Friday, July 25, 2008

What the Rhubarb?

One of the benefits of living 2.5 hours from your parents (and 2.5 hours from Boondockville, MN) is that they can grow almost anything you ask. I say "almost" because I asked them to grow barley and both parents replied with a resounding "NO."

Along with the Cascade and Goldings hops they tend for me lives two healthy rhubarb plants. Late May I requested rhubarb. Lots of rhubarb: four pounds worth. When I went home for Father's Day I was greated with 4.75 lbs of frozen, chopped rhubarb.

After researching for a few weeks I finally found a great method and recipe. After visiting the local brewshop for yeast I was in wine-business.

Rhubarb Wine (one gallon)
  • 4. 5 lbs chopped, cleaned, frozen rhubarb
  • 2.5 lbs white sugar
  • 1 tsp. turbo yeast nutrient (Go Ferm)
  • 1 packet Lalvin EC-1118 Champagne Yeast
  1. Thaw rhubarb overnight in covered colandar over a large bowl.
  2. Transfer released rhubarb juice into fermentation vessel. Add one crushed campden tablet to sterilize must.
  3. Spread one pound of sugar over rhubarb in colander and replace over large bowl. Let sit at least eight hours.
  4. Transfer rhubarb juice to fermentation vessel.
  5. Repeat steps three and four.
  6. Replace colander over large bowl and press with spatula/large spoon to capture any remaining juice. Add juice to fermentation vessel.
  7. Add 0.5 lbs sugar to reach SG 1.100 (may not be necessary, I had to add extra sugar).
  8. Add yeast nutrient and yeast.
  9. ???
  10. Wine.
Normally you create a yeast starter or rehydrate the yeast prior to adding to the must. This time I did not. The must started bubbling within two hours of adding yeast. Fermentation was so vigorous that I added a blow-off tube for the first 36 hours.

You know when you first open club soda and you get sprayed from the C02 release? The fermentation looks like that.