Dandelion Wine   Click here for recipe details.

 

I had no idea of how many square feet of dandelions I would need so I found a place with a ton.  It turns out I might have almost had enough in my front yard. 

 

What you want to do is only take the yellow flower.  Cut as "high" up as you can while still getting the flower.  In this picture, taken early on in my picking day, I am getting more "green" than I did for the majority of the flowers.   

 

Click pic for larger version.  For the first quart I timed myself.  It took about 25 minutes.  I also counted the flower heads.  Have a guess?  It took 400 stinking flowers to fill this jar.  Since I picked 5 qts worth, I figure it was about 2000 flowers.

 

Here you can see what I was picking, mostly flower heads and not much green.

 

Here it is, 5 qts worth of dandelion flowers.  It actually had a bit of weight to it.

 

I put enough water in the pot to be able to have all the flowers covered.

 

I zested the lemons and oranges with this cheese grater.  I tried not to get too much white and only get the peel.

 

FFor two gallons I did two lemons and four oranges.

 

I added the zest before I brought the mixture to a simmering boil for 10 minutes.

 

I juiced the fruit and added that at the end of the boil.

 

I sanitized the equipment I was going to use.

 

Here is a close up shot of the of the dandelion mixture after it sat for 5 hours.

 

I dumped the mixture through this grain bag wrapped around the colander. 

 

I pressed a sanitized pot into the flowers to get as much flower juice as I could.

 

At this point I had about 1.2 gallons and...

 

This is what it looked like.

 

Then I added 5 lbs sugar (for 2 gallons).  I was surprised to see that I then had about 1.9 gallons, so the 5 lbs took up about .7 gallons worth of volume.  That is something to consider if you are ever making something like this.

 

The gravity was 1.108, about what I was shooting for.  That means if it ferments relatively well I can end up with a 10-12% alcohol wine.

 

I let it ferment for a week so it would have some alcohol in it.  Then I need not worry about adding the fruit directly to the wine.  Above you see the contents of one box (1 lb).

 

I chopped them all up so the wine can get "inside" the raisins a bit more easily.

I added the raisins in the plastic bucket and let them sit for about a month before racking off the raisins and into two one-gallon carboys.  After about 6 weeks I racked it another time to leave behind more sediment.  Then they sat for 6 months in a cool place before I bottled.

 

January 2008, bottling day.

 

Getting the wine ready to be siphoned into bottles.

 

This is how many bottles I got out of 2 gallons.  I decided to do some full size wine bottles so they can be opened on special occasions over time.  I did some 6 oz antique Coke bottles and some 12 oz bottles. 

 

Here is some in a small glass.  It is ~10% alc and tasting very nice.  It actually is slightly better than I had hoped, but could stand some more time to mellow, which makes sense given its alcohol percentage.

 

Don's Homebrew Log

© 2007 Don Osborn