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Elderflower Champagne (Step-by-step pictorial)
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Gareth



Joined: 07 Mar 2007
Posts: 6305


Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK.

PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 4:31 pm    Post subject: Elderflower Champagne (Step-by-step pictorial) Reply with quote

It is now one of my favourite times of year; Elderflower time.  

Elderflower Champagne.


Ingredients:

Per 1 Gallon/ 5 litres

1 & 1/2 Lbs (680 grams) of white granulated sugar.

1 whole lemon

30 ml white wine vinegar

Loads of boiling water.

10 Elderflower, flower heads

Clean and sterilse a suitably sized bucket. Dissolve the sugar in boiling water, stir extremly well, then allow to stand and cool to less than 40 degrees centigrade, or about body temperature.

Pick your Elderflowers; which is best done before noon, and in bright sunshine when the flowers are in full bloom. If you pick the Elderflowers in the afternoon, or early evening they may well be past their best. You are looking for bright off white flowers, with plenty of fragrance, and loose a little pollen as you pick them.

Zest the Lemon, and then juice it, add the juice and the zest to the dissolved sugar solution, add 30 mls of white wine vinegar, stir well, and add the Elderflower heads.

Cover the bucket with muslin and allow to stand for 4 to 5 days, so that the naturally occuring yeasts found on the flower heads can begin fermenting the brew.

After 4- 5 days bottle into cleaned and sterllised plastic screw top fizzy pop bottles. After a further 4-5 days you may started to drink your homemade Elderflower champagne. The Alcohol content will be negligible, at around 0.5 - 0.75% and so it is a drink suitable for the younger members of the family.

Be warned: A build up of carbon dioxide will occur in the bottle, and that is what makes the wonderful bubbly fizz in Elderflower Champagne ........ some of the bottles just may spray the contents about when opened, so this is definitly a drink for the outdoors; BBQ's, picnics, al-fresco meals, etc.

Note; you may choose to rinse the Elderflowers in clean water before steeping them to remove the bugs and other little nasties, etc. I have chosen not to, and will rely upon filtering when bottling to remove such things.

I have made a 2 gallon/10 litre batch, so that it why you will see extra ingredients in the photos.

A perfect Elderflower still on the tree:

[img][/img]

Lois picking the Elderflowers:

[img][/img]

Gareth getting into the thick of it for the perfect Elderflower;

[img][/img]

The picked Elderflowers in the bucket:

[img][/img]

The rest of the Ingredients ready to go:

[img][/img]

The bucket containing the cooled sugar solution. Note; Our Eldeflower Champagne is being made in the yellow bucket on the left, the darker liquid in the other bucket is a batch of dissolved Honey and water for Elderflower Mead.

[img][/img]

The Lemon being Zested:

[img][/img]

The Lemon being juiced:

[img][/img]

Adding the Lemon juice to the sugar solution;

[img][/img]

Add the Lemon zest:

[img][/img]

Measuring out the White Wine Vinegar:

[img][/img]

Adding the White Wine Vinegar:

[img][/img]

Adding the Elderflowers:

[img][/img]

The Elderflowers in the bucket:

[img][/img]

Giving it a bit of a stir:

[img][/img]

And finally covered in a piece of muslin to stop the flies and bugs getting in:

[img][/img]

This will now be left for 4-5 days so that the natural yeasts may multiply and begin fermenting the brew. After 4-5 days the Elderflower Champagne in the bucket will begin to show signs of fermenting. It is now ready to strain, filter, bottle, and rack, then allow another 5-7 days before drinking.

[img][/img]

Com'on folks, the Elderflowers are now in their prime, and this one is so easy to do. Bubbly, fizzy Elderflower Champagne is so refreshingly tasty, and it is the perfect accompliment to any out door; picnic, BBQ or al fresco meal.
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Last edited by Gareth on Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:55 am; edited 2 times in total
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kaz
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Joined: 09 Feb 2007
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Location: North Wales

PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My kids love that
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Gareth



Joined: 07 Mar 2007
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Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK.

PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Disaster!


My 2 gallons of Elderflower Champagne have turned into what can only be described as a very sweet and fragrant snot.

Obviously, at 7 days in the bucket, I have left it too long, and should have bottled and racked at the 4 day mark; when it began to ferment. The unusally cold weather we are currently experiencing, and low temperatures in my kitchen have proberly not helped.

So the first warm and sunny morning that we have this week, I'll be out there picking more Elderflowers, and beginning the process all over again.

However, The 1 gallon Honey based Elderflower Champagne is in top notch condition, and we have bottled and racked that this evening. Another week and we will be sampling this brew.
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Hawkeye



Joined: 18 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

we just started our first batch the other night, we do ours in a black plastic dustbin and it will be bottled tomorrow night as you say Kaz the kids love it well we all do really
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WhatCameFirst



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Location: Surrey Hills - still an AONB despite John Prescott

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I started my batch yesterday.  The smell of those elderflowers!  Yum yum.
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Eschra



Joined: 15 Jan 2008
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Location: West Yorkshire

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bit of a wait here yet - the elderflowers have only just started to flower - another week (perhaps 10 days weather depending) and we should be in business.
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debbie
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Joined: 17 Feb 2007
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Location: exmoor

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

still waiting for the elderflowers here too.

Anyone tried doing a second fermentation in the bottle or adding yeast to give a more alcaholic champagne?
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Hawkeye



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

my wife has just bottled 50 lts today should be ready to drink in about three weeks
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bodger



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
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Location: Ever so slightly around the bend.

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bugger Gareth  In the light of this set back, do you think that the coracle launch is going to be such a good idea ?
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Hawkeye



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

could use all those empty pop bottles to keep it afloat i suppose  
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Gareth



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Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK.

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oi you two!

I still have 5 litres of Honey based Elderflower champagne fermenting away in pop bottles; with which we can Christian the Coracle

If we have a nice warn sunny morning; either tomorrow (Tuesday) or the day after, I still have 10 days for another batch of white sugar based Elderflower champagne to ferment and be ready in time.

Failing that, I have several flavours of Mead ready, along with 5 litres of Ginger Beer.
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WhatCameFirst



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Location: Surrey Hills - still an AONB despite John Prescott

PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bottled my elderflower champagne last night.  Going to start some elderflower wine tomorrow!
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Gareth



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Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cracked open a bottle of the Honey based Elderflower Champagne durning Lois' daughters birthday dinner that I prepared ..........it was Lurrvly.

Negligible %ABV, but the taste and bubbles more than made up for that
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Eschra



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gareth, can you list the ingredients and process for the Honey Elderflower Champage and any difference in how you make it when you have a mo?

Going to check the progress of the Elderflowers here now that we've had loads of sunshine yesterday and today!!
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Gareth



Joined: 07 Mar 2007
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Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hiya.

The ingredient list for the honey based Elderflower champagne is as follows;

(per 5 litres/ 1 gallon)

10 Elderflower heads

1700 g of clear Honey (I used Asda roll back honey yet again @ 85p per 425 g)

The Juice and zest from 1 Lemon

30 ml of white wine vinegar.

Loads of boiling water.

Dissolve the honey in boiling water and allow to cool to less than 40 degrees centigrade or body temperature.

Add the lemon juice and Zest, stir in the white wine vinegar, and stir well.  Add the flower heads and allow to stand for a few days (fuzzy mould appears).

Strain filter and bottle off, then rack, leaving for at least 1 week before drinking.
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