Butternut Squash Wine - I'm going for it!

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BigDaveK

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Specifically, Rogosa Violina Gioia butternut squash from Baker Creek.
It's described as a sweet squash good for desserts.
First time growing. The vines were aggressive, grew like crazy, but each one only produced one squash, the smallest weighing 19 lbs.

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I was holding my breath with this one. I decided against a couple wines this year because the flavor of the fruit or vegetable was disappointing. If you don't have good flavor from the very beginning, why bother?
How does this taste? I was floored. The easiest way to describe it is it's the best, most incredible, sweetest carrot I've ever tried. Delicious! I would use this for carrot cake (with cream cheese frosting of course) and I would use it for pumpkin pie. Soup? Oh, yeah! Roasted? Uh, huh! Naturally I was excited about doing wine.
After cutting it in half and prepping I got about 7 lbs of squash for each 1-gallon batch.

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My original plan was to test if there would be a difference in the wine if the squash was prepared differently. The first was shredded and simmered and the second was roasted. The skin is rock hard but roasting softened it. It tasted good so some skin went into that batch. And I seriously thought about skipping the wine altogether and just eating the squash - it's so damn good.


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At the very last second I thought I would learn more from using different yeasts rather than prep method. (@vinny , A vs B.) The traditional simmered squash got 71B and the roasted used 1118. There were obvious differences during primary. The 71B ferment foamed like crazy whereas the 1118 constantly formed a hard cap that often touched the towel cover.

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Transferred this morning.
The simmered version picked up a bit more color, not a surprise. The delicious butternut squash flavor was still present in both, which pleased me, though the simmered 71B was definitely better and more viscous.
Oh, and I'm using plastic caps with holes for airlocks for the first time because I ran out of stoppers. I'm still a newbie and I only have 42 stoppers. :oops:


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After 4 hours there was a marked difference in the amount of lees. I'm expecting the colors to be similar after clearing but I could be wrong. And no matter how the wine turns out I'm planting more of this next year - I want these in the kitchen! Absolutely delicious!

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hounddawg

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The simmered version picked up a bit more color, not a surprise. The delicious butternut squash flavor was still present in both, which pleased me, though the simmered 71B was definitely better and more viscous.
Oh, and I'm using plastic caps with holes for airlocks for the first time because I ran out of stoppers. I'm still a newbie and I only have 42 stoppers. :oops:


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YOU DO MEAN 42 BUNGS PER SIZE RIGHT ? ;):h
Dawg
 

offthehipevents

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I went for it a few years back and I wasn't dissapointed. Sadly I only have one bottle left and this year I didnt find any good tasting squash to repeat the recipie.
 

BigDaveK

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I went for it a few years back and I wasn't dissapointed. Sadly I only have one bottle left and this year I didnt find any good tasting squash to repeat the recipie.
You're absolutely right. If it doesn't taste great to begin with why bother making wine? I was fortunate this year with my squash.

I also grew a couple vines of 3 varieties of watermelon this year. I really wanted to make watermelon wine. They were just "ok" for fresh eating, nothing more. I was very disappointed. I'll try again next year.

I'm glad you liked your squash wine. Hopefully mine will turn out well, also.
 

offthehipevents

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I also grew a couple vines of 3 varieties of watermelon this year. I really wanted to make watermelon wine. They were just "ok" for fresh eating, nothing more. I was very disappointed. I'll try again next year.
I grew some watermelon once from a variety called black diamond that was perfectly sweet. I didnt realize until that moment the amount of flavor we were giving up just because retailers dont like the seeds. Grocery store watermelon will never be the same after that.
Also I would highly reccommend a variety of cantelop called sugar kiss. Made one of the best wines in my cellar at the moment
 

BigDaveK

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I grew some watermelon once from a variety called black diamond that was perfectly sweet. I didnt realize until that moment the amount of flavor we were giving up just because retailers dont like the seeds. Grocery store watermelon will never be the same after that.
Also I would highly reccommend a variety of cantelop called sugar kiss. Made one of the best wines in my cellar at the moment
I grew cantaloupe, also. Good but not knock your socks off good. No wine.

Thanks for those two varieties. I'll keep them in mind. I'll also have to re-examine my fertilizing and watering protocol.
 

balatonwine

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You are pretty cool. What will you not make wine from. I expect soon a post "Two by four wine - I'm going for it".... haha..... :)

But seriously, we would all be lacking without those taking risks to experiment. This is very interesting source to make wine from. Very unusual. But let us all allow, and bow, to those to those that try the unusual. Please keep us all informed how it turns out. And maybe offer a few bottles to some here to taste to get a well rounded opinion. :cool:

Wishing, all the best.
 

BigDaveK

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You are pretty cool. What will you not make wine from. I expect soon a post "Two by four wine - I'm going for it".... haha..... :)

But seriously, we would all be lacking without those taking risks to experiment. This is very interesting source to make wine from. Very unusual. But let us all allow, and bow, to those to those that try the unusual. Please keep us all informed how it turns out. And maybe offer a few bottles to some here to taste to get a well rounded opinion. :cool:

Wishing, all the best.
Thank you.
And when you say "two by four" do you mean the current pine or the older oak, hickory, and walnut? Asking for a friend.;)

But seriously, I am constantly amazed by the delicious wines that can be made from such common ingredients. If a fruit, flower, vegetable, etc tastes good I will certainly consider making a wine. I am having so much fun to stop any time soon.
 

balatonwine

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Thank you.
And when you say "two by four" do you mean the current pine or the older oak, hickory, and walnut? Asking for a friend.;)

I asked a friend. And he said definitely pine, or whatever can be picked up at any local Home Depot. The idea being keeping this as an every man project for home wine making.

Personally, and speaking only for myself of course, and being a bit of a snob, I would suggest rather ebony or cocobolo. Because of the piquant flavors those woods might have. But that is just me..................................**

Hope this helps (but of course it does not --- only an idiot would try to make wine from ebony....... but I am pretty close with my alchemy projects for turning ebony into gold............).

** Extra long dots to indicate the extent of intended humor. :)
 

BigDaveK

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I asked a friend. And he said definitely pine, or whatever can be picked up at any local Home Depot. The idea being keeping this as an every man project for home wine making.

Personally, and speaking only for myself of course, and being a bit of a snob, I would suggest rather ebony or cocobolo. Because of the piquant flavors those woods might have. But that is just me..................................**

Hope this helps (but of course it does not --- only an idiot would try to make wine from ebony....... but I am pretty close with my alchemy projects for turning ebony into gold............).

** Extra long dots to indicate the extent of intended humor. :)
You had to put this idea into my head, didn't you! Thanks!

Cellulose is used to make alcohol on an industrial scale and there are a couple different processes. For the home winemaker I think some kind of enzyme to convert the cellulose to a fermentable sugar would be the economical way to go.

As far as flavor? I can't even imagine. It may get the "it's an acquired taste" label. Ooh, or even better - "sophisticated". 😄
 

BigDaveK

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I really enjoy the tangents we go on but I'm going back to the original topic. (At least for a little while.)

Racked this morning.
Great experience, learned a lot, and they have become two completely different wines.
I didn't want one to influence the other so I racked them about 4 hours apart.
Colors very similar now.

Butternut "A" - shredded, simmered, 71B.
Nice mouthfeel, could be better.
Sharp on the tongue, slight squash flavor.
Didn't really care for it dry. I was actually a little disappointed. HOWEVER.....
I had about a glass left over and sweetened it with sugar. MAGIC!!!! I've never had such a dramatic change in flavor from adding sugar. It exploded! The delicious squash flavor became obvious and I actually said "Wow!"
I'm happy now, knowing that back sweetening will bring about a wonderful transformation.

Butternut "B" - baked, 1118.
Nice mouthfeel, could be better, like "A".
Sharp on the tongue but then there's also a noticeable bitterness that wasn't in "A".
Squash flavor slightly better than "A" but it was more complex. Actually rather nice.
Again, I had some left over and sweetened with sugar. I crossed my fingers...could I possibly have another magical transformation?
No.
Sweetening changed the flavor a bit, yes, but I actually preferred it bone dry.

Surprising results. I wasn't expecting one to absolutely need sweetening and the other absolutely not.
We'll see where this goes.

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