Elderberry wine tastes a bit 'green'

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Just doing the first tasting of a big (for me) batch of elderberry wine from last autumn and it tastes a bit 'green' and quite acid. The extraction was done cold with a 1 week cold soak before fermentation then several rinses of the pulp instead of a pressing. It also doesn't seem to have a lot of tannins in it which I am surprised at. Fermentation finished very dry so I will try it back sweetened and see if sugar changes the flavour. I did add in 1tsp tartaric acid per 4.8L so could always try chilling it to precipitate that out before racking?
 

Bossbaby

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Just doing the first tasting of a big (for me) batch of elderberry wine from last autumn and it tastes a bit 'green' and quite acid. The extraction was done cold with a 1 week cold soak before fermentation then several rinses of the pulp instead of a pressing. It also doesn't seem to have a lot of tannins in it which I am surprised at. Fermentation finished very dry so I will try it back sweetened and see if sugar changes the flavour. I did add in 1tsp tartaric acid per 4.8L so could always try chilling it to precipitate that out before racking?
How many lbs of berries per gal did you use? I have 5 gal in bulk from last sept, I have picked about 10 lbs in the past few days, the fruit seems to be ripening earlier than I remember this year so I hope to stock up for the next month to make a couple big batches.
 

Chuck Rairdan

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Whatever the amount of berries used, need to lay those babies down for a while. Elderberry takes a good 2-3 years before it rounds the corner and, in my experience, can transform from a bit harsh or overpowering brew into a really nice wine with enough time.
 

cellular

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My notes say started on 13/11/20 with 9.735kg elderberries in 30L of wine with 31.3g tartaric acid powder. Cold soak for 4 days then ferment on the pulp for a week. Did a second and third wash of the berries each one left a day to soak to try and get the most out of them. After fermentation had finished I added about 11g of toasted oak to some of the 4.8L demijohns. Final gravity 0.993

Right now it tastes pretty acidic and green, not massively tannic in a dry way like a sloe. Am tempted to try back sweetening to see if sugar brings out the flavour and cuts through the acidity or to chill and rack to try and precipitate out some of the tartaric acid? Or do you guys thing I just need to leave it another year or so before it's worth even looking at?
 

Raptor99

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Wait. I have some elderberry wine that I started 14 months ago. It is currently bulk aging. I will probably wait for the 2 year mark before I backsweeten it if necessary and bottle it.

Have you checked the pH or TA? If it is too acidic you might need to backsweeten it quite a bit to balance the acidity.
 

winemanden

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One thing I've found in the many years I've been winemaking, is that wild Elderberries (in Uk) do not ripen evenly. There always seems to be some half ripe and some green ones mixed in with them.
What I do is to tip the loose berries into a big bucket of water containing SO2. I let them sit for a while, then stir them with my paddle, and the green and unripe ones float to the top. I scoop them out with a sieve and discard them. That way, the ripe Elders, after draining, are sanitized ready for fermenting on the pulp.
 

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It isn't just in the UK. We had the same problem in America back when I used to gather elderberry. I did discover, if I could keep the birds away and let them hang for two or three weeks, they would all eventually ripen. But that keep the birds away only worked due to my golden retriever barking anytime he saw a bird
 

Rembee

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Right now it tastes pretty acidic and green, not massively tannic in a dry way like a sloe.
I would have to wonder if what you perceive as acidic is really a high ABV. Since the wine is at a SG of .993.
@Raptor99 brings up a valid point, have you checked the ph as of recently?
It may not be acidic that your tasting but actually the alcohol.

You don't mention your OG unless I missed it.
What was your starting SG?
 

Rice_Guy

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You always have the trick of putting in some glycerine or wine smoother.
Right now it tastes pretty acidic and green, not massively tannic in a dry way
mine comes out acidic and I back sweeten to about 1.003, and the tannic notes vary depending on the year, ,,, green ? humm ?
 

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I've picked close to 40 lbs so far in the past couple of weeks, I put them in grocery bags in the freezer until I can strip them, freezing them makes the small stems very brittle and I'm wondering the risk in fermenting them with the vey fine stems for I cannot separate all of them from loose berries no matter how much I try with in reason, I usually strip them fresh but haven't had the time lately.?
 

Bossbaby

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@Rice_Guy I'm more so concerned about the stems containing small amounts of cyanide, the seeds I dont worry about because I dont crush the fruit. I'm sure I'm over thinking it a little bit
 

JustJoe

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If you are talking about the little hair-like stems on eacgh berry, I would say you are over thinking it. In my experience, most of the little stems come off when stripping the berries. I doubt that you will have more than a gram or two of stems per pound of berries. Since the stems don't get crushed, they will mostly remain intact and will be reomved with the seeds and other non-fruit material. The tiny trace of cyanide in the stems will mostly be removed and the remaining amount would be undetectable. I have never had an issue with them and I have made (and drank) gallons of elderberry wine.
 

Rice_Guy

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yes there is cynaide in elderberry, a low level as 3 mg per 100 gm in The berry. It is in the green material but at a low enough level to also not be considered a significant source.
@Rice_Guy I'm more so concerned about the stems containing small amounts of cyanide, the seeds I dont worry about because I dont crush the fruit. I'm sure I'm over thinking it a little bit
 

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What happens if you accidentally crush elderberry seeds? I smashed the berries with a potato masher and let them sit in the juice for a week. I then poured the must? into the mesh bag with the sugar, water and yeast. I noticed tiny white things in the must but could not tell if it was just part of the berry or what. I almost threw it out but thought I'd take a chance with it. I am a newbie!!
 

Rice_Guy

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first of all welcome to Wine Making Talk
What happens if you accidentally crush elderberry seeds? . . but thought I'd take a chance with it. I am a newbie
The issue is dosage. We have many examples of people and animals consuming apple or peach or apricot seeds along with the fruit pulp with no harm. , ,,,, ie no farmer is concerned about feeding apple to the pigs in September, or we don’t see dead birds around elderberry bushes ,,, the dosage is limited by the caloric content of the fruit.

We have extremely rare examples of folks saving their apple seeds and roasting several cups of them, eating them straight like nuts and getting poisoned by cyanide.
Cyano-glycoside (?) is a natural molecule that the cells produce and in limited natural quantities the kidney will detoxify. Another common example would be the nicotine molecule (tobacco) which in the dosage humans get produces a relaxed mental state but was purified and sold as a natural/ use indoors plant insecticide.
 

BarrelMonkey

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Cyano-glycoside (?) is a natural molecule that the cells produce and in limited natural quantities the kidney will detoxify.
Here is a recent paper on levels of cyanogenic glycosides (CNGs) in elderberry. They include a comparison to apple seeds in their analysis, and estimate that to reach the minimum toxic level in humans, you'd have to eat 14 apples and thoroughly chew up all the seeds. Elderberries are a lot lower in CNGs than apples, with the highest levels found in stems and green fruit.
 

LuCinda

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Here is a recent paper on levels of cyanogenic glycosides (CNGs) in elderberry. They include a comparison to apple seeds in their analysis, and estimate that to reach the minimum toxic level in humans, you'd have to eat 14 apples and thoroughly chew up all the seeds. Elderberries are a lot lower in CNGs than apples, with the highest levels found in stems and green fruit.
Thanks! I actually removed all of the berries from the tiny stems so there are only berries in the must. Took me several hours but hopefully worth it.
 

BarrelMonkey

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It isn't just in the UK. We had the same problem in America back when I used to gather elderberry. I did discover, if I could keep the birds away and let them hang for two or three weeks, they would all eventually ripen. But that keep the birds away only worked due to my golden retriever barking anytime he saw a bird
Yes, hard to keep the birds away! My American elderberries ripened earlier than I expected and they were decimated by birds... I've taken to using mesh bags to protect those that remain. Fortunately I also have a European cultivar that ripens somewhat later, so I'm hoping to harvest enough for at least a 1 gallon pilot batch this year.

PXL_20210815_small.jpg
 

Bossbaby

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Yes, hard to keep the birds away! My American elderberries ripened earlier than I expected and they were decimated by birds... I've taken to using mesh bags to protect those that remain. Fortunately I also have a European cultivar that ripens somewhat later, so I'm hoping to harvest enough for at least a 1 gallon pilot batch this year.

View attachment 77541
That's a great idea I never thought about bagging each cluster. I too have European elderberry that have almost all ripened and been harvested except a few clusters I may just do this. there is still a few more weeks to harvest the american elders.
 

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