Elder flower champagne- increasing alcohol content/ recipes?

Discussion in 'Wine & Cider Discussions' started by Nick_593, Jul 5, 2013.

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  1. Jul 5, 2013 #1

    Nick_593

    Nick_593

    Nick_593

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    Hello everyone,

    I'm about to do my first ever home brewed Elderflower champagne. I've been researching recipes for the past few days and have a few methods I'd like to try. I have collected around 80 Elderflower heads and have the rough idea in my head, and all the apparatus.

    I've read that the alcohol content is quite low for Elderflower champagne (around 3%, apparently!?). I'd like to know if there is a method for increasing the alcohol content for the champagne?

    Also, I would love to read some other Elderflower champagne recipes from people on here if anyone would like to contribute!!

    Thanks a lot!!

    Nick
     
  2. Jul 5, 2013 #2

    Gayle

    Gayle

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    The alcohol content is up to you really. A a rough guide, 20g of sugar per litre equates to 1% or alcohol, so if you are doing a 5 litre/1 gallon brew, you'd want about 1kg of sugar in total to give you a 10% wine. Low alcohol recipes probably use just a little bit of sugar for a quick fermentation time. I'm hoping to go out picking elderflowers at the weekend and this is the recipe I'll use:

    1 pint elderflower heads
    2 lemons (or one lemon, and one orange or lime, depending on what's in my fruit bowl at the time), washed and sliced.
    1 kg sugar
    champagne/cider yeast
    1 tsp yeast nutrient

    1) Dissolve the sugar in a litre of hot water and bring to the boil.
    2) Shake the elderflower heads to get rid of insects, and place in a bowl with the citrus fruit.
    3)Pour the hot sugar syrup over the stuff in the bowl, cover and leave for 24 hours.
    4) Strain the solids out of the syrup. This can be used as a cordial, or fermented as follows:
    5) Place the syrup in the demijohn and top up with water to the shoulder of the DJ, cool to 20 degrees if necessary, add yeast and nutrient.
    6) Ferment until finished, topping up after 4-7 days.
    7) Rack and clear.
    8) Bottle in strong glass bottles (not wine bottles) with crown caps or champagne corks, with 1 tsp sugar per pint of wine, to carbonate it. Leave for a few weeks before drinking.

    I hope that helps!
     
  3. Jul 5, 2013 #3

    Nick_593

    Nick_593

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    Hi, thanks a lot for the advice! When you say 1 pint of Elderflower, what does that mean? I only know it in termsof heads?..

    Thanks!
     
  4. Jul 5, 2013 #4

    oldbloke

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    Enough heads to fill a pint jug, lightly packed
     
  5. Jul 5, 2013 #5

    alanywiseman

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    Just to make sure you need to cut the flowers off the stems.
     
  6. Jul 5, 2013 #6

    Tim_Crowhurst

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    My method for high-alc elderflower champagne is to divert part of a batch of cleared, backsweetened elderflower wine to champagne bottles and prime with 1tsp sugar and a small pinch of citric acid. If you do this, add 0.2% to the ABV of the finished wine and you'll get the ABV of the champagne.

    Also, using volume measures for elderflower is more reliable than counting out flower heads, as there's a lot of variation in size of heads.
     
  7. Jul 6, 2013 #7

    anthonyUK

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    Rather than add all water you can substitute some with white grape juice from the supermarket.
    I made some in this way last year and it is pretty good now.
     
  8. Jul 6, 2013 #8

    strange-o

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    Hi all, I am a complete virgin at all this, so I'm starting with the simplest drop all, elder fizz.
    I have a few questions.. as there seem to be a billion ways of skinning this cat.. but will start with this one.

    Most methods I've read call for the bucket/fermentation vessel to be covered with muslin. IS THIS STRICTLY NECESSARY? I have a large brewing bucket with a lid.. is there any reason why I shouldn't just use the lid? Does the must (or whatever you call it) need to breathe?

    Some others.. I've so far added no yeast.. and can't find the champagne yeast packet that I bought moons ago. If I use any at all, is white wine yeast OK?

    That'll do for now..

    Tim : D
     
  9. Jul 6, 2013 #9

    oldbloke

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    Any covering will do, it's just to stop stuff falling in really. Muslin allows gas to escape, but few lids seal completely anyway so it's not usually a problem. You can always lift it just enough to let gas out if there's a serious build-up.
    White wine yeast will work but will give a slightly different flavour, and if you're shooting for more than 14% some whites might not get there.
     
  10. Jul 7, 2013 #10

    Egon

    Egon

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    Followed the recipe above and then bottled into PET litre bottles.
    The pressure in the bottles is starting to bother me in that the white cap is starting to bow...!

    :eek:

    I've tried venting gently but there seems to be a lot of detritus in the bottom that comes rushing up when I crack open the cap...I suspect this isn't normal!!?
     
  11. Jul 7, 2013 #11

    oldbloke

    oldbloke

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    You may have bottled slightly early, or with a little too much priming sugar.
    PETs sold with fizzy stuff in can take amazing amounts of pressure if they haven't been stressed in any way (eg dropped), but if they're rock hard with bulging caps, maybe best to vent a bit!
    Once it's really done, all the sugar gone, the yeast should compact well and not rise up so much when you open. Depends somewhat on which yeast you used though.
    And a bit of chilling will help.
     
  12. Jul 7, 2013 #12

    strange-o

    strange-o

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    Thanks for the advice - I too was planning to use 1L plastic PET pop bottles. If I use demijohns instead with bubble traps (?) don't I lose the fizz? And is it OK to add the champagne yeast tomorrow as I have none now? Many recipes seem to call for no yeast but I guess that equates to lower ABV?
     
  13. Jul 7, 2013 #13

    oldbloke

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    A recipe that doesn't include yeast is hoping the wild yeast on the flowers will work.
    Yes with an airlock you wouldn't get carbonation. PETs can take qite a lot fo pressure, if you ferment right out and then prime at up to 2tsp/litre you'll be fine. 2 would be quite fizzy, if you just want a bit of bubbliness use less.
     
  14. Jul 7, 2013 #14

    Egon

    Egon

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    Cheers guys. I added a teaspoon of youngs wine yeasties in the primary, left it for a week till the airlock stopped doing its thing then bottled it. I currently have it inverted in the hope that the scuzzy stuff will drain on a venting. I get the feeling bottling may have reawakened the yeasties!!
    Then fire up the beer fridge and plonk it in there. Might be safer anyway incase one detonates!!!
    :)
     
  15. Jul 8, 2013 #15

    strange-o

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    right well I made the stuff two days ago and there's no sign of any foam.. I have a packet of All Purpose White Wine yeast for 23 litres (I've made 30) and some yeast nutrient as well.. shall I just bung them in then? Do they go in at the same time? Or would people suggest straining and bottling/demijohnnning first? All advice very gratefully received.
     
  16. Jul 8, 2013 #16

    Gayle

    Gayle

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    Have you added the yeast already? Some elderflower champagne recipes expect wild yeast to do the fermentation, but it's best to use a proper brewers yeast, that all-purpose white should be fine. Yeast gets a better start if it's rehydrated in some tepid water and maybe a spoonful of sugar in it, before being added to the wine. Yeast nutrient is probably a good idea as flower wines tend to be low in nutrient. As long as you have yeast in there, it should start soon.
     
  17. Jul 8, 2013 #17

    strange-o

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    I haven't added the yeast yet.. I'll do it shortly then. Presumably the nutrient can go in at the same time? Also, as it's all purpose white yeast, presumably that means that there'll be no fizz, and I can strain straight into demijohns? Do they still require airlocks if so? Sorry for all the questions but this is my first time! And I want to get some more of the same or some broom bud wine or something else going asap : D
     
  18. Jul 8, 2013 #18

    oldbloke

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    NO!
    ALL yeasts produce fizz if allowed.
    yeast+sugar -> alcohol+CO2

    Whether you get fizz or not depends entirely on whether there's live yeast and sugar in the bottles when you cork/cap them.
     
  19. Jul 8, 2013 #19

    Gayle

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    Yes put the nutrient in at the same time, and use airlocks on your DJs. It will continue to release gas for some time after fermentation is over, so airlocks are needed until bottling time. If you want fizzy wine, just add a little sugar (10g per litre should do it) at bottling time, and bottle in strong beer/cider bottles with crown caps, or heavy champagne/cava bottles with corks and wires. Ordinary wine bottles are fine for still wine, but will shatter under the pressure of a fizzy wine.
     

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