My (Dried) Elderberry Wine Recipe.

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Becks the Elder

Country Wines.
Feb 23, 2009
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OK. So here, after many questions to forum members, mistakes on my part and much trial and error is my settled recipe.

Thanks to all those who, through advice and comment, lead me to this final version. I have now made about 50 Imp. Gallons using this recipe and am happy with the way the batches turned out. This recipe is an amalgamation and synthesis of several others and is, as far as I know, an original in its own right. I have received several questions, both here and elsewhere, regarding my recipe so I thought I'd post it in its finished version here.

If you wish to give this a go with fresh berries I have no idea what quantities you would use. - Sorry. Obviously the juice and sugar levels in fresh berries would all have some kind of impact on this recipe. If you use this recipe as a starting point and come to perfect a fresh berry recipe then post it and share it 'round.

Dried Elderberry Wine Recipe.

Makes 6 Imp. Gallons (1 Carboy + 1 Demijohn for top-ups)

Expected Alcohol: 14.6% ABV

Starting SG 1100
Expected Final SG 992

Elderberries (Dried – 1.25 Kg)
Raisins (1.25 Kg)*
White Granulated Sugar 7 Kg
Red Wine Yeast
Yeast nutrient 2 Level Tbsp.**
Boiling Water 22 ltrs.
Pectolase 3 Level Tbsp.**

*Raisins prepared as suggested by Luc -

Place Elderberries, Sugar & Minced Raisins directly in the bin and pour on the boiling water. Dissolve the sugar. Wait until cool (takes about 24 hours).

Add Pectolase.

Leave for 24 Hours.

Add the yeast & yeast nutrient.

Cover well and leave in a warm place or wrapped in brewbelt to ferment for 3 days only.

Strain off the liquid into secondary and fit a bung and airlock. Leave to ferment for approximately 4 weeks, or until fermented out. Rack.

Leave for a few days to ensure that the SG has reached 992 and fermentation has ceased and then add one Campden tablet and 1/4 teaspoon of Stopper per gallon**. Leave to settle for 2-3 weeks then Rack again. Leave to settle for two months and then rack the wine to storage (I bulk store mine in demijohns under airlock). The wine could be bottled at this point if so desired or left to mature in bulk. It can be drunk within 3 to 6 months of going into storage.

**Chemical dose will vary with make. Follow makers instructions.

More sugar can be used to raise the alcohol content if desired.

An alternative is Luc's Fresh Elderberry recipe. Here:

Thanks again to all those who contribute to the forum,

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Just multiply the dry weight in the recipe by 4 to find out how many fresh berries to use instead (

Fresh berries need to be prepared differently too, if I remember correctly Luc's recipe deals with prepping. Failing that searching the net should provide information on the various approaches taken by those making the wine with fresh berries.

Lastly, whether using fresh or dried berries you will almost certainly encounter the dreaded 'Elderberry Goo.' This clings to everything used in the early part of the process. If you use a few drops of olive oil and rub it onto the goo and then apply a little washing-up liquid the goo will dissolve quite easily when rinsed off with warm hot water. - Hope this tip helps. :)

Good luck,

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Water & Sugar - Modification.

I've found that the amount of sugar required to get the Starting SG is often just under 7Kg, I also use 23 litres of water as when making a 10 Gallon Batch the recipe yields enough to fill a 1 Gallon Demijohn for top ups.

These amendments are only slight but I thought I'd pass them on.

I've also substituted 2 Kg of white sugar for 2 Kg of Soft Light brown Sugar as this seems to produce a more complex taste. I'm still playing with this version.

Sometimes I use 1.5 Kg of dried berries but experiments with 1.75 Kg seemed to have increased the berry content too far for the wine. Whether using 1.25 or 1.5 Kg the wine is full flavoued and has plenty of body. At this point I guess it's just down to cost savings and personal preference. Next year I may try a batch using only 1Kg just to see how it turns out. - Watch this space...

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Thanks for sharing Becks. Too much converting for me though as im in the states! :)
It's been a little over three years since I made the original post and the recipe has been revised slightly in that time so here is the latest version. This recipe is pretty stable now and we have used it to produce more than 200 gallons of wine...

For 5 Gallons (UK Imp.).

Expected Alcohol: 13.6 - 14.0% ABV

Starting SG 1095 (Absolutely must not be higher than 1100 or lower than 1090)
Final SG 0.992

Elderberries (Dried – 1.25 Kg)
Raisins (1.25 Kg) (Soak Raisins over night then rinse to remove any oil, then mince in a blender)
White Granulated Sugar 4.4 Kg
Soft Light Brown Sugar 2 Kg
Red Wine Yeast – 1 Sachet
Yeast nutrient 2 Level Tbsp.
Boiling Water 23 ltrs.
Pectolase 3 Level Tbsp.


Place Elderberries, Sugar & Minced Raisins directly in a brew bucket and pour on boiling water. Dissolve the sugar. Cover and wait until cool (usually 24 hours).

Once the must is at room temperature add Pectolase.

Leave covered for 24 Hours.

Add the yeast & yeast nutrient.

Cover and leave in a warm place (or use brewbelt etc.) to ferment for 3-4 days only. Over this period stir and push down the cap three times a day.

Strain off the liquid into secondary and fit a bung and airlock. When SG reaches 992 and / or fermentation has ceased add one Campden tablet per gallon (also add fermentation stopper at this point if desired). Leave to settle for the rest of the month. Rack. Leave for two months. Rack to storage. Can be drunk 3 months later or left to mature. Tanin profile gradually subsides after the first year but the wine is perfectly drinkable after the initial 3 month ageing.

Smaller Quantities


Really keen to try out your eldeberry wine recipe with dried berries, but don't have the gear to make such a large quantity. If I want to try a gallon first, is it a case of dividing all quantities by 5 (sorry if that's a really stupid question)?


Really keen to try out your eldeberry wine recipe with dried berries, but don't have the gear to make such a large quantity. If I want to try a gallon first, is it a case of dividing all quantities by 5 (sorry if that's a really stupid question)?

Yep, everything by 5 except the yeast. Use a whole pack. Good luck with it, Arne.
We opened a bottle of dried American elderberry wine last night from 2008 to celebrate the start of the holidays. It has aged so well, smooth, fruity, intense color and that slightly different taste from the dried elderberries that is more richer than using the fresh ones. We dry our own, thinking about most of our berries from now on as it is just enough better than fresh to make it worth the extra work. I wonder if the dried elderberries sold in USA shops are really European elderberries shipped over here? We dont add any raisins, just up the elderberries to 1.6 kg (55 ounces) and simmer the berries in just water for 20 minutes, cool a little, dissolve the sugar in the ware water and carry on as above. Very cool you guys are so into the dried elders, they are still somewhat unknown over here. To bad we cant swap bottles!

Also, they make a most excellent mead, just swap honey for the sugar, backsweeten with a little more honey to refresh the honey taste and make a big batch as people really like this unique wine!

Hello! I decided to delurk and weigh in my my experience with the dried elderberry wine I was inspired to create after reading this and running into a pound of dried elderberries on sale at my LHBS!

I thought I'd share the specific recipe I followed and share the progress I tracked and whatever pictures I could find of the product.

Here's a cut-and-paste of the report for this 3 Gal batch from my database (sorry for the mixed units, I'm Canadian...):

Batch: Dried Elderberry I
Varietal: Elderberry
Batch Size: 3 Gal/11.4 L Carboy (15 bottles)
Date Started: Jul 23, 2013 4:00 PM
Cost of ingredients: $43.00

500 g dried elderberries [about a pound]
500 g raisins [about a pound]
2 kg table sugar [4.4 lbs]
1/3 cup lemon juice [for the creation of invert sugar]
3 tsp yeast nutrient
1 tsp yeast energizer
5 tsp pectic enzyme
1 fruit bag
1 pkg Bentonite
1 pkg Lalvin EC-1118 yeast

First, prepare the raisins by soaking them in hot water for 10-15 minutes then rinsing to flush away any sulphites. Ideally, the raisins should then be well chopped.

Next, prepare invert sugar by boiling 500-750 ml (2-3 cups) of water, reduce the heat slightly, add 1/3 cup of lemon juice, stir well, reduce heat to just under boiling and dissolve the sugar within it. Maintain the heat and stir for 20-30 minutes.

Put all the fruit into a suitable bag, interleaving with 2/3 of the pectic enzyme, and place this into the primary. Pour the very hot invert sugar mixture over the fruit bag. Let stand for a few hours (overnight, if possible) to rehydrate the fruit. Crush the fruit with a potato masher to thoroughly rupture the fruit skins. Remove the bag for a few minutes, sprinkle the remaining pectic enzyme over the bag and massage it in.

In the primary, create a bentonite slurry using 1-2 L (4-8 cups) of very very hot water. Dissolve in the yeast energizer and yeast nutrient. Add a few more litres of water, then add the fruit bag back to the primary.

Top off the water to just under the 12.5 L [3 gallon] mark. Test the SG and add additional sugar (in very small increments) if the SG is less than 1.075-1.080, but remember to stir thoroughly every time a little sugar is added. Try to get the final liquid level to 12.5 L [3 gallons].

Cover and fit an airlock [or use a well-secured towel over your primary] and ferment for about 3 days. If SG is less than 1.010 then rack to a secondary, squeezing the fruit bag very gently (otherwise, leave for a few more days and re-evaluate). Ferment to dryness -- it should be less than two weeks. Rack, stabilize and either add clarifiers, or, allow to stand for about a month then rack. Let stand for another 2-3 months. Filter and bottle, allowing to age for 3-6 months.

Current ABV level: 11.5%

Initial Chemistry:
SG: 1.080 TA: n/a % pH: n/a SO2: n/a ppm


Date	              Event        Value  Details/Observations
Jul 23, 2013 4:00 PM  Start	
Jul 24, 2013 4:35 PM  SG Reading   1.070  Slowly bubbling - punched down bag
Jul 26, 2013 12:30 PM SG Reading   1.016  Punched down cap - lots of activity
Jul 29, 2013 5:43 PM  SG Reading   0.994  Smells great!
Jul 29, 2013 5:55 PM  Racked              Racked to 3 gal carboy
Jul 29, 2013 5:56 PM  Stabilized          Clarified also
Aug 02, 2013 9:18 PM  Tasting Note        Definitely tastes of dried fruit - heavy prune notes

The racked 3 Gal Elderberry is on the left (6 Gal Dragon Blood in the rear, 3 Gal Strawberry on the right and two 5 Gal Mango Pulp in front) - I should get a better picture!

Label waiting to be applied when I bottle:
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The only thing I would suggest is to add sugar to bring your must to a specific gravity. You should never just add an x amount of sugar.
True - in my recipes database I always record what I used for a particular batch, but I try to note what the target initial SG should be :)
Man...they all look good...My mango was awesome, but as you I lost about a third to the lees, but what was left was excellent, not near as good as fig, but close...
I have no idea what an elderberry is.
But it has a nice color to the pic...
I'd like to hear more about your mango and your fig wines :h
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Hi Guys,

I love elderberry wine and am really excited about trying out Becks' recipe!

Just a couple of things I have noticed with it, from running it through the YoBrew wine calcs: The wine is likely to come out (with 250g elderberries, 250g raisins and 1280g sugar per UK Gallon), at 17% ABV, 0.45% acidity and 0.13% tannin!

Becks you don't state what red wine yeast you use, but most I don't think will ferment up to that sort of ABV, so is the recipe for a sweet wine or dry? I am thinking of reducing the acid by 80% to get a dry wine with ABV of about 13.5%, so Ill use 700g white sugar and 320g soft light brown sugar per UK gallon.

Also, the acidity is quite low for a red wine as it stands at 0.45%, with reds typically being between 0.5 to 0.65%. There is probably then scope for adding in some more "fruit". I would cap elderberries at 250g dried berries per UK gallon (as you have due to their high tannin content), so you could add in 500g of fresh fruit or berries, or 125g dried, or maybe half a litre of red grape juice. As the extra fruit would also contain sugar (say approx. 10% for fresh or 40% for dried), the total sugar content could be reduced further by 50g when adding in the extra fruit, (giving 660g white sugar and 280g light soft brown).

I think that Becks' recipe could be used as a really nice base, with these new sugar levels, with additions of combinations of extra fruit. Im going to trial a few combinations using the following recipes for a UK gallon (going off my thinking above):

660g White Sugar & 280g Soft Light Brown Sugar
Cover with water and boil to dissolve. Allow to cool, and add to demijohn along with:
250g Chopped Raisins OR 1 L Red Grape Juice
250g Dried Elderberries,
500g Fresh / Frozen / Tinned Blackberries / Blueberries / Cherries / Plums / Raspberries (If tinned account for extra white sugar) / 500ml Red Grape Juice / 125g Raisins,
2 Teaspoons Pectic Enzyme,
1 crushed campden tablet per gallon.
Leave for 24 hours, then add:
1 Teaspoon Yeast Nutrient,
Gervin GV2 Yeast.
Ferment on pulp for 4 days, strain and top up to a gallon.
Ferment to dry and mature for 6 to 12 months.

In US Gallons, that recipe would be:
560g White Sugar & 235g Soft Light Brown Sugar
Cover with water and boil to dissolve. Allow to cool, and add to demijohn along with:
210g Chopped Raisins OR 840ml Red Grape Juice
210g Dried Elderberries,
420g Fresh / Frozen / Tinned Blackberries / Blueberries / Cherries / Plums / Raspberries (If tinned account for extra white sugar) / 420ml Red Grape Juice / 105g Extra Raisins,
2 Teaspoons Pectic Enzyme,
1 crushed campden tablet per gallon.
Leave for 24 hours, then add:
1 Teaspoon Yeast Nutrient,
Gervin GV2 Yeast.
Ferment on pulp for 4 days, strain and top up to a gallon.
Ferment to dry and mature for 6 to 12 months.

The extra fruit could always be added after the initial 3 weeks when fermentation has slowed down a bit, as this may retain a bit more of the flavour of the late added fruit.

Cant wait to try Becks recipe and a few different combinations of my amended version!
Evening All. Thanks sgx2 for weighing in with a tweaked recipe - look forward to hearing how that develops - and in particular how it tastes this time next year!

I made some from Becks the Elder's recipe in March 2013 - I'm not really prolific, and a bit of a procrastinator hence my delayed input. Anyways, tasted it after 12 months and again in May (2 bottles from a batch of 12): definitely tastes like wine - not a bad start - though unusual would be a fair description.

I'm slightly frustrated by the slight effervescence which isn't actually unpleasant, but which definitely identifies it immediately as not a typical red wine (and ever the optimist, this is what I'm going for). The taste is a little musky, and as I've not got a bottle open as I type, as my memory is poor, and as my palate and vocabulary also don't help, that's probably as good as I can offer at this point.

September means 18 months so I shall open another bottle and give the forum a progress report!


In December I made a batch from fresh elderberries, from this recipe:

I love this chap's obvious passion and apparent expert input, though I suspect I messed up on the citric acid bit. It doesn't help if you're colour blind and are trying to gauge the colour of the liquid vs. how much citric acid to add... More news on this as the winter months take hold.

anakeimai, unless you meant for your wine to be sparkling, it sounds like you didn't degas it enough. You may want to decant the next bottle and let it sit for 30 mins before drinking in order to see the difference.

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