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Massive Rhubarb Plant

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Wolfpup

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Hi folks,

We have a rhubarb plant (just one) that is over 25 years old. This thing produces enough rhubarb for our small community and I still end up composting a bunch in the fall.

This year, its already over 3 feet tall and two stalks is enough to make an overflowing pie. Not complaining, the taste is wonderful. It also seems the more I use the faster it reproduces.

Hubby and I decided its probably time to try our hands at making wine. We haven't got a clue what we are doing or have any of the equipment. I did watch a couple of videos but have a bunch of questions.

I went out this morning and brought in 12 stalks, chopped it up and just got it in the freezer. This was just over 8 lbs. The video said the fruit breaks down better with the sugar if its frozen.

I was planning on going to town today to get some supplies. Can someone give me a list of the necessary basics.

The videos said to use glass, not plastic but a plastic bucket is ok right? Then a large glass thing for it to set in. And how much sugar would go with 8lbs of rhubarb? And, and and?? I'll stop there.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

kyle5434

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This is a recipe I found online (for 3 gallons) and saved for when I eventually get a rhubarb plant to grow...


12 pounds frozen, finally chopped rhubarb
sugar
1 bottle (64 oz or so) white grape juice
1 teaspoon wine tannin
fermaid-k
1 package white wine yeast
pectic enzyme
k-meta
medium toast oak chips


Let frozen rhubarb thaw in refrigerator.
Add water to ~2.5 gallons, then add 3/16 tsp of k-meta.
After 12 hours, add pectic enzyme.
After another 12 hours, add sugar and water to get ~3.5+ gallons with S.G 1.08-1.09.
Adjust acid if necessary to 3.5 pH.
Add tannin, yeast nutrient and pitch yeast.

Rack to secondary when gravity gets to 1.02.

When fermentation has finished, rack to carboy with 3/16 tsp. k-meta and 1/3 cup MT oak chips, and bulk age for 3 months. (If needed, use Chardonnay for topping up).

After 3 months, dose with additional 3/16 tsp. K-meta, degas, use clarifier if needed (sparkolloid, Super Kleer, etc.), after a week or so rack off & bottle.
 
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sour_grapes

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Here is the advice of a (literal) pro:

I make rhubarb wine almost every year and have made it a number of different ways. I now have developed my preferred method which I'll describe below.

To let you know I do like a drier style rhubarb wine with lots of rhubarb body and flavor.

I harvest my rhubarb throughout spring and early summer. As I harvest it I slice it in my food processor and freeze them in 1 gallon ziploc bags. When I get ready to make the wine I will take all the rhubarb out of the freezer and add it to my primary container to thaw. I will add some bisulfite to the rhubarb at this point. Once thawed (2-3 days depending on how much) I will strain off the juice and squeeze the rhubarb as much as possible. I will then add the same volume of water to the pulp, mix it up well and press it out once more. For example, if I get 2 gallons of free juice after thawing I'll add 2 gallons of water to the rhubarb pulp. Mash it up and press then press it out.

I do not like to ferment with the pulp as I think it gives it too much vegetative flavors.

To the juice I will add enough sugar to bring the SG up to about 1.090. I will adjust the acid if it is too low. I like a TA around 6-7 g/L tartaric. Add nutrients and yeast and ferment away.

Once it is well cleared and aged I'll do some taste tests with various sugar levels. Some I have left dry, others I've made anywhere from 1% sugar to 4% sugar. It all depends on the balance that year.
 

Wolfpup

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Oh my, I understood about 10 words in that post... rhubarb, water, sugar and chardonnay. Well maybe only 4. Really guys, have no idea what those numbers and half those words mean.

I know bucket and glass thingy. But there was an "S" type thing on to of the glass thing. If I pick up a bucket and some sugar, but how much sugar. We actually prefer honey, will that work?

Oh boy. I might be too new.

But this....

This is a recipe I found online (for 3 gallons) and saved for when I eventually get a rhubarb plant to grow...
Just let me know, can ship you probably more than enough for the next few years.
 

Wolfpup

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Here is the advice of a (literal) pro:
Ahhh, and this recipe says not to put the sugar in right away until after the pulp is out. Hmmm ok. We do like the taste of rhubarb, cooked or otherwise, does that make a difference.

And interesting note about the 'vegetative taste", always thought of rhubarb as more of a fruit, like lemons and limes.
 

meadmaker1

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Juice the rhubarb freeze it and thaw it. I was shocked at how much juice it holds, 6 lbs got me 2.5 qrts of juice.
Add sugar to juice to desired specific gravity. Measured with a hydrometer (they re cheap get one). If you take a picture of it floating you cant record it wrong.
I like d47 or 71b yeast for mead but would probably use them with sugar too.
You ll need around 2 lbs of honey per gallon..
 

Wolfpup

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Ha ha, boy do I feel better (more educated) now. Hi Trevor, no not in Vancouver, up here in the interior.

Found a wine making shop and it was nice and quiet. Spent over an hour with a lovely lady who had the patience of a saint and the intuition to elaborate when my face went blank.

She sold me the wine making equipment (very different from a wine making kit, which I had asked for) that one needs to get started. A bucket, a 23 liter (6.5 gallon) carboy (how's that for terminology) a hydrometer, the syphoning hoses (a special one that doesn't allow the sludgy stuff to come up), an air lock, big spoon, a wine stealer, cheese cloth, yeast and big bag of potassium metabisulfite. She said the Campden tablets have to be crushed anyway, just use a 1/3 of a teaspoon and you're good to go. Half the price of the tablets. She also showed me how to preclean everything with this potassium stuff in a squirt bottle.

Feel so much better, amazing what a little knowledge will do. She didn't have a lot of experience with rhubarb though and could not tell me about honey.

So Meadmaker, I cut up 8 lbs of rhubarb. Based on what you got it should probably get us around 4 quarts of juice, maybe? The videos I saw, they put the sugar over the frozen rhubarb and let it unthaw together. Sounds like that might not be a good idea? And if it is ok, how much sugar would you use for the unthawing/extracting process? It seemed to me that the sugar is what broke the rhubarb down. Does honey do this as well?

I may be out in left field here. Please bare with me. Truly, the only time the word wine has come out of this mouth is when someone has sat a glass in front of me. Have never even bought a bottle. Hubby has, but not that often. We do like it though.
 

meadmaker1

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Freezing wilts the rhubarb. Drain off the juice toss the stalks.
I used my press, I might have gotten I pint. Throwing that stuff away now will save time and trouble later, as well as clearing faster
 

meadmaker1

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So heres the way this goes
Youll go back and buy a 5 gallon carboy in a few weeks so you can rack off of lees and have a full car boy. ( siphon clearer wine off of the muddy yuck that settles on the bottom) you will want car boys to stay full.
Then you ll buy another or 2 so you wont have to wait to start another batch and then a floor corker and a ph meter along with a couple 3 gallon carboys, bottle brushes... I havent found the end yet

Yeast did she sell you yeast , yeast energizer and yeast nutrient
 

Wolfpup

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Hee hee. Something tells me you are a very wise meadmaker.

At this point, for me, it's just getting settled with one step at a time. So, I have 8 lbs of chopped rhubarb that went into the freezer this morning. Tomorrow morning I will take it out, put it in the big bucket and.... put in sugar or no. Or don't put it in the bucket, let it unthaw and it will magically make me juice? Then squeeze and toss the stuff away. So sorry, I'm all confused again.

And yes, she sold me yeast. Its called "Lalvin EC-1118". I don't recall her saying anything about nutrient or energizer?
 

meadmaker1

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Just thaw and drain. Poke some holes in freezer bag set in a strainer over a big bowl. And yes magic. Sugar after juice.
1118 will do the trick. Later youll want yo read up on yeasts and choose them for what they can add and try to match them to your type.
I would shoot for 12-13 % alcohol
I would get some ferm aid k and follow directions
Jackkeller.com has a good read on yeast. I recomend reading it. Then you decide with some knowledge.
 

Wolfpup

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Ok, thank you so much. This I understand. Could I put a cheese cloth around the frozen mass and let it drain. Then just squish the cloth and toss the stuff? I will read the yeast info you directed me to. Then the juice will go in the bucket with sugar. How much sugar?

Oh, and we also have an ancient Italian plum tree, 36 ice cream buckets last year. Our pear tree is just 4 years old and gave us more than we could eat last year and I have 10 three year old strawberry plants in the garden. They are ever bearing plants. If this rhubarb wine works out and your foretelling wisdom manifests, I can see us drinking a batch of strawberry rhubarb at Christmas time. How many more carboys do I need? Bah, worry about that later. We also have a couple of apple trees, honey crisp and jonigold and a crab apple.
 

Wolfpup

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Hey, that Jackkeller.com is a real estate site. No we are not selling. :)

Copied and pasted what you had there. Maybe we're missing a letter or something.
 

meadmaker1

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The 90 is 1.090 sg that is a good target for fruit wines. Your hydrometer is your friend IMG_1048.JPG
 

meadmaker1

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Rhubarb plumb is on deck for me if I can get enough free plumbs. Late freeze last year. This year looks good though.
My strawberry from last yrs berries still isnt bottled. Im playing with adjusting taste. Getting close though maybe this christmas for last years wine.
 

Wolfpup

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The 90 is 1.090 sg that is a good target for fruit wines. Your hydrometer is your friend

I totally believe this sentence however I do not understand it. Are you able to translate this Winese to English for me?

There is sugar in a 10 lb bag. I have a measuring cup. Can you tell me how much to put in it? And then if possible are you able to provide the ratio for honey. I will talk to one of our bee farmers and see if I can get what's needed. If not sugar it is.
 

meadmaker1

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1.090 lines up close to 12% alcohol
There are posts that tell how much sugar it takes to raise sg a predictable amount. I ll look for it tomorrow. Honey well take about two lbs per gallon. I recommend starting with sugar because its cheaper.
 
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