Christleton - a light red wine from elderberries and cider...

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Growster...

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Here's a recipe which is embedded in this household's history, as we've made hundreds of gallons over the years, and now, we've started making it again after a break of about fifteen years!


CHRISTLETON

A RECIPE FOR A LIGHT RED WINE WHICH TAKES ONLY A COUPLE OF HOURS TO PREPARE  AND A COUPLE OF WEEKS TO FINISH, AND ALSO TAKES ONLY A FEW DAYS TO CLEAR, SO THAT YOU CAN DRINK IT WITHIN THREE WEEKS OF BUYING THE INGREDIENTS!

You need:-

To make one gallon:-   


∑   4 oz dried elderberries
∑   1 pint cider (dry or medium)
∑   2 pounds sugar
∑   1 tsp pectolase
∑   1 tsp yeast energiser
∑   1 tsp red wine yeast
∑   1 tsp citric acid
∑   Water to one gallon

To make five gallons, in one container, you can use the following quantities: -

∑   1 pound dried elderberries
∑   5 pints cider (3 litres in new money works well)
∑   10 pounds sugar
∑   About 2 tsps each of all the other stuff
∑   Water to five gallons.

METHOD

Put all the elderberries into a large pan and just cover with water. Bring to the boil, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Strain off the juice into the container, which has a little cold water in it already. Repeat the process about 5 or 6 times until most of the red colour has gone from the berries. (They start to look grey and tired!)
 
Cover loosely and leave to cool until only warm. Boil up all the sugar and add it to the container.

(Note:- if the mixture is too warm, add a little cold water to the container, but leave enough room for the cider etc.)

Stir in the acid, energiser and pectolase. Add the cider when just warm. Put in the yeast, either using direct addition or by making a preparation bottle first to get it all going faster.

(Note:- Sometimes it may prove better to just chuck in the yeast instead of pre-mixing it!)

Seal the demijohn/container with an airlock and keep it in a warm place and stand well back, because sometimes, if you are lucky, it will soon ferment like the proverbial clappers, and may finish in under a week. Sometimes itíll take a day to get started, so donít panic at all! It is not normally very violent during fermentation, and you can clearly see the clouds of bubbles rising very quickly. If you can also hear them from five paces, you have a very good fermentation going, but even the silent ones have the same result. (Well known fact!)

Five gallons in one container usually ferments more evenly. Don't worry about all the supposed mystery of wine making; our ancestors didn't have a Wilkos to go to, and just kept things as clean as possible. However, sterilise all your equipment as much as you can, to stay on the safe side.

Keep warm for a week or so, and, if you have a hydrometer, check the OG (testing whether all the sugar has fermented). If the reading is about .995, and there are no more bubbles rising, the fermentation should be finished. Don't worry if it is going slowly; as, in all good things, it is sometimes better to wait a bit longer for the end result.

You may even have to wait for another couple of weeks and the reading can get as low as .980. Although quite dry, the wine can mature to a superb complexity. Add a few Campden tablets to ensure that it won't start up again, and stays stable. Keep the air lock on always, especially in the summer when the flies are about. If you can put the container on a cold floor when it has finished, then this helps to quieten the wine down.

The wine will taste dry when the OG is below 1.000, and it needs a few days rest until it starts to clear from the top. Sometimes this happens very quickly, and a good tasting doesn't do any harm at this stage. It often matures in a few days, but, usually, within three weeks, it should taste really good. Maturation can take from two hours (desperation stakes only) to three or four weeks, and you don't have to bottle the wine if it is kept in clean demijohns or large plastic bottles and racked off once or twice. We usually don't bother to rack it, because it drops out so quickly! Sometimes we use finings but now always.

For variation, try adding some grape juice during fermentation, or, after fermentation has finished, blending in a bit of that disastrous blackberry wine which you occasionally use as paint stripper! Also, try varying the quantities of cider or elderberries.

Christleton is a remarkably benign, easy-to-make, friendly wine, which you can give to anyone who needs a pick-me-up, or a bit of social chat. Itís great with salads, cheese etc. If you can keep it any length of time, and I reckon that you can't, you might find you have a classic on your hands, especially if you mix it with that cheap plonk you bought in Calais and wish you hadn't, or even mix it with some of your own grape wine. It will taste pretty good, and, you must be prepared to experiment a bit.

Even a dash of tonic or lemonade brings back memories of that holiday in Spain or Ashby de-la-Zouche? It is a well-known fact that no two fermentations will be the same and that however hard you try; you will not be able to reproduce a clone of your last effort.

Variety is always the spice of life where this super, cheap wine is concerned. We have been making it on and off since 1974, when the recipe was passed on by a local expert, (now the late) Jim Trussler, of Bodiam, East Sussex, and all toasts for a good brew must go to him, (and for the ordinary stuff, to me.)



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GrannieAnnie

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Oooh, that sounds nice Growster, quick too!  Might try that one!

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Growster...

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Oooh, that sounds nice Growster, quick too!  Might try that one!

It really is super stuff Granny! Eventually, we used to have two 5 gal containers going at overlapping times to keep up...

I've chucked out our old heater mat which used to help, but it's now standing next to a night storage heater on low and wrapped in a rug, and seems very happy indeed!

Back a long time, we used the old plastic ex-wine fives from the off licences, and just stood them on wooden blocks on top of the Rayburn! We made gallons that way, and always took some on holiday in a 2 gal container tied to the roof rack!

We're using Sainsbury's cheapo cider this time, and some Elderberry conc from Wilkos, just to get the hang of things again...

It'll eventually work out at about 40p per bottle!

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lancashiregardeninggal

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When you say dried elderberries - do you allow them to dry first or do you buy them dry?
'Is All That We See Or Seem But A Dream Within A Dream'........Edgar Allan Poe

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mumofstig

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Tis many years since I made any wine and now you've prompted me to try again :D

Just one thing....what do you mean Boil up all the sugar  :unsure:

With some water?
Lesley x
I'm not good, I'm not bad - I'm just me, and sometimes I have to apologise for that ;)

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GrannieAnnie

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40p a bottle?  Sounds even lovelier!!   :lol: :lol:

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Growster...

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When you say dried elderberries - do you allow them to dry first or do you buy them dry?

You need to use the dried elderberries which are on most websites, or in most dedicated home brew shops.

I think they're about £7.00 or more for half a kilo, which is near enough for the first batch...

It gets a bit messy, so keep plenty of old cloths around ;0)

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Growster...

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Tis many years since I made any wine and now you've prompted me to try again :D

Just one thing....what do you mean Boil up all the sugar  :unsure:

With some water?

Yup MOS. Just enough to cover them each time, otherwise, you're boiling away all night...

BTW, if you look out of your window, I'm just on my way over to Ashford for a meeting!

If you sing out, I'll probably hear you, but not in this wind! ... ;0)

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Growster...

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40p a bottle?  Sounds even lovelier!!   :lol: :lol:

The term 'Christleton' used to apply to someone who was lazy and a bit spare with dosh, so it suits me at this particular time... Granny!

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mumofstig

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Quote
BTW, if you look out of your window, I'm just on my way over to Ashford for a meeting!
*waves*  :)

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Growster...

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Saw you!

;0)



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