Friday, 5 August 2011

Simple wine recipes ... ...

Just a couple of simple wine recipes.

They are for plum wine and blackberry wine, both of which are really good, and easy to do, the only annoying thing is they take time, although this is the case for most wines.

Blackberry wine.

This is easy to do, and the fruit can be found growing in more or less every hedgerow in the country ;-)

Ingredients :

  • Blackberries, I use about 1kg of foraged blackberries.
  • Sugar, for our latest batch I've used 1.5kg of sugar, more sugar will mean a sweeter wine, less sugar and it'll be dryer.
  • Water, this depends on how much you plan to make, and whether you have a container for it, but about 4 to 8 litres of water (boiled) for this batch I've used 8 litres, which will fill 2 demijohns.
  • Yeast, now this is up to you, but I get my yeasts and other wine making stuff from the same chap, there are a lot of yeasts about and each will yield slightly different results, but a good general purpose yeast will do, they can be bought for about a pound.
Equipment :

  • Tub, bucket with a lid is best.
  • Spoon for stirring.
  • Demijohns or you could use large plastic bottles, but you'd need to cut holes in the lids to fit the airlocks.
  • Airlocks and rubber bungs (you can get these when you get your yeast)
  • Bottles for bottling up when it's stopped fermenting.
  • Steriliser, this can also be bought from the place you get your yeast, you should be able to pick everything up at the same time.
  • Straining bag (jelly bag will do) or muslin.

The yeast I use -

I used the red packet for the blackberry wine.


Method :

  • First make sure your tub is clean and has been sterilised for a few hours, or leave it over night.
  • Make sure you give it a good rinse out with cold water before starting.
  • Add the sugar to the tub.
  • Then you can either boil up the water in a saucepan or use the kettle (I use the kettle it's quicker)
  • Add the hot water to the sugar, and give it a good stir until all the sugar has dissolved.
  • Next add the fruit and give it a good stir, this will help get some of the flavour out of the fruit.
  • Now you need to let it cool down until it's luke warm, any hotter and the yeast won't work as well, and if you add the yeast while it's still near to boiling you'll kill it.
  • Once it's all cooled down get a small jug or a cup and add some boiled luke warm water and add about a teaspoon of sugar and give it a stir, next add your yeast (it will most likely have instructions on the packet) give it a good stir until all the yeast has dissolved and then leave it for about 15 - 20 minutes.
  • Once your yeast is ready you can add it to the mixture, and once again give it a good stir.
And now comes the first lot of waiting, the yeast will start to do it's thing and eat all the sugar, the by product is the alcohol you want.
Leave it in the tub in a warm place for a week, give it a stir from time to time (once a day should be fine) you'll notice it starts to smell a little alcoholic after a day or two.

Once the week is up you need to get it all out of the tub, hence the straining bag, make sure the demijohns have been sterilised and rinsed out with cold water before using them.

Strain all of it through the bag, muslin etc and place it in the demijohns, then fit the airlocks, I tend to add a little bit of the water from sterilising to the airlocks.

And now comes the next lot of waiting, basically you need to wait until the bubbles stop going through the airlock, this can take a few months. If I remember it took about two 3 months for our first lot of blackberry wine to stop fermenting (we started it in June or was it July) it was ready for Christmas :-) I remember that much.

Once it's finished fermenting you can go ahead and bottle it up, again make sure it's all been sterilised and given a good rinse before use.

We use old glass wine bottles and corks for our wine, I have a little gizmo that puts the corks into the bottles, if you do use corks you'll need to let them soak in steriliser for at least 24 hours prior to using them, you could also use screw tops bottles, or even plastic bottles at a push.

Now don't leave it a for a day or 2 then go drink it, leave it for a couple of weeks if you can, longer is better to be honest, and if you do drink some after a couple of weeks you'll notice the difference between that and the ones left for a few months, it's true that wine gets better with age.

The plum wine is done is much the same way, so you can just use the blackberry recipe but using about 1 - 2 kg of plums, shop bought are okay, but we try to use foraged plums as well, keeps it cheap.

The method for the plum wine is again the same, apart from a little extra ingredient, plums contain a lot of pectin and this can cause a wine to be cloudy, and although it would be drinkable no one wants cloudy wine, so get some pectolase (pectic enzyme) all you do is add this to the mixture (preferably when it's cooled and before the yeast) and it will help you get a nice clear wine.

Pectolase -

It's worth buying for a better end result.

And there you have it, it's easy enough to do, but it does take time and patients will give you better results, I tend to do everything in the same way when it comes to wine, chuck it in a tub and see what happens ;-) I've only had one failure and that was due to the airlock being knocked of the demijohn.

Thanks for reading.

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