Strawberries have a unique and distinct flavor that makes for an awesome wine. It floors you with taste and aroma. The bouquet is light and agreeable. The flavor can be sweet and simultaneously dry, Strawberry Wine - so very fine.
The Hibiscus flower, well known in Hibiscus Tea, has a flavor that is somewhat like cranberry. It has a high tartaric acid content and tastes more like what you would expect from a fruit rather than a flower classified as an herb.
12 pounds Strawberries
1/4 lb. Dried Hibiscus Flowers
8 lbs. sugar
1 Pkg. Wine Yeast
5 Campden Tablets or slightly more than 1 Teaspoon Potassium Bisulfite
1 teaspoon tannin
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice or Asorbic Acid - Optional
1 Teaspoon of Calcium Carbonate - Optional but advisable.
The Sweetness of Strawberries coupled with the tartness of Hibiscus makes a wine that you'll be making time and again. You're first step when getting ready to give birth to your Strawberry Hibiscus wine will be to boil a gallon of water.
Prepare the Strawberries
Your Strawberries - You can't squeeze strawberries like you would grapes and expect it to yield very much juice. You can puree it, but we're not making smoothies - we're making wine. To get the juice out of your strawberries coat them with sugar in a bowl and watch the juice collect in the bottom of the bowl.
The sugar crystals actually draw out and concentrate the strawberry juice. It also liquefies some of the strawberry creating more juice. After you've done this and collected the juice that has run off the berries you can now mash them in a colander to extract as much juice as possible.
Blending the Strawberry and Hibiscus
Set the juice aside - take the remaining strawberry pulp and mix it in with your Hibiscus flowers and allow the two to steep in the water you boiled for about 15 minutes. Add in the juice you collected earlier.
This is the base of your wine You will be adding water later in the process to bring it up to approximately 5 gallons.
Mixing the Ingredients
Put your Strawberry Hibiscus blend into a "primary fermenter" - any food grade plastic container will suffice for this purpose. Be sure it is thoroughly clean and sufficiently large enough to hold the mix, water, sugar and so forth.
Add your water to make roughly 5 gallons total.
Collect the Strawberry Hibiscus flower pulp in a fermentation bag and submerge the bag into the mixture. Add your sugar and stir gently.
Tannin - Add your tannin either after, or while stirring the sugar in. Dissolve it in some luke warm water first and then stir the water mixture evenly into the batch.
Tannin is Tannic Acid. Tannic acid enhances the flavor of wines and aids in the clarification process by neutralizing unwanted proteins. Wines lacking in Tannin deteriorate in quality more rapidly in storage.
Sulfites - Crush a Campden tablet and add it to the batch. Campden Tablets are sulfur-based, they eliminate bacteria and wild yeast which can ruin or toxify a batch. It also eliminates free chlorine from tap water.
Cover the batch with a porous towel for 24 hours to allow it to purify. During this 24 hour period the sulfur gas from the campden is vaporized and leaves the batch.
Add your yeast only after the sulfites from the campden tablets have dissipated . 24 hours is sufficient. Adding it earlier would have killed off the yeast. It is imperative that during this one day purifying period that the juice can breath in order for the sulfites to escape. If they do not dissipate , then it is probable that the yeast you add will be destroyed and fermentation will not occur.
It is best that you use yeast designated for winemaking / brewing - you can use standard Supermarket yeast, but for best results wine yeast is advisable.
Add the yeast by sprinkling it over the top of the juice then cover it with a clean towel and allow it to ferment for about a week. After a week remove the pulp bag and do what you will with its contents.
Siphon the wine into a carboy. A carboy is a container, generally glass, sometimes plastic used for the secondary fermentation of your wine. You only want the liquid, not any sediment. Siphon off as much as you can without stirring up any sediment. Keep the feeder end of the hose off the bottom for this very same reason.
Add a teaspoon of ascorbic acid or lemon juice to the siphoned off liquid. It is an anti-oxidant that reduces oxidation.
Attach a wine airlock filled about half-way with water. A wine air lock, also known as a fermentation lock is an inexpensive device,which allows gases to escape the fermenter, while not allowing outside air in, thus avoiding contamination and oxidation.
Allow the batch to age for another 4 or 5 weeks and you should have some a decent Strawberry - Hibiscus Wine.
You can also rack it again several times along the way if you'd like. Racking is siphoning the wine off of the accumulated sediment and into another secondary fermenter. Repeat this as many times as you feel comfortable with, a good wine should be clear, no cloudiness.
Ageing the wine will only make it better at this point, but it isn't absolutely necessary. Usually about a year if you can manage to have it last that long.
If you plan on storing it to age it add another campden tablet [or potassium bisulfite] before bottling it. This will help keep the wine from spoiling up until the time it is consumed.
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