About 5 days ago I wrote about how to forage for elderflower and start making elderflower wine. Well, yesterday I started step 2, starting the actual brewing process.
Really, I’ve already done the hard work with the foraging and the processing. Now for the fun part.
First I strained the contents of the fermentation bucket through cheesecloth (a very fine sieve) and binned the elderflower- it’s done its job now. I poured the liquid back into the fermenting bucket. Next, I added, or to use the proper terminology, ‘pitched’ a sachet of white wine yeast (although there is a great homebrew store in Ballyhackamore, it was cheaper on eBay) and a heaped teaspoon spoonful of yeast nutrient. Then I stuck the lid back on and left it overnight.
Next morning, I knew the yeast was doing its job when I could see the lid of the bucket bulging. This shows it was making CO2, and more importantly, alcohol.
When I lifted the lid though, I noticed a little mould around the rim. This is a bad sign and may mean that the wine might not work as it may have been contaminated, but I’m going to forge on ahead anyway. Homebrew wine is more forgiving than beer as the higher alcohol content can kill off many nasties. Here’s hoping…
There was enough of the elderflower liquid to fill one demijohn, but it only half-filled the other. Mould and other contaminants thrive in the space, so it’s a good idea to top it up. I was just going to use sugar water, but I remembered I had some of last years elderflower cordial, so I added a 1:3 dilution of this instead. This is the bottle with the black spot in the photo.
Next I added a bung (cork) and airlock (the s bend that prevents bacteria and other contaminants from getting inside the demijohn. The airlock has some sodium metabisulphate solution inside to kill off anything that attempts an invasion.
Well, so far so good. The demijohns are bubbling away happily, the yeast eating the sugar and excreting out alcohol. With bubbles of CO2 ‘glu-glu-gloobing’ (that’s how it sounds) out of the airlock, I’m hopeful that the pure batch and the diluted batch will both be successes.
Really hoping I was wrong about the mould getting in. There’s not a lot that beats a good elderflower wine.