Acorn wine - I'm going for it!

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BigDaveK

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Finally! None of my oaks produced acorns last year and this year only my Northern Red Oak was productive. And it was one of the more difficult ingredients to harvest only because of the deer, rot, and worms. Fortunately the recipe only calls for a cup of chopped acorns because easily 75% of those I cracked open had problems. And BTW, these are freshly fallen green acorns.

I have easily 4 dozen culinary recipes for acorns. They're actually quite good but anyone who eats acorns knows the tannins need to be leached out to make them palatable. After all, oaks are tannin factories!
Keller's recipe calls for leaching but then using the water for the wine and discarding the acorns. I have some experience with acorns so I thought his process was madness but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
I simmered the acorns for about 20ish minutes (it smelled like caramelized sugar!) and the water got dark from the tannin...

acorn 1.jpg acorn 2.jpg

I tasted the water (that "benefit of the doubt" thing) and almost instantly spit it out, the nastiest and most bitter thing I've ever tasted. No way was I making wine with that! Got rid of the water, used the acorns. Some may think this is heresy but IMO avoid Keller's recipe!
Transferred to secondary this morning.

acorn 3.jpg

I'm often shocked by country wines and this was certainly no different. A nutty flavor came first, then fruit (!), and then the astringency hit. The darn thing had more nut flavor than my hazelnut wine! And the fruit flavor was a surprise - I used EC1118 yeast only because I had an open packet in the fridge. And the astringency? No surprise, expected, but it wasn't overpowering.
The color wasn't unexpected but to me it's boring. The only other wine I've made that was visually close is SP.
Most of what I've read says this is a drink-after-two-years wine so we'll see where this goes. I'm glad I made it because so far it's actually quite tasty!
 

Clover

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The number of acorn recipes is astonishing. I'd love to try more but collecting enough unblemished product is difficult here.
Can you use the acorns from any oak tree, or just specific types? I'm intrigued.
 

BigDaveK

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Can you use the acorns from any oak tree, or just specific types? I'm intrigued.
Adding a bit to what @ChuckD said, I've read black oaks have the most tannin followed by red and then white with the least. Deer prefer the acorns of the white oak. Oaks are in the beech family and beechnuts are also edible. Beechnuts are tasty with little tannin but mine are small and not worth the effort beyond a quick free and unusual snack.

Clover I know eating acorns sounds crazy but after leaching the tannin they really are good! Leaching can be done with hot or cold water. Cold water is usually used when the intended purpose is acorn flour for baking, the starches remain raw and bind well.

There are recipes for bread, stew, pasta, noodles, coffee, mead, beer.....and wine!
 

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