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Di Howes

Help !! Elderberry wine has stopped working.

I started about 3 gall elderberry wine 3 weeks ago and put it on the window cill in the conservatory. Sun shing and started working with a vengance. Bubbling slowed down and I was worried it might be too cold (especially at night) so put heat straps around it. Still working slowly, but working. This weekend it has stopped working altogether.

I have mixed up some more yeast and added this and moved the demijohns into sitting room, next to woodburner. Hoping it will start working again.

Any suggestions, advice would be appreciated.

Di
Chez

It might be finished, if it's been nice and warm? Have you tested it with a hygrometer?
gil

Does it taste sweet or dry ? If dry, it's finished fermenting.

If sweet, and you test it with a hydrometer, and it reads between 1030 and 1020, it may be stuck (I find this to be the 'danger zone' for ferments sticking), and there is an article in the Articles section of Downsizer on Dealing with a Stuck Ferment, which you may find helpful.
Di Howes

Elderberry Wine

Thanks for all the above.

I tested the wine with a hydrometer (made the mistake of dropping the hydrometer into the demi john so its now stuck in there and I can't get it out unless I pour all the wine out!! Anyway it is floating at 996 so does that mean its finished? Suerely elderberry wine can't be finished in 3 weeks can it? I thought it took months?

Further advice please for a really hopeless person!

Di
gil

If it's 996, it should be finished fermenting, and it should taste dry. Can you now rack it into a clean, sterile demijohn witih bung and airlock, have a taste to confirm this (and at the same time retrieve the hydrometer !).

Is the wine starting to clear ? Has it dropped sediment ? These are both signs of a completed ferment.

It could have taken only 3 weeks - is a bit fast, but if it was in a warm-hot place, it is possible.

Do you know what the starting measurement was on the hydrometer ?
How much sugar did you add per gallon ?
Another reason it might have finished so fast would be if you hadn't added that much sugar, therefore the wine will be low in alcohol.

So at this point if you needed to add more sugar, you could, as long as you are keeping it in a warm place, as the yeast will still be live and willing to work.
Grifter

Re: Elderberry Wine

Di Howes wrote:
Suerely elderberry wine can't be finished in 3 weeks can it? I thought it took months?


When people say Elderberry wine takes 'months' they are often referring to it being drinkable (due to the harsh tannins) rather than it's fermentation time.
Di Howes

Thank you for the super fast replies. Of course I didn't take a hydrometer reading at the start! That would have been the sensible thing to do.

I used 3.5lb white sugar, 4 lb elderberries to 1 gall water. Will give it a taste later and see what its like.

I seem to remember my Mum making homemade wines and they were on the kitchen worktop for what seemed ages plop, plopping away. Perhaps its just my memory failing me. Wouldn't doubt it.

Di
Chez

Probably a colder house, though? My elderberry has finished in four weeks and I am now adding an oz of sugar at a time to keep it going ...
gil

I suspect your mother didn;t have a conservatory and heat straps. That constant warm-hot temperature makes all the difference to a smooth, quick fermentation.

3.5lb of sugar is fine. Shouldn't need any more.

As Grifter says, it's the racking and maturing that takes time now to make elderberry wine palatable.

I'd rack it now if you haven't just done so, and put the DJ in a cool-cold place for a couple of months.
This should help the rest of the sediment to drop and the wine to clear.

Then rack again, etc etc
gil

Chez wrote:
Probably a colder house, though? My elderberry has finished in four weeks and I am now adding an oz of sugar at a time to keep it going ...


Are you making a port-style wine ? Or just rocket fuel ?
Chez

Laughing

I only but 2.5lb per gallon in to start with - and a random slug of raisins - so I am not entirely sure what's going on with it. I don't want to spoil it by making it too sweet, so I thought caution was the best approach!
gil

Chez wrote:
Laughing

I only but 2.5lb per gallon in to start with - and a random slug of raisins - so I am not entirely sure what's going on with it. I don't want to spoil it by making it too sweet, so I thought caution was the best approach!


Ah, right, that explains it. Sounds the right thing to be doing.
Chez

That's reassuring to know - I am sort of making it up as I go along!
Di Howes

Thank you so much for all this help!! I was panicing a bit as although I followed a recipe its the first time I've made elderberry for a long time.

Fingers crossed it will be fine now. I'll rack it off tomorrow and have a taste.

Di
ros

Chez wrote:
Laughing

I only but 2.5lb per gallon in to start with - and a random slug of raisins - so I am not entirely sure what's going on with it. I don't want to spoil it by making it too sweet, so I thought caution was the best approach!


thanks Chez - you just answered a question I hadn't got around to asking yet -

off to add an ounce to my mainly elderberry brew ( mine has a random slug of blackberries in as well, 'cos I had some
fatbloke

Elderberry is often rough as hell when still fresh, so don't expect too much, just go through the usual routine of racking, clearing etc etc.

Then if you have enough glassware, bulk age it (in the dark, or wrap the DJ in cooking foil - to prevent oxidation and bleaching of the colour pigment) somewhere coolish.....

Elderberry can be quite high in tannins, so don't expect it to be ready in less than about a year - if it is, then you're gonna be very lucky.....
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