Now is the time to pull your rhubarb Wash it and chop it , place into bags and freeze it, this will enable you to get more flavour from the rhubarb as it breaks down having been frozen.
If your tight for space in the freezer, don't worry it's only going to be there a couple of days until its fully frozen.
Or it can remain if you wish until you decide to start your wine making , once frozen it will keep.
You will require approx 3lbs of chopped washed per gallon but we can add white grape juice if you haven't enough added at a rate of 50/50 it makes great wine, so if you can only find a 1.5 lbs then you will still get your gallon of rhubarb which is great with food.
Pull and chop the rhubarb retaining as much of the pink base as possible , this will later enhance the colour of your finished wine, giving it a slight pink colour.
Bag the rhubarb into freezer bags and if possible pack it into storage boxes that will fit your fridge, when the rhubarb is frozen into a block they can be removed from the storage box and being square use up less space in your freezer. the do require at least two days to break the tissue down, each of these bags contains 3lbs of chopped rhubarb. enough for one gallon of wine 100% rhubarb. If we add fruit juice obviously we will get two gallons and so on so my 12lbs will make 4gallon of rhubarb wine 100% or 8 gallons of white grape and rhubarb, which really is an enjoyable slightly pink wine.
I will try and progress this recipe as the weeks go by, mine gone into the freezer today 5/5/08 but there is no rush to make the wine now the rhubarb is safely chopped and stored, unless of course you need the freezer space?
I have removed 9lbs of frozen rhubarb, 3 bags of 3lbs,
These I have placed this in a large bucket to thaw, the bucket being covered with a clean cloth and secured with a bungee clip.
This could take at least 24 hours to thaw fully dependent on the temperature. It will then be crushed so as to break the lumps into fine strands.
In the meantime we can purchase our Gape White juice, I have purchased mine from the Co-Op but it's about the same price where ever you get it, £1.00 ish a litre,(1.3/4 pints )
With the grape juice this is added latter undiluted so you require 4.5 litres to make up a gallon of finished wine.
To be continued.
3lbs of rhubarb + Our 4.5 litres of grape Juice and we have two gallons of finished slightly pink wine.
This will be continued in 24 hours or so .
The Rhubarb has now thawed and is soft the fluid in the bucket is the juice that has left the rhubarb of it's own accord, this wouldn't happen unless the rhubarb is frozen first, I have then crushed the rhubarb with my hands to break-up the remaining junks Camden tablets to the mixture, this will kill any wild yeasts that have come into contact with the growing crop .
I have then added one Camden tablet per gallon of liquid
If you are only making one gallon one crushed campden tablet sprinkled over the mixture is sufficient.
Having crushed the the thawed rhubarb I roughly measured the amount of juice which was 4.5 litres,( 1 gallon) this will vary according to how good the rhubarb is, bought rhubarb may be a bit de-hydrated side and so although there will be less juice the flavour will still be there .
I used 9 lbs (pounds)(4kg) of rhubarb which will make 3 gallons of wine,
I added 3 x 1 kg bags of granulated sugar dissolved this in hot water, DO NOT
add this to the mixture until it has fully cooled as hot water poured onto Rhubarb can/may produce oxalic acid and although not poisonous, you don't want the crystals forming in your finished wine, nor poured into your Glass.
Where they are present you will find very hard clear crystals in the wine bottle, and they will form after the wine has been cleared and bottled. they are not harmful but don't allow them to enter your wine glass.
Having added the dissolved sugar /water and then made the volume up to just under 3 gallons by adding cold water.
At this point I added the yeast nutrient. 1 level tea spoonful per gallon is sufficient .
I then made a yeast starter adding 1 heaped spoonful of wine yeast into a class or container.
Then added some of the rhubarb, water sugar mix, after two hours fermentation process had begun,
then slowly added the remainder of the mixture to make up I gallon, when that was fermenting I added that to the remainder of the three gallons of Rhubarb mixture and the grape juice I added sufficient white grape juice to make the total mixture up to just under the 6 gallons which will make 36 bottles of finished wine.
Then re-tested the specific gravity using the hydrometer, this indicated that in the total mix I needed to add a further 1 kg of sugar. I used the balance of the cold water the dissolve the balance of sugar and having again allowed it to cool added that the the bulk mixture The specific gravity at start is 93, the ) being 100, on the hydrometer, having got the balance right I added 1 kg of sultanas this will give the wine a bit more body and also make it slightly different to previous Rhubarb & white wines made.
Remember the sugar needs to be right to get the correct specific gravity Between 85-95 in fine, the yeast will consume the sugar and alcohol will take it's place.
Don't worry about your wine be too alcoholic as the yeast will be killed when the level reaches approx 13%-13.5%
The total mixture is currently in my very large container, covered with a calico cloth secured with a bungee strap
It is imperative that the cloth is fully sealed otherwise you will get fruit flies in the wine which will cause severe problems and contaminate you fermenting wine.
The last stage will be to remove the rhubarb and sultanas then having squeezed all the juice out of them the wine will be placed into a fermentor or demijohn in your case for a gallon where it will be left until the job of the yeast has been done.
Once the fermentation has started it can be moved to somewhere out of the way in an even temperature, where it will continue to ferment until the yeast is killed.17th May 2008
When your fermentation is well underway all the chopped rhubarb and sultanas will be pushed to the surface of the fermenting liquid,
either stir or crush the fruit and rhubarb with your hands to break down the lumps this will allow the flavour of the contents to leach into the fermenting liquor.May 20th 2008
I have now siphoned off the liquid from the mixture and placed it in a fermentation vessel, this can be placed into demijohn's or plastic fermentor as used here dependent on how much you have made
Having drained off the bulk of the liquid the remains are then squeezed in a straining bag until as dry as possible the final remains which are a very small proportion of what we started with are put into the composter, nothing is wasted .
The SG of this mixture is already down to 1052, on the hydrometer so already a lot of the sugar has been consumed by the active yeast in this mixture.
This will now continue to ferment with very little help required, we will take a look look in about 3 weeks dependent of the weather conditions, cold weather and the ferment will be slow, nice warm days and the -1000 SG will soon be achieved. do nothing further to you mix at this stage.
I your fermentor is indoors then be prepared for the smell which comes from the fermenting wine, I keep mine in the garage and even then it can still be smelt when the garage doors are opened. But the final product is well worth while.11th June 2008
We have now gone past the fermentation stage and the smell has gone , the SG is now down to 1000 and the wine is only just ticking over with bubbles in the air lock almost stopped, I expect the SG to drop possibly another 2 or 3 so will just leave the fermentor to do it's job, when the alcohol level reaches it's maximum 12.5 13 the yeast will be killed and the wine will start to clear but this could take a long while so either be patient or if you want to speed up the process add finings to clear the wine, but allow the fermentation to complete before doing so. Patience in this case really does pay off. 8/07/08
SG is now down to 994 but the wine has not cleared ,so I have added 1 kg of sugar the fermentation process has now re-started indicating that the yeast has not yet completed it's job. Also because I like my Rhubarb and White grape juice wine pink, I have added a handful of red currents which are now ripe, in the south of England. This will give the finished wine a lovely pink colour like the wine 'Mateus Rosa'
14 07 08 this batch of wine didn't clear completely on it's own, I therefore used finings to clear it.
As you can see it's now fully clear, has a SG of 1000 and tastes great, Rhubarb crown to Glass is now complete, the slightly enhanced colour came from the sultanas added to the fermentation earlier , if you want your wine white or very slightly pink then leave out the sultanas, but they do give the wine a bit more body.
A small amount of sugar was dissolved in a small amount of the wine to sweeten to taste but take great care not to over sweeten or you will spoil your wine, remember this is best drunk with a meal so make allowances in respect of sweetness.
Keep an eye open for your elderberry flowers, they make a very nice white wine, but smell the flowers, if the flowers are sweet elder smelling the wine will be OK other discard and look for another bush until you like the smell of the flowers , it really does reflect in the smell and taste of the wine. So what's going on in 2010
Well I made 5 gallons of red wine from mixed red fruit that over wintered in the freezer, and red grape juice, am now picking cultivated thornless black berries, the black currants are all ready in the freezer.
I've just started a five gallon batch of Rhubarb which will be almost the last to be pulled this year, it's a bit old but my initial reaction is that it's given the mixture a very nice distictive rhubarb taste that we have not noticed so much with the new season rhubarb, so I've now pulled all I can find for this year and put that in the freezer until it's required.
I added white grape juice in equal quantities and a few black berries to give it a nice rosa'colour, If it doesn't make me drunk I'll let your know how it goes, as you can see the mixture along with the fruit is still in my large wine bucket and will be for about another week, covered I would add with a large piece of cotton sheet to ensure the fruit flies don't get at the mixture.
Do remember if your tempted to try this wine which is very easy to make, ensure your yeast starter is working well before adding it to the mixture.
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