Birch sap wine

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sheepshank
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Birch sap wine

Post: #277930 sheepshank
Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:43 am

Hi — has anyone tried making birch sap wine? I've been wanting to do it ever since I saw Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's programme A Cook on the Wild Side years ago.

So I've managed to tap a birch but I'm curious about his recipe. You just add 3 tbsp honey (per gallon) to the sap (+ yeast, lemon). Elsewhere I've read that the sap has a low sugar content so I'm wondering where the alcohol comes from. Other recipes online add a full kilo of sugar!

I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience of this.

Thanks.

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jamesintayside
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Re: Birch sap wine

Post: #278038 jamesintayside
Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:05 am

I have no experience of this but other recipes I have seen do not include honey.
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Crastney
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Re: Birch sap wine

Post: #278307 Crastney
Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:21 pm

3tbsp honey per gallon doesn't seem much, and yes, birch sap is low on sugar, compared to Maple it's about 10 times as dilute. And you have to get only the sweet stuff from the top layer of the bark - if you go too deep, you get a lot more diluted watery sap.

it does depend on how strong you want it - some do it like elderflower champagne, a quick fermentation for stuff that's on a par with cider at 5% - adding more fermentables will up the ABV, but you may find that it tastes of not much. Birch sap doesn't taste of much anyway, and sugar is a flavour dilutant, so...
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MKG2
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Re: Birch sap wine

Post: #279155 MKG2
Mon May 05, 2014 11:13 pm

I've never seen a birch sap wine recipe which didn't include around a kilogram of sugar in one form or another. Three tablespoons of honey is going to ferment out to, I guess, about 1% or even less alcohol. Not worth doing.

If you have loads of honey, make mead. Don't expect anything from birch sap in terms of fermentables - you'll be disappointed.

sheepshank
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Re: Birch sap wine

Post: #279161 sheepshank
Tue May 06, 2014 6:04 am

Thanks! As you predicted, fermentation was a bit rubbish. What I don't understand is how that recipe got into Hugh F-W's book, as he describes it as the best of all the home-made wines he tasted. There is an article in the Guardian about birch sap wine which says it's just not worth doing.

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MKG
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Re: Birch sap wine

Post: #279178 MKG
Tue May 06, 2014 11:00 pm

Yep - I've just read the Grauniad article and HFW's recipe. The ingredients are ...

Four litres (or just under a gallon) of Birch Sap

150ml (quarter of a pint) of water

Three tablespoons runny honey

Yeast

Juice of a lemon



... which is plain silly, as the only possible alcohol content is going to come from the honey, and that will give you something like an incredibly weak shandy with the keeping qualities of the same weak shandy. Other recipes around the net add between 2.5 and 3 lbs of sugar and, usually, some raisins.

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