Making elderflower champagne

Gathering flowers

Picking elderflowersAfter scanning the local countryside for the leafy green weed of a tree I was surprised not to find a single one nearby and so, on a recent trip to visit my parents, picked a good many flower heads from the trees growing along their river. It was a rainy afternoon and I got rather saturated in the process, I hope the end result is worth it.

Preparing the ingredients

Now that we have the flowers (only available in October - December) we can combine with the other ingredients. As I have 12 x 745ml old brown beer bottles I am making 9 liters.

  • 7 liters of cold water
  • Juice and rind of 4 lemons
  • 2kg white sugar dissolved in 2 liters of hot water
  • A pile of elder flowers
  • A tiny sprinkle of regular bread yeast

Combine together is a sterile plastic vessel with airtight lid.

Fermentation

Keep the brewing vessel in a warmish location out of the way. Check the brew from time to time and release any built up pressure. After a few days it is ready to strain and bottle.

Bottling of elderflowerBottling

Use a fine cloth or sieve to remove flowers, any stalks, leaves and lemon rinds. Pour though a funnel into bottles and cap. Store the bottles in a cool place so the fermentation slows / stops. If the fermentation continues it will make the end product taste yeasty and will make it so fizzy that opening the bottles becomes messy and potentially dangerous. I have had a glass bottle explode under its own internal pressure. WATCH OUT!

  1. Create of old beer bottles
  2. Red funnel :)
  3. Brewing barrel
  4. Finished bottle of brew
  5. Spare caps
  6. Capping leaver

Drinking

I opened my first bottle after 6 days of fermentation to see how it was going and it sure was fizzy. I lost about a third of the bottle out the top as foam.

Additional information for Elderflower 'champagne'

 Related

Elderberry

Elderberry

Details  Fast growing multi stemmed small tree with flat clusters of small white flowers in late spring.
Common name  Elderberry - European Elder
Botanical name  Sambucus nigra
Family  Caprifoliaceae
Height (m)  6
Diameter  6.00
Edible  
Fruit / berries  
Wind tolerance  Low
Shade / Sun  Full sun - Shade
Soil type  Most
Flowers  White