Author Topic: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt  (Read 8889 times)

smudger28

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Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« on: June 28, 2010, 17:45:12 »
Hi guys

I'm about to embark on making my own rhubarb wine.

I could do with some advice though.

I'm going to buy a demijohn and a bucket with the associated parts.

I have a rhubarb recipe using 11kg of rhubarb.

Its a basic recipe which just involves sugar, water and yeast.

Now I have read about using yeast additives etc.  What yeast would you recommend and do I need to add any chemical tablets.

Also do you guys have any recipes that are tried and tested.

Cheers

Paul

wraith

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2010, 01:30:44 »
Firstly and most importantly...

Make sure that you get none of the leaf in your brew..!!! it contains Oxalic Acid and if you ingest some of that you'll be a very unhappy bunny... Or should I say your next of kin'll be unhappy bunnies if your not insured...!! Point made..?

It depends on if you want a pleasant table wine or something more like a port or a whiskey...?

I'll give method as for a 5 gallon barrel, and if you want to break it down for a demijohn then feel free...


Disolve 5 bags of sugar in 5 gallon of water, add some grated ginger, good couple of handfuls of mixed dried fruit (without the cherries and candied peel) boil up with a pound of wheat or barley (or mixture of the two) strain and add that to the mix... Add a standard yeast and leave till done it will give you a brew of around 13.5% and makes a pleasant desert wine... advise people of the alcohol content though as it doesn't taste as strong as it is and if people are driving they want to keep their licences

Working as if with 5 gallons of water...

if you add another 2 bags of sugar to the five gallons you'll end with a brew of around 18.3% but will taste like a light aperitiff type wine

If you were to add a further 4 bags in total to the 5 gallons (9 in all) you'd get a finished brew of around 23.5% but for this one, double the ginger and mixed dried fruit and you'll end with a rather nice sippin-whiskey style drink... let it mature for a couple of months till the winter and then enjoy..!! Whilst maturing, protect from light and it darkens up lovely...

With the first two examples, standard yeast will work fine, but for a more 'porty' style finish use a port yeast (which you can buy) for the third example (23.5%) you will need a 'High Alcohol Tolerant' yeast as a standard yeast struggles in a saturated enviroment, start it with a port yeast to give it body, but when the yeast starts to slow due to alcohol saturation activate and add the 'High alcohol tolerant' yeast to finish the brew... let it take all the sugers to alcohol and then use finnings to clear completely... once clear you can sweeten to taste using syrup or a better idea is to actually add a couple of bottles of cheap whiskey and a bottle of cheap port to it to get a nice rounded finish... Once fortified this is a quaffable wine so be warned, also if serving to guests its best to know the content for driving purposes so use the Pearson Square to calculate this... here is a link to a calculator that will tell you the alcohol of the finished wine... http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/blending.asp If you get stuck, let me know and I work it out for you..

Tip:

Disolve all the sugar your going to use in 1 gallon of your 5 gallons, leaving 4 gallons in the barrel and then start the fermentation off, as it slows down, just add another glug of the sugar syrup you have made... so eventially you'll have all the liquid in the main bucket, hence: 5 gallons. this way you avoid a sugar saturated enviroment, which the least wont like... If you dont do it this way there is a chance that the yeast will dies early, leaving you with a high gravity and a undrinkably sweet wine...

Hope this helps you out... Must say its a pleasure to be able to contribute to the site for a change instead of just asking for others help, as up till now...


regards,


wraith

Ps: You say in your post that your recipe uses 11KG of rhubarb and its a recipe for a demijohn..? That sound odd to my ear, suggest you re-read the recipe as its either for a 5 gallon barrel or there a typo and should say 1KG of barb for a gallon demijohn or similar...?!?!?
« Last Edit: July 11, 2010, 01:39:03 by wraith »
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smudger28

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2010, 21:01:50 »
Hi Wraith many thanks for the detailed reply.  I wish you had replied earlier LOL..

I have started my recipe and this is the one I have gone for.


Rhubarb Wine
WineThief
6 gallons 24 Pounds Rhubarb (3-4 lbs per gallon is fine)
6 cans (11oz ea) Welchs Frozen 100% White Grape Concentrate
Water to 6 gallons
12 Pounds Sugar
1 Teaspoons Tannin
6 Teaspoons Nutrient
5 oz Precipitated Chalk
6 Campden, crushed (or 1/4 tsp Potassium Metabisulfite)
1 Package Premier Cuve' Yeast
Later
6- Campden Crushed
3- tsps Potassium Sorbate

Starting S.G. 1.080-1.095 Acid should be around .60 after the chalk is used.
METHOD: Select and use stalk ONLY. Discard all Leaves and Roots. Wash, drain, and cut into small 1" pieces and Freeze for a week. 1. Place thawed rhubarb in primary, mash with hands or large potato masher squeezing out as much juice as possible. 2. Pour sugar over rhubarb and stir in, add 6 crushed campden tablets. 3. Let mixture sit for 24 hours promote juice extraction. Then, pour rhubarb pulp and juice through a large fine straining bag trapping pulp in bag, tie top, and place back in primary with juice. 4. Stir in the precipitated chalk (obtainable at winemaking shop). The must will fizz, but then settle down. Wait 3 hours and taste. If the oxalic acid taste is still too strong, add another 1 oz of precipitated chalk and wait another 2 hours. 5. Stir in all other ingredients (add water to make a full 6 gallons of liquid). Check SG to confirm you are between 1.080 and 1.095, make adjustments if necessary by either adding more sugar water to raise SG or just water to lower SG. 6. When SG is correct sprinkle yeast on top of must and cover primary. 7. After 48 hours remove straining bag and squeeze out juice into primary by hand and discard pulp, then and recover primary. 8. Stir daily, check Specific Gravity. When ferment reaches S.G. of 1.010 (about 4 to 7 days) siphon wine off sediment into 6 gallon glass carboy secondary. Attach airlock. 9. When ferment is fully complete (S.G. has reached 1.000 or less -- about 2-3 weeks) siphon off sediment into clean 6 gallon glass carboy secondary. Stir in the 6 crushed campdens or 1/4 tsp of potassium metabisulfite and reattach airlock. 10. To aid clearing siphon again in 2 months and continue racking every 2 months to clear before bottling. If desired, you may fine with sparkloid or SuperKleer or you can filter this wine to promote clearing for early bottling. NOTE: Some may prefer this wine dry, but most will enjoy it sweetened back slightly. To sweeten at bottling: Add the 3 Teaspoons of Potassium Sorbate Stabilizer, then stir in approx 2-3 lbs of sugar dissolved into boiling water making a thick sugar syrup. Allow to cool then add in increments slowly stirring in as you go and tasting often. When you reach the desired level of sweetness reinstall the airlock and let sit for 30 days racking one more time before bottling.

I'm having some problems though as I only had 50g of chalk.  I have added this, do you think I need to addanotehr 100 g as stated by Oz in the recipe?

Or will it be ok?

wraith

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2010, 01:26:47 »
Hi,

As you probably have realised from the recipe - the chalk renders the Oxalic Acid inert...

As to if you should add more...

It would depend on the age of the rhubarb you used for the brew... the older it is the more acid it contains, forced barb contains very little by the way...

I'm assuming that you sampled the must prior to starting the fermentation..? did it taste pleasantly sweet with no unpleasant undertones..?

Really you have two choices...

1) continue as is and taste the finished wine and see if its pleasant and drinkable, if so enjoy, if not then either bin it or use it as a base wine for another batch, either the one I suggest or the same as the one you are running now and increase the chalk to compensate...

2) Add the advised chalk now, it may (and probably will) kill the fermentation, if so syphon to another barrel to oxygenate the must and restart with a fresh yeast culture...

Appologies I didn't reply earlier as am new to the forum and only found your thread moments prior to posting the reply I did...


TIP:

Next time instead of using the freezer method to extract juice (thermal contraction) you could try 'steaming the barb which will neutralise the Oxalic Acid and remove the need for the chalk... NOTE: I said 'steam an NOT boil...!!

Steaming will mean you'll need to use finnings to clear the wine instead of letting gravity do its thing though... boiled barb will still clear but it'll take a hell of a while to do so and may deliver a strange metalic taste which you dont want...


wraith
« Last Edit: July 12, 2010, 01:33:17 by wraith »
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smudger28

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2010, 18:55:14 »
Hi Wraith

I did taste before fermentation and it tasted sweet with no underlying undertones.  I have decided against adding anymore chalk and I'm going to take the hit to see how it turns out.

I added all the other ingredients last night and took my first SG reading which was 1.090 - 1.095 so at least something has gone to plan.

I added the yeast now I'm at the wait 48hrs stage until the next part of the recipe.

I will definately give your first recipe a go as that sounds great!

wraith

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2010, 19:05:21 »
Well I hope you enjoy the recipe... go with the one that runs to 23% as it has two excellent by products...

1) When you meet someone who thinks they can drink a buffolo under the table, offer them a couple of glasses... It's funny to see them an hour later sitting on the floor praying to God for the first time in their lives saying how they promise never to drink a drop again if only he'll allow some form of sensation to return to their legs....pmsl

2) If down the lottie while sampling.... you'll find that the tomato in the middle is the one you should pick, the other two are apparitions... Oh..!! by the by, no your lottie hasn't trebled in size since the last time you were there.... It's simply the wine...


wraith
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smudger28

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2010, 20:34:38 »
Hehehehehe ;D

I'll keep you updated with the progress...

Thanks for the advice  ;)

Paul

smudger28

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2010, 12:42:06 »
Hi Wraith

I thought I would drop you a line on how it is going.

Well I'm pleased so far the liquid is fizzing away quite nicely.  I removed the bags of pulp as per the recipe and managed to get a few more litres squeezed out.

Total liquid was about 4g.

Tues - I took another SG reading and it had crept up slightly to 1.100.

Wed - Stirred and took another reading this time it had dropped to 1.080.

As I only had 4g and was aiming for 5g I added another Gallon of water which has brought the SG down another point to 1.070.

So now I'm waiting as per the recipe for it to reach 1.010 before I transfer to a secondary.

Two quick questions if you don't mind?

1.  Are you supposed to leave the red cap that comes with the airlock when you transfer to secondary?

2.  What is the best way to cork my bottles, bearing in mind I have no floor corking machine?

Thanks

Paul


wraith

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2010, 23:56:35 »
Hi Wraith

I thought I would drop you a line on how it is going.

Well I'm pleased so far the liquid is fizzing away quite nicely.  I removed the bags of pulp as per the recipe and managed to get a few more litres squeezed out.

Total liquid was about 4g.

Tues - I took another SG reading and it had crept up slightly to 1.100.

Wed - Stirred and took another reading this time it had dropped to 1.080.

As I only had 4g and was aiming for 5g I added another Gallon of water which has brought the SG down another point to 1.070.

So now I'm waiting as per the recipe for it to reach 1.010 before I transfer to a secondary.

Two quick questions if you don't mind?

1.  Are you supposed to leave the red cap that comes with the airlock when you transfer to secondary?

2.  What is the best way to cork my bottles, bearing in mind I have no floor corking machine?

Thanks

Paul




Good to know all is going well for you...

A little heads up if I may...?

You mention in your post that it is 'fizzing away quite nicely' and that you took a reading with the hydrometer...

Bear in mind that to get a decent reading there needs to be no 'gas' absorbed within the must as this will give the hydrometer more 'lift' and sisplay a higher SG than is accurate, hence: you'll think the finished wine has a % higher than is the case...? Hope that makes sense..?

to your two questions...

1.  Are you supposed to leave the red cap that comes with the airlock when you transfer to secondary?

The red cap on the airlock is there simply to stop the risk of contamination, be it fruit fly, etc, etc so leave it on... I assume you have water in the airlock..? there are occasions when do to atmosphere and the wine nearly finishing that instead of CO2 passing out the airlock as normal, it reverses and 'sucks o2 into the barrel instead, the red cap stops everything other than air going in and hence ruining your hard work...

2.  What is the best way to cork my bottles, bearing in mind I have no floor corking machine?

There are some cheap hand corkers available, that will do the job but frankly wine making is addictive and a floor corker will be an investment you wish you made after hand corking a three dozen bottles and they can be picked up for around 15 - 20 pounds


Hope this helps, if you need any clarification lewt me know, I'll look in on the thread from time to time to check if you need anything ok..?

regards,


wraith

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adrianhumph

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2010, 09:18:05 »
Hi there,  :D
                   Just thought I would add my ideas on the rhubarb wine thread. I have been making wine & beer for over 25 years & am a qualified national wine & beer judge, so I do speak from experience ;)
 My simple recipe for rhubarb seems to work every time & has fooled some people into thinking it is a commercial wine, I chop up my rhubarb into 2 inch chunks & freeze it, has as been said before. The recipe is; 5 lbs frozen rhubarb, thawed out overnight, 1 litre pressed grape juice,(NOT from concentrate, 1 litre pressed apple juice, NOT from concentrate, 900grms sugar dissolved in half a litre of hot water, 1 tsp yeast nutrient, 1 tsp pectolase, a good quality white wine yeast (I use Gervin no 5)


Method; Use a sterilized muslin dishcloth, cut open along the top, put the thawed rhubarb into this, you will need to do this in 2 or 3 batches. Sqeeze out the juice into a jug to measure it. You should get approx 1.5 litre of juice. Pour this into a fermenting bucket, add the 2 juices, the dissolved sugar, nutrient & pectolase. add enough water to make it up to 4.5 litres. Add the yeast ,put lid on, ferment for 3 days, stirring lightly daily. Transfer to a demijon & ferment to dryness, this should take 2 to 3 weeks. Rack off into a clean demijon, add some meabisulphite to help stabilise the wine & leave for approx 2 months. It should now be ready to drink, if it is a bit cloudy use 2 part finings to clear it. This makes for a crisp clean flavoured aperitif style wine ,also good with light fish or chicken dishes.
 I do not use chalk, never found the wine to be too acidic, although I do like a crisp wine ;D
 As for bottling, don`t bother with a corker, corks are rubbish these days & if you lay the bottles down they will either leak or come out .(if the wine starts to ferment in the bottle) The simple way is to use the bottles you buy your wine in these days with screw caps & keep the bottles upright, if it`s good enough for the big boys it`s good enough for me ;D
                    Adrian.


smudger28

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2010, 21:25:24 »
Thanks Wraith and Adrian for all your advice.  It has been taken onboard and inwardly ingested....

I may try half and half with the corks & caps to see which is best!!

Quote
Bear in mind that to get a decent reading there needs to be no 'gas' absorbed within the must as this will give the hydrometer more 'lift' and sisplay a higher SG than is accurate, hence: you'll think the finished wine has a % higher than is the case...? Hope that makes sense..?

What is the most acurate way of taking a reading Wraith?

I have been spinning the hydrometer to remove any excess bubbles.


Cheers guys


Paul

smudger28

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2010, 21:19:56 »
Hi Wraith the Hydrometer had dropped below 1.010 so I have transferred to the secondary.

I attached the airlock and now it is plopping away quite merrily.

I await the next stage!

Paul

smudger28

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2010, 20:14:32 »
UPdate

I have taken an SG reading and it's reading 0.998.  The hydrometer is in the yellow section.

The Airlock bubbles have subsided to about 1 every minute.

I had a quick taste and it tasted fizzy with a definate alcohol hit.

The next part of the recipe is as follows...

9. When ferment is fully complete (S.G. has reached 1.000 or less -- about 2-3 weeks) siphon off sediment into clean 6 gallon glass carboy secondary. Stir in the 6 crushed campdens or 1/4 tsp of potassium metabisulfite and reattach airlock.

My problem is it's only been fermenting for about 1 week and 2 days and it's still making noises.

What would you recommend Wraith?

Paul

wraith

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2010, 02:11:08 »
UPdate

I have taken an SG reading and it's reading 0.998.  The hydrometer is in the yellow section.

The Airlock bubbles have subsided to about 1 every minute.

I had a quick taste and it tasted fizzy with a definate alcohol hit.

The next part of the recipe is as follows...

9. When ferment is fully complete (S.G. has reached 1.000 or less -- about 2-3 weeks) siphon off sediment into clean 6 gallon glass carboy secondary. Stir in the 6 crushed campdens or 1/4 tsp of potassium metabisulfite and reattach airlock.

My problem is it's only been fermenting for about 1 week and 2 days and it's still making noises.

What would you recommend Wraith?

Paul


Sorry to have not looked in for a while...

I assume by now this advice will be irrelevant but for the next time...

Even though the recipe states two to three weeks, this is relevant to conditions... if you keep the ferment on the warm side then indeed it can finish early... in my early days I had wines fermenting so rapidly there was no distinguishable bubble passing through the airlock, simply a constant torrent...!!

At the time I thought this was good as it would therefore finish much faster... WRONG..!! I found that while it did indeed finish faster, the finished wine was legless and without body, and though still drinkable wasn't worthy of presence in front of guests...!!! Bear in mind that while its fermenting its taking in all the flavours that you have ensured the must holds...?? the easy way to explain it would be to say that if you were permitted a quick lick of a toffee, compared to a couple of minutes of fervent chewing, which option would allow you to savour the flavour better..? same applies to your wines... let them ferment more slowly and you end with a wine with a better body and taste...

Well, by now your wine should be cleared, sweetened to taste and bottled... So a couple of questions for you then...

1) Do you now realise how easy it is to justify the cost of a floor corker....lol

2) How did your first wine turn out...?

If you do find it a little thin and lacking in flavour, consider fortifying it with port, dessert wine, brandy, etc these will give it some appeal if you then leave the wine for some time for the flavours to mingle and develop... If you are concerned about the fortified wines alc % the google 'pearson square' and this will show you the finished wines percentage... If this is a bit of a struggle for you then post in thread the finished % of your wine and the % of the liquer you are going to fortify with, plus what finished % you would like to have and I'll work it out for you and reply in thread how much of the fortifying liquer you need to add to the gallon to get the % you want when your finished...

wraith
« Last Edit: August 04, 2010, 02:18:55 by wraith »
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smudger28

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2010, 22:50:20 »
Hi Wraith

I still have my wine in the secondary demijohn with airlock.  I'm giving it the 2 months to clear as stated in the recipe.  It's a pink milk at the moment but it has cleared somewhat since I took it off the sediment yeast.

It tastes good so far from a sneal peak.

I'm about a month from the first racking so I will keep you updated!

Thanks for keeping an eye out for me :D

Paul

I'm not sure I'm following all this percenatge mlarkey......


The starting SG was between 1095 - 1090

The ending I think was about 0.992

So what does that give me ?

Paul
« Last Edit: August 05, 2010, 22:53:58 by smudger28 »

ProductduCanada

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2010, 12:34:15 »
.992 - 1.095 is about 13.6% alc/vol, if the original gravity was 1.090 then your looking at 12.8% or 12.9% alc/vol.

Which in my opinion is bang on for a rhubarb wine.

cleo

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2010, 14:49:44 »
A bit too late to add anything for this year but I have a couple of comments.

If you freeze the rhubarb(it makes juice extration easier) or a cold water extraction there is no need to add chalk which will remove the acids you want anyway.

For the basic recipes I would an acid mix(citric,tartaric and maybe some malic)-note Adrian`s recipe which includes grape and apple juice which contain these and either fresh(grape) juice or concentrate will add some `vinosity` to the finished wine.

And leave some wine for at least a year,while it may be drinkable after a few months it will benefit from ageing a bit more.

None of the above is essential but it can make the difference between a drinkable `plonk` and a decent wine.


P

STEVEB

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2010, 21:29:42 »
In the meantime get on a few gallons of easy white wine from supermaket juices cheap and quick
1 litre white grape juice
1 litre apple juice
2lb of sugar
all the other adjuncts
will be ready in approx 4/5 weeks
can add glycerine to taste as this will be quiet rough to the palate
If it ain't broke don't fix it !!

smudger28

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2010, 10:47:02 »
Hi Guys

Thanks for all the advice!

It has been a couple of months now and the wine is settling down ready for the first racking.

It is tasting like a cheap white wine so my missus tells me, so it must be ok.

In the meantime I'm going blackberry picking and going to attempt a gallon of blackberry wine.

This is becoming a hobby LOL!

Cheers

Paul

nilly71

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2010, 00:46:06 »
Only just found this thread, great info and my rhubarb is looking nice over the plot.

Any updates for us Paul?

Neil

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Re: Advice for a newbie Rhubarb wine attempt
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2010, 00:46:06 »