Hello all and a recipe question

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ludders

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I have just started wine making and have a book from the 1950's, I think. It is by Margarete Patten from the UK. The recipe in question is for wheat wine and it involves putting sugar sultanas and wheat into a bucket and leaving it for 30 days to absorb flavours and then straining into a demijohn to ferment with the addition of yeast. 30 days seems a very long time and I am worrying about the sultanas going mouldy before the yeast is added. What is the consensus here about this method?
 

Tim3

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Very interesting recipe! I’m sure we’re all interested to hear how it turns out. I’m with you, 30 days is a long time unless you add a lot of sulfite and probably acid. Otherwise (best case scenario) you have a wild yeast fermentation or (worst case scenario) bacterial spoilage. If it were me I’d probably treat it like a cold soak and let it go up to 5 days keeping the temperature low and adding 40 ppm sulfite before pitching yeast. But then again I’ve never made wheat wine!
 

winemaker81

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@ludders, I agree with @Tim3, the recipe sounds risky. Marguerite Patten wrote a lot of books about cooking, including "Homemade Wines and Drinks (500 Recipes)". There is no guarantee that she actually tested the recipe you're reading; she may have acquired the recipe during research and simply included it.

Also keep in mind that recipes from more than 40 years ago typically don't consider "modern" winemaking techniques and products. A lot are ones where someone had success a few times and passed it around, or they wrote down what they remembered their parents doing. Not always correctly or completely.

I did a quick search for "wheat wine recipe". Most hits were for a type of barley wine, but I found this one which appears reasonable.

Winemaking Recipe for Wheat Wine, How To Make Wheat Wine: Wine Making Guides (wine-making-guides.com)

A few tips: 1) buy a hydrometer (if you don't have one) and use it to determine when fermentation is complete. Don't use elapsed time.

2) 4 lbs of a sugar for a 1 gallon batch is WAY too much sugar. 2 lbs sugar in 1 gallon water is SG ~1.090, which is a bit over 12% ABV. Add the sultanas and the ABV is probably over 13%. 4 lbs sugar calculates to 24% ABV ... except yeasts stop at ~18%, which leaves a very sweet wine. Plus the initial environment may be too rich so the yeast won't do it's thing (eating sugar, emitting alcohol & CO2).

I suggest starting with 2 lbs sugar and see what the SG is the following day. Inoculate with yeast then, and ferment it dry. At bottling time, stabilize and backsweeten to taste.
 

BernardSmith

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Hi ludders, Strongly agree. After about 3 days of soaking the wheat berries are going to be covered in lacto-bacteria and they will help create a sour wine (lactic acid). So, 30 days is a bizarre length of time. Vargas & Gulling have a recipe for wheat wine that suggests you soak the berries for 24 hours then you add the raisins and then mince the mixture in a blender after which you add sugar and boiling water and then add Campden tabs and then after 24 hours you pitch the yeast. Looks like you remove the fruit and wheat after about 10 days. They suggest 2.5 lbs of sugar (brown is what they say but brown can add a molasses flavor that not everyone views as delightful.
 

ludders

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@ludders, I agree with @Tim3, the recipe sounds risky. Marguerite Patten wrote a lot of books about cooking, including "Homemade Wines and Drinks (500 Recipes)". There is no guarantee that she actually tested the recipe you're reading; she may have acquired the recipe during research and simply included it.

Also keep in mind that recipes from more than 40 years ago typically don't consider "modern" winemaking techniques and products. A lot are ones where someone had success a few times and passed it around, or they wrote down what they remembered their parents doing. Not always correctly or completely.

I did a quick search for "wheat wine recipe". Most hits were for a type of barley wine, but I found this one which appears reasonable.

Winemaking Recipe for Wheat Wine, How To Make Wheat Wine: Wine Making Guides (wine-making-guides.com)

A few tips: 1) buy a hydrometer (if you don't have one) and use it to determine when fermentation is complete. Don't use elapsed time.

2) 4 lbs of a sugar for a 1 gallon batch is WAY too much sugar. 2 lbs sugar in 1 gallon water is SG ~1.090, which is a bit over 12% ABV. Add the sultanas and the ABV is probably over 13%. 4 lbs sugar calculates to 24% ABV ... except yeasts stop at ~18%, which leaves a very sweet wine. Plus the initial environment may be too rich so the yeast won't do it's thing (eating sugar, emitting alcohol & CO2).

I suggest starting with 2 lbs sugar and see what the SG is the following day. Inoculate with yeast then, and ferment it dry. At bottling time, stabilize and backsweeten to taste.
Bryan, thank you for your time and the depth of your reply. I did use the MP barley recipe two weeks ago and and reduced the soak time of barley and sultanas to 7 days. A friend said she liked some wheat wine in the past so I will try and get some on the go shortly. The barley underway now will probably end up as a very sweet wine as you say. I seem to think that the secondary fermentation is going quicker now after 7 days in the demijohn but that could be because the temperature here has gone up slightly. The room was 20 degrees but has gone up to 21 today. As such I have been using a heater pad under the DJ.

cheers
 

ludders

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Hi ludders, Strongly agree. After about 3 days of soaking the wheat berries are going to be covered in lacto-bacteria and they will help create a sour wine (lactic acid). So, 30 days is a bizarre length of time. Vargas & Gulling have a recipe for wheat wine that suggests you soak the berries for 24 hours then you add the raisins and then mince the mixture in a blender after which you add sugar and boiling water and then add Campden tabs and then after 24 hours you pitch the yeast. Looks like you remove the fruit and wheat after about 10 days. They suggest 2.5 lbs of sugar (brown is what they say but brown can add a molasses flavor that not everyone views as delightful.
Bernard thank you I will give that a go.

JL
 
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