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Final Update: Dandelion Wine - It's all over but the DP toast, the sippin', and the occasional hangover. (Pics)

A pictorial of the process of making dandelion wine.

This is what 12-13 quarts of dandelion petals looks like.

Do you have any idea how grueling a process it was to get a pile of pure petals that big? Lol. And you don't even see all of them in the pile, there's two more quarts separate on a piece of cheesecloth on the table across the room for the smaller pot.

All put together in the bucket it smells awesomely like iced tea.

It's in primary fermentation now. I'll add more pics over the next few months.

Enjoy.

Pic Update 4/9/14: Strained the pulp out the primary fermentation bucket, loaded up a 6.5 gallon carboy to start the secondary ferment with about 5 3/4 gallons, topped of with a little tap water/(pretty much spring water) to fill the empty space in the carboy. Now it's the 30-60 day waiting game.

5/10/14 Pic Update:

Racked the wine for the first time today after it had fallen pretty much clear in the last month. A taste test a few weeks ago at first was disappointing, it had fermented to total dryness and was scarily nasty tasting - no sugar at all left and tasted like bitter citrus, also seemed to possibly lack in minimum necessary alcohol content (to maintain a preservative effect), and was sulfur smelling because of the campden tablets.

So at that point I added a few pounds of sugar dissolved in about a quart of water to do two things - sweeten it a tad and let the yeast keep making a little more alcohol.

After racking it today, and snagging a sample and degassing it for another taste test, I'm happy to say the flavor is definitely improving. Still a long way to go of racking and aging, but I'm now a little more confident that it should end up pretty good if it continues to improve like this.

Now we wait 60 days for the next rack.

Pic Update 10/10/14: The wine had cleared very well after 60 days and no further sediment precipitated out of it, so I decided to just let it bulk age for 5 months versus another rack after 60 days. Today after that several months of aging, the wine was lightly metabisulfated and racked one more time to be stabilized via cold stabilization at about 34 degrees for two weeks, and then bottling.

***********************************

Final Pic Update: 10/26/14

All bottled up, and after 2 weeks of cold stabilization, it's definitely good. Absolutely worth the work and the wait. There isn't any need to sweeten it. It's good as it is. It just keeps getting better as time passes. I look forward to many days of toasts, enjoyment, hangovers, and maybe even a few off guard morning pukes. (Recommend avoiding DP trolling mischief on these mornings. Lol.)

And without further ado - A toast to DP, and everyone here - May your journeys in life and liberty be fruitful.

After sterilizing the bottles, equipment, and bottling:

23 bottles of Dandelion Wine 'couch ouch' days:

Here's to y'all:

Album of Full Process:



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bigmikedude's picture

Bump for pictures update 4/9/14

Bump

You are an inspiration

What a fantastic post.

What a great thing to be adventuresome, busy and useful. I have a neighbor like this, always doing something cool with his time; and generous with his knowledge. :)

I'm intrigued and will come back to this handy-dandy post (eww. .. that's pretty bad) if i ever get the gumption to actually try this myself! Looking forward to the updates - thanks so much for this.

time is wasted in minutes not hours

bigmikedude's picture

Thanks eslynn

Hope it is useful as a resource if you ever try it.

Slow Fermentation?

I just started a batch myself. I used a pack of EC-1118. Are you experiencing a slow fermentation? With some of my other wines, I've noticed heavy CO2 production, but with this one it seems less obvious, so I wanted to ask if you're seeing the same thing with your batch. I know it's working because when I stir it, it bubbles...

Thanks.

Just checked it this morning

and it's bubbling like I expect it to. Apparently it just took a day or two to get into the process. Thanks for the help.

I do have a hydrometer, but I prefer to test it at regular intervals and rely on observation to make sure it's going properly as it's less invasive, less risk of contamination of the must/wine.

My fruit wines have always gotten going faster and more aggressively, so I was a little concerned. Glad to see that it looks like it's going to be fine.

bigmikedude's picture

Yesterday it was slow being the first day that I added the yeast

but this morning it's going intensely. It sounds like Rice Krispies when you open the lid and it is actually putting off warmth when you hold a hand over it. I may have to move it somewhere cooler, it's at eighty degrees and Pasteur Champagne yeast has a temp range of 59-86. It's getting too close for comfort. I added a picture to the slideshow - the raisins are all puffed up and floating now too.

I had to open some kitchen doors to let some cool air in and some heat out. My stepson must not have known it was 50 degrees outside and stoked the wood burner this morning before he left which he usually does for us every morning through winter. But it seems he apparently didn't know he didn't have to this morning. I woke up to a 90+ degree kitchen. : /

EDIT: I just moved it to the basement for a while to cool down a few degrees.

Do you have a hydrometer?

The best way to tell if it is fermenting is to check the specific gravity daily. Hydrometers are cheap at any wine/beer making store, like 5-12 bucks. Just drop it right in the fermenter and read the number. For example when you first start if you are reading 1.08 the next day should be 1.07, then 1.06 and so on. Have Fun, and if you need help taste testing I'm in Milwaukee...

Death to all pandas

...

...

that's so awesome

You are my gastronomic hero.

If you have any left over, you should try making dandelion vodka.

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

Michael Nystrom's picture

Mike, that looks

Awesome.

You really know how to enjoy life.

He's the man.
bigmikedude's picture

Lol... Thanks bud, I'll enjoy life a whole lot more

when I'm opening a bottle next year and chugging it ice cold on a 90 degree summer day instead of making them.

Stay ready, you and Sam might be in for one of those drunk social calls. Don't call 911 if I stop answering. It's just a pass out.

deacon's picture

patiently waiting

For all the cock eyed posts/comments
Imagine being in the same room,everyone asking
"you looking at me"? and no one knows
D

If we deny truth before your very eyes,then the rest of what we have to say,is of little consequence

jrd3820's picture

How long does the fermentation process take?

I think that would be frustrating for me. All that work...and then you have to wait...I don't like waiting.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

Well I say don't wait. If you

Well I say don't wait. If you want to experiment with it. Pick the flowers, get it started. And then when your done, go buy some wine...

bigmikedude's picture

There are different stages of it

The first (the Primary - in the bucket or crock) might be a few days to a few weeks, depending on the recipe and what the wine is being made from. Then the Secondary, where it gets strained and transferred to a glass carboy with an airlock, leaving the original pulp and solids behind, which might be a few weeks or months until fermentation of the strained liquid has about stopped and the fine sediment settles. Then it has to be racked (siphoned) into new carboys every so often (few weeks to a few months each time again depending on the recipe) leaving any more sediment and yeast (lees) behind until it is stabilized, cleared, and ready to bottle.

Then after bottling, it should be left to age at least a half year or more (although it often doesn't last that long ; } Lol )

When I was a young teenager

My Dad wanted to make dandelion wine. He had a large crock and as a family we had all gone to an open field and picked the heads off hundreds of plants. My mom bought all kinds of ingredients and the crock got filled and left to ferment (I guess) .Time went by and Dad decided it was ready to be bottled. My mom and Grandma were left in charge of this. Well their filling skills were not all that great and they kept over filling the bottles and would slurp off the excess from the tops of the bottles.

Neither of them EVER drank and as my mom told it they got STINKING DRUNK!! The rest of the family found them both sitting on the laundry room floor giggling at everything.The wine turned to syrup and got thrown away..or so the story goes..

Laurelai

Yummmm!

One of the best wine I ever had was 20 year old dandelion wine.

I'm curious about the recipe.

I'm curious about the recipe. Looks like you added orange, lime, raisins? No sugar?

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be. Albert Einstein

bigmikedude's picture

Here is the recipe I'm "generally" using -

Dandelion Wine #3- (scroll down a bit)
http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/dandelio.asp

The recipe at the link above is the basics for a one gallon run (less the standard wine making procedure details). But I'm going for a five gallon run. Being that all of the recipes I found after searching, are all extremely similar with only minute variations, I used a substitute in this recipe for the white grape concentrate, replacing it with three of the boxes of golden raisins. (Golden raisins being called for instead, in a few other recipes as a body enhancer.) Also changed the orange to lemon ratio to about even instead of two lemons to one orange. Some call for more lemons, some call for more oranges, some only oranges. After increasing the recipe for five gallons worth, I split the lemons and oranges to be about 50/50, and decided to include only one of the limes because after peeling one, I remembered how strong limes are and that they can be overpowering in things.

As far as sugar, there's 2 1/2 Lbs, per gallon of must for a total of 13 Lbs, and the yeast was Pasteur Champagne yeast.

Also, I chose the recipe with the pasteurization method of boiling the petals so I could avoid using campden (metabisulfite) tablets for as long as possible. I'm not big on the chemicals, but when it comes to bottling it and making all this work not go bad on me, I'll use them through the rest of the process for this wine so it stores confidently for years. I have no intention of doing this again every year as tedious as it is. Lol. That's why I decided on a five gallon run this one time.

Sounds yummy! Be sure to let

Sounds yummy! Be sure to let us know how it turns out.

I'd offer to trade a bottle of yours for a bottle of my pie cherry wine but BATF would be likely to send a SWAT to my house, and I like my front door. And I love my dog.

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be. Albert Einstein