Elderflower Champagne

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Frisbee 

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Planning to have my first go at elderflower champagne.

I am going to follow the HFW river cottage method, but has anyone else got any tips or are you also making/made it?
I won the village show with mine a few years back....well for several years running actually.

I would ferment it out and not run the risk of blown bottles as with this method. When it has completely finished and cleared you can bottle in champagne bottles adding a scant teaspoon of sugar to each.

Use a champagne yeast.

Check the elderfowers from the bushes you collect from....some have a distinct urine smell....don't get those. Some flowers smell much nicer....be picky.

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jimbeekeeper 

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I would ferment it out and not run the risk of blown bottles as with this method. When it has completely finished and cleared you can bottle in champagne bottles adding a scant teaspoon of sugar to each.
So basicaly like I do my cider? I have a batch on the go now from jucie I froze into demi johns from last year. It is bubbeling away great.

I prefer the plan of using the demijohns, but also might do a comparison of the "bucket" method.

I will be using plastic 2l bottles for it.
 

Frisbee 

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So basically like I do my cider? I have a batch on the go now from juice I froze into demijohns from last year. It is bubbling away great.
Cider from frozen juice I presume you mean here.....?

I prefer the plan of using the demijohns, but also might do a comparison of the "bucket" method.
The trouble with anything like this is you cannot keep it from picking up off flavours. Demijohns are much easier to keep sterile. And yes that's what I mean.....ferment it out until all sugars have been used or the alcohol content is high enough to prevent any re-fermentation, course you don't actually want that to happen as you need it to re-ferment under controlled conditions ( 1 teaspoon sugar) to make it sparkling.

I will be using plastic 2l bottles for it.
If you do the HFW method....it's very imprecise....leave it 3 days here and 4 days there....what if the weather is hot....or cold. It will be a very low alcohol drink...fine....but plenty of yeast there and sugar to work on, it will need drinking quickly or you'll find it all over the kitchen floor...when it's burst the bottles.......when you open one........ha ha. Let me come an watch it :)

For champagne bottles....just find a restaurant's glass bin :)

Make some proper as well..........I'll find you a recipe.

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Frisbee 

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3 pints of elderflowers...no stalks
3lbs sugar
2 oranges
2 lemons
1 gallon water
champagne yeast....or wine yeast

Strip the flowers from the stalks (I found wilting them slightly and use a fork the best way) Add to the water and bring to the boil, simmer 15 minutes. Add sugar, thinly peeled rinds of oranges and lemons, boil another 15 minutes, strain into fermentation jar, when lukewarm add juice of oranges and lemons and yeast.
Ferment to a finish and allow to clear...racking off until clear. Siphon into champagne bottles and add a scant teaspoon of sugar to each. Cork and wire the corks down. Leave a few weeks to finish re-fermenting. Don't shake the bottles.

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I make it every year using the same proportions as Frisbee's but in a bucket, without the yeast and without boiling. The flowers contain natural yeast, but boiling water will kill it. I also pick the flowers early in the morning - which seems to make a difference.
tbh, I have good years and bad years. Last year's was fantastic.

I had a problem with exploding bottles last year, so this year I'm keeping them in a closed cupboard in the shed!
 

Frisbee 

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jimbeekeeper 

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Went out along riverbank at luch time and picked a coupel of bag fulls. I am stillcovered in yellow pollen!

Smells of gas in the office now as well!

Will be doing 2 batches tonight, one bucket method, one demijohn method.
 

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When it has completely finished and cleared you can bottle in champagne bottles adding a scant teaspoon of sugar to each.


Frisbee
I was given some this year which had been bottled in Grolsch flip top bottles and it was lovely, might need to adjust the second suger level to suit.

Mike
 

milkermel 

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I always pick mine in full sun, you can see flowers are fresh and good then. Heard from someone yesturday that you can freeze the flowers for a few months and make some more if wanted!

I made cordial last year, which ok wasnt alcoholic but really refresshing over ice on a hot day
 

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Cordial sounds nice = care to post the recipe you use so we can all have a go?
(Yes, I know I could google it, but if someone uses a recipes and its good, then why not use that?)
 

jimbeekeeper 

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Heard from someone yesturday that you can freeze the flowers for a few months and make some more if wanted!

I made cordial last year, which ok wasnt alcoholic but really refresshing over ice on a hot day
I also read about freezing, so will be picking a load more for the chest freezer.



Cordial sounds nice = care to post the recipe you use so we can all have a go?
(Yes, I know I could google it, but if someone uses a recipes and its good, then why not use that?)

Quite right Widdershins, anyone can google, but always nice to get a first hand of what works or minor tweeks they have done.
 

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Can you put the champagne in a plastic pop bottle? - these seem to be desidned to contain the high pressure of the pop
 

jimbeekeeper 

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I will be using plastic 2L pop bottles. They should be good for 3BarG, but potentialy chmapagne can reach higer pressures.

Hency why best to fully ferment out in demijohn, then add touch of sugar when bottleing to give a slight fizz.
 

Frisbee 

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Can you put the champagne in a plastic pop bottle? - these seem to be designed to contain the high pressure of the pop
Jimbeek has already answered this in more and better detail than I, but just remember this......fizzy pop is made fizzy by man made fizzyness, so every bottle will be standard and guaranteed, a fermenting product will continue to build up pressure until the container cannot hold it any more. The corks in champagne bottles even if wired down will eventually burst out if the internal pressure is high enough, they are designed that way.

I've had glass bottles shatter on me during my beer making phase in the 70's, quite amusing when you're 18 or so, but you grow out of that kind of excitement... :rofl: Using plastic bottles will reduce the risk of injury if you are close when they go.......but the mess it makes.....and the cleaning up afterwards....... :)

Frisbee

ps.... champagne bottles will be available from the glass bins of any decent restaurant :cheers2:
 
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