Author Topic: Dandelion Wine Question?  (Read 12197 times)

bikebum

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Dandelion Wine Question?
« on: March 20, 2014, 09:37:24 PM »
My GF and I are making some dandelion wine using this recipe: http://www.wineintro.com/making/batches/dandelion/recipe.html

You're supposed to steep the flowers with boiling water and let sit for 2 days, then reheat the mix and add the other ingredients, then the yeast when it cools.

So we let the flower and water mix sit in a cast-iron cauldron for 3 days, stirring it each day. The recipe says to let it sit for 2 days but we didn't get to it the 2nd day. The recipe didn't say anything about refrigeration, so we just let it sit on the counter top with the lid on. The 3rd day, it had started fermenting and smelled pretty funky. We went ahead with the recipe anyway.

So, is our wine gonna turn out gross?

I figure, the secondary boil would kill anything that had started growing, but there may be some off flavors stuck in there.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2014, 10:03:33 PM »
Make a still

bikebum

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2014, 10:07:09 PM »
Make a still

My GF has been talking about doing that. But what's it have to do with the wine?

homehandymum

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2014, 12:48:28 AM »
My experience background: I've made my own beer and wine, although not for years now (couldn't drink while pregnant, haven't got back into it since).  I brew kombucha all the time at the moment, and my training and work background is biochemistry, which involved a lot of microbiology and fermenting of things.

My thoughts:
1.  I wouldn't have left it in cast iron.  Transfer to glass or food-grade plastic.  The metal can leach into the stuff and do weird things (that's the technical term).  Also, you can rust your cast iron cauldron, which is a pain to get clean and good again. 

2.  Leaving it on the bench should have been fine, but a usual 'room temperature' for these things is about 20-23 degrees, so if you're in a hot and muggy part of the world you might be getting things moving more quickly than the recipe anticipated.

3.  Depends on what 'funky' means.  If it smelled truly awful, like gag-worthy, and/or was a strange colour, best to tip it all down the drain.  If it smelt kinda like vinegar or saukraut then you are probably ok.

4.  Or wait and see and drink VERY cautiously the first time.  It might be just fine and delicious.  It might make you very ill.

I figure, the secondary boil would kill anything that had started growing, but there may be some off flavors stuck in there.

Yes, probably that is the worst that will happen.  But if you'd had a massive bacterial growth before boiling, and if those bugs were toxic, then you could still get sick from the toxins.  Very small chance, but still present (there are two types of food poisoning - infection from 'bad' bacteria, or illness from toxins from bad bacteria).

That's the excitement of brewing.  I'm pretty sure though (from the other side of the world, and not having smelt the particular brand of 'funky' that you describe), that you'll be just fine.  It might taste a bit metallic/iron-ish but should otherwise be ok. 

The first time with a recipe is always an experiment.  Next time will be better.


bikebum

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2014, 01:16:58 AM »
1.  I wouldn't have left it in cast iron.  Transfer to glass or food-grade plastic.  The metal can leach into the stuff and do weird things (that's the technical term).  Also, you can rust your cast iron cauldron, which is a pain to get clean and good again. 

Yeah, I later read some things that agree. Would you be concerned that putting hot liquid in plastic would leach things out of the plastic?

2.  Leaving it on the bench should have been fine, but a usual 'room temperature' for these things is about 20-23 degrees, so if you're in a hot and muggy part of the world you might be getting things moving more quickly than the recipe anticipated.

We're in northern California, warm and dry.

3.  Depends on what 'funky' means.  If it smelled truly awful, like gag-worthy, and/or was a strange colour, best to tip it all down the drain.  If it smelt kinda like vinegar or saukraut then you are probably ok.

It smelled worse than vinegar and sauerkraut, but I tasted some and it wasn't bad, pretty bitter. I'm not sure what it's supposed to taste like though. I definitely wouldn't say gag-worthy, although GF may disagree, haha. We went ahead with the recipe and now are letting the wort cool so we can add the yeast. It smells good with all the citrus and sugar in.

4.  Or wait and see and drink VERY cautiously the first time.  It might be just fine and delicious.  It might make you very ill.

I've got a pretty iron stomach, so I'll try it out, carefully as you suggest. I've heard it's pretty hard to poison yourself making beer and wine, because it will probably taste bad if it would hurt you.

Thanks for all the advice, homehandymum! When it's ready, I'll post back here how it turns out.

homehandymum

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2014, 01:39:47 AM »
Yeah, I later read some things that agree. Would you be concerned that putting hot liquid in plastic would leach things out of the plastic?
Personally I'd opt for glass if possible, but most homebrew beer is made in plastic, so it's not a bad second choice, although you're right, the hot liquid would increase leaching from plastic.  The metal leaching is more likely to discolour and taint the flavour, but the plastic is more likely to give you cancer in the long term :)

Quote
It smelled worse than vinegar and sauerkraut, but I tasted some and it wasn't bad, pretty bitter. I'm not sure what it's supposed to taste like though. I definitely wouldn't say gag-worthy, although GF may disagree, haha. We went ahead with the recipe and now are letting the wort cool so we can add the yeast. It smells good with all the citrus and sugar in.
You're probably fine then.

Quote
Thanks for all the advice, homehandymum! When it's ready, I'll post back here how it turns out.
That would be awesome. Good luck!

jamaicaspanish

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2014, 05:31:11 AM »
Definitely worth a read:  Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine

TomTX

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2014, 05:58:18 AM »
Yeah, I later read some things that agree. Would you be concerned that putting hot liquid in plastic would leach things out of the plastic?
Personally I'd opt for glass if possible, but most homebrew beer is made in plastic, so it's not a bad second choice, although you're right, the hot liquid would increase leaching from plastic.  The metal leaching is more likely to discolour and taint the flavour, but the plastic is more likely to give you cancer in the long term :)


Food-grade plastic, btw. Not the random plastic bucket from Home Depot.

tfordon

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2014, 09:47:10 AM »
I wouldn't worry about it too much.  If it doesn't taste great when you first drink it, let it age a little longer.

Also, I noticed the recipe doesn't do anything to sanitize the raisins in the secondary fermentation.  It might be a good idea to soak them in a little brandy (or vodka) before adding them.

Spork

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2014, 09:57:25 AM »
So, is our wine gonna turn out gross?

I figure, the secondary boil would kill anything that had started growing, but there may be some off flavors stuck in there.

If you read some of the old school recipes on wine, they're something like "put stuff in bucket.  Add sugar.  Cover with burlap to minimize the bugs and rats.  Let sit."

I wouldn't worry a huge amount about how funky it is as long as there is a secondary boil or the alcohol finishes in the normal wine range (11-13% ish)... I think you'll be ok.  Now... don't know if it will taste good.... but I don't think it will harm you.


Make a still

While this sounds fun.  You need to be careful... and you'll probably want to understand that you're not doing anything remotely legal once you start distilling.

homehandymum

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2014, 02:24:20 PM »
I wouldn't worry a huge amount about how funky it is as long as there is a secondary boil or the alcohol finishes in the normal wine range (11-13% ish)... I think you'll be ok.  Now... don't know if it will taste good.... but I don't think it will harm you.

Yeah, the only reason I put that in as that early on in my home-brewing journey, a mate of mine (who also brewed) told me the story of his Dad, cracking open a new brew one evening.  He woke the next morning in the living room, completely surrounded by vomit.  Without saying a word he stood up, gathered all the bottles together (he'd only opened the one) and emptied the entire brew down the sink.  He never brewed again.

So although those cases are rare enough to move into the realm of legend, they do still happen from time to time :)

Prairie Stash

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2014, 03:01:49 PM »
Make a still

My GF has been talking about doing that. But what's it have to do with the wine?
After you finish the wine if it's funky you can distill it. Try aging it first, but if after a few years it sucks then distillation will give you something for your effort. With any luck it will come off as decent home brew. From there you could flavor it again, into a flavored liquor. A friend in university use to make a knock off armaretto, I've seen crème de menthe etc. Basically flavorings from the baking aisle or great juice mixes. Lots of internet ideas to look at.

I've ben waiting for a bad batch to try this out with, I've been getting good wines lately. For home use I want a crock pot still, with inverted lid. I'm not going to be distilling much.

http://buttonsoup.ca/rose-water/   

It's a legal still setup from a quick internet search. I haven't tried this yet, a coworker says it works good.  He uses it for the yeasty part from his primary, as opposed to dumping it down the drain.

Spork

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2014, 03:13:48 PM »
Make a still

My GF has been talking about doing that. But what's it have to do with the wine?
After you finish the wine if it's funky you can distill it. Try aging it first, but if after a few years it sucks then distillation will give you something for your effort. With any luck it will come off as decent home brew. From there you could flavor it again, into a flavored liquor. A friend in university use to make a knock off armaretto, I've seen crème de menthe etc. Basically flavorings from the baking aisle or great juice mixes. Lots of internet ideas to look at.

I've ben waiting for a bad batch to try this out with, I've been getting good wines lately. For home use I want a crock pot still, with inverted lid. I'm not going to be distilling much.

http://buttonsoup.ca/rose-water/   

It's a legal still setup from a quick internet search. I haven't tried this yet, a coworker says it works good.  He uses it for the yeasty part from his primary, as opposed to dumping it down the drain.

If you're in the US, it isn't.  ATF is very specific about that.  There is some amount of danger in distillation as well.  If' you're not careful, you'll have methanol.

edit:
Now: I don't really care if you do it.  I'm not going to call Johnny law on you.  But don't think it's legal (and if you do it, be smart about how you do it and don't brag about it to your friends!)

From http://www.ttb.gov/spirits/faq.shtml
Quote
Under Federal rules administered by TTB, it depends on how you use the still. You may not produce alcohol with these stills unless you qualify as a distilled spirits plant (see earlier question). However, owning a small still and using it for other purposes is allowed. You should also check with your State and local authorities - their rules may differ.

A still is defined as apparatus capable of being used to separate ethyl alcohol from a mixture that contains alcohol. Small stills (with a cubic distilling capacity of a gallon or less) that are used for laboratory purposes or for distilling water or other non-alcoholic materials are exempt from our rules. If you buy a small still and use it to distill water or extract essential oils by steam or water extraction methods, you are not subject to TTB requirements. If you produce essential oils by a solvent method and you get alcohol as a by-product of your process, we consider that distilling. Even though you are using and recovering purchased alcohol, you are separating the alcohol from a mixture -distilling.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 03:16:50 PM by Spork »

bikebum

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2014, 11:26:02 PM »
Thanks for the replies everyone! I put the yeast in this morning and the airlock is bubblin'. Based on the replies it sounds like there is a fair chance it will be good. I'll re-post here how it turns out.

bikebum

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2014, 11:32:46 PM »
About stills, it's my understanding that it's legal to own and use one for things like essential oils, but not for distilling alcohol. It seems to me as long as you're not selling distilled alcohol, it would be hard to get in trouble. I will definitely look into it more before we do anything like that.

Fun story, my dad gave a workshop to a bunch of cops and as a gift they sent him home with some illegal moonshine they had made.

bikebum

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2014, 05:58:05 PM »
An update, as promised:

We bottled the wine last weekend in growlers. It had a nice smell and appearance. It tasted good too other than being pretty bitter; I think it will mellow out after aging. Tasted strong too, which I like. I'm excited to try it in several months.

DollarBill

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2014, 07:22:49 PM »
Dandelion wine sound delicious. I've always wanted to see a honey suckle wine or vodka. Ice Tea Vodka is heavenly "Jeremiah Weed"...nice on a summers day. All you need to do is add water and Ice.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2014, 11:53:46 AM »
An update, as promised:

We bottled the wine last weekend in growlers. It had a nice smell and appearance. It tasted good too other than being pretty bitter; I think it will mellow out after aging. Tasted strong too, which I like. I'm excited to try it in several months.

The bitterness may also have to do with your input. Mature dandelion greens (after it has bloomed) are bitter. Young greens are not.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2014, 11:54:32 AM »
Dandelion wine sound delicious. I've always wanted to see a honey suckle wine or vodka. Ice Tea Vodka is heavenly "Jeremiah Weed"...nice on a summers day. All you need to do is add water and Ice.

Since honeysuckle is toxic, why on earth would you want that?

Spork

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2014, 03:31:35 PM »
Dandelion wine sound delicious. I've always wanted to see a honey suckle wine or vodka. Ice Tea Vodka is heavenly "Jeremiah Weed"...nice on a summers day. All you need to do is add water and Ice.

Since honeysuckle is toxic, why on earth would you want that?

I suspect (but check me on this) you make it from the blossom like dandelion wine -- not the berry.

DollarBill

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2014, 03:58:22 PM »
Dandelion wine sound delicious. I've always wanted to see a honey suckle wine or vodka. Ice Tea Vodka is heavenly "Jeremiah Weed"...nice on a summers day. All you need to do is add water and Ice.

Since honeysuckle is toxic, why on earth would you want that?

I suspect (but check me on this) you make it from the blossom like dandelion wine -- not the berry.

Just the berry and leaves are toxic. Grew up sucking on honeysuckle and look I turned out fine...lol. I don't know if it would ever work but it would be good if you could.

bikebum

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2014, 08:10:28 PM »
An update, as promised:

We bottled the wine last weekend in growlers. It had a nice smell and appearance. It tasted good too other than being pretty bitter; I think it will mellow out after aging. Tasted strong too, which I like. I'm excited to try it in several months.

The bitterness may also have to do with your input. Mature dandelion greens (after it has bloomed) are bitter. Young greens are not.

For dandelion wine you use the flowers, not the greens. We cut off the little green leaves at the base of the flowers with scissors.

bikebum

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2014, 08:13:10 PM »
Dandelion wine sound delicious. I've always wanted to see a honey suckle wine or vodka. Ice Tea Vodka is heavenly "Jeremiah Weed"...nice on a summers day. All you need to do is add water and Ice.

I've heard of Jeremiah Weed but had forgotten about it. I'm gonna look for some now, thanks.

DollarBill

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Re: Dandelion Wine Question?
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2014, 01:39:04 AM »
Or firefly...it's just as good and a few dollars cheaper.