass is dry. Picking a day after a moderate rain will insure that they are as healthy and fresh as can be. Do not pick on a windy day-the petals are light and will drift away from the receiving vessel. The wind will also dry out the flowers, making them more difficult to work with. Cold, dark, cloudy days will cause the flowers to close making this much more difficult.

Avoid any grassy areas that are mowed, because this reduces the size of the blooms, and lays open the possibility that they have been sprayed. I have found that pasture fields are best-where they grow with clover. Also along side roads on the angled sides of ditches.

DO NOT think that picking the small ones out of your lawn is doing yourself a favor! The picking is the easy part; plucking the petals is tough enough so aim for ONLY the largest, fullest, 3-dimensional hemispherical shaped blooms that you can find. You want them to look like the apples in the store that they sell separate-not the 3 pound bags of apples that are cheap. Flat shaped ones yield little and show a lack of sugars and overall vigor. Roughly 2"- 2 1/4" flowers will make this much easier on you. Try to pick only the heads. The stems will be discarded when you pluck but handling them with the stems is just plain awkward. Try to find a place where large flowers are densely grouped-bending over is tough, compared to kneeling in an area that is densely populated.

NOW, as for how to pluck:

I used a small sharp paring knife. Holding a few in my left hand, the knife in my right hand, I used my thumb and forefinger of each hand alternately, to 'close' the bloom and then cut HALFWAY into the base just ABOVE the green fingers that separate the yellow bloom from the green fingers. I then pulled the remaining petals free from the green head, with my left thumb and forefinger. This is similar to eating a lot of shrimp; you lightly bite the third section of shell while hanging onto the first and second segments at the tail. After the quick 'bite' , you grab the body of the shrimp with your teeth and pull it from the shell.

Anything green that falls into the finished bucket is darn near impossible to remove, so being nimble-figured when cutting and plucking is essential.

I did 5 gallons, measured my final product on a scale, and it took me all day.

scinerd3000 05-10-2008 04:25 AM

sounds like alot of work. Have you ever seen any commerically produced versions

Bokonon 05-10-2008 04:34 AM

Very timely topic. I noticed that the latest basic brewing radio podcast was about Dandelion wine.

I haven't listened yet, but I'm sure I'll check out the episode in the next few days


JustDave 05-11-2008 12:48 AM

We're out visiting my parents for Mother's Day, and my parents' yard is FULL of dandelions. With 4 eager nephews/nieces there to help, I knew I had to pick as many as we could. Child labor rules.

I just knew you'd have a recipe for it, Yooper! Can't wait to start on it tomorrow ...

HenryHill 05-11-2008 07:02 PM


Originally Posted by scinerd3000 (Post 672646)
sounds like alot of work. Have you ever seen any commerically produced versions

Commercially produced dandelion I have not seen.

Google 'dandelion wine' and even actual recipes (those that have terms such as what type of yeast and OG and FG) are rare.

Yooper 05-11-2008 07:09 PM

I've used several different wine yeasts and several different recipes, and I've found that there really isn't much difference in the wine using champagne yeast vs. cotes des blanc for example. I didn't like the other recipes that I've tried as much, but Jack Keller's website has tons of dandelion recipes! Here's a link: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/dandelion.asp

My posted recipe (above) comes direction from that site. I made his dandelion (2) recipe last year, and didn't like it as much. I found it lacking a bit in body and flavor and liked the first one much more!

KiRbY29869 07-25-2008 06:38 PM

Breitinbach--- not sure of the spelling but thats what it sounds like. They are a winery here in Ohio that commercially makes dandelion. I heard that it is pretty good but haven't tried it myself. I think they have a festival for it every year. Something to check out for those of you wondering.
http://www.breitenbachwine.com/ it's under fruit wines $9.75 a bottle

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