Juicing Rhubarb

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ChuckD

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I harvested a friends rhubarb the other day and now have about 25 lbs of chunked rhubarb in the freezer. I have a small press and was thinking about trying a 100% rhubarb, or a strawberry rhubarb, I even have some wild grapes left that I am looking to mix with something. Maybe I’ll try all of them!

What kind of yield do you get from pressing rhubarb? Looking at you @Rice_Guy 👀 since I know you have done it.
 

VinesnBines

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The way to juice rhubarb is pour your sugar over the chopped stalks and let it sit. Pressing without the sugar soak will give you very little.

Rice guy can chime in and tell me if I’m wrong. 😁
 

Rice_Guy

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2021; 27.5 kg frozen two weeks > this made a 6 gallon carboy > ~82%
2020; 16.8kg/35lb > free run 14kg ~ 3.5 gallons > ~83%
2019; 19.8kg ~44lb > free run ~4 gallons >~ 82%

looking at flavor balance I would not add a red/ tannic grape. The tannins and high TA make it hard to come out with a good sweetness balance. My normal has been about 5% black raspberry with the intent of putting in a stable blush color/ complex fruity flavor notes. Normal is to back sweeten to 1.017 or 1.015.
In trying to deal with acid last year I ran 2 gallons with MaurivinB (to remove malic acid) and got the TA down to 1%,,,, I liked it back sweetened to 1.004 but it only got a third place in state fair. ;(
 

ChuckD

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@Rice_Guy
Thanks. Makes sense about staying away from adding fruit that is already highly acidic. Looks like I might need a little more rhubarb to make three gallons.

Are you adding sugar first or pressing it “dry”. I know when I make rhubarb torte the sugar does draw out some of the juice. Although I imagine freezing it will help as well.
 

Rice_Guy

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No sugar, pressing creates flat leaves which are basically dry and chewy. Part of the magic is that if it sits frozen a couple weeks it is easy to press. If looking for freezer space or trying to top off a carboy and it’s only frozen two days yield is low. ,, If I sugared I would be committed to use it now and doing the same time related cellular extraction effect of freezing BUT at fermentation temperature.
I make the pulp go away so I can use it or reduce/ manage the volume. The freezer has crab apple (tannic) washed with rhurbarb juice and maybe some low acids as june berry and plum.BFFB88A0-A450-4597-9E0A-16FF96B00C50.jpeg Last spring this meant that I gave twenty liters of pressed rhurbarb juice to club people so I could freeze new crop. Maybe Val is at the vinters board tonight and she can be encouraged to stop using kits.
 

CortneyD

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What is the benefit of pressing it as opposed to freezing it and using strainers? Is it a clarity issue? Freezer space? Or is there a more technical reason?
 

Rice_Guy

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@CortneyD The main benefit of freezing is that the cell structure is ruptured, yes you could use a strainer and press by hand, I get tired wringing Mom’s flour sack hanging from a knob on the kitchen cabinets so I press with a bar clamp, , , lazy maybe?
The juice is clear coming out. No I haven’t tried cooking or a steam extraction which factories might do.
Yes I grow too much so freezer always is an issue at home. Work teaches me to go down the hall to the fork lift freezer and pick out a 40 pound frozen pail that someone sells. Doesn’t everything start in the freezer?
 

ChuckD

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Thanks. I think I’ll wait for a few more cuttings. I’d like to make a minimum of three gallons. If I’m going to try a 100% juice strawberry rhubarb is there any advice on the percentages?
 

Khristyjeff

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I've not seen a recipe for a rhubarb/strawberry blend, but Jack Keller and others have suggested making both wines separately, then doing bench trials to see what percentages taste best to you. This is my first rhubarb wine so @Rice_Guy and others have been guiding me through it. I'd be interested in updates from your experience, too!
 

winemanden

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The way to juice rhubarb is pour your sugar over the chopped stalks and let it sit. Pressing without the sugar soak will give you very little.

Rice guy can chime in and tell me if I’m wrong. 😁
You're right and you're wrong! 🙂🙃
The problem with juicing rhubarb with sugar is you have to wash the pulp to make sure you get out all the sugar. Freezing in a plastic bag is easy, just cut the corner and the thawing juice will flow out. Press afterwards if you think it's necessary. Over the years I've tried both ways, not worrying too much about how much juice per pound and just worked things out on the amount and gravity of the juice I end up with.
The Jury is still deliberating on which method is best.
Some of my better tasting wines (not all) have been made with the old sugar method; a bit like cold soaking grapes perhaps?
Just an afterthought. You could just use free run juice when it thaws, and perhaps press the pulp separately to make a different wine.
 
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vinny

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I am just waiting for my rhubarb to get large enough to harvest. I will be making a batch soon. I don't have a press. Any disadvantage to mechanical juicing?

I just did this with my carrot wine. I juiced it and added the pulp to hot water, then into the must in a straining bag when cooled. Maybe freeze, juice and add pulp without cooking the rhubarb?

I am planning to do a second carrot to see if the cooking effects flavor. The next batch will be the same, without cooking.
 

Vino Ventures

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@CortneyD The main benefit of freezing is that the cell structure is ruptured, yes you could use a strainer and press by hand, I get tired wringing Mom’s flour sack hanging from a knob on the kitchen cabinets so I press with a bar clamp, , , lazy maybe?
The juice is clear coming out. No I haven’t tried cooking or a steam extraction which factories might do.
Yes I grow too much so freezer always is an issue at home. Work teaches me to go down the hall to the fork lift freezer and pick
I am just waiting for my rhubarb to get large enough to harvest. I will be making a batch soon. I don't have a press. Any disadvantage to mechanical juicing?

I just did this with my carrot wine. I juiced it and added the pulp to hot water, then into the must in a straining bag when cooled. Maybe freeze, juice and add pulp without cooking the rhubarb?

I am planning to do a second carrot to see if the cooking effects flavor. The next batch will be the same, without cooking.

out a 40 pound frozen pail that someone sells. Doesn’t everything start in the freezer?
I am making rhubarb wine for the first time and have narrowed it down to three recipes. My current dilemma is two of the recipes call for “wine yeast”. I’ve looked at the different charts and have become overwhelmed with all of the information and options. I am wondering if some of you would be able to share what you type of yeast you found to work best for rhubarb wine? Thanks.
 

ChuckD

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Well I’ll definitely press it since I recently purchased a small press. I probably won’t get at it until August though. Too much to do with the new vineyard and my timber frame building project.
 

Khristyjeff

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I am making rhubarb wine for the first time and have narrowed it down to three recipes. My current dilemma is two of the recipes call for “wine yeast”. I’ve looked at the different charts and have become overwhelmed with all of the information and options. I am wondering if some of you would be able to share what you type of yeast you found to work best for rhubarb wine? Thanks.
After studying this site and other books, I was convinced to stick with EC118. I did read where one guy was told Lalvin 71B was best because it lowers the acidity and ferments slowly at 65, but others had problems with stuck fermentations so I used EC1118 and had no problems. Yeastyboy reported on this site that he used Red Star Montrachet with his rhubarb recipe but I didn't see any results reported.
 

Rice_Guy

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Over the years I have had rhubarb get stuck twice at about 1.010. Last year’s 71b got stuck. The net those years is those carboys didn’t need to be back sweetened. I have used a variety of white/ fruit wine yeast as 71B, 4*4, 1118, malurvurn B, Pasteur Champaign.
I haven’t been running high alcohol so that wouldn’t be the issue. A guess is that the yeast would tolerate the high acid better if I dosed yeast nutrients higher as 125% to 150% of bottle recommendation. (possibly look at the Scott Labs handbook ranking yeast nitrogen vs strain requirements ) Rhurbarb juice is a low solids must.
I am wondering if some of you would be able to share what you type of yeast you found to work best for rhubarb wine?
 
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I am wondering if some of you would be able to share what you type of yeast you found to work best for rhubarb wine?
ANY wine yeast will work. I agree with @Khristyjeff regarding EC-1118 -- you never go wrong with it, as it's the workhorse of wine yeast.

You can drive yourself insane as overthinking is easy. Use EC-1118 this time and get it going. Read through the yeast descriptions and decide if you want to try something else for your next batch. Keep in mind there are no wrong choices -- it's gonna work, no matter which one you choose.
 

Vino Ventures

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I am after maintaining as much fruitiness of the rhubarb as possible and was leaning towards 71b. Needing high alcohol is not an issue for me either as I am interested in the maintaining as much flavor of the rhubarb. Which of the yeasts you tried yielded a dry, fruity wine. Was it a major issue to restart the must to get it to the finish line?
 

glennwing

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I make rhubarb wine every year and have never juiced.
15lbs that I cut up rhubarb into 2 inch chunks and freeze. I thaw the rhubarb and place it in a knee high nylon catching the juice in a fermenting pail. Add 96 ounce bottle of white grape juice. Add about 20 cups of sugar dissolved in boiling water. Water to 6 gallons. I shoot for an SG of 1.075. I squeeze the bag daily and stir while fermenting. It usually ferments dry to about .990. I have had a lot of compliments on this wine.
 

Vino Ventures

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I make rhubarb wine every year and have never juiced.
15lbs that I cut up rhubarb into 2 inch chunks and freeze. I thaw the rhubarb and place it in a knee high nylon catching the juice in a fermenting pail. Add 96 ounce bottle of white grape juice. Add about 20 cups of sugar dissolved in boiling water. Water to 6 gallons. I shoot for an SG of 1.075. I squeeze the bag daily and stir while fermenting. It usually ferments dry to about .990. I have had a lot of compliments on this wine.
Just curious, what yeast do you use?
 

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