Monday, August 25, 2008

Rhubarb Wine: It's fermented like beer

Yeah, yeah, this is a beer site. But, the cool thing about making your own beer is that you automatically have the equipment you need to make wine too. I have not had much success in the past making decent homemade wines from my homegrown fruits, but hope springs eternal.

"They" say that one of the most successful homemade wines comes from rhubarb. Well I happen to have a very large and prolific rhubarb patch, so this year I gave it a shot. The recipe was pretty straightfoward (I'm reproducing this from memory, so I may have to edit this when I can check my notes): Six pounds of chopped rhubarb to five pounds table sugar, water, wine yeast. I froze the rhubarb to help with juice extract, added everything to one of my plastic fermenters, and let it bubble along for a few days. Then I racked the still-fermenting wine off into a two gallon glass fermenter. As you can see, it was still very cloudy with yeast.

Now that has been sitting in my basement for a couple of months and much of the yeast has dropped out. Just last week I racked into two, one gallon glass jugs. I'll let it age in there for a few more months, then put it into bottles. I have it in mind to bottle half of it still and slightly sweetened and the other half carbonated, for rhubarb "champagne".

As I said, with your beer-making equipment you can make all sorts of fermented beverages at home. I have some cranberry mead that will be one year old this coming Christmas and I'm rather anxious to crack into that. I'll let you know how that and the rhubarb wine turns out.