Elderflower wine mould....

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MonkeyMick

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Hey..

As well as my IPA bubbling away, I started a batch or two of elderberry champagne at the weekend, following the river cottage recipe i.e. elderflower, sugar, water, lemon juice.

The bucket was sterilised before starting, but I've now got a fuzzy mould growing on the surface of the wine...

Is this OK? Is it time to sieve then bottle, or do I have to discard and chalk it up to experience. I don't see any bubbling of the mixture either which makes me worry....

Many thanks in advance for the advice...
 

Drunkula

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More than likely it's fine. Can you draw off a sample to taste it?

And the only thing about elderflower champagne recipes I can't abide is them telling you to bottle if after X days and relieving pressure if you need to. It's the 21st century and that kind of yokel nonsense needs to stop. Let it brew out completely and then add sugar as you bottle it. 10g per litre will make it really nice and fizzy but you could go half that if you only wanted it mildly sparkling.
 

MonkeyMick

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I'll have a look now... Is 3 days after starting it enough time to now strain and remove the flowers themselves, before allowing fermentation to continue?
 

MonkeyMick

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OK. So I tasted it, and it's extremely syrupy - almost like it needs to be watered down.. I suspect I've used too many flowers... Tastes OK though.

I've racked it toremove the flowers as it tasted OK, it's now sat in 2 5l fvs and I'll keep an eye on it over the next couple of days and chuck in a yeast if it shown no signs of getting going.
 

Drunkula

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Is 3 days after starting it enough time to now strain and remove the flowers themselves
Yes, that's fine.

If it tastes syrupy there's probably lots of sugar not fermented. Have you got a hydrometer to take a reading? Mine is taking ages to ferment out this year, normally it can be done in under a week but the two fermenters I've got going have been running for a couple of weeks and aren't finished. Taste pretty good, though.
 

stz

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When working with any fruit or anything that floats which is in something for a while and certainly after high krausen/vigorous fermentation has completed you do need to submerge it somewhat, break the surface tension, agitate it or something to limit potential mould growth on the exposed dry surfaces. Like if I've a load of stuff floating on the top of my fermentation and it'll be there for a while I remove the airlock, fit a cap and shake the thing up a bit to ensure all the floating bits are wetted and rotated. Especially if you are using something that might have mould on it naturally, isn't completely sanitary and so on.

I've never made elderflower wine, but I'm sure that if I did I'd cap the jerry cans I used to ferment about 3-4 days in and shake, rock and roll them every day or two until I was done 'macerating'. You are kind of relying on the pH, co2, hops (if present) alcohol, sugar etc to suppress the growth of moulds in some cases. If the material is dry on top and co2 isn't actively boiling off the fermentation purging the head space and preventing o2 ingress you will get it growing.

Also for me mould growth that cannot be safely and adequately removed is pretty much a dumper. Sometimes it is a lot of fruit floating around, a small patch, it can sort of be surgically excised. Otherwise? Not worth it.
 

An Ankoù

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I've made elderflower wine. The gunky top comes from the wild yeast in the elderflowers. Did you put any other yeast in, by the way?
I'd chuck in a champagne or a cider yeast anyway (or any old wine yeast for that matter). Can't do any harm at all and may well overpower some unwanted stuff.
This is the only wine I make these days, but I use a different recipe. Still got elderflowers in the garden so thanks for reminding me.
 

MonkeyMick

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I didn't.. I was relying on the wild yeasts!

Still... I'll chuck some yeast in there Friday when I pick more up..

If it all goes wrong, I'm down some sugar and some time, and up some experience..
 

MonkeyMick

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By way of an update, one batch didn't ferment at all, and I've written it off, but the other fermented really well turning into a syrupy, sweet carbonated drink. I ended up mixing the lot with lemonade and sliced citrus fruit and drank it over the weekend (with others...)

I did have a raging headache afterwards that's still lingering, so I'm not sure if I'll make it again!

Thanks for the advice!
 
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