I've heard of people using 3lbs (1.5kilos) of elderberries because they are apparently pretty strong flavored. My guess is that someone with actual experience will pop in here but, I think you can easily get no less than 1 gallon (4 L ) and possible as much as 2 gallons (8 L)
One thing to remember is that if you go with 1 gallon and it's a bit too stout, you can always blend in some white wine and keep the elderberry flavor and maintain your ABV
Thank you Joe,
I can't wait to get brewing!
I'm going away for the weekend so have put the brew off till Monday.
I did start getting the stems off my berries and I have to say they are looking plump!!!
Should I do my primary fermentation with the berries in the mash?
It strain them through muslin first ?
Is that the correct term ?
You are using a lot of beer brewing terms but that's ok. I know what you mean. You should do your primary ferment with the crushed berries in the must (mash is only for beer). If you have a brew bag that fits your fermenter, that makes removal of skins and seeds much easier, You could strain them out before or after primary fermentation but I prefer to put them in the bag and keep it all in the must through the primary ferment. Be sure you use pectic enzyme or you may end up with elderberry jam.
3 kilos/6.6 lbs of elderberry is a bit light for 8 liters/2 gallons. I'd target 6 or 7 liters of initial volume. After you press the fruit the volume you get will be reduced when the fine fruit and yeast solids settle. Always plan for more volume than your secondary storage (glass jug or carboy the wine rests in while it clears) can hold. Put any extra in smaller bottles.
I'm assuming you're using 4 litter jugs for secondary. If you have access to smaller jugs (2 or 3 liter) you can adjust my comments to fit the space.
An alternative is to add a kilo of another fruit, and bump the volume up to 9 or 10 liters. Depending on the fruit, it may not change the taste much (elderberry is strongly flavored), and you'll have volume for two 4 liter jugs.
Yet another thought -- if you have access to grape concentrate, add a liter of concentrate + 2 liters water, bump the volume up to 9 or 10 liters. I did that with a gallon of elderberry concentrate -- the concentrate was supposed to make 5 gallons/19 liters, so I bumped the total volume up to 5.75 gallons (23 liters), which provided the volume to fill the carboy after racking off the sediment.
Regarding other fruits, for a wine that tastes like the fruit, plan for 2.25 kg (5 lbs) to 3.5 kg (8 lbs) of fruit per 4 liters water.
Well my first brew is well under way!
I am going to rack it tomorrow evening ( I think).
Went with my 3kg of berries and 1/2 liter of the concentrated grape juice + 2kg of sugar to make 12/13L of must.
Still trying to get my head around the hydrometer (why is the writing so small!!) but getting there.
Thanks for all your advice so far.
I will update soon!
Why are you planning on racking tomorrow evening? What was the starting SG And what is it now? Racking during a fermentation (Not a 'Brew'). Is done based on the SG. Not a set period of time. MAJOR difference between "brewing' beer and Fermenting wine.
I would wait until the SG is no higher than 1.010 AND the foam activity has died down. ( Typically for me that means there is no longer a solid layer of foam ). If you rack too soon you risk a fountain of foam spewing out wasting wine and making a mess. Also as the ferment slows more of the gross Lee's will be on the bottom rather than floating around.