Apple wine easy recipe

My apple wine is a bit of a legend in our family. And I reckon it's the major reason why I'm currently thrashing my sons at the weekly session of darts and pool down at The Legion.

Mind you, it's a delicate balance. The right amount with Sunday tea beforehand and the cycle down, matches and wobble back through the quiet lanes of St Ives go like a dream. I return triumphant, making it one of the best possible evening's entertainment. A little too much and the wobble starts in the middle of the matches, I don't stand a chance and it's anyone's guess where I'll end up on the cycle ride home.

So here's the recipe. No chemicals are used, just all natural ingredients other than Milton baby liquid to sterilise equipment. A great Autumn wine to make. Why not try some of the other Allotment Heaven easy recipes?

I started making this wine for two reasons... firstly its a shame so many apples go to waste in Autumn, and secondly because I was fed up trying to find wine in the shops that didn't have the 'contains sulphites' message hidden away on the back label. Sulphites can cause allergies and a headache.

Every autumn there's an excess of free apples from friends or gathered in the wild. With a bit of organisation, very little effort and a small investment you can make yourself enough sweet white wine to last the whole year. Not sure where to get enough apples? If you don't have any friends desperate to give you their excess have a look around the countryside. Often there are trees along roadsides or footpaths where you can gather the apples for free.

The instructions below are to make five UK imperial gallons of wine, which will give you just under thirty bottles. It's simpler to make large batches of wine since it's easier to bottle without disturbing the sediment.

The cost of equipment is pretty low... about £35 if you acquire the wine bottles by saving from bought white wine. Thereafter your only cost is for sugar, raisins, lemons and some wine yeast... so having made the initial investment in equipment, typically you're enjoying rather nice, strong wine with no sulphite content for well under 50p a bottle! Why wouldn't you want to do it?


Equipment needed
Something for stirring the contents
Large strainer
Long clear plastic tubing (available from DIY stores)
Funnel
30 wine bottles (ideally clear glass)


Ingredients needed
Enough healthy apples to fill the 5 gallon barrel when quartered and cored... its best if you can get a mix of cooking and eating apples
Wine yeast (follow manufacturer's guidance given on container regarding amount)
8kg of sugar (adjust this depending on how sweet you like your wine)
1kg chopped golden raisins
The juice of 9 lemons
Small cup of black tea


Method
1. Sterilise the fermentation barrel and lid using the Milton liquid.
2. Wash the apples, quarter and remove the core, place in fermentation barrel until almost full, discarding any bruised bits.
3. Fill with boiling water. It doesn't take all that much since the barrel is so full of apples.
4. Put the lid on and leave for a few days, stirring twice daily.
5. After a few days the apple juice will have seeped out into the water. Strain out the apples and you're left with the apple liquor.
6. Add the sugar, raisins, lemon juice and tea.
7. Top up with part cold, part hot water (so the temperature of the water is lukewarm) to make up to five gallons and stir to ensure all the sugar is dissolved.
8. Add the wine yeast, stir, cover with lid and store somewhere warm.
9. After a few hours you'll notice something starting to happen... there'll be a froth on the surface as the yeast starts to ferment, turning the sugar into alcohol. Stir the contents twice a day.
10. It will take a couple of weeks or so for the fermentation to finish. Once completed transfer the liquid to the demijohn using the plastic tubing and funnel. Make sure all the equipment has been sterilised with Milton liquid.
11. Avoiding disturbing any sediment, place the fermentation barrel at a higher level than the demijohn (e.g. put the barrel on a table and the demijohn on the floor), put one end of the plastic tubing in the barrel, and having placed the funnel in the neck of the demijohn give the other end of the tubing a strong suck to pull some of the wine in the tube up and over the edge of the barrel. Quickly remove your mouth and put the tube end into the funnel. The wine should start to drain.
12. Avoid transferring any sediment if you can. Once all the clear liquid is in the demijohn top up with water to bring to five gallons. Seal with the rubber bung and airlock, having put a small amount of diluted Milton liquid in the airlock.
13. You can now store the wine for months somewhere cool and frost free. At first the fermentation may start up again and you'll see bubbles going through the airlock. Gradually the wine will clear.
14. Once fully clear repeat the draining process, this time from the demijohn to sterilised wine bottles. Put a stopper in each bottle and store.
15. The wine will be ready to drink but will improve even more with age. Typically I bottle and start drinking the wine from May onwards. If the wine is too strong dilute with water.


216 comments:

  1. Anonymous8:53 pm

    Hi, this seems to be the easiest recipe that i have found for any wine, as this is only my second go I hope it will turn out O.K. I will let you know how it turns out!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous10:47 am

    this looks a great recipe but how much yeast is needed

    ReplyDelete
  3. You should add the amount of yeast as indicated by the manufacturers on the yeast container.

    ReplyDelete
  4. oststinHi,
    Just a quick question how sweet does the 8Kg of sugar make the wine?

    looking forward to making this @ the weekend :)
    thanks
    Pete

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Pete... Depends how long you can resist drinking the wine. If you drink it within the year 8kg of sugar will give you a pretty sweet wine, so if you'd prefer it a little dryer reduce the sugar.

    If you're able to store the wine for more than a year you'll find the sweetness is toned down and the wine has much more depth. I'd been saving one bottle from 2009 to compete in our St Ives Flower & Produce Show. Having just drunk it I've resolved to keep as much of my 2010 batch as I can til next year, it's just sooooooooo much improved!

    Best of luck, John

    ReplyDelete
  6. Rather than leech the flavour out of the apples into tap water, I prefer to crush the apples and press out the juice for a richer more complex flavour. http://www.howtomakecider.com has some tips on pulping and pressing apples whether for cider or apple wine.

    John is so right about waiting a few years before drinking. 3 years seems optimum form my experience.

    Here is my quality table

    1 year - 20%
    2 years - 70%
    3 years - 100%
    4 years - 90%
    5 years - 80%

    all the best

    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  7. That's really useful Chris... thanks. Never managed to keep my hands off a bottle for 3 years, but your table is enough to encourage me to try.

    I've crushed the apples in the past and agree you do get more bangs for your bucks, but involves a lot more effort & time.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have made apple wine before and it really didn't turn out successful. To say the least, it exploded and got ditched! So, I thought I'd try it again and this recipe as it sounds really nice.

    I have made Elderberry Wine before and it turned out really sweet. So, I noticed on your ingredients you say to adjust the sugar amount to make it dryer. If I want to make a dryer wine (I am happy to wait for a period of time before drinking it), how much would you suggest to deduct?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi... I'm just about to try 6kg of sugar on my first batch of 2011 apple wine. If you're able to hold off drinking for two, or even better three years as Chris suggests, this should give you a wine with fine depth and strength. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I made some apple wine last year was disgusting far too swwet and did not taste at all nice! To my eternal regret I threw most out to use bottles for kit wine. Recently tried some and is is great so please learn from my mistakes!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Ger, thanks for the comment. This is a sweet wine, but as Chris indicates above, if you drink within a year all you'll taste is the sweetness. Leave for a couple of years, even better three, and that sweetness mellows and other tastes come through.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have been looking for just this kind of recipie for a while now and I was hoping to start a batch this fall.

    I was wondering if you peeled and cored the apples after they were quartered or if you threw it all in, except for the bruises and bad bits.

    Also, did you try pectic enzyme to help break doen the fruit pulp, or is that also a sulfite?

    Thanks,
    Bill, Nova Scotia, Canada

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Bill... I just cut out the core and any bruised bits. Then just cut the remainder into chunks.

    Nothing is needed to break down the fruit pulp. The juice leeches out pretty easily. Doesn't need any help clearing either, just leave it a few weeks or so after the fermentation bubbling stops. Pectic enzyme doesn't contain sulphites, and although it is a natural product I just try and avoid adding anything that's not needed.

    Hope this helps. Regards, John

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi John,

    I followed your recipe with a couple of batches, the first one is quite sweet (using the suggested amount of sugar or even a bit more) the second seems dryer (used less sugar). I'm noticing that the second batch isn't clearing as well... The first batch is 4 months, clear and being bottled now, but the second batch (only a few weeks younger) doesn't seem clear at all. I followed the instructions with racking, although I did let them both sit in the primary for longer than suggested. Any suggestions to clear it up?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks for the comment, Hardy. It's true some batches can take somewhat longer to clear than others. I've never yet failed to have a batch clear so long as I wait long enough. I'd recommend giving it more time... the alternative is to use finings to clear, but I prefer to avoid adding anything unnecessary if I can help it.

    Regards, John

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous2:21 am

    what is 8kg in pounds of sugar and what is 1 kg in pounds of raisins Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  17. I realize this is an old post, but thought I'd add an idea....

    If you want more juice out of the apples and can't be bothered or don't have the kit to crush and juice them, try freezing them first then defrost them before carrying on with the recipe. The freezing and defrosting turns the apples to more of a mush and you can quite easily squeeze more juice out.

    I'm going to try this recipe this week- thanks John, it sounds great!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for the suggestion Rich. Sounds a good idea... I know the plums I've frozen in the past come out all mushy but perfectly fine otherwise. I'll try that.

    Regards, John

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous8:29 am

    Hi with regards to your apple wine recipe, what type of yeast would you recomend for a non champagne finish but just a still table type wine? thanks

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Harvey… I use Young's wine yeast. Here's a link showing an image of the container, and just about the lowest price I can find. If you're in the UK, Wilkson's stores stock this yeast. Hope that helps.

    http://www.brew2bottle.co.uk/super-wine-yeast-compound-60g.html?gclid=CITB1orxzLkCFYqR3godH0YATA

    Regards, John

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous7:52 am

    Hi John. I'm making apple wine using your recipe. How do I tell when the fermentation is finished? Thanks for your help and a great recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi... I generally wait until a period after the bubbling stops. This can take a while and means if you've overdone the sugar content you can end up with a fairly strong wine that may have to be diluted. I take this approach since I want my wine to be as natural and unaffected by chemicals as possible. You must wait a little while after the bubbling stops to ensure it's completely finished... that is the point where the yeast dies off because of its own by products. If you're too keen problems can occur. For example, if you make the wine heading towards winter and the bubbling stops possibly because of cold weather, if you bottle at that point all your corks will pop come spring when the weather warms up again and fermentation restarts.

      The standard way to stop fermentation is to add crushed Campden tablets. The problem with this is it's the sulphite in Campden tablets that kills off the yeast... see paragraph in above text and link to problems caused by sulphites in shop bought wine. There are other chemicals you can add to do the same job, but again they affect the wine quality of the wine in various ways, such as affecting the taste.

      Yes, it takes some patience and self control to make wine the natural way... but I think it's much more fulfilling as a result.

      Hope this helps, John

      Delete
  22. Anonymous7:45 am

    i was wondering the exact measurement of black tea 12 oz ? i have been making wine for years and i really like the idea of no chemicals and want to give this a try

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi… If you're making a 5 gallon batch then a china tea cup of black tea is sufficient… typically this will hold 7oz. Hope this helps.

      Regards, John

      Delete
  23. Anonymous7:51 am

    Hi,i would like to ask,can you reuse wine bottles with screw tops?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Anonymous8:02 am

    Hi, i would like to ask,can you reuse wine bottles with screw top lids,will they reseal properly?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can reuse bottles with screw top lids, but don't use Milton sterilising liquid to sterilise the tops since they're metal. Put them in a container, pour boiling water over them and leave for five minutes.

      You may find after many uses the seal on a screw top may become less effective. Test by pouring hot water in the bottle and sealing, to see if a vacuum is maintained as the water cools.

      You can use plastic stoppers (available from Wilkinson's Stores) for screw top bottles, although the fit is sometimes a bit tight.

      Hope this helps. Regards, John

      Delete
  25. Anonymous7:17 am

    Hi there
    Thank you for the wine recipes.

    I have just chopped up my apples and poured boiling water over. However, looking through the comments I noticed someone asked you about peeling and coring. You advised them to leave skin on but chop out cores.

    I have only quartered my apples with skin and core all intact. How will this affect my batch?

    Thank you very much.

    Karen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen… the bad news is apple seeds contain cyanide and theoretically could poison you. The good news is you'd have to crunch your way through about 143 seeds to do any harm. The hard coating on the seeds means the chemicals don't leach, and even if a small amount did your body can easily cope with small amounts of cyanide since they're present in other foods as well. So nothing to worry about.

      Regards, John

      Delete
    2. You should at least remove any seeds that have been cut.

      Delete
  26. Anonymous10:33 pm

    Hi
    where do you get golden raisins and are they going to make a big difference to using ordinary ones?
    Thanks, Rachel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rachel... I think golden raisins are just made from white grapes rather than red, so I don't think there'd be any difference in results if you used ordinary dark ones.

      Thanks, John

      Delete
  27. Hi John

    Ive just tried your recipe for the first time. I have chopped apples and added hot water. On day 3 the mix seems to have started fermenting and bubbling and no longer smells like fresh apples. Is this a wild yeast, has it spoilt? Or can I strain the juice and boil it before the next stage to kill off the wild yeast?

    Many thanks Melanie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Melanie... yes, this is the natural yeast from the apple skins and if left would turn the liquid to cider at about 8% proof. Of course you want something stronger than that! The wild yeast won't do any harm. When you think you've just about got all the juice drained out of the apples continue the recipe at point 5 of the method.

      Thanks, John

      Delete
  28. Anonymous6:23 am

    Im going to give your recipe a go but I only have one demijohn. What level of ingredients do you suggest for that please.

    Leigh

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Leigh… your one demijohn should equal one gallon, so just divide the ingredients by five. For the apples, use about enough to fill the demijohn (if you were able to). Follow the directions of the yeast manufacturers… normally one heaped teaspoon per gallon. For the tea, just put in a couple of desert spoons worth.

      Regards, John

      Delete
  29. Anonymous7:33 am

    hi, i,m just making my first ever wine and using your apple wine recipe, i,ve got to the stage where i add the yeast, now, do i close the lid tightly or just rest the lid on the bucket,
    thankyou in advance,
    patsy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi patsy... Close the lid tightly

      Thanks, John

      Delete
    2. thanks john, one more thing, i,ve put everything in now but forgot to chop the raisins!! will it make that much difference,
      patsy

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    3. They're going to take longer to have an effect, Patsy, if you've not cut them up.

      Delete
    4. hi john, the wine has been fermenting in the bucket for 2 weeks now, its still making a slight bubbling sound so is it ok to transfer to demijohns or should i leave it for a little longer? thanks
      patsy

      Delete
    5. Hi patsy... Sorry for delay in replying. Yes, transfer to demijohns if the bubbling has slowed. Make sure it's stopped altogether before you go on to bottling, otherwise your corks might pop.

      Delete
    6. thankyou john
      patsy

      Delete
    7. sorry, me again john...i transferred to the demijohns yesterday, kept as far away as i could from the sediment, but today i looked at the demijohns and there is a sort of thickish looking sediment floating on the top, should i strain it again or just leave it,
      thankyou in advance,
      patsy

      Delete
    8. No problem Patsy... no matter how careful you are you're going to transfer some sediment into the demijohns. I suspect what you're seeing is the little bit that couldn't be avoided. It should sink down over time, so that when you do the final transfer to bottles the clear liquid is on top. So I'd just leave for the time being.

      Regards, John

      Delete
    9. hi john, everything seems to be going fine with the wine, not clearing much but has only been in the demijohn for 4 weeks, i,ve had a little taste of it and it is very sweet, is there anything i can add to tone down the sweetness please, also would it be ok to draw a bottle full out of the demijohn to drink at xmas,
      thankyou,
      patsy

      Delete
    10. Hi Patsy... It will take much longer to clear. Typically it takes up to 6 months before you can bottle, and that's the earliest I'd recommend you try drinking. But see the table from Chris in the comments higher up. He suggests the taste quality is only 20% after one year, reaching top condition after three years. So this isn't a sloe gin type of recipe, where you can scoff the lot after a few months. The sweetness will mellow and turn into something much more rounded and golden if you can hold off.

      Regards, John

      Delete
  30. Anonymous8:52 am

    Hi John,

    I have just started your apple wine recipe and am about to add the sugar etc but I like a dry wine, do you have any advice on how much suger I should add.

    Regards

    Haydon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Haydon… that’s a difficult one, since it’s all a matter of taste. Only suggestion I can make is to go easy and test it with less.

      Regards, John

      Delete
  31. Anonymous8:54 am

    Hi
    It is brilliant to be able to contact you - I cannot find any golden raisins - is there an alternative that I could use instead?
    Thank you very much
    Kate

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kate... You can use sultanas, or if desperate, raisins.

      Thanks, John

      Delete
  32. Anonymous7:01 am

    John

    My first attempt at your apple wine seems to be going well.
    I have transferred to a demijohn now but the bubbling seems to have ground to a halt after 3 days of being in it. Is this normal?? Or do I need to do anything else.

    leigh

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Leigh… bubbling may have stopped because you’re storing in cold conditions (OK if you’re prepared to wait until Spring when it may start up again), the fermentation has finished (depends how long you left in fermentation barrel before transferring to demijohn) or you put insufficient sugar in the mix and it’s finished early. Does it smell alcoholic? If so things are probably OK.

      Hope this helps.

      Regards, John

      Delete
    2. Anonymous7:52 am

      John

      I left it in the barrell for 2 1/2 weeks and I did add a little more sugar when I transferred to the demijohn. It does smell like wine allbeit a little fausty. Is it worth me storing somewhere warmer for now then as it is in the kitchen at present. It is still really cloudy though, looks like orange juice only not as orangey.
      I dont mind waiting, you say leave to spring and it may start again, if that is the case when would I stop the yeast and bottle?
      Sorry this is all new to me.
      Oh I have since made some Plum gin so xmas is going to be good :-)

      Leigh

      Delete
    3. Hi Leigh… Because the recipe aims to make the wine as naturally as possible, I don’t artificially stop the fermentation. I just let it run it’s course. You have to make sure all the fermentation is complete otherwise if you bottle too soon your corks will pop if fermentation starts again. So this is a recipe where you need patience, but what you end up with is as natural an apple wine as you can get.

      Sounds like either fermentation has finished, or temperature too low. To make sure I’d move to somewhere warmer and see what happens.

      Good news it’s not going to be too sober a Christmas!

      Regards, John

      Delete
  33. Hello, thanks for the recipe! I am currently in the third week of fermentation everything is going well. I just wanted to ask, what is the purpose of the black tea and the lemon juice. This is my first time making wine, I usually do beer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Michael... the tea adds tannin to the wine. This is added naturally when making a wine with grapes since it's present on the skin of the grapes, but often needs to be added with non grape wines. It's tannin that gives wine it's astringent, slightly dry, taste. Without it the wine might taste a bit flat. The tannin also helps in clearing the wine.

      The lemon juice is added to add crispness to the taste of the wine. It also helps to develop more complex flavours. Grapes contain a combination of malice and citric acid, but apples don't have enough citric acid content. Adding the lemon juice compensates for this.

      Hope the brew goes well! Regards, John

      Delete
  34. Anonymous8:21 am

    thanks for a great site
    i am now trying my first batch of apple wine started today
    i left a comment on the sloe gin recipe i hope that is ok
    thanks again for a great site

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks for the sloe gin recycling suggestion at the link below. And good luck with the apple wine!

      Sloe gin link : http://allotmentheaven.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/sloe-gin-or-vodka-easy-recipe.html

      Delete
  35. Anonymous9:10 pm

    thanks for this recipe John. I have 2 apple trees in my garden and my wine is just starting to clear. I also have 3 plum trees so plum wine is next (already made plum jam) x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad it's going well. Best of luck with the plum wine later this year!

      Delete
  36. Anonymous9:12 pm

    John, I started my apple wine in October and used 6kg of sugar instead of 8. It hasn't bubbled for a while and i'm thinking of bottling it. The only issue I have is that it isn't completely clear? Is this normal? Thanks.Regards, Melanie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Melanie... If the wine has stopped bubbling even though the temperature has been near 20C, that's a good sign it's completely finished. This wine does take a while to clear. If you're not in any hurry I'd leave it a longer before bottling to give it more time to clear. The clearing process will continue once you bottle the wine, but if you bottle too soon you'll be left with more sediment in the base of each bottle. This means less useable wine per bottle since it's more difficult to pour without disturbing the sediment.

      Thanks, John

      Delete
    2. Anonymous9:17 pm

      Hi John! Thanks for your quick reply and sorry I wasn't so quick, I kept forgetting what with a toddler and work! I haven't bottled it as yet. I just tried the one bottle. Thanks!

      Delete
  37. hi tried this recipe and it was great as well as your plum wine one, was just wondering if you have one for pears or if i could use this and just substitute the apples for pears?
    michelle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Michelle... Glad you liked the wine recipes. Yes, to do a pear wine follow the recipe for apple wine.

      Thanks, John

      Delete
    2. thanks, do you have a rhubarb wine recipe as have loads in the freezer?
      thanks

      Delete
    3. I've got a delicious and really easy rhubarb jam recipe at the following link : http://allotmentheaven.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/rhubarb-jam-easy-recipe.html

      The apple wine recipe will work well if you substitute rhubarb. Suggest you give the rhubarb a bit of a bash before putting it into the fermentation barrel to speed up the extraction of juices. Let me know how it goes.

      Thanks, John

      Delete
  38. Hi John,just done the apple wine recipe but with rhubarb,will be bottling soon and taste great.Ive also done your apple wine a few times last year but I'm struggling to keep a few bottles to mature,it goes down a treat and strong too..cheers again

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks for the feedback Paul. I struggled to keep my hands of the amber liquor as well, it's so tasty. Well worth it if you can though. I've managed to save a few for the optimum three years and the wine was REALLY good!

      Thanks, John

      Delete
  39. How much yeast? Also the cup of black tea.....cup of brewed tea, or cup of tea leaves?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jacob... the tea is easy. Use brewed tea.

      For the yeast, I didn't include an amount to use on the instructions since this should be shown on the manufacturer'c container. I've updated the yeast link under 'Ingredients needed' above (since the original one was broken). If you click this it shows you where to buy Young's Yeast. If you expand up the image shown it states you should use one heaped teaspoon per gallon.

      Assuming you're in the UK, you can still buy yeast from Wilkinsons, though they sell now in sachets containing enough yeast for one gallon. Here's a link to their yeast product...

      http://www.wilko.com/homebrew-accessories+equipment/wilko-gervin-universal-wine-yeast/invt/0060004?VBMST=wine%20yeast

      Best of luck, John

      Delete
  40. Stacey M4:40 pm

    Hi John

    You mentioned that you collect white wine bottles from supermarket bought wine. Is this bottles with corks in when bought? And how easy do you find it to cork the bottles once the wine is ready?

    Thanks, Stacey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Stacey... Apologies for delay in replying. You need to use new corks. If you use plastic corks they are hard to get in. I use a wooden mallet as a bit of encouragement. The proper cork corks are even harder to get in and you really have to use a corking machine. Wilkos do a cheap one (http://www.wilko.com/homebrew-accessories+equipment/wilko-plastic-hand-corker/invt/0253123?VBMST=cork) but I'd recommend the slightly dearer one (http://www.wilko.com/homebrew-accessories+equipment/wilko-twin-lever-corker/invt/0318713?VBMST=cork).

      Regards, John

      Delete
  41. Hi John, I have your easy plum wine on the go (as well as a blackberry wine). I have found a couple of apple trees growing for free pickings so thinking of making this one too. One question, when you say enough apples to fill a five gallon bucket, is that whole apples or chopped apples as they would be quite different amounts? Thanks : ) Lisa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa... Thanks for spotting that. I've updated the text above to make it clearer. There needs to be enough apples so they almost fill the barrel after being quartered and cored. Regards, John

      Delete
  42. Anonymous12:41 am

    Great apple wine recipe thank you. Can ordinary raisins be used? Guess the wine will just be darker. Thanks Helen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Helen... I've never tried adding raisins but think you're right, in that it darkens the colour. Please let me know how it goes with them added. Thanks, John

      Delete
  43. Hi John

    Thanks so much for the recipe! Shaun from Canada here. Just wondering during the primary fermentation (while still in the bucket) if I need to have an airlock in the top? Or should it be sealed tight when not being stirred?

    Thanks so much, great recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Shaun... No need for an airlock in the primary fermentation. You do need to keep the lid on tight other than when stirring. Regards, John

      Delete
  44. Anonymous1:14 pm

    Hi john could i use pears instead of apples ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You certainly could. Might take longer to clear, since pears are probably a bit mushier than apples. Let me know how it goes. Thanks, John

      Delete
  45. Hi John - I would have to go and buy bottles, but I have a ton of mason jars and a couple of websites suggest you can 'bottle' wine in mason jars - do you have any thoughts or experience about that? Jenny

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've no experience of that at all Jenny. So long as the jars are impervious and can be sealed, they should be OK. Regards, John

      Delete
  46. Anonymous12:51 pm

    Do you recommend any particular variety as I live in Kent and have a good farm shop nearby?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never got that scientific... just best if it's a mix of desert and cooking apples. Thanks, John

      Delete
  47. Anonymous5:43 pm

    Hi John. do you know the specific gravity readings for when you add the sugar or anything? What should it be before adding the yeast, and what should it be at when you rack to clear?

    Thanks
    Matt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Matt... I've never taken gravity readings, just leaving the yeast to exhaust itself. Thus you end up with pretty strong wine. The yeast and sugar is added when enough time has been allowed for the fruit juices to leach into the water. Hope this helps, John

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  48. Hi John,
    I wondered about trying your recipe without the lemons or raisins. Do you think it would work or is there a need for citric acid from the lemons. I usually stick to Bramble and Elderberry wine but this year I have a huge amount of apples that could see me making 10 gals of apple wine. Wondered too about maybe cutting up the apples and filling the bin a bit at a time and adding a kettle of boiling water each time. Have you a rough estimate of how many litres of water it would take for a 5 gal mix

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    Replies
    1. Hi Rab... If you miss the lemon juice out you'll probably find the yeast won't ferment. Citric acid is naturally present in wines made with grapes, but has to be added for many fruit wines. The raisins add body and flavour to the wine.

      Sounds a sensible approach to add a bit of boiling water to the barrel as it fills with chopped apples. Not sure how many pints of water required, but it's pretty easy to see when you've got enough. I just keep boiling the kettle up until I'm there.

      Good luck, John

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    2. I took your advice and stuck to your recipe and the results are astounding. I left the two 5 gallon wine fermenters for a good 6 months and gradually siphoned it off into glass demijohns and then bottles and the end result is a lovely white wine I enjoy with a fish or chicken dinner. The apple tree didn't produce anything much this year so it will be next year before I get another chance at it but I will always use your recipe in future if the apples are available.

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    3. Appreciate the positive feedback, Rab. Glad you' re enjoying your home brewed wine. It's not uncommon for apple trees to produce fruit every other year. There's a good chance if you're in England that there'll be apple trees in the countryside somewhere near you that can be used in a fallow year. It's a good idea to produce a steady supply each year and hold a few bottles back to allow them to reach optimum taste level at about 3yrs of age. Regards, John

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  49. Anonymous6:24 am

    do you put the tea in whole or do you just make a cup of tea and pour it in i confused about the black tea help

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    Replies
    1. Hi... just make a cup of tea without milk as normal, then use the liquid. Strain out tea leaves if you're using them loose, or take out the tea bag first. Regards, John

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  50. My dad does the easiest apple wine there is (or whatever it is, I am only reminded of dry white wine while tasting it) - just makes apple juice. No sugar, no sterilizing, no nothing. I guess, kind of apples is semi sweet. Then apple juice goes into the cool/cold basement, and after a few weeks it's a wine. The only thing - if you don't drink it right away and put in a warmer place, it becomes stronger and stronger. I have tasted some that felt more like cognac or whiskey (i'm not a specialist of those though)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for that Neko... but are you sure it's not cider? If you don't use wine yeast and rely on the natural yeast on the apple skins I'm not sure if you end up with wine. Regards, John

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  51. Anonymous5:59 pm

    I thought wine was hard to make, but it is quite easy to do and well worth the effort. Thanks for all the help and advise on your website. The biggest ingredient is patience!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem... glad it was a success.

      Delete
  52. Anonymous10:41 am

    Could I use any of your recipes to make pomegranate wine I have made 3 batches of your apple wine and its the best I have ever made they all love it . they have even named it! 3 sheets cause that\'s what you get when you drink too munch thanks for the help

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    Replies
    1. Hi… Glad you like the apple wine. I’ve never tried pomegranate wine… sounds interesting! Here’s a link to what looks like a good recipe to try.

      http://www.wine-making-guides.com/pomegranate_wine.html

      Regards, John

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  53. Hi John,

    Regarding the racking, you make no mention of the cut up raisins in the mix.. I'm assuming these stay in with the sediment..? No one else has asked this question so I'm guessing I've missed something.

    Thanks
    Ash

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    Replies
    1. Good question Ashley... and you're right. The raisins stay behind in the sediment, having done their job during the fermentation. Regards, John

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    2. Hi John, thanks for the reply. Didn't see this when I posted nearly a year ago! That first batch is coming on nicely, although I haven't bottled yet- purely time issue as opposed to quality control. I am just sorting my second batch, this time around I froze the apples prior to stage 1 and it 'seems' to have generated a much better juice in terms of Apple content. Time will tell I guess.

      I am going to distill a couple of litres of batch 1 to make into brandy, will let you know how I get on. Great work, keep it up.

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    3. Appreciate the update, Ashley. Apple brandy... now there's something to think about! Like the idea of freezing the apples first. I'd guess a bit like freezing sloes for sloe vodka/gin, it breaks up the cell structure so the juice is released more quickly.

      If you can give an update on how both experiments go, that would be of great benefit to other readers.

      Thanks, John

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  54. Hi John. This looks like a really great recipe but me and a friend are wondering if step 10 and out really are very necessary. Right now time is of the essence and in this particular case we are more interested in getting a quick product rather than a high quality one. (I am however planning to make a batch later with high quality as a goal rather than cheap alcohol.) Also step 10 and out seems to me (a happy amateur) to be more about the taste, and the most time consuming steps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you like the taste of yeast, then no problem... sup away straight from the fermentation barrel once the yeast has stopped bubbling. Don't fancy it myself though... the liquid will be full of sediment and I suspect you'll be gagging on it pretty soon. Maybe you'd be better brewing some beer. Not as strong, but really easy to do and quick too.

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  55. Anonymous3:53 am

    Hey John. Question about "processing" the apples. I have one of these https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb9ujPNRYeI - Do you think I should just slice and core the apples and fill my bucket up with this? And also should I peel them? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. That is one smart device! Looks like you can get one for about UK £7, which would be a real value. When making wine, you don't need to peel the apples, just quarter and core. The coring is pretty easy when you've quartered. But this device would make things much easier... and if you were making cider and didn't have a press it would be a great aid.

      Regards, John

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    2. Anonymous8:03 am

      If I were to make cider, how would i go about it? I don't have a fruit press. Would I just core and slice the apples, add the 8kg of sugar, and forget about the yeast?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous1:03 am

      Just bought some Cider Yeast, just in case, i think I'll make cider and then follow the apple wine recipe next week!

      Delete
    4. With the cider yeast you've got a head start. The biggest issue with cider is the effort to squeeze the juice out of the apples. With wine you're just using the apples to add taste, but with cider the apple juice is a big part of the content. See the link below for lots of good advice about cider making, including how to build your own cider press.

      Link : http://www.howtomakecider.com/cider-illustrated-guide/

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    5. Anonymous7:35 am

      So no sugar, just apple juice and yeast? And thanks for the website, I could probably make some sort of press!

      Delete
    6. Anonymous5:17 am

      Change of plans, I can't fashion up a press fast enough before the apples rot, so i'll make the wine and pick some more apples next week.

      Delete
    7. Yes, that right.... with cider it's ALL apple juice, hence the importance of an apple press. But there's no downside if you make apple wine. It's good and strong!

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  56. Hi John, I am wondering how important the Stiring in the initial process is? It's very difficult to move the apples with the plastic spoon provided with the brewing kit. I am scared of mushing the apples with the spoon. It's also hard not to slosh the brew on the floor while stirring. Many thanks Andy.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Andy... Without stirring, the risk is you won't get all the goodness out of the apples. If you leave the apples in the fermentation barrel for longer to compensate, the mix is likely to start fermenting from the natural yeast on the skin of the apples and start the process of cider making.

      Don't worry too much about mushing the apples. Whilst you don't want to unnecessarily cloud up the water with apple pulp, the apples don't mush up that much for the few days they're in the barrel. You don't need to be too vigorous with the stirring. Just enough to move the apples around a bit.

      Hope that helps. Regards, John

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  57. Great, thanks John. Afraid I have another question. I have completed brewing the apple liquor in a sealed vessel. I have completed step 9. The sealed vessel has an option to add an air lock. Do you think it is worth adding an air lock at this point at the start of fermentation?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not worth the hassle, Andy... except that if you mean there's a hole for an air lock, you must seal up the hole to prevent bad bacteria from the air getting into your mix and spoiling it. If it's easier to do this by fitting an air lock, do so. Otherwise seal up with tape or something else that does the job. Regards, John

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  58. Many thanks John. It's my first time making wine and I am very excited! Unfortunately , my wife doesn't share my enthusiasm and is ready to be disappointed :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've got that version as well, Andy. Even worse, she doesn't drink. Keep the faith!

      Delete
  59. Hi John

    I am interested in making this apple wine, however I only have a 1 gallon demijohn, how much apples would I need to just make a 1 gallon batch?

    Gemma

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    Replies
    1. Hi Gemma... ~To just make one gallon of apple wine, just divide the ingredients for making five gallons by five. You'll have to estimate how many apples you need. If you're using a five-gallon fermentation barrel, just fill it to about one fifth of the height. The instructions on your yeast container will probably be for one gallon of wine anyway.

      Hope this helps. Regards, John

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  60. Thanks John, I did think that i should just divide it by 5 was just wondering about the apples.
    Will the wine still turn out ok if i use all cooking apples?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gemma... It's best to use a mixture of apples, if you can. It might be okay to use just one type of eating apple, since they are sweet. If you only use cooking apples you might find the wine a bit too dry. Have a look around the countryside where you live. There are certainly wild apple trees around. Alternatively a friend might help. If you have no choice but to use cooking apples, please let me know what the edn result is in a year's time. I'd love to hear how the wine tasted. Thanks, John

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  61. Anonymous8:42 am

    Hi I followed your recipe exactly in 2013 and drank the wine last year. It was AWSOME. Very clear very dry not an obvious flavour of apples and if given it in a blind tasting I'd swear it was a good Palomino Fino sherry. Making more this year and this time 10 gallons not five.

    Cheers for sharing

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    1. Really appreciate the positive feedback. Thank you! John

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  62. Hi John how many days approximately do I leave apples in the water ?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Typically about five days is enough, Sarah. By that time the liquid should certainly be apple coloured since all the jiuce has leeched out of the apples. Regards, John

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  63. Shane8:21 pm

    Hi I started your apple wine recipe in Aug 2015 and have followed this recipe to a tee, it has been in the demijohn now for almost 3 weeks and is still very active. I have noticed some dark spots at the surface of the demijohn like lit brown spots and am concerned that this could be mold. Just wondering if you had any suggestions on this

    thanks
    Shane

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    Replies
    1. Hi Shane... It may be just part of the stuff the yeast leaves behind as waste. You do sometimes get darker spots on the froth on top of the liquid. That does sound a bit ominous, though. If you catch it early enough, before it affects the taste of the wine, you can sort mould by adding Camden tablets. But the point of this wine is to avoid adding any chemicals. I would leave it a while to see how it develops, and if it is mould throw the lot away and start again while there are still useable apples around. Keeping my fingers crossed for you. Thanks, John

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  64. Great recipe and thread :-) I've just acquired a big bag of apples and am going to make your wine , the apples have quite a lot of black spots on them , do you think that will be ok ? I was going to core them with a thing I have that chops and cores at the same time .
    Thanks
    Gary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gary... If the black spots are apple scab (https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=81) these don't affect the taste of the apples and only mark the skin, so should be okay. Suggest you check that the marks only goes skin deep. Hope this help, John

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  65. Anonymous6:03 am

    Hi John. Thanks for sharing your recipe and all your helpful replies. I'm totally new to wine making but I'm gonna give it a shot. The apples I have are pretty tart, so if I were to follow your recipe amounts, would I need to add more sugar? Also, is it possible to use a juicer and skip to the sugar adding step?

    Thanks very much,
    Elden

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    Replies
    1. Hi Elden... It's best if you can have a mix of apples cooking and dessert apples. If you only have cooking apples the wine might be more on the dry side. Adding more sugar just increases the food for the yeast and makes the wine even stronger.

      Yes, if you have a juicer you can go straight to step 6. Regards, John

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    2. Anonymous2:57 pm

      I will definitely use a mix of apples then. One more question about juicing, do you have any idea how much liquid volume I should aim to produce before proceeding with step 6 and topping up with lukewarm water? Or should I be just juicing as many apples as it takes to fill the 5 gallon fermenter?

      Thanks again,
      Elden

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    3. Sorry Elden, since I've never used a juicer I've no idea how many apples to juice for 5 gallons of wine. Would appreciate, once you've tried and found the right amount, if you could add a further comment for the guidance of other readers. Thanks, John

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    4. Anonymous5:57 pm

      Just thought I'd post an update. To anyone thinking of using a juicer....don't. It took us about 4 hours with 2 juicers, a cheesecloth, and about 60 lbs of apples. I think next time we'll be investing in a fruit mill!

      But the good news is that apart from that, everything went pretty smoothly. I did use a hydrometer got an S.G. of 1.05 before adding any sugar. I ended up using approximately 2.5kg of sugar to get the S.G. up to 1.09. Didn't have golden raisins so I used regular ones. Other than that, we followed the remainder of the recipe to a tee. We're on day 2 now, lots of fermentation happening. I will try to post back later on with more details.

      Elden

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    5. Appreciate the update, Elden. Looks like things are now going well. Regards, John

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  66. Anonymous12:19 pm

    Hi John
    Some blackberries or raspberries added to the apples also adds some flavour, and amazing colour!
    Hugh

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for that, Hugh. Sounds interesting! Regards, John

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  67. Anonymous8:35 pm

    It looked like my wine had stopped fermenting so I added a bit of yeast nutrient after racking into another carboy. Now it looks like soap bottles but I didn't use soap. I sterilized and rinsed well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Think that just means the fermentation has restarted and you're off and running. Keeping my fingers crossed all is now well. Thanks, John

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  68. Anonymous8:38 am

    Hi John, could you please tell me how many apples I would need to make 6 bottles of wine using 1 demijohn? I used 5lbs when making your plum wine, so would it be the same amount? Many thanks, Toni x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Toni... I've never actually weighed the apples used to make 5 gallons, just filled up the fermentation barrel. I suggest you estimate by eye the right amount of apples it would need to fill the demijohn and check if that's about 5lbs. Hope this helps. Regards, John

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  69. Hi John, thanks for the recipes and thanks for your dedication, we are amazed at how you still reply to so many comments and hopefully our will be one of those. So, we have transferred our wine to demijohns and now we are left with rather potent raisins and some liquid, we have kept the raisins to use in desserts but the liquid, can it be drunk or used in anyway other than for composting? Steve

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Steve... Appreciate the positive comments. I've never been tempted to use the raisins and sludge at the bottom of the fermentation bucket. I'm guessing it taste too yeasty. But if you do find a use other than composting and making a whole lot of worms very happy, please add a comment to infomr other readers. Thanks, John

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    2. I've never tried it myself, but I've heard that you can use the sediment/sludge to make a pretty great sourdough.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for that suggestion. If anyone tries this, please post a comment to let other readers know how it went. Regards, John

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  70. Anonymous12:45 am

    Hi John, I'm new to wine making and have about 3lb of blackberries and elderberries in my freezer, could I add these to your recipe, making the rest up with apples? Would it affect any part of the process and would I need to adjust the sugar content? Thanking you in advance :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi... You can use any fruit such as blackberries or elderberries to make wine, so you can add to the apples in the fermentation barrel. I'm assuming you've already stripped the elderberries from their stems... it's important to do this since the stems as well as any unripe elderberries can be toxic.

      I'm assuming you're going to make the full five gallons of wine, in which case there's no need to worry about adjusting the 8kg of sugar to add. If you are only making one gallon you're going to have to do some research, since the amount of sugar to add will be different because the wine you'll be making will be almost totally a blackberry/elderberry mix.

      Hope this helps, John

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    2. Thank you for your comments John. I am a bit worried about making such a big batch of wine as I am such a novice and if it goes wrong, it will be a big waste of produce. I am only a week into my wine making as I have just made a gallon of blackberry and elderflower wine so far and just put it in a demijohn... got my 'L Plates' on ha ha. I shall pluck up courage and give it a go, thanks for your help, it is much appreciated :-)

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    3. Be brave, Bex! There's little that can go wrong with the apple wine. All that's required is to be careful with cleaning, and patience tsot the wine fully matures to get a wonderful warm taste. Best of luck, John

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  71. Hi John. I've just transferred my wine to the demijojn. I noticed some of the sultana's got into the liquid. Can I leave it or should I strain them out?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shouldn't be a problem, and you'll leave them behind in the demijohn when you do the final transfer to wine bottles. Regards, John

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  72. Hi. I started my wine yesterday. I am looking online for the wine yeast but I am in the US and can't get the one that you use. What do you recommend that is comparable? Thank You

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    Replies
    1. Hi... This link to 10 Packs of Lalvin Dried Wine Yeast EC 1118 for US dollars 8.37 looks good and has great reviews. One packet is enough for 5 gallons : http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003TOEEFG?keywords=wine%20yeast&qid=1444714216&ref_=sr_1_2&sr=8-2

      Regards, John

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  73. Hi John, it's so good that you keep replying to all our questions, thank you but sorry... I have another for you ha ha. Can you use crab apples for your recipe? :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bex... It's no problem answering questions. You can use crab apples, but it is much better if you can have a mix of cooking and eating apples. I've seen cooking apples available for free, left outside the houses of generous gardeners. If you can add a few of those it's much more likely your wine will have a good balanced flavour.

      If you do go just for crab apples, please post a comment back some time in the future to let readers know how it tasted. Thanks, John

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  74. Sarah9:27 pm

    Hi John, I'm now at step 9 and it has been bubbling away nicely for 5 days. Bit confused about the next step as my raisins are floating on the top and I'm still stirring twice a day. Do the raisins sink at some stage and when do I stop stirring to allow the sediment to settle? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sarah... Yes, the raisins do float to the top and the mixture is pretty active at this stage. The aim at this point is to allow the yeast to keep the yeast active and turning the sugar into alcohol, hence the need to give it a stir a couple of times a day.

      The mixture won't clear whilst in the fermentation barrel. When you transfer to demijohns in a week or so, your aim is to leave behind as much sediment etc as possible. Once in the demijohns, the mixture will gradually start to clear.

      Hope this helps. Regards, John

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  75. Hi john, nothing seems to be working after I have added yeast etc,whst have I done wrong?!thank you,catherine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Catherine... Sorry to hear you're having a problem starting the yeast fermenting. I'm assuming the mixture was warm when you added the yeast and you're keeping the fermentation barrel in a warm environment.

      If this is so and the yeast hasn't started, next thing to try is using a yeast starter. In doing this you create the perfect conditions for the yeast to kick start. So you need a packet of yeast, some juice from the fermenting barrel, table sugar, and a glass. Make sure that the glass is sterilized. Add 16 oz. of the juice (2 cups), 1 tablespoon of table sugar, and the yeast to your glass. In roughly 15 minutes to an hour you should notice foam forming on top of the glass. This lets you know that the yeast is active and ready to go. Just pour the active yeast into your fermenter. Don't stir the yeast in.

      That should do the job, but if not let me know and we'll go on to the next step.

      Regards, John

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  76. Hi John, sorry to ask what may seem to be a very silly question but your advice would be much appreciated. Your recipe states that whilst the liquid is in the fermenting bucket, it should be stirred twice a day. Well do you have to sterilise the spoon you use every time you go to stir the mixture? I have a big jug with sterilising fluid in by the fermenting bucket and keep the spoon in here for when I need it but a I making more work for myself? How long do sterilised items last before they need to be sterilised again, is it every time you will need them even if it is only after a day? Thank you for your help and advice, it is much appreciated :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bex... Not a silly question at all. Now you've asked it, I'm surprised it's not been asked before.

      My mixing spoon is a long one so I leave it in the mix and just whisk it around twice a day. If your spoon isn't large enough to do this without it disappearing into the mix, keeping the spoon in sterilising fluid is an answer, although you'll need to be careful you don't get any of the sterilising fluid in the mix and it kills off the yeast. Using boiling water on the spoon would be just as effective and a cheaper solution to ensuring the spoon is sterilised before each mix.

      Hope this helps. Regards, John

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    2. Thank you John, your advice is much appreciated :-)

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  77. Anonymous9:14 am

    Hi, help! I've only had my apples in the fermenting bucket for 3days and it's started to slowly bubble already! I've moved my bucket to a cooler room to try and slow down the fermentation and I've read a previous post where this has happened to someone else. Do I need to remove all the apples right now and carry on at stage 5 or can I wait a few more days to get more juice out? Also my apples are going brown and so is my water, is this normal or have I ruined it? Hoping you can help John, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like things are going perfectly. The apples do go brown, and the water is turning brown because the apple juice is leaching out from the apples. It's the wild yeast on the apple skins that's started the fermentation, but if you relied on that yeast you'd end up with something more like cider. I'd give it a couple more days then go to step 5. Regards, John

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  78. Anonymous7:06 pm

    Hi, I followed the recipe and so far everything has gone great, one quick question though, its been bubbling away through the airlock of a 5 gallon ferementation bucket for 7 weeks now. Im not in any sort of rush, just curious as to how long I should expect this to continue!? Thanks a lot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like you've got a good bubble on there! It should start to quieten down pretty soon, as the yeast turns all the sugar into alcohol. No problem of you leave it for another few days waiting for that to happen. Regards, John

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    2. Anonymous1:22 am

      Thanks for the reply John. Have you ever measured abv? I have just checked with a hydrometer and it had a Sg of 1200 and it's currently at 1036 which I think is nearly 22%! Thats strong even by Devon standards! Thanks.

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    3. Yes, it is good strong wine! I've always followed the natural method, letting the yeast consume all the sugar. Don't like the idea of killing off early to control the strength by adding chemicals. And being so strong, the wine goes a lot further. Regards, John

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  79. Anonymous1:22 pm

    John, just put my wine for fermentation and while browsing for more information, just found out that imperial gallons are different from US gallons. And I was wondering why so much sugar for just five gallons, you were talking about imperial gallons, so your five gallons are my 6 gallons.

    I had lot of apples, so I was close to six gallons and put a little less than 8 kgs, so hopefully I should be fine. On the 3rd day I don't see vigorous fermentation, just a little bit of bubbles but its smelling good. Also the temperature in my basement is around 20-23 degrees. Maybe I should put a heater in there..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment. I've added 'UK imperial' to all easy recipe posts referring to gallons to clarify for US visitors.

      I'm assuming you're currently on step 9. If the liquid is bubbling, the fermentation has started and should accelerate over the next few days. Assuming your temperature is 20-23 degrees celsius, that is fine and there's no need to add a heater. Wish we were that warm here in Cambridgeshire, England!

      Regards, John

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  80. Hi John, I reached stage 9 a few days ago, being brave and making the full 5 gallons instead of just one gallon and my mix has a very light bubbling fermentation froth on top. I hate sweet wine so I only put 6.5kgs of sugar in the mix, but kept all the other ingredient amounts the same. Will this be enough sugar for the yeast to turn into alcohol or do I need to add more?

    My bucket is currently in a room that according to the thermometer, is between 22-25 C, is this the right temperature? I have a blanket around it to try and regulate the temp ha ha. Also, I have to go away for 3 days, so will be unable to stir it twice a day, will this ruin my wine? There’s so much to learn and it is great reading everyone else's questions and answers, and great that we can interact with you. Thanking you in advance :-)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Bex.... Thanks for the positive feedback.

      You'll still successfully make wine with a reduced sugar content. Your fermentation will take less time and the alcohol content will be less, but it should still be acceptable strong.

      A temperature of 22-25C is fine, no need for a blanket ~;o). No stirring for just three days should be okay. The risk is that the fermentation may slow down, but give it a good stir on your return and all should be okay.

      Regards, John

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  81. John. How much water should I add to fresh pure apple juice? Juice : Water 60:40, 50:50, 25:75 ??:??

    I make cider so I have an apple pulper and press giving as much juice as needed. I use Bramley cooking apples giving a juice of 1.05 S.G. I want to try your excellent recipe to make something new and would appreciate your best guess (or anyone else's) to give me a chance of success. Great job for all your support on this thread.

    Cheers, Owen

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    Replies
    1. Hi Owen... I've never used squeezed apple juice before, but the recipes available on other websites indicate you need 100% apple juice, i.e. no water added. Hope this helps, John

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    2. Hi John. Thanks for your reply. I've decided to experiment... I have 2 demi's of 100% fruit, 1 demi at 2/3 fruit and 1 demi at 1/3 juice. All sugared to give about 12% alcohol. I will come back next year to let you know how they get on. Cheers, Owen

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    3. Tht sounds an interesting experiment, Owen. Look forward to the results next year. Thanks, John

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  82. Anonymous11:13 am

    Hi John
    I am at stage 9 in the process - but I don't have a 'froth' at the top of my mixture. All the raisins have floated to the top and there are small bubbles rising to the top when I open the bucket to stir. I don't have a thermometer, but it's close to a heater. Is this a sufficient level of fermentation, or should I add a yeast starter? I love this recipe and really want it to work, but lack confidence as my last attempt at wine (not yours) several years ago was an unmitigated disaster!

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    Replies
    1. Hi... If you've got small bubbles rising to the top, it sounds as though the fermentation has started. I'd be concerned if this was the only level of activity after several days, but I'm assuming you've only just started so there's time for the fermentation to build up. After a few days things should have really started bubbling.

      If several days HAVE passed and things are still pretty docile, yes, you should add a yeast starter. To do this, you create the perfect conditions for the yeast to kick start. So you need a packet of yeast, some juice from the fermenting barrel, table sugar, and a glass. Make sure that the glass is sterilized. Add 16 oz. of the juice (2 cups), 1 tablespoon of table sugar, and the yeast to your glass. In roughly 15 minutes to an hour you should notice foam forming on top of the glass. This lets you know that the yeast is active and ready to go. Just pour the active yeast into your fermenter. Don't stir the yeast in.

      That should do the job, but if not let me know and we'll go on to the next step.

      Regards, John

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    2. Oh no.... I have just read this post and my mix has been at this 'small bubbling' stage for the past 9 days, it's not moved on at all from this low activity stage and I didn't get a froth either. I did use only 6.5kgs sugar so I thought that this reduced fermentation may be due to that but having never done it before, I wasn't really sure what it should be like. Do you think I need to add a yeast starter or do you think it's it too late? I did buy my yeast from a reputable supplier only last month and the room is warm but there is just the slightest of bubbling when I stir. Sorry to muscle in on this post :-)

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    3. Hi Bex... Do you have a high enough temperature? Anything below 18C slows down the process. If you think the temperature might be the cause of your slow fermentation, first try increasing the warmth to see if that gets things really bubbling. If you don't think this is the cause, or it doesn't do the job, let me know and we'll go to the next solution. Thanks, John

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    4. Hi John, (thank you for replying), I've measured the temperature of my mix and it is 22 degrees C. I'm wondering if the temperature of the mix was too cold when I added the yeast as it's never done more than a very gentle fizz/bubble, no more than the natural yeast fermentation when I had the apples in the mix. Should I add a yeast starter to get things going? I don't know what it is meant to smell like but it does smell a little bit alcoholic... a bit ha ha. Thank you for your advice and sorry if I have muscled in on this post but it is a good job the person posted or I wouldn't have known I had a problem, so thank you :-)

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    5. No problem Bex. Your temperature is fine, so try the yeast started since the next step is to provide more of the ideal nutrients to kick start the process. Regards, John

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    6. Thank you so much for your advice :-)

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    7. Oops, sorry I forgot to ask but do I add more nutrient? I added nutrient at the start with the yeast so if I am adding more yeast now, do I need to add more nutrient? :-)

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    8. I'd try the yeast starter by itself first, Bex.

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    9. Thanks for the quick response John. I added the yeast starter last night and whilst there's still no 'foam', there's definitely more bubbling going on - shall I take that as a success? (Like Bex, it does smell a bit alcoholic). Kind regards, Kathy (I'm 'anonymous' at the start of this particular thread!)

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    10. Hi Kathy... Sounds like a success to me. Should be much more increased activity over the next couple of days. Regards, John

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  83. Anonymous3:36 pm

    Hi john..i hope this feed is still up and running. I am trying this for the first fime, i am nearing stage 10. I have only got a 5 gallon plastic barrels. Do i have to buy glass demijohns or could i use these, the whole time untill bottling. Just trying to minimise cost. Thanks jacqueline.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jacqueline... I have used plastic 5 gallon carboys in the past successfully. These worked well because they had a rubber bung with hole in to fit the airlock. So in effect they were giant plastic demijohns. Best price I can find is about £17 (though check out if there's a high postage price added). The container has to be made of PET plastic, safe for foodstuffs and drinks. Here's the link to the one I found : http://www.lovebrewing.co.uk/23-litre-plastic-carboy/

      If you use a plastic barrel with an airlock in the lid, because this may be less air tight you run the risk of bacteria getting into the wine and spoiling your efforts. I wouldn't recommend using a barrel without an airlock. You would have to periodically open to release gases, and there would be a high risk of the wine getting spoiled.

      Hope this helps, John.

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    2. Thankyou. I have 2 plastic barrels. 1 with air lock one without. I will transfer to the air lock one soon. It smells great. So thanks for shareing the recipie.

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    3. Hi john.
      Just transfered to another barrel. And tried a bit. It is very strong, more brandy like than wine, is this ok.

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    4. Hi Charlie... Yes, it can be very strong. So goes that much further. If too strong for you, mix with soda water to make a spritzer. Regards, John

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  84. Hi John, how exactly do I strain out the apples?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Josie... I use a large strainer, such as the one for sale a Wilkinsons for £2 at the following link : http://www.wilko.com/kitchen-gadgets/wilko-strainer-metal-195cm/invt/0335040

      Hope that helps, John

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  85. John, I am the one above who confused US and Imperial gallons.
    Its been almost 4 weeks and the wine is still actively fermenting. Should I wait till the bubbling stops or rake it?

    Last week I started some banana wine. I am amazed how differently they are fermenting. The apple was slow with no residue on the top except raisins but banana is vigorously fermenting with a thick white cap on the top. Both smell totally different with a hint of alcohol.

    Thanks for answering our questions.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Paps... If the apple wine is still bubbling in the fermentation barrel after four weeks, it should be getting near to the end of the process as the yeast consumes the remaining sugar. I'd wait another week or ten days and it should calm down within that time so you can move to the next step.

      I think the banana wine is so much more vigorous because of the higher sugar level in the fruit. Sounds interesting... like banana + like wine = must like banana wine! Please return and let me know how it goes, for the benefit of other readers.

      Thanks, John

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