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Re: Turnip wine ( and others)

Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:43 pm
by ina
The very worst wine I've ever tasted was celery.... Yuk. It's about 40 years ago, but I still remember it!

Re: Turnip wine ( and others)

Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:00 am
by MKG
How strange that is, Ina (and hello, by the way - it's a long time since we last spoke). Celery wine is one of those things I've never made but always thought would be pretty good. I have images in my head of a very light white with just a hint of that celery scent and flavour which makes celery nice to eat. Still - I once had images in my head of a very heavy, high-alcohol blackberry wine with about six pounds of fruit to the gallon. I did make that one. It was truly awful.

Re: Turnip wine ( and others)

Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:22 am
by ina
There wasn't just a hint of celery. And I do like to eat it...

Oh - and hello back to you! :wave:

Re: Turnip wine ( and others)

Posted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:58 am
by BernardSmith
Apologies for coming to this thread late in the day but all the talk of disastrous wines made from vegetables suggests to me more about problems with wine making processes than with the raw materials themselves. Now, it is possible that turnips (or swedes or rutabagas) don't make great wines but whatever they make should be drinkable. No one here offered a recipe or a process and I have yet to try making a wine from turnips but this thread has made that a challenge (see my post on making a very drinkable wine from marrows (or courgettes).
What I would do is chop , Oh, I dunno - 5 -6lbs (2.5 K) of turnip and boil it in a gallon ***or more (4 L) of water for 20 minutes or so , strain out the vegetable and then add enough sugar to raise the gravity (density) of this tea to 1.090 (probably about 2.25 lbs (1 K +/-) of sugar) , add nutrient and a wine or ale yeast (D47 perhaps or a saison yeast - given the peppery notes that a turnip has) . I would let this ferment until dry, rack (transfer) to a secondary fermenter and add some lemon juice and tannin (perhaps some toasted oak) and allow to age for a month or two. Back sweeten if necessary. Will keep you informed..

*** I want to be able to transfer (rack) a gallon to the secondary so boiling will evaporate off some liquid and some liquid will be lost in the vegetable while straining will lose a little more too so I will probably boil the turnips in about 1.25 gallons of water.

Re: Turnip wine ( and others)

Posted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:46 am
by MKG
Well, it's not so much disastrous wine made from vegetables, Bernard, but wines from those particular vegetables. I wouldn't even consider a potato wine because of the inherent starch problems and, although its not so obvious, you can get similar starch problems with turnips and swede. But it's certainly basic flavour which would deter me when it comes to turnips and swedes. You make a very strong point about good technique overcoming the weakness of certain vegetables and you're correct - a good knowledge of the additives and adjustments which will alter final flavour is a fine thing to have. But then it comes down to how hard you want to have to work to make that alteration.
Strawberry wine, for instance, is well worth making but you have to work hard to ensure that a lot of the strawberry flavour isn't lost during fermentation. You still get a good wine even if you don't make that effort, but it will be nothing compared with one from an extensively nurtured must. For that strawberry flavour, I'd go whole hog some of the time - but not all of the time because even a neglected strawberry wine is worth having.
In the end, then, it's a matter of the reason for the existence of a home-made wine. If wine making is your hobby - you do it because you enjoy the process as much as the outcome - then I agree with you. It would, indeed, be a very interesting challenge to make the attempt to entice a worthwhile flavour from a turnip which could survive the rigours of fermentation and maturation. I would have made - in fact I DID make - such efforts a couple of decades and more ago. But nowadays, all I want is a reasonably pleasant drink for next to nothing which I can produce with little effort and even less cost, and my extensive rhubarb patch and largish orchard provide all the raw materials I need to do just that. Yes, I occasionally go into research mode (I have an eight-year old peapod wine which I have tasted every year since it came into existence. It's STILL characterless) because occasionally the fancy takes me. And I will be VERY interested to read reports of your results (your post seems to hint that you've decided to go for it, and more power to your elbow). But I suspect that the outcome will be similar to my peapod attempt even with your best efforts.
However, I will read any reports of your progress with avid interest even though I think that trying to remove the bouquet of cabbage water is best achieved by enthusiastic use of the drains.
Best of luck.

PS - I think you may be a tad over the top with the amount of turnip. Looking around the net (at the Jack Keller site in particular) would suggest something more of the order of 4 to 4.5 lbs. However - it's your recipe.

Re: Turnip wine ( and others)

Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:29 pm
by BernardSmith
Hi MKG - and thanks for your comments. Much appreciated. In fact I started this wine last night with 5 lbs of rutabaga (I know this vegetable as turnip although in the states they call the small yellow root "turnip". Despite the apparent number of awards Keller's site suggests his wines have won I find his approach to produce less than flavor-rich wines. He consistently lists less fruit than a wine calls for. No one in the right mind would dilute grapes with water to make a grape wine but Keller's approach is precisely that with berries and other juice rich fruits. So when he suggests a right turn I invariably turn left. Just sayin'.
I tossed in 2.5 lbs of table sugar as the "soup" or tea boiled and added about 1.5 inches of fresh ginger. There is about 1.5 gallons in the kettle (including the volume displaced by the root.
In the end I left the vegetable in the must as it cooled overnight. I added 1/2 t of tannin and 1/2 t of nutrient (about 4 or 5 times the suggested amount but I always add far more nutrient than is called for) and this morning I rehydrated a pack of Belle Saison yeast and pitched it into the bucket.
Definitely no cabbage smell. The must (now the wine, since I added the yeast) is a lovely golden sand color. My plan now is to leave the vegetable in the wine for another week (stirring a couple of times each day to remove CO2) and then rack the wine off the fruit to allow it to continue to ferment if more time is needed. My basement is about 65 F which is a mite low for Saison yeast but I have an aquarium heater so I will use that to heat a small "bath" to about 78 F and so encourage the peppery notes that are the signature of Saison fermentations.

Re: Turnip wine ( and others)

Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:50 pm
by MKG
I looked it up. US rutabaga = English swede (if you see what I mean) and Scottish neep (as in neeps and tatties).

Re: Turnip wine ( and others)

Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:32 pm
by BernardSmith
Born in Scotland and grew up in Glasgow but lived for five years in Aberdeen.. so I am familiar with neeps. We called what I now call a rutabaga a turnip and for my family a turnip was a neep although I don't think we ever used that word ourselves although when we read it we "knew" it was the large purple turnip. (I assumed that "neep" was a corruption of tur-neep). Go figure.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turnip_(terminology)

Re: Turnip wine ( and others)

Posted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:43 pm
by BernardSmith
Here's an update on my turnip wine, now about 6 weeks old and as you can see (sorry the photo is on its side and I cannot seem to upright it) the wine is quite clear with a lovely yellow tint.
turnip.jpg
turnip.jpg (535.34 KiB) Viewed 2464 times
At the bottom of the carboy is sediment some of which comes from the vegetable but much comes from the yeast.

Re: Turnip wine ( and others)

Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:29 am
by Green Aura
Looks lovely. I'll await the taste test though. :wink:

Re: Turnip wine ( and others)

Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:42 am
by MKG
Very good clarity for its age. Nice one, Bernard. As for taste, I'll join the queue behind GA. I'm sure you'll let us know. I'm also sure that you know that it's worth tasting at a very early stage to establish the benchmark for improvement over time. It promises to be interesting.

Re: Turnip wine ( and others)

Posted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:29 am
by Flo
I can't understand attempting wine with unknown results when the ingredient is perfectly edible in its original form. :dontknow:

Re: Turnip wine ( and others)

Posted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:35 am
by Green Aura
That's probably because you don't partake of alcohol, Flo.

I think I'd rather have a go at these things at a time of glut instead of wasting good food. Once anyway. :lol:

Re: Turnip wine ( and others)

Posted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:36 am
by Green Aura
Although making sauerruben would probably be more my thang.

Re: Turnip wine ( and others)

Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:42 pm
by BernardSmith
Making wine is simply one (delicious) way of preserving fruits and vegetables - as is making pickles... but the difference is that wine can be enjoyed with a meal, with dessert, before a meal, after a meal, relaxing after yardwork.. Pickles tend to be "coded" for more limited times.. :lol:

As to a taste test - I wasn't planning on doing that for another few weeks but I may take a wee sample this evening after clearing the snow we are expecting today - around 7-11 inches (about 1/5 - 1/3 m) . Need to see, anyway, whether this wine is going to taste better brut dry or semi sweet.