Elderflower wine disaster?

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Kezia10
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Elderflower wine disaster?

Post: #236555 Kezia10
Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:31 pm

Hi all,
I went out this morning to collect elderflowers, determined to make wine. I'm using Andy Hamilton's recipe as written in the Guardian, just done the first stage so far - adding plucked flowers to boiling water and lemon zest. I did that about 5 hours ago, went to take a look, and the whole mix has turned black! I'm fairly sure this isn't right, what's happened?!

Help, please...was so looking forward to trying this and I'll struggle to find many more flowers if I have to try again! :dontknow:

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Re: Elderflower wine disaster?

Post: #236592 frozenthunderbolt
Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:40 am

have you got it in a copper container?
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MKG
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Re: Elderflower wine disaster?

Post: #236593 MKG
Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:59 am

Definitely not right. I think FTB's probably hit the nail on the head - but whatever the cause, it's not right. This is the first time I've ever said it, but I'm afraid it's a down-the-sink job.

Mike
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Kezia10
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Re: Elderflower wine disaster?

Post: #236604 Kezia10
Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:15 am

No, it's an enamelled stock pot, and the flowers are from the same trees as I made cordial from a few days ago - which is a perfectly normal colour! I don't understand...I thought that recipe would work but I'll go somewhere else next time. Ah well...

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Re: Elderflower wine disaster?

Post: #236624 Kezia10
Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:53 am

Edit - it's actually very dark green. Any ideas?

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Re: Elderflower wine disaster?

Post: #236627 boboff
Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:09 am

If it still smells of Cat pee it may be alright, use your nose I would say, very difficult to decide remotely.
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Re: Elderflower wine disaster?

Post: #236676 frozenthunderbolt
Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:56 pm

Bizzare. Dark brown i could understand if you used an abbundance of flowers. Black would be a copper-acid-sulpher reaction (campden tablets used?). Green? Alum perhaps in combo with the plant material - thinking in terms of dyes and mordants; if the enamel scratched/chipped at all, also what colour is it?

Anyways, I would be inclined to chuc it im sorry. In case it is a bacterial infection i would bake your enamelware fairly hot for 30-60 min and sterilise what ever else you used with boiling water and/or a strong metabisulphate solution.
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Re: Elderflower wine disaster?

Post: #236755 Andy Hamilton
Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:03 pm

The two things that Its easy to underestimate is the need for patcience and the importance of steralizing the equipment beforehand and I'm sure if you did try another recipe elsewhere but still didn't steralize you'd get the same problems. So just to add to emphasize what Jed and MKG are asking, did you steralize beforehand?

I've had a lot of people contacting me about problems with elderflower cordials, wines and champagnes and every single one of them didn't steralize proparally - so if it is that you are in good company. Its easy to do and bacteria or wild yeasts that will spoil can lurk in the tiniest scratch or patch of dirt.

I'm also wondering if you took all the flowers off the stems with a fork? Turning green, perhaps there is some wood left in there?

If you can't find enough flowers try using the same amount of red clover flowers I've spoted plenty around at the moment and they make for a pretty decent wine.
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Kezia10
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Re: Elderflower wine disaster?

Post: #236757 Kezia10
Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:39 pm

Well I sterilised everything - I'm used to making jams, chutneys etc so used to doing that - but I did use my (well-scrubbed) fingers to take the flowers off - a fork just wasn't working for me. It's because I used my fingers that I know there isn't any wood in there! Obviously something went wrong somewhere though! Very sad...I went and gathered some more flowers but couldn't bring myself to try the wine again because I couldn't face the green. I have got some very nice - non-green - cordial to make me feel better about the whole thing!

Re red clover - I saw a ton of the stuff when I was out yesterday, how would I go about making wine from that? What does it taste like?

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Andy Hamilton
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Re: Elderflower wine disaster?

Post: #236760 Andy Hamilton
Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:17 pm

Follow the same recipe but swap the same amount of elderflower for red clover.
First we sow the seeds, nature grows the seeds then we eat the seeds. Neil Pye
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Re: Elderflower wine disaster?

Post: #236831 frozenthunderbolt
Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:18 am

FWIW when i made elderBERRY wine i got a rime of green/yellow waxy scum left on my barrell that was VERY hard to shift - they are bizzare beasties - not the flora of the Fey Folk for nowt methinks
Jeremy Daniel Meadows. (Jed).

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Re: Elderflower wine disaster?

Post: #261642 Poochy Pie
Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:53 am

Hi

Mine has done exactly the same. First time making elderflower wine and followed same recipe in a sterilsed plastic bucket container. Within hours the whole liquid has gone a very dark green/black colour!!!! I had carefully picked all the flowers by hand as well - ani ideas?

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Re: Elderflower wine disaster?

Post: #261653 MKG
Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:46 pm

Another one! It's frustrating, as the entire wine-making fraternity hasn't the foggiest notion what causes it. I'm almost tempted to try and force it to happen - but I wouldn't know how. It MAY - just may - be an odd oxidation reaction. If that really was the case, I'd carry on with the fermentation to see if the discolouration drops out - there's nothing to lose.

If it smells off, then dump it. If it doesn't, then let it run. I suspect that you may end up with an elderflower wine just like any other.

Mike
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Re: Elderflower wine disaster?

Post: #261707 Poochy Pie
Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:37 am

Hi

One thing i did notice was that there was lots of black fly mainly on the stems but there were some amongst the flowers. I did carefully pick the fly off but if some of the black fly got into the container would they give off a black dye when covered with boiling water? Should i have washed the flower heads before using - i thought it would be too difficult to pick the flowers if damp?

Poochy Pie

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Re: Elderflower wine disaster?

Post: #261709 MKG
Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:43 am

No - definitely not blackfly dye. You could have a few hundred of those in your brew and they wouldn't alter the colour. They might not taste very nice though :iconbiggrin:

Anyway, they'll have been killed and sterilised by the boiling water and you can easily strain out their remains.

Mike
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