Elderberries in my stocking, now what?

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Arctic Contributor
Oct 26, 2008
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A very generous member in here sent me some elderberries for Christmas. It will be a week or so before I start this and wanted to throw the recipe and instructions at you for any critique before I start.

I have heard over and over in here just how good elderberry wine is. This isn't something I can expect regularly so I want to be sure I know what the hell I am doing before I start. I would never beable to face them if I messed this up.

So this is what I got and the instructions.

3# 12 oz. Frozen Berries
4# 140z. Juice

Use both bags(juice and berries).

Place berries in a fermenting bag.

1 # chopped raisins.
6 campden tablets.
5 tsp Yeast Nutrient
3 tsp Yeast Energizer
1 tsp Acid Blend
20 cups/9# sugar
Top off with water to make 6 gallons.

Lavlin-EC-1118 Champagne yeast.

Starting SG 1.150. (this high starting gravity is to allow for topping off between rackings using water)

Try to maintain primary temperature around 75F.

Remove fermenting bag after 4 days. Allow to ferment until SG is .0995 and transfer to secondary.

"we racked 4 times over two months"

After this time we added 6 campden tablets and 2.5tsp sorbate and allowed to rest a week or so. Back sweetened(amounts unspecified) and bottled.

After each racking we topped off with water, except for the time we added the simple syrup.

Ending SG un specified.

Total time from start to bottle=3.5 months.

SO........this is what I have to work with. I know alot of you have made this wine and I would sure appreciate your critique. As I said before, this isn't something I can expect all the time, and I want to be sure I get it right, or at least damn close the first time. I heard this is one of the best wines a guy/gal can make and so I am calling upon you to tell me what you think.

Thanks Alot, Please Advise,

Looks like you are low on fruit for 6 gallons
what does this mean?
"3# 12 oz. Frozen Berries
4# 140z. Juice"
okay, and so...what? reduce the recipe? try to ask what recipe to use for this amount? paint the cabin purple?

I appreciate you telling me this may not be enough but was hoping you could offer me advice on the best way to approach making wine from this with what I have to work with!

Is it 14 ozs of juice or 4 pounds of juice.Just snuck a glass tonight oh so good at 3 months......Upper
"3# 12 oz. Frozen Berries
4# 140z. Juice"

What is this? 3 pounds of elderberries?
4 pounds of juice? what kind? or is it 4 cans of frozen something...???
WEIGHT! Was weighed before it was sent!

3lb. 12 oz. frozen berries, by weight, (in a gallon ziplock)
4lb. 14 oz. frozen elderberry juice, by weight, (in a ziplock)

This is all from fresh elderberries.

I would appreciate you helping me do the best I can with what I have.
Now I have not made elderberry but I go as a rule of thum 5-7pounds of fruit to one gallon.
If you are gonna use what you have for 6 gallons I think you may get alcohol and no taste (colored water?)
The sender insists this is enough for 5 gallons. Unless I know for sure I don't want to take the chance.
I guess I could take a picture.
Stand By
This may not be an accurate depiction, but the big bag is 100% juice and the smaller bag is the berries and it is at least half juice, I am sure the total weight is accurate.

I am not trying to be "testy" about this, but an opportunity to make Elderberry wine may not come again. I just want to be sure I get this right.

This is the best Christmas present i could have ever expected, and from what I've heard this IS the "Cats Meow"

So for sake of argument lets say I have 2 gallons of juice. I know yurself and others buy "juice buckets", when you get those do you use volume or weight when computing your recipes?

Thanks Tom, I appreciate your patience with me on this.

Eberry 1.jpg
Again like I said I have not made Elderberry Wine.
I hope that Allie or someone else chimes in to help you who has made it. Butt, one thing for sure ..not enough for 6 gallons..
Elderberries in my opinion along with Black Currants dont require the 5-7 lbs per gallon of fruit but you are still low IMO on the fruit. With Elder and Black Currant 3 lbs per Gallon i enough IMO.
With that being said I dont know what amount of fruit it took to extract that much juice so Im comfortable in saying that it was quite a bit of fruit to extract that amount of juice. I would believe this would be enough for a 5 gallon batch cause Im sure it took quite a bit of lbs of fruit to extract over 4 lbs of juice.
Is that because the elderberry has a strong taste/flavor?
Is this a 5 or 6 gallon batch you are going for here? Im looking at the # of campden tablets being used.
Yes as far as flavor, they have a huge amount of flavor and can be overwhelming at the normal amount used with most fruits!
I will check back with the sender, but I was sort of thinking the same, how many pounds made that much juice, the big bag is JUICE! The smaller bag is almost full and seems like mostly juice. I just want to be sure on this one, if I mess this up I wont beable to go and get more. I only posted the recipe that was sent to me and haven't questioned it yet.

I just thought I would toss it a you and see what you all thought.
Apparently this is enough to start 6 gallons and through each racking, it is topped off with water, hence the high starting SG, when its all said and done it is suppose to work. I don't want to doubt the recipe, as I believe it is tried and true, I just was looking for a second opinion.
Juice yield on elderberries is horrible considering how much work it takes to harvest them. They're mostly a big seed inside with little pulp. I used 22 lbs of berries and it added about 1 gallon of juice to the recipe, maybe 5 quarts. That was after thawing and using pectic enzyme.

Best guess there's 12-15 lbs of berries worth of juice in that bag. (does that make sense? - the juice from 12-15lb of berries) I'd use Wade's recipe and scale it back to 4 or 5 gallons, but that's just me. Take it for what it's worth as my first batch is still in the secondary. If you make a smaller batch and find the body is too heavy just water it down and add some more sugar to bring your abv back in line. If it's too thin you have some options...IMO, elderberry seems like a stronger mix of blueberry and blackberry. You could always add either of those types of juice to bring the body up if necessary.
Thaks Mud, it is a big treat to me and I just want to be sure I have it all in line. So far I have mostly made my wines from frozen concentrates(quality juice none the less) and a couple fruit wines, I kind of feel like I am "smoking the spendy cigars" on this one.

"preciate the input.
Kind of worried about foam, i only have a 5 gallon fermenter, and don't need a huge mess. What kind of yeast do you think. The sender said champagne yeast.

For once I am wiling to be patient. This batch will actually make it into bottles. Any insight you have is sure welcome.

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