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Cranberry & Raspberry Wine & Turbo Cider Started

Posted by --- on Saturday 14 July, 2012

Raspberry & Cranberry Wine

Following this recipe using a 1 litre Lidl grape juice which is a mix of red and white grapes and a a 1 litre Lidl raspberry and cranberry juice.

03/07/12 – Started at 11pm. Tastes good before it’s fermented! SG C&R 1.092+ (?),

13/07/12 – checked SG which is down to 1000 at 19oC. I wanted it to be around 1010 and I was going to attempt to stop it fermenting to make a medium dry wine but have left it too late. I read a post that said if I added a campden tablet and some potassium sorbate that it would halt the fermentation but I’ve since read that this is not true. I will try it on this wine as I don’t really like a dry wine. I’m also trying to rack more often as most of the wines I make have a taste that I dont like. I can’t explain the taste. Its tastes very alcoholic but not in a pleasant way. I also, and I know alot of wine makers or home brewers will think I’m crazy, would like to make them less strong as I enjoy drinking but don’t like being drunk.

This one  I have calculated to be 12 % already and I’m sure it will continue to ferment for a while yet. As it is only up to the shoulder of the demijohn I will top it up with grape juice which  will hopefully sweeten it and reduce the alcohol content a little

Today I racked it on to a crushed campden tablet in a clean demijohn, half way to filling I added the potassium sulphate which I’d mixed with some of the must, then I continued to rack the remainder. I added the airlock and put it back in the utility room.

Turbo Cider

Began 3/7/12 – Using 4.5 litres of Lidl apple juice, 1 tsp wilko yeast nutrient and 1 tsp youngs wine yeast compound. SH Turbo Cider 1038

13/07/12 – Racked into a clean demijohn. SG today is

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Elderflower Champagne & R&O Wine

Posted by --- on Sunday 8 July, 2012

Elderflower Champagne day 2

I was going to make elderflower champagne following the post from here but decided to try this one instead.
  • Ingredients
    • 6 large heads of elder flowers – make sure that they are fully open, preferably facing the Sun
    • 1.2kg of sugar
    • 2 lemons
    • 4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
    • 10 litres of cold water

How I made elderflower champagne

  1. After the very wet year we’ve had so far, I couldn’t be choosy about my flowers; they had started to drop, a few were turning brown and they were picked early yesterday evening between rain storms
  2. The flowers were placed in a saucepan late last night and 8 pints of water was poured over them. 2 lemons sliced were added
  3. This was covered and left 24 hours
  4. Tonight, I’ve transferred the must to a 10l fermenting bucket, the white wine vinegar added and then the bucket topped up with water to 10l under the tap
  5. 1.2kg sugar was added and everything stirred until the sugar was completely dissolved.
  6. The SG read 1044 at 23oC. The actual SG according to the calculators here is 1046. If I can stop the fermentation at around 1000, it should have an alcohol content of 6.1%. I assume that there will be an icrease to this figure when I prime the bottles but I’m not sure how to calculate that yet (I will have to update my post if I find out…)
  7. I placed the lid back on the bucket and will stir it regularly over the next 24 hours and wait to see little bubbles. If no bubbles have appeared by Tuesday morning I will add  yeast and some nutrient. From then I will leave it a week and then strain it into a couple of demijohns (or plastic water bottles) and leave it to ferment for a week or two until its hit 1000 but before it clears too much. Then I will syphon it onto primed 2l bottles at the rate of 1/2 tsp sugar per 1l if it’s 1000 as discussed in this thread or 1tsp if it’s 990. The again following the suggestion in the thread, I’ll leave it in a warm place for a fortnight before storing (horizontally) in the cold.
9/7/12 – no sign of fermetation so I added a tsp youngs wine yeast compound but left the must in the bucket
10/7/12 – the lid of the bucket is bulging this morning showing signs of fermenting.

Rhubarb and Orange day 2


I strained the rhubarb and orange fruit juice to a demijohn.To get as much juice as possible I put it into a colander and pressed it out into a bucket first but it didn’t go well and the colander kept falling in the bucket! What I extracted I put into a demijohn and topped up with water to the shoulder of the demijohn. I then added 2 tsp of pectolase. I think I should have added the pectolase before now; probably with the fruit after I’d added the sugar as the pectolase breaks down the cell structure and helps to extract more juice as well as helping the final wine to clear by reducing the risk of a pectin haze.

I will now leave it in the kitchen for 24 hrs before adding the yeast.

The SG (temp corrected) is 1086 so at 1010 (medium dry) the ABV should be 10.1% . Oh and it tastes lovely already!

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Elderflower Wine

Posted by --- on Saturday 7 July, 2012

I know it’s late this year but the weather has really thrown me out. In a dry hour today me, DSK and DDi went to get a bag of flowers. Our normal picking spot was disappointing with only a few flowers and lots of nettles (should have took gloves!) but I spotted a few huge bushes by the park nearby. With odd looks from passing dog walkers we grabbed about 30 heads. Tonight I’ve put 6 in a gallon of water with 1 1/2 sliced lemons ready for champagne and a pint of flowers in 4 pints of boiling water waiting until I go and get some raisins tommorow which I thought I had. I’ve not had much luck with the elderflower recipes over the years; the river cottage recipe exploded the glass bottles and put holes in the roof of the verandah! Its a good job no one was close. . My elder wine tasted horrible as I said most of my wine does. I did make a wicked cordial one year but last years went into the freezer but wouldn’t freeze so went in the bin months later. I don’t know why I’m bothering! Here is this years recipe for wine

Elderflower Wine     
  • 1 pt elder flowers
  • 250gms of chopped raisins
  • juice and rind from 2 lemons
  • 8 pints of boiling water
  • 2 Campden Tablets
  • 2lb of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of Wine Tannin
  • yeast and yeast nutrient

  1. Gather the elderflowers on a sunny day (hah! NOT IN 2012…) when you can smell the distinctive aroma of the flowers. Separate the flowers from their storks by pulling through fingers or cutting with scissors. 
  2. Add chopped raisins and the rind from  lemons to the petals in a clean plastic bucket and pour over boiling water.
  3. Allow to cool and add 1 campden tablet. 
  4. Cover with a clean cloth and allow to stand for 3 days stirring occasionally. 
  5. Add sugar and stir well until all the sugar is dissolved
  6. Add lemon juice, tannin, yeast and yeast nutrient
  7. Strain through a fine mesh bag or muslin into a 1 gal fermenting vessel or demijohn. 
  8. Fit an air lock and leave the vessel in a warm place about 20-22deg C for about 5 days. 
  9. Strain the liquid off again into another clean fermenting vessel and add another campden tablet. 
  10. Leave until the fermentation is finished. This will be when the S.G. is near 1.000 (if using a hydrometer) or when the bubbles no longer pass through the air lock. 
Gradually the wine will clear and after about 8 weeks it should be ready to syphon into bottles.
It is best to leave for about another 6 months before drinking.
my method
add flowers and rind of 1 1/2 lemons to bucket, pour over 4pts of boiling water meaning to buy raisins the next morning! Forget all about raisins..
09/07/12 @ 23:15.
30 hours later send son to shop for raisins. 48 hours later add 200g of chopped sultanas that son bought instead to flowers. add 4 pts boiling water and stir. cover with a clean towel and leave overnight to cool
Have hectic few days so forget about wine again…
13/07/12  @ 11:25
add 1 small cup of strong black tea plus 1kg sugar and stir to dissolve. pour through seive into demijonhn. when half full, add 1 tsp wilko yeast nutrient and youngs wine yeast compound. top up to shoulders and put a bung and airlock on the demihohn. place in unheated utility room. SG 1086 temp 19oC

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Rhubarb & Clementine

Posted by --- on Saturday 7 July, 2012

Following this post I’ve started a batch of Rhubarb wine.  The poster added oranges to his which I thought sounded nice but having none in the house I added the zest and juice of 4 clementines. My first thought was that there was a lot of sugar in the recipe and looking it up in Complete Home Wine-Making by Gillian Pearks, who has a recipe using 2.5lb sugar to 6lb of rhubarb I still think it’s high but will follow it and see how it turns out. Recipe: Rhubarb Wine (To make 1 gallon)

  • 2kg Rhubarb
  • 1.4kg Sugar
  • zest from 2 oranges
  • juice from 4 oranges
  • 2tsp Pectolase
  • 1tsp All purpose wine yeast
  • 1tsp Yeast nutrient


  1. Wash and cut the rhubarb into chunks, freeze overnight and then the next day defrost in a bucket or FV.
  2. Once defrosted add the sugar, orange juice and zest and leave for 24 – 36 hours.
  3. Strain the rhubarb liquor into a demijohn, add some cold water to the bucket or FV and swill around to remove all of the liquid – add this to the demijohn.
  4. Top the demijohn up with water to the shoulders
  5. add the pectolase, yeast and nutrient. Fit an airlock.
  6. When the fermentation has slowed down top the demijohn up with cooled boiled water.

After looking at a lot of the posts on the same forum I now think I’ve been making wine wrong all these years and that’s why I’m not keen on it. I tend to bung it all in a demijohn and leave it there ’til it’s finished bubbling completely. I’ve had some that have gone on for years! What I’ve ended up with is a nasty tasting very dry drink that goes down the drain.  I think now I’m leaving it way too long. I should test the hg and when it’s medium dry (or what ever my taste is – I need to find it!) I stop it by adding a campden tablet and some potassium sorbate. I’m not sure when I rack it really or when I go from a primary fermentation vessel to a secondary. I was following my old copy of First Steps in Winemaking by C.C.J Berry but I don’t think I’ve read it properly. My wines have always taken months before I think of racking them and those on the forum seem to rack within weeks. I need to do lots of research I think. The TC and RCW are bubbling away nicely now on day 3 in the utility room which has no heating but does have the tumble dryer etc which probably kick out some heat. The TC went a bit bonkers on the first night and filled the airlock and neck of the dj with foamy gunk. I cleaned the air lock but have left the bubbles on the dj til I can clean it when I rack it. Next time I wont add all of the juice in one go. Next on my list to make is some mead and some elderflower champagne and wine when the rain eases off a bit!

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Elder flower time again.

Posted by --- on Wednesday 17 June, 2009

This past week I’ve been driving around looking for accessible elderflowers that aren’t growing next to the busy main roads or motorways that surround me. I managed to spot some on a housing estate so I screeched to a halt, parked on the verge, pulled a carrier bag out of the boot and ignored the strange looks I got from local residents. I came home with a carrier bag full and spent the night stripping the flowers off with a fork. I then browsed the web for recipes andI used the recipe I used for the cordial last year andthe champagne recipe from river cottage :

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ginger beer

Posted by --- on Wednesday 19 November, 2008

I@ve read about ginger beer today. I’ve not really come across it but decided it sounded very interesting so now have a batch on the go. Not sure it will work coz I had the water in the fridge so probably too cold  we’ll see. I used this method taken from the self sufficientish forum:

Sterilise a glass jar with a lid.
Wash a piece of root ginger about the size of your thumb leaving on outer skin.
Chop it into tiny pieces and put it in the jar. – or grate it as I did
Add cool boiled water and a couple of teaspoons of sugar.
Leave in a warm place and after about a week you will see bubbles as the natural yeasts in the ginger root start to ferment the sugar. The mix should have a nice ginger smell. If it smells unpleasant, you have cultured unwanted bugs and you will need to start again.
Add a little sugar every day for the next week and when the mix is fermenting vigorously, strain to remove the pieces of ginger. The liquid is now your starter for making the first batch of ginger beer. I did not divide the plant the first time but for each subsequent batch I divided the plant as described in previous recipes.

but afterwards found  this one:

“Artisanal Home Soda Fermentation

So let’s get down to making lacto-fermented soda–the real thing. The first step is simply to realize that it is very easy. The minimum equipment is a glass fermentation vessel and the minimum ingredients are sugar, water and the culture. Mix them together and fermentation happens. To make it really delicious, though, some pointers are in order.

Step 1: Bring approximately 50 percent of your water to a boil and dissolve 1.5 cups of sugar in it for each gallon of soda you plan to make. If you are boiling roots in the water (see below), remove them before adding sugar. The sweet, somewhat viscous liquid you have now is called “syrup.”

Step 2: Pour the syrup and the remaining water into your fermentation vessel. I like to use the scalding hot syrup to sterilize my vessel, but be careful not to pour it in too fast or it could crack. The resulting diluted syrup is still too hot for the culture. You can either wait, or cool the syrup first by letting the pot sit in a sinkful of cold water before adding it to the vessel.

Step 3: Add any other flavorings, such as lemon juice (see below) to the diluted syrup.

Step 4: Making sure the syrup has cooled to body temperature, add about a cupful of culture for each gallon of water. You could add less culture, but the more you add, the greater the head start your beneficial bacteria have over any opportunistic invaders, such as alcohol-producing yeasts.

Step 5: Cover the vessel (it need not be completely airtight, but it can be) and let it ferment. Fermentation rate is highly variable. If you like a sweeter soda, four or five days might be sufficient. If you want to ferment out most of the sugar, allow at least 10 days. Some additives such as mint and honey tend to inhibit bacteria and drastically slow fermentation.

Step 6: Time to bottle! Brewing supply stores carry siphon tubes to siphon the soda directly from carboy to bottle, but if you are fermenting in a jar you can simply pour it into bottles or scoop it in with a glass measuring cup. You must have some way to seal the bottles, either with a bottle capper or stoppered bottles (both available at brewing supply stores). Do not bottle the thick layer of sediment at the bottom of the fermentation vessel.

Step 7: Carbonation. The soda continues to ferment in the bottles, giving off carbon dioxide gas. Since the bottles are sealed, the gas has nowhere to go. In stays in the bottle and makes the soda fizzy. Depending on how fast it is fermenting, 2-5 days is usually enough time to create the optimum level of carbonation. You can always open a bottle and check.

Step 8: Stopping fermentation. Now we have a problem, because if the soda continues to ferment the bottles will foam over or spray when opened. The bottles might even explode if left out long enough. So when carbonation is sufficient, it is time to stop fermentation by putting the bottles in the refrigerator. Not enough room? A cold basement will work too, slowing down fermentation but not quite stopping it. Usually soda will keep just fine in the basement for a month or more.

Step 9: Drink it! Lacto-fermented soda is an excellent thirst quencher and contains beneficial lactic acid, vitamins, enzymes and beneficial lactobacilli that can inhabit your gut, where they protect you against pathogenic bacteria and yeast.

Sidebar Articles

Lacto-fermented sodas can be made commercially on a small scale. Illustrated here are two examples from Down Under. Phoenix Ginger Beer from New Zealand (left) is brewed from water, honey, ginger, lemon juice and yeast. Bundaberg Ginger Beer from Australia (right) is brewed from water, sugar, ginger and yeast but contains “food acid” and “preservatives.” The Phoenix Ginger Beer wins the taste test and proves that quality soft drinks can be made on a commercial scale.


The Vessel: A one- or two-gallon glass jar is fine, but if you want to make larger quantities you’ll need a glass carboy, readily available at brewing supply stores for under $20. The five-gallon size works best. For a few cents you can also purchase a water lock, which bubbles merrily away as your soda ferments. All utensils should be clean, but antiseptic cleanliness is unnecessary. Usually we rinse the vessel a few times with water and sterilize it with the hot syrup for next batch.

Other Equipment: You will need bottles with good stoppers–a strong, tight cork, a beer bottle top, or a stopper held down with a wire. These are available at brewing stores and also at places like the Container Store. You will also need a funnel or siphon for transfering the soda from the vessel into bottles.

The Water: Do not use chlorinated tap water, as this will inhibit fermentation. Most filtered or bottled water works fine. If you must use straight tap water, boil it to evaporate off the chlorine.

The Sugar: We have gotten good results with sucanat, rice malt, maple sugar, jaggery, honey, and apple cider. The flavor from rapadura or molasses is too strong for most people. Honey is delicious but is best used as a flavoring rather than the main sugar source, because apparently honey inhibits bacterial growth. Even at half strength, honey soda can take months to finish. You can use fruit juice, but for some reason commercial canned fruit juice, even organic brands, produce noxious results. Fresh-pressed apple cider produces delicious soda, although it will probably be slightly alcoholic (1-2%) due to natural yeasts on the apples. Remember that most of the sugar will be converted into lactic acid in the fermentation process. Use about 1.5 cups of sugar per gallon of water.

The Culture: You can use a bottle of soda from the last batch as culture, or you can make your own from scratch. Dice fresh ginger root into tiny cubes and put a tablespoon of it into a mason jar 3/4 full of water, along with 2 teaspoons white sugar. Add another 2 teaspoons each sugar and ginger every day for a week, at which time it should become bubbly with a pleasant odor. If it gets moldy, dump it and start over. Even a small amount of culture will start a batch of soda going, but it’s best to use at least a cup per gallon so that these beneficial lactobacilli can dominate before less desirable microorganisms have a chance.

Flavorings: The water used to dissolve the sugar need not be just water! You can use any herbal decoction to make soda with the flavor or medicinal qualities you are seeking. For example, to make ginger beer, boil sliced ginger root in the water, about one thumb’s-length per gallon of soda, for twenty minutes. Peppermint, spearmint, or other mint can also be used to flavor soda. Put the mint in boiling water, turn off the heat immediately, cover and steep. Lemon juice is a good addition to almost any soda flavor and seems to help preserve the syrup before fermentation gets going. Use approximately two lemons per gallon of soda, depending on juiciness. One of the favorite beverages in colonial America was root beer. Any roots can go into root beer, but the essential ones for flavor are sassafras and sarsaparilla. Sassafras in particular lends a pungent aroma and beautiful reddish color to soda, and is readily available throughout the Eastern US. Common medicinal roots like burdock, chicory, dandelion, and so forth tend to impart a strong mediciney “herbal” flavor to the soda. It’s the sassafras or sarsaparilla that make people say “Yum!””

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rosehip not medium

Posted by --- on Monday 17 November, 2008

I transfered the rosehip must from the bucket to a demijohn tonight via a nylon seive as per the recipe. According to Mr Berry, it should be a medium wine – which I like – an SG reading results in the specific gravity being 0.990 or very dry – which I don’t like. I added 30g of sugar (no idea why; seemed like a good idea at the time) and repeated the SG reading with the same results.

Still continuing to try to revive the nettle wine, I have added more nettle wine must to the starter bottle. I had to relieve the pressure in the starter bottle over the weekend as it looked almost ready to burst. When the bottle is almost full and still fermenting, I will add it to the must and see what happens. It is still fermenting but very slowly.

The mead, marrow and youngs kit are all going at a steady pace now. The peach is still going bananas!

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Winemaking day

Posted by --- on Thursday 13 November, 2008

I had every intention of making my mead today then getting out in the garden. When I got up it was drizzling, this became heavier and now it is tipping it down. So today has been a wine day. I washed and sterilised all the demijohns and a bucket for continually dropping equipment in. I started by making the mead which is now in a demijohn outside cooling down.

I’ve transferred the marrow into two demijohns. I read in Mr Berry’s book that if you need to top it up, you use a syrup of the same strength as that added to the original must so I’ve added a pint with 6oz (170g) of sugar added to each demijohn.

The peach was transferred to a demijohn which just leaves the prune and the rosehip (yuk!). I have taken reading from all the wine I’ve got going and put the results in a table:





marrow wine 1



Decanted from bucket to demijohn. topped up with 1 pt syrup ( 6oz sugar dissolved in 1 pt warm water).

marrow wine 2



topped up with 1 pt syrup ( 6oz sugar dissolved in 1 pt warm water)

peach wine



Decanted from bucket to demijohn. Fermenting quickly

youngs wine



fermenting quickly still





appears to have stopped


Rice & Raisin 1

Rice & Raisin 2

Rice & Raisin 3

Royal Elderberry

1.66 started in 2006, stopped over 12 months ago, left in shed. will  put in warm spot or add restart yeast.

It’s quite fun doing this but remember to sterilise everything in between taking readings or you might transfer bacteria around and spoil all of your wines.

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Nothing much to report but a report on everything

Posted by --- on Wednesday 12 November, 2008

Changed the time!
Its not Thursday it’s still Wednesday for me, although it is 10 to 2 in the morning) so I’ve altered the time this was published.

Not much happening today. I spent a lot of it looking at finances and realising that we have none! It’s not helped by DFS not going to work – off again today because he “can’t be arsed with working for them lot”. In the meantime, Christmas is only a few weeks away and we haven’t even got a card – the kids want laptops which is impossible. Once I’d stopped panicking and getting upset, I tried to look for a solution instead of concentrating on the problem and I’ve decided there isn’t a reasonable solution. Become single again so I can make a claim, win the lottery, get DFS to go to work, get the miracle job that fits around school and pays decent money, tell all the finance companies that DFS made arrangements with (he has HP on 4 vehicles… don’t ask) that we’ve changed our mind. I think I’ll go back to crying.

DDJ had yet another school trip. This time she went to the Beatles museum and had a great day. I also sorted out which high school they will be going to. I can’t pick one but to be fair, I haven’t put any effort into choosing as I did for DSL. What’s the point? I spent ages looking at schools for him, we decided this was the best, he was bullied throughout and hated it. He wouldn’t move schools just in case the next one was worse except he’d lose his best friend too. He never did very well at school, he just went and got his head down but put no effort in and came aways with minimal grades. Both the kids want to go to this one and I think if they are happy, they should learn better. DSL continues to spent all of his days in bed. One day this week he didn’t get out of bed until after 6pm! Most days average between 3 and 4 pm. It’s really getting beyond a joke. When he is awake, he is playing a game either on his pc, his xbox or his ps3. What a life eh? He will be upset in a minute when I disconnect the internet – by the way, if anyone can advise me about a program that I can install to restrict users on a BT Home hub version 1.0, I’d be very grateful. I’ve rang BT and they tell me there is nothing I can do.


On the winemaking front, not much is happening. I’ve got 4 demijohns sterilising on the cooker ready to make mead and transfer some of the buckets of wine into. I’m sure the rosehip is turning to vinegar, it tastes awful. I’ll leave it and see. The youngs kit is bubbling away like crazy. I’ve videoed it and will add it to my list of things I want to add here. As to the rest,  I’m stirring whatever needs stirring and leaving whatever doesn’t.

Tonight is night 3 for Lexie sleeping in the porch. So far she hasn’t messed in there so that’s one step the right way. I thought I’d emptied it but she managed to destroy a new boxed catflap that I overlooked on the first night and the last night she managed to get a feather duster that was hanging up 7′ up the wall. I’ve no idea how. Now it is completely empty so I’ll see how that goes. I’m ashamed to admit, I still haven’t taken her for a walk.

I’m 40 on Friday. Whenever I think about it I feel sick. Why won’t time stand still?

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Youngs wine kit stage 2

Posted by --- on Tuesday 11 November, 2008

Tonight was day 3 of the kit so I have topped it up with water direct from the tap. It is fermenting quite quickly. I have video (on my phone so terrible quality) that I might upload.

I am still stirring the prune and the rosehip. The started bottle for the mead is looking alright so I will probably make a start on the mead tomorrow.

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