Fermenting Weeds

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captianoats

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No, not THAT weed, dandelions :)

I've made several successful beers and ciders, but after seeing those stupid yellow flowers pop up in the yard this week, I felt obligated to try this as well. It's a hybrid of several different recipes I found on the web. This is a 1 gallon batch.

3qts dandelion flowers (only yellow petals)
1 cup raisins
2 oranges, zest and juice only
1 lemon, zest and juice only
3 lbs white sugar
1 campden tablet
1/4 tsp yeast nutrient
1 pack montachet yeast

Put hot water on the flowers and steeped for 2 days. Brought the water to a boil, added raisins, oranges, lemon, and sugar. Shut off heat as soon as the sugar dissolved. Once it cooled I added the campden and nutrient and let it sit for a day. Took and SG today, and it seems high to me, 1.118.

How does everything sound so far? Also, I need to know, should I put my airlock on now, or wait a few days? Thanks for any tips/advice you can share.
 

Brew-Happy

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Looks interesting and experimental. Not much experience to critique, but when you brought up this idea, I couldn't help but think about collecting flowers from blooming pears, apples, peaches, etc. That would be interesting to add flavor but probably a pain to pick. :)

Keep us posted on this. You may have a great way to get rid of the weeds in the yard.
 

Yooper

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That looks pretty good to me! Dandelion wine is one of my favorites. When I make it, I use only the yellow petals, as I think the green calyx (the top of the stems) makes a bitter taste that takes a long time to age out. I didn't look at my recipe to compare (it's in the drop down box on the left) but it looks very similar to what I do.
 

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Oh, and no airlock is needed during primary. Just cover the opening with a clean towel or something.

Your OG is pretty high (due to the 3 pounds of sugar, I'm sure). It'll be a while to age out, but should taste great when it does!
 
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captianoats

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Yeah, I thought the OG was a bit high too, but that's OK. We'll just see where it finishes off at. I expected a year or so to age.
 

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Yeah, I thought the OG was a bit high too, but that's OK. We'll just see where it finishes off at. I expected a year or so to age.

Well, it might finish at 15% ABV or so. It'll still be sweet, because it shouldn't finish much lower than about 1.010 or so.

I would expect it to age for at least two years before it won't be too "hot". I make mine around 12% ABV, and I'm drinking the '06 and '07 stuff now. The '07 still has a ways to go, but it's drinkable. Since yours is high ABV for a fairly delicate wine, you might want to plan a year or so in the carboy, then bottle and age for a year or so.
 
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captianoats

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An interesting note, it's fermenting like crazy, and it smells like sweet tea with lemon. Just in case somebody wondered.
 
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captianoats

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Should I kill it w/ a campden tablet when it hits 11 or 12%, or should I let the yeasties keep doing their thing? I know it will leave some sugar so it will be somewhat sweet, but I'm fine with that.
 

Tusch

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Campden tablet certainly won't kill the yeast. To stabilize you must use campden in conjunction with potassium sorbate, but that is only reliable when used post fermentation to prevent renewed fermentation. I'm against stopping fermentation early, so good luck with that, I've heard it is very very hard.
 

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Stopping a healthy fermentation is like stopping a freight train. Not very easy to do, and not usually recommended.

Campden won't do it. As Tucsch said, sorbate along with the campden can keep wine from re-fermenting when it's sweetened, but that's done after fermentation is over. Campden and sorbate work in conjunction to inhibit yeast reproduction. That means it doesn't kill the yeast, but stops it from reproducing. Usually, you wait until the wine is clear and most of the yeast and pectins and stuff have dropped out. Then rack it into the campden/sorbate solution. There is still yeast, of course, but it can't reproduce. So the fermentation shouldn't restart when fermentables are added. Early in a fermentation, though, there is enough yeast to keep chugging away even if they don't reproduce. That's why it doesn't usually work in an active fermentation.
 
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captianoats

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Thanks for the info. That's why I ask before trying something I don't fully understand. I'll just let the yeasties keep doing what they do best.
 

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