Wednesday, August 1, 2012

#21 - Rhubarb Wine

I'm a big fan of rhubarb tart and when I came across the article in the Guardian about brewing rhubarb wine, I was very interested. I didn't change the recipe that much from what John described in the article except for a couple of things. I used an ale yeast that I had lying around instead of the wine yeast, I figured at the time that this would result in a sweeter wine. I also couldn't find any white grape juice in my local store so I omitted that addition. 
Rhubarb and Sugar
I picked up the ripest looking rhubarb that I could find in the store and chopped it up as per the original recipe. I added the sugar to this mixture and left it for 4 days. 

When I crushed the rhubarb and strained all the liquid into a demijohn, the first thing I noticed was the colour. The recipe on the website showed the demijohn to be a red/pink colour while mine had somehow ended up a milky white colour. Not deterred I figured my rhubarb wasn't ripe enough but the mixture still smelled like rhubarb so I continued and added the yeast. I racked the mixture after a week and left it for another 3 weeks. 

Upon tasting I had a different experience to the author in the article. My version had turned out pretty nasty, it had that 'rocket fuel' taste that I have gotten from previous brews involving fruit. I think there are several reasons for this, in fairness I used an ale yeast where a wine yeast would have fermented the mixture a lot dryer. I didn't add the wine juice which essentially meant that I added some rhubarb flavour to a mix of sugar water. I'm thinking if I increase the amount of rhubarb, don't leave out the wine juice and use the wine yeast then it should turn out better the next time. Overall, making a nice brew from fruit continues to elude me! :)

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