Tag Archives: elderberry

Elderberry

I picked a lot of elderberries, so much that I stained my hands purple. These are going to be wine, and some might be port (fortified with brandy).

The wine (1 gallon):

1.8kg elderberries, stripped from stems (use a fork if you don’t want purple hands)
1.2kg sugar
1 tsp citric acid
Burgundy Yeast and nutrient
water to 4.5 litres

Strip berries, and pour 3 litres of boiling water over them. Allow to cool to 21C and add yeast, nutrient and acid. Leave for 3 days, then strain onto sugar in demijohn. This is liable to froth, so you might not want to put all the juice in the demijohn, but reserve some in another bottle from which to top up.

To make the port:

Using the wine recipe, proceed as above. Closely monitor fermentation and gravity. When the gravity reaches approx 1.030 stop fermentation with an addition of brandy (this pushes the alcohol beyond the tolerance of the yeast). Aim for around 20%. The formula to be followed is:

X = V(C-A) / B-C

X = GAL BRANDY NEEDED

V = GALLONS OF WINE

C = FINAL ALCOHOL % WANTED

B = ALCOHOL % OF BRANDY

A = ALCOHOL % OF WINE

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‘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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