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herbal wine bitters

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randicoot

Junior
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So the idea behind this was to try to make something like a "medicinal" bitters using some of the locally grown herbs I've been learning about. The bitterest herb I've got around here is motherwort. Very bitter. In tincture it has a bit of a cocoa flavor and added to coconut rum it makes a nice cordial. I also originally had in mind wild lettuce but none of that made it in. When I was gathering all the ingredients together, including the small bags of frozen berries, I came across an old packet of shiso leaves in the freezer so that went in too.

It's been fermenting about 4 days now and I've tasted the spoon after each stirring. Really different flavor profiles with each tasting. First stirring/tasting, after I was sure it was fermenting well, was all shiso. Each day as more sugar ferments away it brings out more of the motherwort. Today the cocoa-iness of the motherwort was just edging out the shiso for dominance, and there was some fruitiness in the background. I kinda wanted to drink more, but we wine makers are known for patience, right?

Anyway, here's the full ingredients. Any suggestions as to what to call it?

1/2 cup dried motherwort, packed
~20 green shiso leaves, frozen
2 flowerheads of Queen Anne's lace seeds, dried, crushed
~ 1 cup each, golden raspberries, black cherries, elderberries, all frozen
1/4 cup roasted dandelion root
2 1/4 pounds sugar
1/2 tsp acid blend
The rest of these were really small amounts which I don't expect to taste much of in the finished wine: Queen Anne's lace flowers, Solomon's seal root, spicebush twigs, leaves and berries, sassafras berries, yarrow, and 2 wild hops cones.
Method: 1/2 gallon boiling water poured over everything (in a straining bag) in the primary fermenter, then another quart of boiling water after adding a few of the lesser ingredients that I overlooked the first time. Let that steep 1/2 hour or so and added the rest of the gallon of water to cool it off before adding 1 crushed campden tablet. 12 hours later added 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme (powder). 12 hours later removed 1/2 cup of the liquid to hydrate the yeast, EC-1118, for about 1/2 an hour until foamy. Pitched yeast onto the top of the must without stirring.

Randy
 

randicoot

Junior
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I thought I remembered posting the previous post after the first racking but I guess not. Racked into secondary on 9/29 with SG a kinda high at 1.02. It was tasting fairly strong of motherwort and seemed a little thin in fruitiness.

I finally racked it again over new year's weekend with SG at .999. The bitterness had mellowed quite a bit. In tasting, there was fruitiness up front followed immediately by the motherwort which lingered a bit and then fainter fruit and herbals. I had let a fair amount of the lees in with the first racking so I topped up with 150 of simple syrup.

I had originally thought to syrup feed as far as it would go but on second thought I'll leave it as is and see how it ages.

Randy
 

randicoot

Junior
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Racked this again. The bitterness is almost all gone. Some mild fruitiness and indistinct herbal notes and a hint of that cocoa aftertaste. Still has some body. Planning on bottling as is in another month or two.

Randy
 

Jericurl

The Ferminator
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Oh, nice.

How are the shiso leaves doing in this blend?

I've got a plum/shiso mead that I haven't tasted in awhile and I'm wondering how they will end up doing.
 

randicoot

Junior
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I didn't taste the shiso at all even with some sweetening, so I don't know what's going on there. It was so strong at the start. Makes me wonder if the Japanese plum/shiso wine is made plum first then steeped in shiso. Going to grow more shiso this year (red and green) so more experimenting this summer.

Randy
 

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