Friday, July 3, 2015

Cup O' Cheer Rhubarb Wine

I don't repeat recipes.  I'm famous for not doing so--however, this is the third year I have made a batch of my rhubarb wine, and the amounts made are getting larger.

Even though the overall recipe is the same, I have been changing it slightly each time--slightly more rhubarb per gallon, perhaps a different steep time, more or less brown sugar, different yeasts (last years batches were made with Belgian-Canadian ale yeast/1116, and Cote des blanc.  71-B is my choice this year and the first year).  Given the amounts of rhubarb I have available, I may make a second 5 gallon batch this year, perhaps in mid August.
The rhubarb I use is a blend of red and green--same varietal, but the red (which I prefer, so I can get more colour in the finished wine) is exposed to more sunlight.

This years must.  Here's hoping it doesn't try to escape...

Rhubarb Wine, 2015 Vintage

18.2 pounds rhubarb, cut into chunks
12.4 lb sugar (0.75 lb light brown)
3tsp nutrients
Water to 5 gallons
Lalvin 71-B yeast

The overall process is simple--harvest the needed amount of rhubarb.  Wash it, and chop into 1-3 inch chunks--I find an ulu works the best, since you can use your weight to cut through those fiberous stalks.  While washing and cutting, bring 3 gallons of water to a rolling boil.  Pour the water on the prepped rhubarb in a five gallon bucket, and seal tightly--then allow to steep for 3-4 days at room temp.

Strain the rhubarb out, and bring the rhubarb water to a boil to sanitize again.  Mix in the sugar, and once cool enough, rack into your carboy, topping off with cool water.  Pitch yeast when near room temperature (around 70 degrees)

6-30; Started steeping rhubarb in three gallons of boiling water.

7-3; Brought to a boil, dissolved sugar.  Pitched yeast.  OG 1.111 (90 degrees)

7-6; Fermentation has finally started.  That was incredibly sluggish.

7-9; Added about 1.5 tsp more nutrients as the airlock slowed down.  Last two days has been producing hydrogen sulfide.

10-5-15; 1.050.  Flavour isn’t bad, no sign of a lacto infection from the fruit flies (but this is the first it’s been exposed to oxygen), so there is hope.  Going to have to repitch fresh yeast.  I will probably do so with the one from last year first, to get that off of Etain’s counter.  Horribly sweet.

6-17-16; Finally opened it back up to check on.  Airlock was mostly dry, but flavour isn't bad enough to dump.  More hopeful for this years batch, though.  SG 1.034, which is ridiculous.

6-22-16; SG unchanged. 1.034.  Odds are that I'll be bottling this week. Added 10 heavy toast oak beans, and about 1tsp vanilla.

I believe that this was the first glass of last year's vintage (Sep. 2014).

p.s. Bonus points if you know what book the name is from.  You don't get anything, mind you, other than a virtual pat on the back.

© John Frey, 2015. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material.  The recipes, photographs and other contents therein may not be used for any commercial purposes.

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