Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Dandelion Wine - Part 3

On to the next step in our dandelion wine journey!   After 3 days of primary fermentation, time to strain all the citrus peels out, add some golden raisins (for body and flavor), and fit with an airlock for secondary fermentation (this is where all that special equipment comes in).  Here's what you'll need:

Special equipment needed for step 3:
- 1 gallon carboy
- twin airlock and carboy bung
(see here for example)
- fine mesh strainer (or cheesecloth lined collander)

- 1 lb. golden raisins

1.  After 3 days, strain wine using fine mesh strainer.  Pour into sterilized glass carboy (may want to use a funnel or a measuring cup with a spout to avoid spillage) and add the golden raisins. We decided it was easier to strain into a bowl with a spout, then pour through a funnel into the carboy.

2.  Fit carboy with airlock and allow to ferment.
Add water to the airlock first. This is how it let's air out but not in. 

In case you were wondering, it smells much better now! Very light and citrusy.

Plan ahead:

Special equipment needed for step 4: (It's starting to feel a lot like an organic chemistry experiment.  Which I am secretly loving... but don't tell.)
- auto-siphon and tubing
- second carboy or food grade bucket (carboy is easier so you can siphon straight from one to the other)

For part 4:  Once fermentation stops and wine clears, rack*, add remaining pint of water (and more if needed) to fill to the top, and refit airlock. 

*rack - this is a fancy term that means to siphon the liquid from one container to another, leaving any sediment (including pulp, raisins, dead yeast, etc.). This ensures that you will have a nice clear, pretty wine.  Apparently it's also essential for not messing up the flavor, but again, no expert here.  Most of the recipes I've looked at say to rack this wine every 2 months, then bottle after about 6 months.  Once bottled, the wine should age about another 6 months before taste testing.

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