Friday, May 15, 2009

Nettle Wine

Originally posted on a website I build about ten years ago called WineCheck

I started this wine cos the drummer in my band (Junk Culture) kepy pestering me too, but when I actually go around to picking the nettles and started the brewing he admitted that he couldn't actually remember what it tasted like! I doubled the quantiies on the recipie below to make two gallons instead of one.

8 cups nettle tops
1 pound raisins
6 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon yeast nutrients
2 lemons (or oranges)
2 campden tablets
1 gallon water
1 package wine yeast

Pick tender nettle tops in the spring. Rinse well.
Simmer in water with lemon (or orange) rind for 20 minutes.
Strain liquid into primary fermentor and squeeze all liquid out of the pulp. Discard pulp.
Add water to make up to 1 gallon.
Add sugar, nutrients, lemon (or orange) juice, raisins and campden tablets.
Stir to dissolve sugar. Let sit overnight.
Next day, Specific Gravity should be 1.090 - 1.100. Stir in yeast.
Stir daily for 2 or 3 days until frothing ceases.
Siphon into secondary fermentor and attach airlock.
For a dry wine, rack in six weeks, and every three months for one year. Bottle. For a sweet wine, rack at six weeks. Add 1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup wine. Stir gently, and place back into secondary fermentor. Repeat process every six weeks until fermentation does not restart with the addition of sugar.
Rack every three months until one year old. Bottle.
If wine is not clear, or still has quite a bit of sediment forming between rackings, Fine the wine as follows: Use wine finings or plain gelatin. Gelatin: use 1 teaspoon per 6 gallons of wine. Finings: 1/2 teaspoon per 5 gallons or as per package directions. Soak in 1/2 cup cold water for 1/2 hour. Bring to a boil to dissolve. Cool. Stir into wine. Let sit 10 to 14 days. Rack. If not clear enough yet, repeat process. DO NOT increase amount of gelatin or finings. The mixture will stay suspended in the wine, preventing it from ever clearing. Bottle once wine is clear.
The wine is best if you can refrain from drinking it for one full year from the date it was started.

I originally found this recipie at -

Nettle Wine tracking

So far, I followed the recipie to the letter (just doubling all quantities) and everything appears to be going pretty well.

It was quite a task dissolving that much sugar, so I mixed it in in the fermenting bin, instead of in the saucepan (as I interpreted the instructions).

When I left it overnight the rasins (that I had put through my blender) had really swollen up, and when my hungover girlfriend saw them she was nearly ill!

The other deviation I made from the recipie was to make a yeast starter, I did this following the instructions on my CWE general pupose yeast tub. When the fermation started it was VERY violent for about 6 days, I had it fermenting in my bedroom and the noise it made was incredible!

On syphoning the mixture into a couple of demijohns (after putting the raisins in a nylon bag and squesing out the juice) fermentation only continued for another 8 or so days.

As I interpreted the instructions it looked as if you are supposed to leave the wine in the demijohns after it had ceased fermenting, I did this for about three weeks, adding a campden tablet to each demijohn after fermentaion had ceased.

27th May 2001
The wine has been it it's original demijohns for about two weeks now, but I don't really like leaving wine on the lees (sediment) unless the recipie specifically says to do do.

So today I racked (transfered) the wine into a couple of fresh demijohns, thus degasssing the wine at the same time. The few tasted I had of the wine were very nice, and I look forward to the next time I rack the wine in about three months time!

2nd September 2001
The wine was racked again today, it is now pretty much crystal clear, and didn't leave much sediment behind in the old demijohn. Looking forward to bottling it in December!

15th December 2001
Bottling day today, I was a bit nervous about how this wine was going to turn out considering the foul smell that hung in the house after boiling the nettles back in the spring. The taste is actually pretty good, a bit of a sweet sherry tang though, not really my thing. Because of this sweetness we have decided that this is a desert wine! Pretty good, will try it again next year with less sugar.


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