Thursday, 26 April 2012

Rhubarb Wine Recipe


Quite a few people think of rhubarb as strictly a springtime treat but if you grow it yourself you'll know that you can be pulling stalks of it far into the summer. It's also likely you'll have the experience of there being only so many rhubarb crumbles you can make before friends and family begin to feel ill at the sight of them. However rhubarb is much more versatile than most think and it can be made into delicious tarts, pastries, preserves, chutneys and even incorporated into savoury dishes. But in my opinion the best way to have that second flush of tart goodness is in a sweet homemade wine.

I only made a single batch of this recipe last year and it turned out to be a real tragedy that I didn't make more. I'm planning on rectifying the situation this year so you can bet that every spare stalk of rhubarb is going to be saved for these bottles of boozy deliciousness. The wine tastes sweet, crisp and with the full-bodied taste of rhubarb in every sip. It's absolutely divine and has impressed everyone who has tried it. Especially the skeptics!


RHUBARB WINE
Makes 6 bottles of wine

2.3 kg [5 lb] Rhubarb
1.4 kg [3 lb] Sugar
285 ml [1/2 UK Pint / 1-1/4 cups US] Black tea, cooled (make it quite strong)
2.8 Litres Water [5 UK pints / 6 US Pints]
2 tsp Yeast Nutrient
1x 5g Sachet of White wine Yeast
Well sterilised bucket, bowl and utensils
For AFTER fermenation: 1 Campden Tablet

1. Wash the rhubarb sticks and cut them into 1-cm (or thinner) slices. Place these pieces in a clean, sterilised tub and pour in the sugar. Stir it well, and then cover the bucket with a clean towel or plastic wrap and leave for at least 24 hours but up to three days.


2. After this time the sugar will have pulled the moisture out of the rhubarb creating a rich pink coloured syrup. Strain this syrup from the rhubarb pieces and place it in another clean tub. Make sure to get as much of the syrup from the rhubarb as you can before you discard it.
***Note***I now change the way I do this step. Instead of straining the sugar syrup straight, I first add the 2.8 litres of water from step 3 to help dissolve any sugar that's collected at the bottom of the tub.

3. Boil your 2.8 litres of water and pour into the syrup, stirring well. Allow the liquid to cool to room temperature and then add the tea, yeast and yeast nutrient. Cover the tub with a clean towel and allow it to sit undisturbed for five days.


4. At the end of the five days, have your demi-john sterilised and ready. Mine are glass so I'll first wash the demi-john with soapy water, rinse it well and then put it in the oven for 30 minutes at 130°C [275°F]. Allow to cool before pouring your wine in.

5. Rack the liquid through a sterilised hose from the tub into your clean demi-john, making sure to leave the mucky residue of initial fermentation at the bottom of the tub. If a little gets in that's fine, but the less you get in the better. If the liquid doesn't come up to the top of the demi-john's neck then fill it up with water that's been boiled and cooled.


6. Once the liquid is in, fit your drilled cork into the demi-john and then pour a little boiled but cooled water into the airlock's chambers before fitting it into the cork. The temperatures that the wine should be at during its fermentation vary depending on the type of wine yeast you're using so have a look at the sachet for this information.

7. Fermentation in the demi-john will take about a month, more or less.


8. Once fermentation is complete, you'll rack the wine out into a clean tub and add a crushed Campden tablet to it - this inhibits bacterial contamination during the aging process. Then siphon the wine into another clean and sterilised demi-john, fit a cork and then allow to age for about six months. After six months you can then rack the wine into bottles. You can technically drink it at this time but it's best to allow the wine to age at least a further month before opening.









40 comments:

  1. May have to try this. Rhubarb we have!

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  2. I always have the problem of what to do with all the spare rhubarb we have so thank you for this recipe!

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    1. You're welcome Deco Cat...It's a longer investment in time but I'm sure you'll love making it :)

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  3. Since we usually have more rhubarb than we know what to do with, I'm sorely tempted to try making this. What puts me off is that the end result of my last wine making effort (1987?) was a mouldy, forgotten bucket!

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    1. You really should try again Dominic :) I sometimes mark on the calender when I need to move the wine so I don't forget - maybe this could help you too?

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  4. I am nor a huge wine lover so i don't think I'll be making any. however i am also a 'give anything a try at least once' person so if I happen to see any on sale anywhere i would buy a bottle to give it a go...you never know it could be the one that turns me into a wine lover!!!!

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    1. This recipe results in quite a sweet wine so you might like it Tanya - it's not as sharp as conventional wines are either.

      Good idea to try it first though! Not many retailers would have it but I'd bet you could find it online somewhere :)

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  5. It's a lovely colour. I don't suppose it stays this colour when it's complete.

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    1. Thanks Jo :) It should end up a clear pale pink (fingers crossed) but my later batches will slowly turn to pale yellow due to the colour of the rhubarb.

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  6. Beautiful color! I planted 3 rhubarb plants 3 years ago. Two of them are still around but they never get more than about 6 inches high. I think our summer heat always does them in and stunts them every year. I planted them because I have fond memories of my grandmother making stewed rhubarb, which my dad loved. Never thought about wine!

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  7. That's a shame it isn't doing too well Leigh... Do you have them planted in a shady place? If not, you can try moving them and then pile plenty of well rotted manure around them. I've heard of them growing in places as warm as California and South Africa so might as well give it a go.

    I also associate rhubarb with my grandmother :) Have you tried making the stewed rhubarb from shop-purchased stalks? Might be a good plan B!

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  8. Pale pink, sweet, rhubarb wine? I like the sound of that! My kitchen (and, in fact, whole flat) are much too bijou for storing demi-johns so I think this sweet treat will have to wait a while. Thank you for sharing though - I've enjoyed reading about the process and seeing your photos!

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    1. Thanks Caro! I can completely understand about not being able to dedicate the space for demi-johns that need to sit for six months+. Have you tried making Elderflower Champagne though? It doesn't take much room and is ready in less than two weeks. The flowers will be out towards the end of May to the end of June so do have a think about it :)

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  9. Hello Tanya...first time here. We have the same problem with the rhubarb we planted as Leigh...I've never been a big fan, but my husband loves it. I think ours is in a kind of shady spot, but....maybe we need to fertilize it more.

    Lovely blog!!

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    1. Thanks Akannie and I hope you have luck trying to feed it with more manure! And have you tried cooking rhubarb with strawberries before? I didn't like rhubarb growing up but gave it another go after trying strawberry-rhubarb pie :)

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  10. I love this! Thanks for sharing. www.pioneermountainfarms.com

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  11. Tried to grow rhubarb from seeds but failed... would be nice to have a plant, even just for variety sake...

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    1. Hi Lrong :) My rhubarb is all from seed but I do have to say that it takes a LONG time for it to germinate. Keep trying and I'm sure you'll get one that grows! Once you have one plant you're also able to multiply your stock by division.

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  12. I've used this recipe and my wine is now fully fermented and clear, I've read that some people leave it in the demi john for 6 months before bottling and some people bottle straight away, is there a right way or wrong way or is it down to personal preference? Personally I would like to bottle them now but I don't know what difference it makes in leaving it sit in a demi john or in bottles

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  13. This Wine is awesome. Just drank my first bottle of it and loved it. Got some apples and noticed on another one of your blogs that you had done an apple wine. Do you have the recipe for that too?

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  14. Aside from fruits, this is the first time that I saw a vegetable turned or used as the main ingredient for wine. I've been buying liquor online and there's no wine like this one.

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  15. My Rhubarb was donated to me by my dad from a plant I grew up with, it's now in my garden and massive (and I don't like rhubarb any more now than I did then!). I'd had home brew equipment (also from dad) for a while now but been too scared to give it a go, however you make it look so easy that I'm trying this as my first wine this year. Wish me luck!!

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  16. I have one question with regards to this recipe .I cut the stems in half as part were red and other part was green . I put the green parts to one side and just using the red part. If i mixed them together would i still get a pinky liquid from the Rhubarb or would it come out a different colour all together .. Regards Terry

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    1. Hi Terry, the pinker/redder your rhubarb the more pink your wine will turn out. With this batch here you see the colour as an opaque berry colour but upon maturing it was a clear golden-pink.

      Later in the summer I use greener rhubarb and the colour comes out clear and a light amber colour - presumably from the tea. The flavour is the same though.

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  17. Thank you for that Tanya , just that i have had no joy in finding any rhubarb which is pure red/pink that is why i have left out the green parts and just use the red and now the sugar as dissolved to a nice pinky colour what i wanted to know is why did you use tea , does it act as a substitute to pectolase ..

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    1. Black tea provides Tannin, which is naturally present in the skins of grapes. Tannin helps to give the flavour of the wine structure.

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  18. Oic i used green tea so hope this comes out alright , it has been fermenting now on a rapid speed for the past three days and it has gone from a light green due to the tea , to a nice light pink colour , i just hope now that the tea i used acted like tannin . Oh by the way i have started a Ribena wine and as it costs a bit for the black currants , by using Ribena it only costs approx £2.75 a gallon to make being the sugar the most expensive ingredient , Now just waiting for the elderflowers to come out . Thank you Tanya for the info on the Tannin .

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  19. using your recipe, uses less additives than other recipes and the addition of tea is smart, we make a lot of wines in work, oak leaf, pea pod but not rhubarb

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  20. Have some going using a slightly different recipe this year (first attempt) but will give this one a go next time - the tea sounds a good alternative to the special grape concentrate I bought this time round. Does it need to be young rhubarb or can you use the larger stalks too (our rhubarab just grows like mad and is producing 2cm thick stalks in no time).

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    1. Any Rhubarb will do...the only difference is that younger (pinker) stalks will give a pinker colour wine. I have a batch of this recipe using greener stalks fermenting right now and it's an attractive pale straw colour. Other batches have been more amber in colour. Doesn't affect the flavour though :)

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  21. Has any one ever added currants black or red to rhubarb wine? I have currant bushes and have lots in storage, wondering if adding them will undermine the rhubarb and not sure what other changes i would need to make in the recipe, but if anyone has some advice that would be great!

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    1. The beauty of making your own wine is that you can experiment with whatever fruit you have at hand. Try your currants in the mix and who knows, you might have a winner :) PS- Currants have lots of Tannin so if you use them in this recipe, omit the black tea.

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  22. SeaView Brewery15 July 2013 19:05

    What a great recipe! I have been looking at doing a rhubarb wine for a while. Will definitely give it a go

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  23. I've made a blend of Rhubarb wine and apple wine (50/50). After 1 month (wine-makers say that a wine has "bottle-disease" for a month), it had intresting rich taste, lovely to drink in the summer.

    I don't use the tea to get body. It's not better, nor is it worse, it is different : that's the fun part of wine making.

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  24. Amazingly simple and good.

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  25. Found this recipe when we had a glut of Rhubarb at the end of the summer last year and have just bottled it, having a sneaky taste! Lovely - my hubby said it was like a good Sauvignon Blanc so looking forward to the Easter holidays when it'll have had a month or so to mature! Didn't even tast of Rhubarb!

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