‘Your father smells of elderberries!’ – Elderberry Wine

The slur hurled at Arthur and his knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail is well known.  Less well known is Elderberry Wine, sometimes known as ‘Englishman’s Port’.  Elderberries were in fact used in Port production to give more body and tannins, until the practice was made illegal.  Anyway, not to be discouraged I decided to make some wine from the berries, meaning that I have now made wine from both flowers and berries of the same tree.

The recipe:

1.5 kg elderberries
1.25 kg sugar
1 tsp citric acid
water to 4.5 litres
Burgundy yeast and nutrient

Strip elderberries from stems using a fork.  Pour 3.5 litres of boiling water over the berries and allow to cool until about 21 degrees C.  Add citric acid, yeast and nutrient, and leave covered for three days.  Strain onto sugar, transfer to demijohn and fit airlock.  It will probably froth a lot, so its advisable not to fill the demijohn at this stage and keep a little in another bottle to top up with when the initial surge of fermentation has subsided.  Ferment to completion, racking when cleared.  The wine will benefit from aging, which will take the harshness of the tannins out.

I also made Elder and Blackberry Wine with 750g elderberries and 750g blackberries, following the same method.

Elderberry OG: 1.104
Elderberry and Blackberry OG: 1.100

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