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Newbie potato wine attempt

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Jonafun

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Hello friends, newbie here. So far I've tried making blackberry wine (which I think I racked off much too soon) and apple wine (which is fermenting away in the demijohns right now). For my next batch, I fancy having a go at making potato wine. I'm taking my lead from this slightly bonkers video as I thought it might be a good way of making use of all the water from boiling potatoes that I do. I eat a lot of potatoes, and some of the water I use for feeding plants, but there's only so much you can do with that. Thought it would be interesting to collect potato water and loosely follow the recipe in the video and see what I end up with.

Here's the thing: I won't be collecting all the potato water all at once, so I'm wondering if it'll be OK to store in my sterilised fermenting bucket until I've enough to add the rest of the ingredients? The bucket will be sealed, obviously. It might take a week or so to accumulate enough water for a worthwhile batch. Any advice?
 

Pappers_

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A week is too long, probably. I will store wort (unfermented beer) in a sanitized fermenter overnight while it drops to lager fermentation temps, for example, before pitching the yeast, but it just seems that in seven days you'll end up with wild yeast doing their business.

Unless you're working in a laboratory, your fermenting bucket isn't sterilized, its sanitized. Big difference.
 

IslandLizard

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I've left water from boiling fresh corn in a pot for 2 days and it started to smell bad. I'd expect water from boiling potatoes not to fare much better. As @Pappers_ said, other microorganisms will take on the opportunity.

I guess you're not adding salt to the boiling water since you're watering plants with it. I find it quite essential to add a little salt to the boil, same for corn, rice, pasta, beans, basically anything that gets boiled. Also the amount of water used makes a big difference in the outcome. Too much water or boiling too long and the potatoes become waterlogged. Not good eats.

If you really want to try a potato wine, you could boil up a bunch of cut up potatoes in enough water (no salt) for an hour or so until you get a thin polenta-like consistency. You will need to add enzymes or a source of enzymes to convert the starches to sugars so yeast can do its thing.

I doubt natural methods for making potato vodka mash will work for wine as all the bad flavors remain in the must and wine.

Just curious, how much potatoes do you eat on a weekly basis?
 
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Jonafun

Jonafun

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Thanks for your replies. I've got 10kg of potatoes being delivered tomorrow, which I know is a lot, but part of the reason I bought them was I did a bulk monthly shop, and thought as I was buying in bulk I would use the opportunity to try making some potato win, in a manner similar to the video I linked to in my post. But I wouldn't be cooking them all at once like he did, so wondered how long it might be possible to save the water for, or how long I could accumulate smaller amounts, to still be useable for making wine. I'm into the whole "zero waste" thing and have been speculating about ways for re-using water from cooking. Seemed like this might be an option. Maybe not though...

No, I'm not adding any salt for just this reason! Aware that this kills yeast...

What about saving the water, then decanting it into another container and using a campden tablet (or equivalent) to "clean" it, then adding the ingredients, then the yeast a day later? Is that a possibility?
 

IslandLizard

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But I wouldn't be cooking them all at once like he did, so wondered how long it might be possible to save the water for, or how long I could accumulate smaller amounts, to still be useable for making wine. I'm into the whole "zero waste" thing and have been speculating about ways for re-using water from cooking.
If you store the potato water in a well sanitized and closed off container in the fridge it may not spoil as fast. Maybe 4-7 days? Lower temps slow down microbial activity. Keep good sanitation practices when handling and transferring. How much water do you have left after each boil? How much do you want to start a batch?

Definitely reboil the whole lot well (min. 10 minutes) before starting your potato wine batch, to positively kill anything that's been trying to grow in there since day 1.

Since the pH is pretty high you need to keep the small, but realistic risk of botulism in mind too when storing that water for lengths of time.

Although Campden will help keeping wild yeasts at bay, not sure it deters (all) bacteria.

I once bought 65 pounds (~30 kg) of potatoes since the variety at hand was just sheer wonderful. Here in the U.S. supermarkets and most stores don't classify spuds very well, (white, red, russet, baking, that's about as detailed as it gets) so it's a crapshoot what you'll get most of the time. They lasted a few months. Didn't see them again for 2 years until just 2 weeks ago and semi-stocked up again.
 

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Hiya Jonafun - and welcome.
Depending on how much wine you plan on making and how large your freezer is you might consider simply freezing each batch and then thawing the water when you have enough to make your wine. Of course, even if you intended to make a large volume of wine, you could do this by making numerous small batches and then with some planning add to the "secondary" as soon as each batch was ready to be racked...

The potato wine in the video is not really about fermenting the sugars from the starches in the potatoes. It is simply using the potatoes as the flavor source. The recipe calls for the addition of about 10 lbs (5 k) of sugar and in 5 gallons that will result in a gravity of about 1.080 or about 10.5% ABV. The added raisins will increase the gravity a hair - He does not chop the fruit so I am not sure how quickly or effectively the unnamed yeast will get past the skins.

The tea is for tannin. If you have other sources of tannins you might use that.
I am not sure that he added any acidity. I would think that this wine is likely to be a little bland. If you think it needs added acidity - perhaps lemon juice or acid blend - do not add this with the yeast but add any needed acidity shortly before bottling, but determine any need by taste.
 
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Mallerstang

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Given how long it takes to make wine, personally I would do more research and find a tried and tested recipe and process to follow, for anything.

Two issues I have with this:

1. He doesn't tell us how it turned out - because it's fairly recent so he doesn't know yet
2. In the comments someone says, "Not very good sanitation" and he replies, "Everything is sanitized before use - we assume that the viewer has the ability and knowledge to sanitize their own items without being shown!" So the instructions are not even intended to be complete.

It's a great entertaining video though - the dude and his family are homesteading on Orkney, which makes me slightly envious. And I love how conspiratorial he seems about the whole potato wine thing!

Edit: regarding your actual question - I wouldn't risk collecting liquid ingredients for a week. As someone already said, botulism is possible when there's not much acid. Freeze it, if you have enough room in your freezer.
 
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Jonafun

Jonafun

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Yeah, I like his channel. He seems to find joy in everything. Think maybe you're right about the small batch - I'll probably give this a try with just some "fresh" potato-y water. Thought it might be worth a shot. I don't have a fridge or freezer so I've no way to preserve the water other than in a "sterile" bucket at room temperature, sealed. I just had a whiff of the mixture I've had for about two days now and it's a little...hmmm. Maybe not something I'd want to be drinking at the end result. Ah well, plenty of good water for the allotment now!
 

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I've no way to preserve the water other than in a "sterile" bucket at room temperature, sealed. I just had a whiff of the mixture I've had for about two days now and it's a little...hmmm. Maybe not something I'd want to be drinking
Told ya!
I don't have a fridge or freezer
Wow! You live in a cold climate?
I'll probably give this a try with just some "fresh" potato-y water.
Good idea!
As I said in #3, there is no shame in boiling a few potatoes extra long to get a good potato base for your Potato Wine experiment.
The potato wine in the video is not really about fermenting the sugars from the starches in the potatoes. It is simply using the potatoes as the flavor source. The recipe calls for the addition of about 10 lbs (5 k) of sugar and in 5 gallons that will result in a gravity of about 1.080 or about 10.5% ABV.
That's the essence! It's a strong alcoholic beverage based on a plain sugar wash.
 
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Jonafun

Jonafun

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I live in England, I just don't have a fridge/freezer. I don't need one. Though having said that, am considering getting a freezer if I start making more bread. Got into it this year but can only really make one loaf at a time without any way to preserve them.

Thanks for your advice! Wondering what I could try to make next. Still a lot of nettles around where I live, ever tried nettle beer?
 

IslandLizard

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I live in England, I just don't have a fridge/freezer. I don't need one. Though having said that, am considering getting a freezer if I start making more bread. Got into it this year but can only really make one loaf at a time without any way to preserve them.

Thanks for your advice! Wondering what I could try to make next. Still a lot of nettles around where I live, ever tried nettle beer?
If one doesn't have to preserve anything by keeping cold, a fridge or freezer becomes indeed a dispensable item. When I was a university student back in the 70s many hung a shopping bag outside from a window to keep the content cool. Once in a while such a bag, or something else would come down. You'd never walk close to those 10-12 story buildings anyway...

A good freezer allows you to expand cooling capabilities, such as a (lower temp) fermentation chamber. Insulate the whole setup and just add frozen water bottles to it. Either dry or by means of a water jacket. Lower temps make better beer, wine, etc.

I've had nettle tea, never seen it in beer. I doubt it adds a lot of flavor to it, just something subtle.
 

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I've had nettle tea, never seen it in beer. I doubt it adds a lot of flavor to it, just something subtle.
Nettle wine can be quite tasty too. You might simply brew a gallon or so of the tea as you would to drink but then add enough sugar or honey to bring the gravity up to about 1.090 - add some nutrients and pitch your yeast (not sure if nettles contain tannins but if they don't I would add some to give this wine some backbone.
Taste this before bottling and see if it needs any addition of acidity, If it does lemon juice is one possibility and acid blend is another.
 

IslandLizard

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Nettle wine can be quite tasty too. You might simply brew a gallon or so of the tea as you would to drink but then add enough sugar or honey to bring the gravity up to about 1.090 - add some nutrients and pitch your yeast (not sure if nettles contain tannins but if they don't I would add some to give this wine some backbone.
Taste this before bottling and see if it needs any addition of acidity, If it does lemon juice is one possibility and acid blend is another.
You're amazingly creative!
As a "wine" I can see it being pretty good, in a beer with all the malt I'd think it'd get drowned out.
 

bernardsmith

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Mmmm, potato wine... save it for a romantic evening with that special girl.
Ha ha... but the truth is that vegetable wines CAN taste as complex and as delightful as grape wines. My zucchini wine is in that class as is my rutabaga wine. Have not yet made potato wine but that might be a delightful wine that could give Pinot Grigio or a Riesling a run for their money... Don't knock it 'til you try it. Leaping to conclusions sometimes means that you miss that mark.
 

Jayjay1976

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Ha ha... but the truth is that vegetable wines CAN taste as complex and as delightful as grape wines. My zucchini wine is in that class as is my rutabaga wine. Have not yet made potato wine but that might be a delightful wine that could give Pinot Grigio or a Riesling a run for their money... Don't knock it 'til you try it. Leaping to conclusions sometimes means that you miss that mark.
Well so long as you say so, carry on then I guess.
 
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