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Elderflower Champagne

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  • #253858
    shadowdancer
    Member

    Yep, Im embarking on a whole new territory! Today Im making Elderflower Champagne. I am under the impression that the alcohol content of the “wine” is very low and can be given to children, but I want to up the content. If I added more sugar, would this do it?

    I have sterilized all the equipment that was given to me….so… here goes! πŸ˜€ Hoping my new adventure works out well πŸ˜€

    PS… the “upping” of the content is NOT to give to children… it’s for ME!!! πŸ˜†

    #484216
    Lady Bee
    Member

    Good luck, shadow dancer. I bottled mine a couple of days ago. Should be ready for quaffing at Christmas. Tasted good when I bottled it, just a bit ‘flat’ Bit of priming sugar in each bottle should fix that. Can’t wait.

    #484217
    smiffy
    Member

    I make it regularly , and mine is definately not for children …When we are having a seed saving meeting , I usually pull out a few bottles at the beginning of the meeting ….just so everyone is legal when they drive home .

    I use a kilo of sugar and age it 6 to 12 months , its pretty potent by then , I put mine in swing top bottles and release some gas out before Guests arrive or you end up with a fountain and a half empty bottle .

    #484218
    shadowdancer
    Member

    I am only making a small amount just to try it out πŸ˜€ I have 6 flower heads, so am assuming that I will make around 2ltrs. Well, going to give it a whirl anyway. My little Elder plant isn’t very big though, around 4ft tall, but has kicked on considerably since I planted it into a monstrous pot πŸ˜€ (half a 200 litre drum)

    I have even seen some people online asking about drying the flowers when they’re in season? can this be used for the wine?

    OOOOhhh Im soooo excited πŸ˜€ (just cause Im easy! πŸ˜† )

    #484219
    GirlFriday
    Member

    Hey i would be interested in whether you can use dried flowers…going to get myself a brew kit very soon.

    #484220
    Lady Bee
    Member

    I have heard somewhere, may have even been here, that you can freeze the flowers for making wine later.

    #484221
    shadowdancer
    Member

    Smiffy, how many flower heads do you use. I got my recipe from the River Cottage site, and it says 15 heads to make 6ltrs, and uses 700g of sugar.

    I have used 2 litres for my 5 flower heads; maybe a cup full more? πŸ˜€ and a cup of sugar, 1.5 lemons, and the zest of those as well, plus 1/2 tblsp of White Wine Vinegar. I hope I get something good at the end of it. πŸ˜†

    I have found another house that has around 4 Elderflower bushes in their front yard, but Im a little reluctant to go and ask to pinch a couple of heads, so perhaps I’ll just have to give freezing the heads a go, as Lady B suggested, when the next lot come into bloom. They’re budding now, but probably won’t be ready for a few more weeks. πŸ˜€ Just in time to do it all again if I can find another bush around, thats hanging publicly over a fence :whistle:

    #484222
    smiffy
    Member

    I only use 4 large flower heads

    Heres my recipe

    4 large flower heads picked on a sunny day

    2 litres boiling water

    8 litres of cold water

    1kg of sugar

    juice of 2 large lemons

    2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

    Do not wash flowers just remove any insects and thick stalks

    Put sugar in a food grade bucket that had been sterilised

    Add boiling water to dissolve sugar, then add the cold water

    give it a good stir with a wooden spoon

    then add the lemon juice , vinegar and flowers, stir well

    I then peg a tea towel over the bucket to let air in.

    I leave it 48 to 72 hours , stiring it twice a day .

    I then strain it and put it into sterilised bottles

    and leave in a cool place to mature , leave at least 6 weeks but gets better with age.

    I also use different sugar. My favourite is raw sugar , but you can use white or dark brown …depends on what you like ..

    white sugar = similar to white wine

    Raw sugar = better flavour

    Dark sugar = similar to bundy rum – not to everyones taste

    Last year I made over 60 bottles , I have about 24 left which are real potent.

    I like to drink it at about 3 months when its like a sweet wine , it get drier as the sugar is converted to alcohol . It has been a real hit with my friends ..

    #484223
    shadowdancer
    Member

    OMG smiffy!!! I’ve put in 5 huge heads and only have it making just over 2 litres? Could I up that amount now? seeing I’ve only done it thisarvo? and make the full 8L, by adding a bit more lemon juice sugar water and wine vinegar? I wanted to make it with more water, but was unsure about that?

    I don’t use white sugar anymore and only use raw, so thats what is in the “brew”.

    Oh I hope I can up the rest of the content, it’s only been around 5 hours since I put it all together? would it be too late to up the amounts now?

    ETA: Well, it’s all or nothing πŸ˜€ I’ve done it! We’ll see in a few days time if I am on a winner or not? either way, I’ve got nothing to lose, so I have upped the water, and sugar and vinegar. I’ve left the lemons at 1.5 seeing as they were huge lemons and yielded almost a cup full. I can definitely smell the lemon in there, even though now, I have almost 10L (I think :S ) I’ll keep you updated.

    OK, now the dilemma…what kinds of bottles to use. I have bought 3 bottles from the Reject Shop with the swing/clamp type of caps. These hold 1 litre each so I guess now Im up for finding some more. Can I use regular small beer bottles? Hubby consumes a couple a day, so I’d be recycling these. Perhaps I can cap them? Exactly HOW explosive are they if you let some of the gas out before the guests come Lady B? :S

    #484224
    Lady Bee
    Member

    Jeeze, don’t ask me how explosive they are, this is the first time I’ve made it!

    I’ve bottled into PET beer bottles as I’m not fond of exploding glass. If these go OK then I’ll try to get some nice bottles for the next batch.

    #484225
    Wombat
    Member

    I made the stuff years ago, in PET bottles, but found it to be quite unpalatable. Mind you I’m not a bit wine drinker and my father thought it was pretty good and drank the lot!

    Nev

    #484226
    smiffy
    Member

    I use now swing top bottles, I get from the brew shop they are brown like a beer bottle, but i have used screw top wine bottles and PET bottles , it a matter of what you can get hold of and personal preference ,

    I sometimes release some of the gas out of the bottles …if I use wine or pet bottles , but don’t do this if I use the swing top bottles as I find they stand up to the pressure better.

    Just make sure you open the bottles slowly…

    I usually release a lot of the gas before serving …I put my hand on top of the swing top and apply pressure and lift up the wire until I see the bubble rise in the bottle and hear some of the gas escape and before it spurts out the top.

    I close it again real quick , I repeat this until I can safetly pour it in a glass without it spraying everywhere.

    If you put it in PET bottles , you can squeeze the bottle , when it feel like a rock and has no give at all , you can release some of the gas.

    Hope this helps

    #484227
    redhen2
    Member

    that sounds like quite good fun. might check on freecycle if anyone has some elderflower flowers.

    thanks for the recipe, smiffy.

    #484228
    redhen2
    Member

    go on, shadowdancer. offer them a bottle in return. i’m sure they’d be happy to hand some over.

    #484229
    shadowdancer
    Member

    Well, it’s bottled and bubbling away nicely πŸ˜€ I can’t wait to try it. I had a little sip yesterday when I was bottling it, and it’s awesome already! very light tasting, but Im sure it will get a little stronger as time goes on. Hope it’s fine for Christmas πŸ˜€

    I have read somewhere that if you chill it for a good few hours before you open it, it’s not quite as explosive? is this true Smiffy? or will I just have to advise them to release a little bit of gas first and then let it settle? I have left a good 3 inches up the necks of the bottles to allow for some to leave the bottle before it’s fully opened, and have Grolsch style litre bottles.

    Anyway, Im looking forward to a little tipple come Christmas πŸ˜€

    Thanks so much to all your imput into my first brew! Hugs to you all. xoxo

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