Is dandelion wine worth the work? Opinions please!

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BigDaveK

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I have nothing in primary and...I think I'm going through withdrawal!!😰😭

Using the Wayback machine I got 42 recipes for dandelion wine from Jack Keller's old website and was wondering if all the work is worth it? Certainly more initial prep work is needed compared to anything I've made so far. I'm leaning towards doing a batch just to say I did it. But the work! I need a nudge one way or the other. So...

Those that have made dandelion wine, was it worth it? Would you do it again?
 

FlamingoEmporium

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I have nothing in primary and...I think I'm going through withdrawal!!😰😭

i feel your pain. Never made it but I have drunk it. My dear departed mother made several batches of dandelion wine way back. I can‘t remember how we actually found a bottle that was about 3 years old, but Wow. It sure aged well. She even picked dandelions out of the neighbors yard. I thought she was crazy. Now I know it just runs in the family. (Craziness and winemaking)

edited: oooh, oooh, dandelion-ginger !
 
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@BigDaveK, don't make the mistake my brother did. He and a friend picked a gallon bucket full of dandelion petals -- no green, just the flowers. It took hours.

He started a batch ... and our dad asked where he got the dandelions from.

"Lot of places, including our lawn."

"I sprayed weed killer yesterday."

Had to throw the batch out. Their was anguish in the house that night!
 
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The wine making club I am a member of used to do a yearly wine competition. We would have about 300-500 entries across all types. Every year we would have 15 to 20 dandelion wines entered. After the competition, we were free to taste any leftover. I had always heard how great dandelion wine was. I have to say that over the 5 or 6 years we did the competition, I tasted most of them. None of them ever scored very high and none of them were something that made me want to make it.
 
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My dad made it but used the whole flower head including the green parts. It was not good.
The green part is NOT good, so surprise.

None of them ever scored very high and none of them were something that made me want to make it.
I've had a couple and liked them. Would they win a competition? Probably not. YMMV
 

BigDaveK

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@BigDaveK, don't make the mistake my brother did. He and a friend picked a gallon bucket full of dandelion petals -- no green, just the flowers. It took hours.

He started a batch ... and our dad asked where he got the dandelions from.

"Lot of places, including our lawn."

"I sprayed weed killer yesterday."

Had to throw the batch out. Their was anguish in the house that night!
No worry there. I personally like dandelions. And besides, a weed-free lawn is at the bottom of my list.

In fact - just checked my shelf - I have a book "The Dandelion Celebration" that has recipes for the flowers, greens, and root. Pudding, muffins, ice cream, omelets, soup....what a hoot!
 

VinesnBines

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I love my dandelion wine. Spring in a bottle. My gallon recipe is one quart of flowers steeped for 24 hours in two quarts water. Bring the water to a boil and pour over the flowers. Let steep one to two days. No longer than two days. My recipe uses orange and lemon juice and zest.

I have tips for making the prep easier. Pull or cut the green off with scissors. I cut the green off each bloom as I pick. If you can’t get a quart in one picking, steep what you have and freeze the tea. I made the 2021 batch in January. Pick the biggest flowers and don’t expect children to help. They want to keep all the flowers they pick.

I usually get enough flowers for one gallon so I bottle in 375 ml bottles. You should end up with a light fresh wine. I don’t back sweeten, no need.
 

BigDaveK

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I love my dandelion wine. Spring in a bottle. My gallon recipe is one quart of flowers steeped for 24 hours in two quarts water. Bring the water to a boil and pour over the flowers. Let steep one to two days. No longer than two days. My recipe uses orange and lemon juice and zest.

I have tips for making the prep easier. Pull or cut the green off with scissors. I cut the green off each bloom as I pick. If you can’t get a quart in one picking, steep what you have and freeze the tea. I made the 2021 batch in January. Pick the biggest flowers and don’t expect children to help. They want to keep all the flowers they pick.

I usually get enough flowers for one gallon so I bottle in 375 ml bottles. You should end up with a light fresh wine. I don’t back sweeten, no need.
Thank you!
That's very close to one of the recipes I have and probably the direction I'll go. I just found about 2 cups of forgotten raspberries in the freezer so if my patience and back hold out I may have to do a second batch.

Oh, I like the scissor idea!
 

VinesnBines

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If you pick after the dew is off, just plop on the ground and clip away.

Of course you can use more flowers than the recipe calls for. I have dried the flowers and added extra to a batch.

I make a dandelion salve every year. I let the dandelion (green parts too) wilt a bit then stuff into a jar, cover with olive oil and steep for four months in a dark cabinet. Then mix with melted beeswax for the salve. I have to experiment with the wax and oil ratio every year. I get a nice yellow salve that helps relieve anthric pain, muscle aches and dry skin. I use it as lip balm and for dry cracked feet and hands.
 

Rice_Guy

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Your first point; if you understand how to make good wine, ,, your dandelion will be good. If you are still on the learning curve on what skills are needed to make good wine this one will point out that you need to study or apprentice a bit longer.
I tried some about 20 years ago that I thought was awful.
Had some about 10 years ago that was pretty good
!
, , , I Need a nudge, hah! Of course I'm going to make it,
A good dandelion wine is a “delicate” flavor that will not hide poor yeast nutrition, or stinky SO2, or bad sweet/ acid balance, or insufficient flavor, or sloppy racking, or low metabisulphite, or high metabisulphite or too much head space, or VA, etc etc etc

You haven’t made wine if you haven’t made a good dandelion wine. The suggestion on my part is hunt out the Jack Keller straight chemicals recipe, ,,, and then apply that strict mind set at yeast farming to all other wines you make. Do not try a add oranges recipe or white grape juice recipe or pear juice recipe for a backbone on this wine.
 

Rice_Guy

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My dandelion will get about half a kilo of the yellow per gallon. A few nights of picking yellow.

I will heat treat the yellow in a microwave with a table spoon of water. The purpose of this is to inactivate the ripening enzyme system. opinion: the flavor is better at about five or eight days after flowering starts and goes down after this.

View attachment 72308
 

BigDaveK

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Your first point; if you understand how to make good wine, ,, your dandelion will be good. If you are still on the learning curve on what skills are needed to make good wine this one will point out that you need to study or apprentice a bit longer.

A good dandelion wine is a “delicate” flavor that will not hide poor yeast nutrition, or stinky SO2, or bad sweet/ acid balance, or insufficient flavor, or sloppy racking, or low metabisulphite, or high metabisulphite or too much head space, or VA, etc etc etc

You haven’t made wine if you haven’t made a good dandelion wine. The suggestion on my part is hunt out the Jack Keller straight chemicals recipe, ,,, and then apply that strict mind set at yeast farming to all other wines you make. Do not try a add oranges recipe or white grape juice recipe or pear juice recipe for a backbone on this wine.
Many good points, as usual.
I have 42 Keller recipes and intend to keep it simple. I've avoided all recipes using concentrates so far because, in my mind, I don't want a flavored grape wine. I want the main ingredient to hopefully shine, be the star of the show. But who knows where I'll go in the future.

My main obstacle right now is bending over here and then bending over there. Bending, bending, bending.
 

JustJoe

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I made dandelion wine once and that;s it for me. It took as much work to make 4 bottles of dandelion as it does to make 6 gallons of grape or elderberry, or almost any other fruit. It was a nice wine but definitely not great enough to justify the effort. I could probably make 20 gallons of skeeter pee or dragon blood with that much effort.
 

eddie sanders

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I have nothing in primary and...I think I'm going through withdrawal!!😰😭

Using the Wayback machine I got 42 recipes for dandelion wine from Jack Keller's old website and was wondering if all the work is worth it? Certainly more initial prep work is needed compared to anything I've made so far. I'm leaning towards doing a batch just to say I did it. But the work! I need a nudge one way or the other. So...

Those that have made dandelion wine, was it worth it? Would you do it again?
Yes it is good when made with care and a tried and true recipe I've been making it for over forty years so here you go -


Liquid Sunshine (Dandelion Wine - 5 gallons)

divide by 5 for a gallon batch---BREWING TEMP BETWEEN 65 f AND70 f

Dandelion Wine, however, you enjoy it is up to you but enjoy it you will as this recipe never fails me so here we go.

Dandelion flowers 5 Dry Qts. - Or any container with the capacity to hold 24 oz water will have the same volume and work just fine. -Dandelion Petals pressed down lightly. (If weighing them 9 to 10 oz per gallon)

two-pound golden raisins, chopped by hand or food processor

5 Oranges, 5 lemons washed, zested real good add fruit and juice no pith.

A large ginger root (size of a man’s hand) peeled and grated, or use a food processor and save time

5 Tea bags brewed in 4 cups of water for 30 minutes, make it strong (you want the tannin)

12 up to 14 pounds of white sugar. (Store Brand)

I suggest you buy these at a Homebrew Store or eBay I have had no trouble with my purchases

1 packet Champagne Yeast,

Campden Tablets either (potassium or sodium metabisulphite),

Yeast Nutrient optional (will make a better)

Hot Mix Sparkaloid Clarifier

Bring to low boil the flower petals in 6 qts of water then simmer for 30 minutes in non-reactive pot Enamel, Teflon or Stainless Steel and allow to cool. Then strain thru a colander and press liquid from blossoms into a glass or stainless-steel bowl with a strong spoon.

Discard blossoms or eat like spinach or dry further on towel and use for Dandelion fritters.

YEAST SHOULD BE HYDRATED IN WATER NOT TO EXCED 100 TO105 F. A ½ CUP OF WATER TEASPOON SUGAR AND STIR GENTLY DISOLVED SOME FOAM IS PRESENT AFTER BEING ALLOWED SET. WHEN FOAM SEEMS VIGOROUSPOUR YOU MAY REMOVE CLOTH COVER AND POUR ON TOP OF MIXTURE AND PRESS IN LIGHTLT WITH A CLEAN SPOON AND COVER.WAIT 2 DAY TO CKECK AND SIT.

Add liquid to fermentation vessel along with sugar, crush any additive tablets and add. Add 60–65-degree water until you have reached the 5 gallon mark. If you have a Hydrometer your specific Gravity reading should be around 1.115 with a potential alcohol of 15% - less sugar, less alcohol more sugar more alcohol but don't be tempted to go to high as this can lead to stuck fermentation Champagne yeast it is tolerant.

Now it is time to add the yeast cover primary fermenter with a towel and stir daily pushing down fruit cap. If using a glass crock or SS Pot cover it with a clean folded tea towel and find a cover to seal the lid firmly. If using a gallon bottle use a party balloon to cover the opening. A clean, dry nonlubricated condom will work fine too. Just remember to burb the air or you many have Rocket Man making appearance.

Champagne yeast almost always ferments out dry and you may want to back sweeten it later on. During the three weeks press the fruit down with a clean spoon twice daily. After 3 weeks remove all fruit and strain thru colander and cheese cloth. place in secondary fermenter with a air lock

Then rack of sediment in 6 weeks repeat until clear around 4-5 months then enjoy. Optional - Use Sparkolloid clarifier after second racking for a crystal clear wine.

You may want to back sweeten it to your taste

If you sweeten you should add Potassium Sorbate as a preservative. Also add one crushed vitamin C tablet (ascorbic acid) to each bottle to preserve color and freshness at bottling, enjoy!
 

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eddie sanders

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I tried some about 20 years ago that I thought was awful. I mean, 2 sips, hell no I don't want more!

Had some about 10 years ago that was pretty good!

Okay, who am I kidding? Need a nudge, hah! Of course I'm going to make it, dammit!
Yes it is good when made with care and a tried and true recipe I've been making it for over forty years so here you go -


Liquid Sunshine (Dandelion Wine - 5 gallons)

divide by 5 for a gallon batch---BREWING TEMP BETWEEN 65 f AND70 f

Dandelion Wine, however, you enjoy it is up to you but enjoy it you will as this recipe never fails me so here we go.

Dandelion flowers 5 Dry Qts. - Or any container with the capacity to hold 24 oz water will have the same volume and work just fine. -Dandelion Petals pressed down lightly. (If weighing them 9 to 10 oz per gallon)

two-pound golden raisins, chopped by hand or food processor

5 Oranges, 5 lemons washed, zested real good add fruit and juice no pith.

A large ginger root (size of a man’s hand) peeled and grated, or use a food processor and save time

5 Tea bags brewed in 4 cups of water for 30 minutes, make it strong (you want the tannin)

12 up to 14 pounds of white sugar. (Store Brand)

I suggest you buy these at a Homebrew Store or eBay I have had no trouble with my purchases

1 packet Champagne Yeast,

Campden Tablets either (potassium or sodium metabisulphite),

Yeast Nutrient optional (will make a better)

Hot Mix Sparkaloid Clarifier

Bring to low boil the flower petals in 6 qts of water then simmer for 30 minutes in non-reactive pot Enamel, Teflon or Stainless Steel and allow to cool. Then strain thru a colander and press liquid from blossoms into a glass or stainless-steel bowl with a strong spoon.

Discard blossoms or eat like spinach or dry further on towel and use for Dandelion fritters.

YEAST SHOULD BE HYDRATED IN WATER NOT TO EXCED 100 TO105 F. A ½ CUP OF WATER TEASPOON SUGAR AND STIR GENTLY DISOLVED SOME FOAM IS PRESENT AFTER BEING ALLOWED SET. WHEN FOAM SEEMS VIGOROUSPOUR YOU MAY REMOVE CLOTH COVER AND POUR ON TOP OF MIXTURE AND PRESS IN LIGHTLT WITH A CLEAN SPOON AND COVER.WAIT 2 DAY TO CKECK AND SIT.

Add liquid to fermentation vessel along with sugar, crush any additive tablets and add. Add 60–65-degree water until you have reached the 5 gallon mark. If you have a Hydrometer your specific Gravity reading should be around 1.115 with a potential alcohol of 15% - less sugar, less alcohol more sugar more alcohol but don't be tempted to go to high as this can lead to stuck fermentation Champagne yeast it is tolerant.

Now it is time to add the yeast cover primary fermenter with a towel and stir daily pushing down fruit cap. If using a glass crock or SS Pot cover it with a clean folded tea towel and find a cover to seal the lid firmly. If using a gallon bottle use a party balloon to cover the opening. A clean, dry nonlubricated condom will work fine too. Just remember to burb the air or you many have Rocket Man making appearance.

Champagne yeast almost always ferments out dry and you may want to back sweeten it later on. During the three weeks press the fruit down with a clean spoon twice daily. After 3 weeks remove all fruit and strain thru colander and cheese cloth. place in secondary fermenter with a air lock

Then rack of sediment in 6 weeks repeat until clear around 4-5 months then enjoy. Optional - Use Sparkolloid clarifier after second racking for a crystal clear wine.

You may want to back sweeten it to your taste

If you sweeten you should add Potassium Sorbate as a preservative. Also add one crushed vitamin C tablet (ascorbic acid) to each bottle to preserve color and freshness at bottling, enjoy!
 

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