Apple wine recipe – Makes 1 gallon/4.5 litre
This recipe can be multiplied depending on the quantity you would like to make.
Top Tip: Taste your brew as you go along to get an idea of how the flavours develop.
5-10 kg mixed apples (Using 5kg with you a less full bodied wine but still delicious)
1.5 kg brewing sugar
4.5 litres water
1 heaped teaspoon of super wine yeast compound
1 level teaspoon pectolase
2 crushed campden tablets (one at the start and one at the end)
Top tip: Our hedgerow wine making starter kit has all the equipment you need to get started. It even includes a recipe book!
Method:Sterilise all equipment before you start and throughout the wine making process.
Use a good mixture of apples for the best flavour, make sure there are no cores or stems present.
Wash and then chop and crush the apples including the peel. Freezing the apples softens them up therefore making this process much easier. Transfer the apples to a fermenter and add cold tap water along with 1 crushed campden tablet to sterilise the fruit. This releases suphur dioxide into the mixture which will kill any bacteria that may effect fermentation. Leave to stand for 12 hours in a covered vessel.
After 12 hours add the pectolase and leave the mixture, known as must, to stand for 24 hours again in a covered vessel. Pectolase breaks down the pectin in the cell walls of the fruit allowing more juice to be released and reduces pectin haze in your finished wine.
After 24 hours add the sugar and then add the super wine yeast compound, this is a mixture of yeast and nutrient. The nutrient is essential for nourishing the yeast, as the required nutrients are not present in the apples. This will also help to avoid stuck fermentations.
Give the must a good stir to introduce oxygen. At this stage of fermentation oxygen is crucial to the yeasts reproduction so just loosely cover your fermenter do not seal it. This will allow oxygen in but stop any dust etc from falling into the must.
Keep your fermenter between 18 – 24 degrees to allow for a good fermentation. Don’t worry if it dips a few degrees below as this will just slow the fermentation down and if you’re worried it has stopped just increase the temperature a little by moving it to a warmer location. If the temperature increases by a few degrees, again don’t worry, this just means that your fermentation will be a bit more vigorous. Anything above 28 degrees may kill the yeast so make sure it stays below this level.
Leave for 5-7 days stirring each day to ensure you’re getting the most from your must by bringing the crushed apples at the bottom up to the top. The activity of fermentation further breaks down the structure of the fruit releasing more sugars.
After day 7 strain your liquid into a secondary fermenter using a funnel and a muslin bag. Then strain the remaining juice from the apples as best you can using the same muslin bag and then add this to the fermenter as well. If there is a gap it can be topped up with water to 4.5 litres.
At this point you will need to seal your secondary fermenter to prevent contact with oxygen. This forces the yeast to turn its attention to the rest of the fermentable sugars and therefore produce alcohol and prevents unwanted bacteria from turning your wine into vinegar. Add an airlock to your fermenter to allow carbon dioxide to escape and keep oxygen out. Remember to keep it at a warm temperature between 18 and 24 degrees.
It should then continue to ferment for a number of months however this can vary greatly depending on how many fermentable sugars are in the apples. It may take up to nine months! Over time a sediment layer will form at the base of your vessel, this is the dead yeast cells and once a layer of about 1 to 2 inches builds up you will need to transfer your wine to another vessel, this process is called racking and should also help to clear your wine. You may need to repeat this so that the dead yeast cells don’t cause off flavours in your finished wine. Be careful when you are transferring not to expose the must to too much oxygen.
Please note: There will always be sediment at the bottom of your fermenter just don’t let it go over two inches.
As your must is fermenting you’ll see bubbles escaping through the airlock. If not don’t panic it may be that the Co2 has found an easier route out of the vessel, rather than pushing through the water in the airlock. It may be the tiniest of pin holes some where around the lid or between the airlock and grommet depending on what you’re fermenting in. This isn’t a problem so don’t worry.
When the bubbles cease and the wine is clear fermentation is complete and you are ready for bottling. To be absolutely sure you can use your hydrometer
to check for any movement in the readings that would indicate activity. If the reading stays the same over a prolonged period this is an indication that your brew has stopped fermenting. Once your ferment is complete add another crushed campden tablet before bottling as it will act as an antioxidant therefore protecting your wine from turning to vinegar.
Top tip: If the wine is not sharp enough to the taste, citric acid can be added in the form of lemons. It’s usually the juice of one lemon but add it slowly and then taste the wine until you have your preferred level. Alternatively you can use powdered citric acid 1 or 2 rounded teaspoons should do it but again add it gradually stirring it in gently and then tasting. Leave it a few minutes before tasting to ensure the acid is fully blended with the wine. This is something you may not need to do as most fruit wines will already have enough acidity.
Once bottled it is best to leave your wine in a cool dark place to age. The flavour and aroma will develop over time. Leave it for at least six months before trying it, this allows the flavours to mellow.
Once your wine has matured drink and enjoy!