Dandelion Wine

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,668
Reaction score
12,302
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
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

Active Member
Joined
May 12, 2006
Messages
26
Reaction score
0
What does this taste like? I've never tried dandelion before but I'm willing to try it if it's nice.
 
OP
Yooper

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,668
Reaction score
12,302
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
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

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
3,039
Reaction score
13
Location
Perry, MI
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

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2008
Messages
2,123
Reaction score
16
Location
Milton
sounds like alot of work. Have you ever seen any commerically produced versions
 

JustDave

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2007
Messages
1,078
Reaction score
17
Location
Mass.
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

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
3,039
Reaction score
13
Location
Perry, MI
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.
 
OP
Yooper

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,668
Reaction score
12,302
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
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

Active Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
41
Reaction score
0
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
 

eschatz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2007
Messages
3,427
Reaction score
53
Location
Terre Haute, IN
My dad used to make Dandelion Wine back in the day. That was some of my first wine that I ever had. :mug:

My dad never make conventional styles. It's always Elderberry, Dandelion, Mango, Peach, etc........ :D
 

bsaxe

New Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2009
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Location
Portland OR
I just started a 4 gal batch of dandelion wine.

I accidentally let the dandelions steep for a couple more days then I was supposed to. They now have a slight crayon/sulfur smell to them.

I started the primary fermentation anyway, and was wondering if this smell will ever go away? I'm a noob, so any suggestions would greatly help.
 
OP
Yooper

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,668
Reaction score
12,302
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
I just started a 4 gal batch of dandelion wine.

I accidentally let the dandelions steep for a couple more days then I was supposed to. They now have a slight crayon/sulfur smell to them.

I started the primary fermentation anyway, and was wondering if this smell will ever go away? I'm a noob, so any suggestions would greatly help.
I honestly don't know. Hopefully it will get better, but I haven't ever let them steep longer than instructed so I don't know.
 

Kitchi Gumee

Active Member
Joined
May 31, 2008
Messages
37
Reaction score
0
Location
Upper Peninsula
I just finished picking and now I'm ready to roll with the first steps but I have a few questions...

Do I need to chop up the golden raisins when I toss 'em in? I've made a couple different batches of country wine but I've never given them body with raisins before so I'm a little unclear here.

Also, when you measure your dandelion petal amount, do you pack them down, fluff them up, or somewhere in between? Because I can get some pretty radical differences based on how tight they are packed. Also I don't have a scale to just measure them.

Thanks!
 
OP
Yooper

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,668
Reaction score
12,302
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
I just finished picking and now I'm ready to roll with the first steps but I have a few questions...

Do I need to chop up the golden raisins when I toss 'em in? I've made a couple different batches of country wine but I've never given them body with raisins before so I'm a little unclear here.

Also, when you measure your dandelion petal amount, do you pack them down, fluff them up, or somewhere in between? Because I can get some pretty radical differences based on how tight they are packed. Also I don't have a scale to just measure them.

Thanks!
Dandelions? Are you kidding me?! You're not that far from me, and I haven't seen a dandelion or even a hint of one yet!

You should chop up the raisins, but it's a pain because they're sticky. Just stick with it, and it'll be fine.

I like to weigh the petals- I think I used about 270 grams per gallon. I froze them, so I thought they would be really packed down if I just put them in a quart container. Without a scale, you could just loosely put them in a quart, and call that a good estimate.
 

Kitchi Gumee

Active Member
Joined
May 31, 2008
Messages
37
Reaction score
0
Location
Upper Peninsula
Hahahahahaha, I should have mentioned that I picked the dandelions this past weekend while visiting folks down in Lansing...It was full on damn near summer down there. Crazy. I wanted to get a jump on the summer wine season and I was really itching to try dandelion this year so I ended up picking about 3qt and freezing them for the ride up. So much for patience being a virtue.
 

Kitchi Gumee

Active Member
Joined
May 31, 2008
Messages
37
Reaction score
0
Location
Upper Peninsula
I just finished the hour long boiling stage and I have to say that the orange and lemon peel along with the dandelion petals gave this a very "Frooty Pebbles" vibe in a good way...Kind of like what the people at Frooty Pebbles imagine Frooty Pebbles smells like so they can sleep at night. I can see how this wine can be a siren.
 

summersolstice

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Messages
1,414
Reaction score
51
Location
Central Texas, USA
My hat's off to anyone with the patience to pick all those little yellow petals and get enough to actually make a wine. As my wife is fond of telling me, "Sweetheart, you have no paciencia!" What an understatement! :)
 

Battery_BreweryNJ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
362
Reaction score
3
Location
"Right Near The Beach", NJ
I just finished the hour long boiling stage and I have to say that the orange and lemon peel along with the dandelion petals gave this a very "Frooty Pebbles" vibe in a good way...Kind of like what the people at Frooty Pebbles imagine Frooty Pebbles smells like so they can sleep at night. I can see how this wine can be a siren.
Thats exactly what I was thinking when I did my boil!
 

KatoBaggins

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2009
Messages
202
Reaction score
26
Location
Somewhere
I have a gallon batch going now. I used a half gallon of organic white grape juice instead of sugar.

I took a little taste the other day and it was really delicious. I'm hoping that it stays that way.
 

Kitchi Gumee

Active Member
Joined
May 31, 2008
Messages
37
Reaction score
0
Location
Upper Peninsula
For all those who've made this wine, what kind of OG/FG did you come out with?

I have followed the recipe dead nuts so far and somehow I got an OG around 1.130...seems quite high, unless this is supposed to be a much sweeter wine than I had expected.
 
OP
Yooper

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,668
Reaction score
12,302
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
For all those who've made this wine, what kind of OG/FG did you come out with?

I have followed the recipe dead nuts so far and somehow I got an OG around 1.130...seems quite high, unless this is supposed to be a much sweeter wine than I had expected.
I usually make it to a SG of about 1.095-1.110 or so. It finishes dry- at .990-.996. You can add a little water if you want, to bring it down a little. Or use water to top up when you rack.
 

Kitchi Gumee

Active Member
Joined
May 31, 2008
Messages
37
Reaction score
0
Location
Upper Peninsula
Thanks alot! I think I'll have to toss a little extra water in when I top up, so that should help the Alcohol % be in the "reasonable" range.

Go Wings! Khabibulin is gonna have to use his AARP card to block shots if Hossa/Datsyuk come alive this series.
 

vilehelm

New Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2009
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Location
rva
hello.

i made a batch of dandelion wine recently--just finished bottling it, in fact. this is my first time making something like this at home, and I would like to ask a few questions if no one minds.

I followed a vague recipe from motherEarthNews.com Basically I'm just concerned that I may be doing something potentially dangerous, as I feel like a lot could go wrong if I improvise too much. These are the steps I took:

""""put the liquid into a big pot and add:

3 lbs. sugar
3 or 4 lemons, juice, skin, seeds, etc., all chopped up.
3 or 4 oranges, chopped

Boil mixture for 30 minutes with top on pot, cool to lukewarm, pour into crock and add 1 1/2 or 2 packages or tablespoons of yeast. Cover with cheesecloth and let brew sit for two or three weeks 'til the bubbling stops and — whammy!""""

I bottled it in old wine bottles that I attempted to sterilize by filling them with boiling water and letting them sit for a bit. They are the kind with the metal push clasp.

It smells alcoholic yet sweet, and has a yellow cloudiness to it. I can already see the sediment settling. Does this sound safe? I'll be okay if it doesn't taste so great, but any tips for future batches are greatly appreciated. How long should I let it sit in the bottles, assuming it's drinkable?
 
OP
Yooper

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,668
Reaction score
12,302
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
hello.

i made a batch of dandelion wine recently--just finished bottling it, in fact. this is my first time making something like this at home, and I would like to ask a few questions if no one minds.

I followed a vague recipe from motherEarthNews.com Basically I'm just concerned that I may be doing something potentially dangerous, as I feel like a lot could go wrong if I improvise too much. These are the steps I took:

""""put the liquid into a big pot and add:

3 lbs. sugar
3 or 4 lemons, juice, skin, seeds, etc., all chopped up.
3 or 4 oranges, chopped

Boil mixture for 30 minutes with top on pot, cool to lukewarm, pour into crock and add 1 1/2 or 2 packages or tablespoons of yeast. Cover with cheesecloth and let brew sit for two or three weeks 'til the bubbling stops and — whammy!""""

I bottled it in old wine bottles that I attempted to sterilize by filling them with boiling water and letting them sit for a bit. They are the kind with the metal push clasp.

It smells alcoholic yet sweet, and has a yellow cloudiness to it. I can already see the sediment settling. Does this sound safe? I'll be okay if it doesn't taste so great, but any tips for future batches are greatly appreciated. How long should I let it sit in the bottles, assuming it's drinkable?

Well, it'll be safe in that it won't hurt you to drink it. The only danger will be if it's not done fermenting when you bottle it. If that's the case, and it continues fermenting in the bottle, you could have bottle bombs.

Maybe in a week, open one and see how it is. If you have a big "whoosh" of air, or it's still bubbling, open them all and put them back in the carboy or bucket (gently, as to not splash. Aerating will ruin the wine.).

Dandelions throw a lot of lees (sediment) so I've never bottled before a year. There seems to always be sediment still falling. That said, I've never bottled a cloudy wine. All of the sediment will eventually fall out, and I'd rather have that in my carboy than in my bottled wine.

I didn't see the article in mother earth news, but I'm sure that if you followed the techniques concerning sanitation you should be ok that way.
 

doubleb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2007
Messages
239
Reaction score
1
Location
Milford, CT
I think I'm gonna try this. It'll be my first wine and I don't know anything about wine. I'll let you know in a year or so how it went. BTW this is a seasonal drink as the flowers are only here in spring so I better do it quickly. Thanks Yooperbrew.
 
OP
Yooper

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,668
Reaction score
12,302
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
I think I'm gonna try this. It'll be my first wine and I don't know anything about wine. I'll let you know in a year or so how it went. BTW this is a seasonal drink as the flowers are only here in spring so I better do it quickly. Thanks Yooperbrew.
Good luck!

This is a nice wine, and I think you'll like it.
 

Daddymem

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
742
Reaction score
88
Location
East Wareham
Thanks Yoop. They sure look and smell the same. No luck with dandelions this year, lots of catsear though. May give it a shot as it is also edible like dandelion.
 

captianoats

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2008
Messages
825
Reaction score
51
Location
Jasper IN
I made a gallon of this. It sat about 6 months, and I racked and bottled yesterday. I had about 1 glass left over after bottling, and I can say it was great. I lightly sweetened to somewhere around semi-dry. It was very floral, light, and citrusy. I may change to 2 oranges/1 lemon next time (maybe not), but I will definately make it again.
 

Fletch78

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2010
Messages
1,343
Reaction score
32
Location
Athens GA
From volume 2 of the Foxfire series:

Dandelion wine: pour one gallon boiling water over one gallon dandelion flowers. Let stand until blossoms rise (twenty-four to forty-eight hours). Strain into stone jar. Add juices of four oranges and four lemons, and four pounds of sugar, plus one yeast cake. Stir four or five times a day until it stops fermenting. Keep well covered. In two weeks, strain, bottle and cork tightly.
That's how they did it in the Appalachians of N. GA in 1966, right around the time Deliverance was filmed in the same area. I think I'm going to give that a try this spring.
 

ChshreCat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2008
Messages
11,517
Reaction score
579
Location
Camano Island
I'm thinking about giving this a try. I'm fighting a losing battle with dandelions in my yard and it would be most satisfying to harness the little bastids for the power of good. :D

In the recipe it says 3 quarts of dandelion flowers. I'm assuming that's the whole flowers and then you start plucking afterwards? Or is that 3 quarts of plucked petals?
 
OP
Yooper

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,668
Reaction score
12,302
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
That is three quarts of petals! It's a LOT of dandelions. I plucked a few, then froze them in ziplock bags. I went by weight, since they really smooshed down in the freezer.
 

ChshreCat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2008
Messages
11,517
Reaction score
579
Location
Camano Island
Holy crap! I was thinking 3 quarts of flowers. Not sure if I have that much in the yard. I'll need to pick pluck and freeze several times.
 

JadeMonkeyStang

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
166
Reaction score
4
Location
Fort Collins
sounds like alot of work. Have you ever seen any commerically produced versions
I know that post is really old, but figured there might still be some interest.

Chateau Buffalo (in Buffalo, NY) produces a dandelion wine that is excellent. It's not cheap at $39 a bottle but all of the proceeds go to support the restoration/preservation efforts of Frank Lloyd Wright's Graycliff Estate, which is located just outside of Buffalo. Both the wine and the estate are unique and worth checking out.

The wine is not listed on their website atm, but you can call them and they can ship a bottle out to you.
 

TerapinChef

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2007
Messages
995
Reaction score
9
Location
St. Clair Shores, MI
So I'm @ day 2 of fermentation, it's bubbling hard! I'm confused about this rack step at 3 days. This is going to be going through active fermentation when I rack it into a carboy, and this is a new thing for me. Why is it racked off the petals so fast?

Also, I'm wondering if this is going to clog the heck out of my autosiphon. The escaping CO2 has pushed most of the petals into a raft on top of the liquid, and I was thinking I'd get most of it out before the petals even become a problem, but I was wondering about any personal experience/advice that may be out there. I'm also curious if this is going to turn my autosiphon as yellow as it did the plastic brewspoon I was stirring my "tea" with. :rockin:
 
Top