Hedgerow Booze (Part 3) – Decant

The next stage in our gorse winemaking is to decant it from the big brewing jar into a demijohn. It will still continue to ferment, so a demijohn with an airlock is important at this stage – if you pour it straight into bottles you run the risk of them exploding!

The wine is usually ready to be decanted into your demijohn after about a week – but, as you’ve seen with ours, sometimes there is a delay, and we ended up decanting it after 9 days this time. So, how do you know it’s ready? By the sound it makes – or rather, the lack thereof! You’re looking for it to stop bubbling or fizzing – so open up your container (as you do when you give it a stir every day anyway), and listen in. It’s a bit like making popcorn – there comes a point when it’s almost totally quiet, and that’s the time to decant it. But don’t stress about it – it’s ok to leave it a bit longer, too. 

The key thing about decanting it into your demijohn is to strain out the flowers and other mushy bits – you’re only after the liquid, really. Take a moment to enjoy the smell, too! As you can see in the video, we do this with a pot-with-teatowel contraption, but whatever filtering system works for you is good. In the past we’ve tried to pour straight from the big bucket and it’s gone all over the place, so we’ve settled on this way of doing it. 

Once your wine is decanted that’s it for the next 6 months (at least!) – put it in a cool dark(ish) place, and just leave it. Remember to label it, with what’s in it and the date. With any luck you’ll be able to sample it at Christmas! And, of course, your brewing bucket is now free for the next wine – more gorse, or a variety of other things. For us, rhubarb is doing really well just now, so I suspect that’ll be our next brew, but if you’re further south you may have elderflowers already. The fourth post in this series is all about other kinds of booze – what we’ve tried, what’s gone well, what hasn’t gone well, what we’ve not yet tried but are planning to. The basic principles are the same: like jam-making, once you have the method down you can creative and try anything!

One final recommendation: make more wine that seems reasonable, because if it’s a good batch you’ll really regret not doing so!

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