It’s the time of year when the Elderflowers are coming into flower. This weekend we were able to pick quite a few locally. So we dug out our trusty Elderflower Champagne Recipe and got our first batch started!
Of course technically this is not really ‘Champagne’, it is sparkling wine. But traditionally that’s what people call it, and that’s what it’s known as in our house.
If you’ve never brewed before and have no equipment, the good news is we now have Young’s Sparkling Elderflower Champagne Equipment Starter Kits in stock. This is a new product for Young’s and includes all the equipment plus the yeast and a steriliser. You just need to add ingredients.
Young’s have supplied the following recipe to go with the kit.
Elderflower Champagne Recipe
This recipe makes 10 Litres of Elderflower Champagne.
Fermenting time: Approx 1-2 weeks.
Maturing Time: 4 weeks. The bottles can be left longer so that the elderflower flavours develop.
6-8 large Elderflower heads (make sure that they are fully open). The more elderflowers you use, the more elderflower flavour you’ll get in the end product.
2 x Lemons
5 x Tablespoons of White Wine Vinegar
10 Litres of cold water
1 x sachet of Sparkling Wine Yeast (sufficient for up to 25 litres).
This recipe is based on making 10 x 1Litres Bottles. To make larger batches, increase the quantities in proportion.
Before starting make sure all your equipment is sterilised using your steriliser of choice (or that included in your kit), following the instructions on the label.
1. Add 10 Litres of warm water to the Fermentation Vessel and add the 1kg of Sugar and the Vinegar. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
2. Wash the lemons and remove the rind. Squeeze the lemons and put the juice into the Fermenting Vessel along with the lemon rind.
3. Remove any insects, leaves or other unwanted objects from the Elderflowers.
4. Add the Elderflowers to the water, being careful not to crush the flower heads.
5. Sprinkle a sachet of Yeast on the surface of the liquid. Stir carefully.
6. Put the lid on the Fermentation Vessel with the Airlock inserted in the Black Grommet on the lid. Half fill the Airlock chamber with water.
7. Leave to stand for approx 5-7 days or until the majority of the bubbling and fizzing has ceased. Each day check the contents of the bucket, you’ll probably find the flowers floating on the top mixed in with bits of yeast. Be sure to gently stir that back into the liquid with a sterilised spoon and then quickly replace the lid, ensuring it’s properly closed.
8. Sterilise the bottles prior to using with the Steriliser.
9. Place your fermenter higher than the bottles. Use the Syphon to transfer the mixture through the funnel / mini strainer into bottles. Take care not to disturb the sediment in the Fermentation Vessel and try to avoid transferring any debris. The less sediment you pick up, the clearer the end result will be.
10. Fill the bottles to approximately 11/2” Inch from the top of the bottle, placing the caps on carefully. Store somewhere cool.
What happens next?
As the weeks go by, you can test the progress of the secondary fermentation in the bottle(s) by trying to squeeze the bottle – it should be hard to the touch. Make sure you store your bottles somewhere cool and check them regularly. If any of the bottles look very close to exploding (!), ‘burp’ the top to release some of the pressure.
After four weeks your Elderflower Champagne is ready to drink. The taste does improve with time and can be left for a year or more.
Open bottles carefully to avoid the contents spraying out. It is advisable to chill your Elderflower champagne in the fridge before drinking.
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