Thursday, February 14, 2008

Birch Wine

Soon it will be time for the sap to start moving up the trees. I thought that this would be one that would be kinda' neat to make. Very simple recipe.

1 gallon birch sap
4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 oranges or 1 lemon, sliced thin
campden tablets
1 package wine yeast

Place birch sap in primary fermentor. Add sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add oranges or lemon. Let sit overnight.

Next day, Specific Gravity should be 1.090 - 1.100. Stir in yeast. Stir daily for 5 to 6 days or until Specific Gravity is 1.040. Strain out fruit and squeeze as much juice out of it as you can. Siphon into secondary fermentor and add airlock.
For a dry wine, rack in three weeks, and every three months for one year. Bottle.

For a sweet wine, rack at three weeks. Add 1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup wine. Stir gently, and place back into secondary fermentor. Repeat process every six weeks until fermentation does not restart with the addition of sugar. Rack every three months until one year old. Bottle.
The wine is best if you can refrain from drinking it for one full year from the date it was started.

To get your birch sap without harming the tree:

Harvest in springtime. Cut only one or two low branches per tree, about the thickness of your thumb, with pruning shears. Attach a plastic food container (milk jug, margarine carton, etc) so it can catch the sap as it drips. You can cover the opening of the container with cheesecloth or nylons to keep out debris. Collect your sap daily and store it in the refrigerator until you have enough to make your wine. Add one crushed campden tablet each time you add sap to the refrigerator to kill any wild yeast and vinegar bacteria you may have collected.