Friday, May 24, 2013

Rhubarb wine recipe (updated)

Brian Kaller over at Restoring Mayberry is touting uses for rhubarb today, so I thought I would chime in with last year's excellent sorbet and this spring's experiment in winemaking.

12 pounds of rhubarb
I'm trying my hand at rhubarb wine, because I have an under-used rhubarb patch and some extra bags of sugar I bought to feed the bees.  I cannot vouch for the process, because I haven't tried the wine.  I adapted the simplest recipe I could find on the web -- rhubarb, sugar, yeast and a bit of nutrient to keep the fermentation going.

chopped into a bucket
I'll post the full recipe beneath the fold, but here are the basics for a 3-gallon batch.  

You harvest a dozen pounds of rhubarb and chop it up into a bucket.  No need to peel it - though I found peeling a strip off made it easier to chop up.  You add 6.5 pounds (about 14 cups) of sugar as you go and make sure it's well covered at the end.  Then you let it sit for a day or two while the sugar leaches out the rhubarb juices into a rosy syrup.  

Strain the syrup through a cheesecloth.  You can rinse the rhubarb with some water and add that water to the syrup as well.  Maybe you can find a use for the discarded sweet rhubarb - I snacked on some and composted the rest. 

6.5 pounds of sugar
You put that syrup into your fermentation jar, top off with enough clean water to make up the 3 gallons, add your wine yeast and a couple of teaspoons full of nutrient and put on a stopper with a fermentation lock.

Mine's been bubbling vigorously for two weeks now.  When it stops bubbling I'll decide whether to rack it (siphon it to another jar minus the sediment) or just bottle it.  Sometime next winter or spring I'll know if the experiment was successful or not.

a 3-gallon carboy with a fermentation lock

UPDATE: June 19.
A few days ago I racked it into a couple of gallon jugs and bottled three bottles of it.  That's just the scientist in me wanting to add a few variables.  I tasted it and it wasn't vile - tasted like a slightly harsh hard cider.

UPDATE: December 29.
Opened the first bottle at Solstice. It was very nice - crisp and dry - with only a slight hint of rhubarb undertones, if you searched it out.  Crystal clear as well.  The experiment is hereby deemed a success!

Full recipe below the fold: