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dandelion wine help

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weltercat

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I am very new to wine making in fact this is my first try and I have very little knowledge of the whole process. I have been reading about the basics of fermentation.

I have a couple questions about some dandelion wine I am making. Here is the recipe I used to start off with.

1 gal. dandelion flowers
1 gal. boiling water
3 lbs. sugar
3 oranges, cut in small squares
3 lemons, cut in small squares
1 oz. yeast


Pick dandelion flowers, early in the morning, taking care not to have a particle of the bitter stem attached.

Pour the boiling water over the flowers and let stand three days.

Strain and add the rest of the ingredients and let stand to ferment for three weeks.

Strain and bottle.

I put a lot of labor into separating the green stems and leaves from the yellow flowers so I want this batch to turn out. The wine has been fermenting for three weeks now and it smells like very yeasty wine at this point. I understand that I do not want to bottle it too soon or I will have a mess and a lot of wasted wine.


How do I know when the wine is ready to bottle? It has been three weeks and the wine is still very cloudy. It is a yellowish brown opaque color not clear at all. The flowers, orange and lemon pulp are still floating on the top. I have been stirring the mix about every other day. Should the mash sink to the bottom? Will the wine clear up?

Any words of wisdom on what I should do at this point would be greatly appreciated.
 
C

Caplan

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You really should syphon it off into a sanitized demijohn leaving the sediment, citrus fruit bits and flower petals behind and put it back under an airlock.

It'll then ferment out fully and start to clear slowly.

Don't think about bottling yet - It needs time to clear, you may have to repeat the 'racking process' (syphoning the wine off the sediment that falls out of it) several times before you can bottle.
 
C

coulee29

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Yeah, and keep in mind that fermentation gradually slows as the remaining sugars are fermented. It gets slower and slower over a seemingly long period of time. Even after good amount of sediment is clearly visible at the bottom of the fermenter and the wine appears clear, a small amount of yeast is still eating up the last of the sugars. Unless you have more patience than I do, use a hydrometer to look for a Specific Gravity (S.G.) of 0.998 or 0.996. Then you'll know fermentation is done and rack the wine off the sediment.
 

Luc

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What the others said.
Three weeks is a relatively short time in winemaking.

I have two batches going now.
One 5 liter batch that I started 3 weeks ago and is indeed still fermenting
One 25 liter batch that I started one and a half week ago which is fermenting vigorously.

From what I have heard and read on the internet this wine will take a long
time before it is ready to drink........
I have heard it takes one year or more......

But I will try it as soon as it is bottled :D

Patience my friend is the keyword here.

Luc
 

weltercat

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Thanks for the help everyone. I guess I will just give it more time. What are the variables that make the fermentation process last for more than three weeks? I suppose room temperature is key.
 

lorenae

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Room temperature is important, but the wine does take a while. I JUST bottled a batch of dandelion wine from last May. It does take a while to make wine, so the biggest key is patience.
 
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Do I need an airlock? Would a beer one work?

Hi folks. I am very new to winemaking, too, but have the following recipe fermenting happily away in a 5 gallon plastic water jug topped with plastic wrap... I have an airlock (a beer making airlock) that I can fit into my jug if you think it's really important- please advise.


...And at the risk of sounding like a real ninny, could someone explain "lees" to me?
Thanks so much!
:eek:

Dandelion Wine (2)


* 2 qts dandelion flowers
* 3 lbs granulated sugar
* 4 oranges
* 1 gallon water
* yeast and nutrient


This is the traditional "Midday Dandelion Wine" of old, named because the flowers must be picked at midday when they are fully open. Pick the flowers and bring into the kitchen. Set one gallon of water to boil. While it heats up to a boil, remove as much of the green material from the flower heads as possible (the original recipe calls for two quarts of petals only, but this will work as long as you end up with two quarts of prepared flowers). Pour the boiling water over the flowers, cover with cloth, and leave to steep for two days. Do not exceed two days. Pour the mixture back into a pot and bring to a boil. Add the peelings from the four oranges (again, no white pith) and boil for ten minutes. Strain through a muslin cloth or bag onto a crock or plastic pail containing the sugar, stirring to dissolve. When cool, add the juice of the oranges, the yeast and yeast nutrient. Pour into secondary fermentation vessel, fit fermentation trap, and allow to ferment completely. Rack and bottle when wine clears and again when no more lees form for 60 days. Allow it to age six months in the bottle before tasting, but a year will improve it vastly. This wine has less body than the first recipe produces, but every bit as much flavor (some say more!).
 
C

Caplan

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I am very new to winemaking, too, but have the following recipe fermenting happily away in a 5 gallon plastic water jug topped with plastic wrap... I have an airlock (a beer making airlock) that I can fit into my jug if you think it's really important- please advise.
When the fermentation slows (usually after a few days) you'd be better transfering it to a sanitized demi john/carboy under airlock.

...And at the risk of sounding like a real ninny, could someone explain "lees" to me?
The 'lees' are just the sediment at the bottom of your demi john/carboy - Gently syphon your wine off them.
 

Paco

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Hi all!

I have a dandelion wine made from a similar recipe than the one post on the first post. It was started in May (2008) while under the ferocious annual invasion of the yellow flower. It's been racked 4 times after the fermentation and it is still way too cloudy. The last racking reveal that no more sediment was falling from suspension. It need another clarifying strategy than racking and time.

That's where I could use advices and recommendations from experts. The LHBS clerk suggested me to shock it with cold; get the (glass) carboy outside at -1°C to -15°C. No need to say that I'm a bit worried about exposing my fragile carboy to such temperature even with a high alcohol content... Is it safe?!

I'm looking for the least "aggressive" method to clarify it since it's already tasting good (though a bit hot) and I want to avoid stripping too much of it's flavor. It's now been aging at 15-18°C for the last tree months.

Since I'm new to this forum I cannot post link to pictures of the wine... but I can provide the link off line. Maybe try to search Google Picasa with 'Dandelion wine of paco'. It look like fresh and cloudy apple juice... maybe a bit more on the yellowish side... Pulp free orange juice.

Thanks in advance for any help.
 

Racer

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I only have made dandelion wine once 2 years ago and had the same problem with it clearing. I used superkleer http://www.homebrewit.com/aisle/1080 . I dont think it was too aggressive and dont feel that the wine lost anything when I used it.
 

Luc

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I started my dandelion wine april this year.
I lost one batch of 30 liter (4500 petals) after
it spoiled.

My next batch had a stuck fermentation.

And this last batch still has not cleared.

Now it is getting colder over here and I am going
to put it outside to test if the cold will clear it.

I still have about 20 bottles from last years batch
so I am not overly worried.

Luc
 

Paco

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Thanks Racer. I will investigate about the product first. Before your post, I was considering white egg.

I' not sure I have much of a choice since a week in the 0 to -10°C range haven't done anything yet. A LHBS clerk told me that this cold break/shock should precipitate when brought back to warmer temperature. I'm not convinced because I can think of the relation but...

Check out the attached to see how the wine look like.

I'm still trying to understand what is/can be the problem(s) exactly... Suspended yeast, proteins haze, pectin, else?...

I will post my result but keep posting if anyone have relevant information on this issue.

Thanks!

dandelion wine_24-11-2008 002_r.jpg
 

Paco

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Hmmm... I did the starch test and it is negative... but when I deliberatly had starch to the test it doesn't turn blue.

Now out to look for denaturated alcohol for pectin haze test.

What about egg white?... eventually?

Luc,

did your last year bottle cleared natually? Did they actually cleared at all?
 

Wade E

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Its probaly pectin haze as mentioned and would probably benefit from some pectic enzyme. SuperKleer KC is an awesome product and may strip a little bit but nothing to worry about. I have tested this a few times with 3 gallon batches seperated into 1 gallon carboys and used time on 1, SuperKleer on another, and Isinglass on the last and time and Isinglass had no taste difference noticed btween 3 people and the Superkleer only 1 person said that they noticed it was missing a little bouquet.
 

Paco

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The recipe's ingredients were Dandelion flowers, dried grapes (sultans), oranges, lemon and white/table sugar. Is it the agrumes that contribute to pectin?

I'm not sure I'll found SuperKleer around here but I know I can find Isinglass. Do I need to warm back the wine (say 15-20°C) before mixing in the Isinglass or can I use it in -5°C wine.

Thanks all for your contribution to help me resolving this issue. I will post my result.
 

Paco

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I was reviewing the Dandelion recipes from Jack Kellers and he make no mention of a particular haze problem with thoses Dandelion recipes that look similar to the one I did...
 

Racer

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Did you try the test for pectin as the problem? Was pectic enzyme used at the begining of the fermentation?
As far as temps are concerned I would get your wine temps. back up to the 15 - 20ºC range to help trying to get it to clear if your going to use fining agents of any kind.
 
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