Dandelion Wine Questions...........

Discussion in 'Beginners Wine Making Forum' started by wildhair, Apr 25, 2017.

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  1. wildhair

    wildhair Member

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    As my "lawn" begins it's annual yellow bloom, I would like to put some of those flowers to use. I have several recipes to work from, but having read them, I still have a couple Q's.
    1. Can you freeze the flowers like you do fruit? I was hoping to collect enough for a batch and freeze some for later. Does this apply to ALL flower wines?
    2. Does ALL of the green sepal around the base of the flower need to be removed?
    3. If #1 & 2 are YES - is it best to remove the sepal BEFORE freezing?
    4. Is there a simple way to do this? Scissors, maybe - black magic or some secret vintner technique?

    Thanks
     
  2. mikewatkins727

    mikewatkins727 Beyond middle age

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    you can freeze the flowers for later use. The recipe I used you removed the vast majority of the green. Scissors okay to use.
     
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  3. GreginND

    GreginND Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    The best dandelion wine is made from just the yellow petals. It is a lot of effort but the wine will be better if you pluck off all the petals from around the center of the flower.
     
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  4. wildhair

    wildhair Member

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    I actually ate a couple flowers to see if I could "taste test" where the nasty bits were. The yellow petals taste good w/ a mild sweetness. The green leaves that grow UP with the flower have no flavor at all - kinda like like iceberg lettuce. But the very bottom, where the sepals hang down and where the flower petals all join - THAT'S bitter.......very astringent.
    Now I know! Thanks
     
  5. Rodnboro

    Rodnboro Senior Member

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    I found it easier to pinch the green part and twist rather than use scissors. It's also lot easier to pinch the green part off while the bloom is still opened. They will close up after a little while even after they are picked. I found it better to pick a bag full then immediately remove the petals. I only made one batch of one gallon. It is a lot of work. Good Luck.
     
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  6. wildhair

    wildhair Member

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    Yep - it's looking like that. But you can't start making wine and NOT make at least 1 batch of Dandelion Wine, right?

    “The first thing you learn in life is you're a fool. The last thing you learn in life is you're the same fool.”
    Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine
     
  7. cmason1957

    cmason1957 Member Supporting Member

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    Oh, you certainly can. I have tasted about 5 or 6 Dandelion Wines, none of them made me want to make it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
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  8. wildhair

    wildhair Member

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    :h:h:h I reckon I'll find out. I gotta try......at least once. Bad thing is - I hear it's supposed to age at least 2 years before you know if it's any good or not.
     
  9. xune

    xune Junior

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    I made some last year, like Rodnboro said, I found it easiest to pick the top, grab at the bottom, squeeze, and twist. Way easier than using scissors on all those dandelions. Definitely want to do it right away. As soon as you pick them, I figure you have about 5 hours before it's super hard to remove the flower part.

    After you've removed the flower head from the greens, it's cool to freeze them. I still have about a half a gallon of them in the freezer myself. Have made 2 batches from the ones I picked last year. A gallon and another. Most recipies that I found for it use a quart of flower heads, but I found a quart and a half of flower heads compacted pretty densely is great per gallon.

    It is a lot of work, as mentioned, but it's worth it if you do it right. I added a little bit of honey, and some lemon slices as suggested in a few recipes, and like it pretty well. My first batch I had a little trouble with, it was my first wine, but my second one tastes pretty good right now, even at 8 months. This year I intend to do a 5 gallon batch and maybe freeze some more flower heads for times to come.
     
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  10. wildhair

    wildhair Member

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    Thanks - that info was just what I was looking for. Looks like the rain will subside today - I believe I'll pick me a bunch or 2!
     
  11. wildhair

    wildhair Member

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    I made 2 gallons - 1 dandelion and 1 dandelion-lemongrass. Both wines are racked a couple times and cleared, but the SG never made it to 1.000 for either one. One gallon is 1.005 and one stopped at 1.010 - shy of dry. The sweetness is about right, actually - so I wouldn't have to backsweeten at all. And I did start these with pretty high sugar content - SG 1.110 for one and 1.130 for the other. I've always fermented to dry, then backsweetened - but the SG hasn't budged since I racked a month ago. There was very little sediment when I racked them last night. Fed them some Sparkaloid and they both are crystal clear this morning. And a beautiful sunshine yellow!

    Any potential issues with stabilizing as they are, then aging and bottling?
     
  12. wildhair

    wildhair Member

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    Just thought I'd put a final write-up on this, having bottled it and sampled it. The wine bulk aged until late Dec. - so about 6 months. As I stated above - the batches started with an SG of 1.110 (#1) and 1.130 (#2) and ended at 1.010 and 1.005 respectively or with an ABV of #1 - 14% and #2 -17% ............if I did the math correctly. Number 1 is Dandelion & #2 is Dandelion~Lemongrass. I did backsweeten #2 a bit to bring the flavor out. Both have a wonderful floral aroma, a beautiful yellow color and smooth, light, clean taste. It is an excellent dessert wine & #2 is fairly strong - it also has a nice light lemon note thanks tot he lemongrass. I might add golden raisins or Welches Wht Grape conc. next time, but even w/o it - it has good body and feel.

    It is not all that time consuming to remove the petals. Set up a couple buckets & put the pail of blossoms in front of you. Grab the flower with the left hand, pinch the sepal & green part between your thumbnail and R index finger and twist. Drop the petals to your left,drop the sepal to your right - repeat. In under an hour I had 2 qt. of packed petals - it goes pretty production-like. No worse than pitting cherries or cleaning strawberries.

    I also steeped it longer than any of the other recipes called for. And since it is a stronger, sweeter dessert wine - I put most of it in 375 ml bottles. By starting with 1 gall + 3 cups - after all the racking -I ended up with almost exactly 1 gallon each for bulk aging.

    Anyway - here's my recipe in case anyone is interested. Let me know if anything is unclear - this is the first recipe I'm sharing, so I may not have explained everything quite right. I may try a Dandelion~Chamomile wine this year, too.


    Dandelion Wine –
    • 8 cups dandelion petals - packed

    • 1 ½ cups dried lemongrass (optional)

    • 1 gal water

    • 2 cups fresh dandelion petals

    • 3 cups water treated w/ Campden tablet. ( I treat a gallon w/ 1 tablet and keep it in the fridge.)

    • 2 ½ lbs granulated sugar (or enough to get a starting SG – 1.100 - add less to get a lighter wine)

    • 2 lemons (juice and zest)

    • 3 oranges (juice and zest)

    • Test ph – 3.1 - 3.5 or add Acid Blend to achieve (1 t tsp +/-)

    • 1 tsp yeast nutrient

    • ½ tsp pectic enzyme

    • ¼ tsp tannin

    • 1tsp Bentonite

    • Vintner’s harvest SN9 yeast
    Prepare flower petals beforehand. Put 1 gal water on to boil., then pour water over 8 cups of the petals and the lemongrass. Cover & steep for 24 hrs. Pour 3 cups of treated water over remaining 2 cups of petals, mix well and add to original “tea”. Steep for an additional 24 hrs.

    Prepare zest from citrus and add to dandelion water, bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Strain tea into nylon fruit bag, drain and squeeze bag to extract all liquid. Stir in sugar until completely dissolved. Test SG - 1.090 - 1.100

    Pour “tea” into primary then add juice of citrus fruit, tannin, yeast nutrient & Bentonite. Cover and allow to cool to room temperature. Add pectic enzyme, cover and set aside at least 12 hours. Add activated yeast and cover. Stir twice daily for 5 days, check SG daily. When SG stabilizes - mine stopped at 1.010 for one and 1.005 for the other - rack into secondary & fit airlock and set aside in a dark place or wrap the secondary in brown paper to help prevent the color from fading. Rack after 2 weeks, then 30 days and again every 2 months for 6 months, adding another crushed Campden tablet during middle racking and stabilizing at last racking. Backsweeten if needed - Wait another month and rack into bottles. Cellar 6 months and enjoy a bottle. Cellar another 6 months and enjoy it all................maybe not all at once, tho.

    Altered from a Jack Keller Recipe Dandelion Wine #2 . There are several others on his website, too.

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    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
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  13. wildhair

    wildhair Member

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    I realized I should probably have posted the recipe in the Recipe forum - so I did.
     
  14. ikcdab

    ikcdab Junior

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    There's a good reason not many people make dandelion wine.....
     
  15. wildhair

    wildhair Member

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    Not a lot of people make a lot of the wines I make - like mint and lemongrass~ginger and beet and goji berry. What's the good reason to avoid making Dandelion Wine?
     
  16. Stressbaby

    Stressbaby Just a Member Supporting Member

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    I've made several lemongrass wines because I have it coming out of my ears. It's not bad, and far easier than dandelion.

    The best reason to avoid dandelion IMHO is the backache from picking them.
     
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  17. wildhair

    wildhair Member

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    True - picking them IS a bit of a pain....literally. I've been thinking about an easier way to harvest them.
    You might want to see a doctor about that lemongrass in your ears......... :)
     
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  18. Dandy

    Dandy Junior

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    Hello @wildhair, maybe you can help! I posted my question in the beginners thread. I am trying to make dandelion wine. I used a recipe similar to the one you posted though with raisins + acid blend instead of citrus. Otherwise almost the same. It called for primary fermenting 3 days. I had it in the basement and after three days there was no sign of bubbles in airlock. I brought the container upstairs anvisid decided to wait a day but got distracted and it's now been 6 days. There is now visible and audible bubbling through the airlock. I saw that your recipe said 5 days for the 1st ferment. What should I do? Rack now for second ferment? Throw it all away? How could I be sure it's safe to drink? Thanks for any advice!
     
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  19. wildhair

    wildhair Member

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    Initial fermentation is typically done with a just a towel over the fermenter. The yeast need oxygen to feed and reproduce and the airlock inhibited their ability to do that. Thus your "slow to get going" ferment. I made that mistake a couple times starting out, too. The airlock prevent new oxygen from getting to the yeast, except thru vigorous DAILY stirring.

    NOTE - since you've had the flowers in the water for 6 days - you can remove them no matter what the sg is. As long as you used only the petals - it will be fine. If you had them in a bag -give it a good squeeze. If they were loose, then scoop them out. Put the towel back over the fermenter and let it keep going.

    I suggest you use your hydrometer & test the SG and see where you are. The # of days matters less than the specific gravity. A slow ferment on a delicate flower based wine is probably preferred. It will go quicker if you remove the airlock and just cover it with a towel. You should also be stirring it at least once per day. Once the hydrometer reads 1.020 - get your secondary fermenter ready. Somewhere between 1.020 an 1.000 - that's when I rack it into the secondary. THEN put in the airlock.

    At that point - I don't check the sg every day, but watch the airlock. When it stops bubbling - or REALLY slows in maybe 2 weeks +/- ~ you should see significant sediment and it should begin to clear. I usually rack it off the lees, then let it sit another month.

    You're fine - it's certainly NOT time to toss it. If it smells like yeast, alcohol and maybe a light flower scent - you're on your way. It'll be safe to drink, no worries.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
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  20. wildhair

    wildhair Member

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    Stressbaby -
    I may have developed a cure for that - I think I have a Dandelion Harvester prototype ready for the picking season. If it works - I'll post a pic. :h
     

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