Orange Wine/Swill

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Jan 2, 2008
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So, I headed back to my apartment after spending a few weeks at my parent's house to find a carton of OJ left out on the counter. I opened it up, and it still smelled fine but had been sitting at room temp for at least 2 weeks. So, I decided, what the hell, let's ferment this.

I grabbed a 1 gal carboy, poured the 64 oz of OJ into it, topped it up, and added some table sugar (just poured it without measuring). It's now sitting outside on the porch without an airlock collecting wild yeast. I'll bring it back in and put the airlock on in a few hours.

In three weeks this will probably end up inedible and I'll be dumping a gallon of vinegar, but it does make me wonder about the potential for orange wine. Has anyone tried this before? Anyone have a recipe?


Ale's What Cures You!
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Jun 4, 2006
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UP/Snowbird in Florida
I've heard that orange wine is fantastic. I know Jack Keller has a recipe for one on his website, and if I ever had a glut of oranges I'd make it. I used oranges in the Joe's Ancient Orange Mead, and in the dandelion wine. I think an orange wine would be great.

I think spoiled OJ wine wouldn't be so good though! ;)


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May 5, 2007
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YooperBrew said:
I've heard that orange wine is fantastic. I know Jack Keller has a recipe for one on his website, and if I ever had a glut of oranges I'd make it. \
I gotta say, all those unusual fruit wines in your sig have always intrigued me. If anyone can pull an orange wine off, I think it's you Yoop!


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Nov 7, 2006
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I've always wondered how you'd get an orange wine to clear.


Apr 26, 2007
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Well sports fans, let me assure you - you can make orange wine, and it DOES work (recipe here soon to follow, don't have time to type it right now) - though it's not a process for the exacting or faint of heart. I've done it the EXACT same way twice, and each time received a different result. Much of the success of orange wine depends on the oranges; specifically, the acidity of the oranges. My results came up sweet - super sweet. So much so that I was accused of making a brandy or a dessert wine. Balancing tart and sweet took a lot of *ahem* trial and error, but when I found the mix, it worked. I've never tried carton orange juice, I imagine that would produce a much more consistent product though.

Additionally, I've never done this without including some heavy spicing - cloves, nutmegs, peppercorns, cinnamon, etc. Think Christmas and you've got a good mix for orange wine.

I'll post the recipe tonight when I get home from work.

Home from work....

Okie dokes. Here's something for you - a derivative of 'the purple book' orange wine recipe. Understand that I'm not a pro - I'll just offer what I did and how it worked for me.

Spiced Orange Dessert Wine (on scale for 6 gallons)

*45 fresh oranges (Juicing kind work best)
- flesh out 32 of these, removing pith (all of the white fleshy parts) and as much of the peel and seeds as you can. Of the remaining 13, I used a microplane (grater) to take the zest off of them and put the zest into the must. I removed the leftover white pith and seeds and put the fruit flesh into the must with the rest of the mix.

*2 lb bag of frozen mixed berries (from Walmart - blue/black/rasp/strawberries, presliced).

*Black peppercorns (x12)
- Special note here - from chefs school, I learned that when you toast a spice you bring out the oils in the spice. I toasted the pepper (whole), a small handful of cloves (1/8 a cup, maybe less) and 2 nutmeg pods, allowed them to cool, added the pepper and cloves whole and then grated the nutmeg into the must. Adjust to your tastes, but be cautious. Toasted spices are a bit stronger than their untoasted counterparts. If you can, avoid toasting on a metal tray - it will impart a 'tang' to the toasted spice and burn them quickly. Instead use stoneware (and I don't mean buy pampered chef - head to Lowes, buy yourself a kiln brick or ceramic tile (non-sealed, not varnished, etc) and stick it in your oven. Bake on that - it ain't pretty, but it works and is about $30 less.)

*15 lbs (yes, that's a right number - one five) of sugar. I used the walmart standard issue white granulated stuff. It takes a LOT of sweet to overcome the acid in the oranges, so I went for broke and got very heavy handed with this (and I don't like half open bags of sugar laying around the joint). 15 is about as far as I would go - I've had better results with 12 or 10. Really, it depends on the oranges and how bitter/bruised/green they are.

*6 Campden tabs. Duh.
*~3 tsps yeast nutrient
*Red Star Cote des Blancs yeast. Trying to catch that bouquet. Tolerance up to 13%. I knew I had potentially rocket fuel on my hands, so I wanted to have some restraint in the brew.
*Water to make six gallons

Toasted spices, spent about three hours making a sticky mess of myself peeling and squishing oranges. Thawed berries. Put stock pot on stove, heated water and sugar to dissolve (it will work). Allowed to cool to ~85 F, mixed with oranges and added berries. Added campden tabs (crushed), and yeast nutrient. Covered, let rest overnight in fermenter.

Next day, dipped a small bowl (~ 2 c. worth) of must, added yeast. Covered and left to start overnight.

Next morning, added yeast to primary. Tested SG: 1.14 (Finding the limits of the hydrometer...). Stirred must.

Next day, stirred must. SG: 1.15

Next day, stirred must. SG: 1.15

Next day, stirred must. SG: 1.15

Next day, stirred must. SG: 1.15

After 5 days of stirring, covered primary and ignored it for 24 hours.

Checked for fermentation - was running like a top. SG: 1.15

Two weeks: SG: 1.10

Two more weeks, SG: 1.085 - potential ABV, ~8%

I let it go another week, then I stabilized it, let it settle and racked it to secondary to clear. Final product is right around 10 - 11% ABV.

It cleared to a color similar to honey, had a wonderful nose of oranges and cloves, a good mouthfeel, and a smoothness going in - and a pepperiness going down. The citric acid is what makes this wine so 'sharp'. I think if you let it age some it will mellow, but I have to say that none of what I made lasted longer than 6 months. It was a strong dessert wine - great after a big meal in smaller amounts. My wife liked it a lot - her tastes lend themselves to the sweeter wines, I prefer more dry varieties.

Hope this helps. Good luck!
- abe


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Apr 29, 2009
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Many thanks for the recipe - I can't wait to try it! I have about 30 lbs of beautiful blood oranges - ever tried that recipe with blood oranges?