Elderflower champagne: a recipe comparison

The elders are in bloom all around us and it seems like everyone if furiously brewing elderflower champagne at the moment. The posts about our elderflower champagne adventures are being visited lots of times each day as is the video on youtube, but as each gives a different recipe, we thought it would be a good idea to offer a comparison of the two to help you decide which recipe is right for you.

The first recipe we tried was about 3 years ago now and all but one bottle had long since vanished. That one remaining bottle, however, did allow us to do a side by side tasting with the new recipe to taste comparison.

Recipe 1

Step 1 – making the basic wine

Ingredients

  • 125g dried elderflower
  • Juice and rind of 4 lemons
  • 3.5kg sugar
  • 1 packet of champagne yeast

 Method

  • Add 3 liters of boiling water to a bucket or fermenting vessel if you have one (making sure it’s spotlessly clean and sanitised beforehand) and dissolve the sugar into it
  • Add the rind and juice of the lemons and the elderflower
  • Top up to about 22 litres with cold water aiming for the temperature to be about 18 degrees C, then add your yeast
  • Leave the elderflower and lemon in the mixture overnight before removing.
  • Leave to ferment for around 3 weeks.

 

Recipe 2

Step 1 – making the basic wine

Ingredients

  • 400g dried elderflower
  • Juice and rind of 6 lemons
  • 6kg sugar
  • 1 packet of champagne yeast

Method

  • Add 3 liters of boiling water to a bucket or fermenting vessel if you have one (making sure it’s spotlessly clean and sanitised beforehand) and dissolve the sugar into it
  • Add the rind and juice of the lemons and the elderflower
  • Top up to around 22 litres with cold water, add as much or as little as it takes to get the temperature to 18C and then add your yeast.
  • Leave the elderflower and lemon in the bucket as the wine ferments, for about 5 days.
  • After a week, remove elderflower and lemon and leave to continue to ferment, about another 2 weeks.

Our thoughts

As I said we tasted both of these side by side last weekend to compare what difference adding te extra elderflower in recipe 2 made and it was actually quite a substantial difference.

Recipe 2 obviously packed a much bigger elderflower punch, but it was also a lot sweeter than the first recipe, although there was actually less sugar in the recipe. I put this down to the elderflower giving the impression of sweetness.

Recipe 1 was a much more delicate elderflower flavour, much more like a dry champagne taste and very drinkable. Whereas we both felt that recipe 2 was a nice summer drink, but we wouldn’t have been able to have more than 2 glasses before the sweetness was just too much.

It might also be worth noting that recipe 2 was still very young, having only been bottled a few months so it may yet change over time. It might be a good idea for us to try another bottle in the future and see how it has matured but for now I hope this gives you some ideas and the courage to make your own.

So there you go, this is why you experiment and test out different recipe ideas, you can now decide on the type of drink you want to make or tweak your own recipe accordingly.

Hope you are all having fun with your champagne adventures and we would love to hear all about them.

Videos and recipes

Elderflower Champagne Recipe 1

How to bottle your Elderflower Champagne

 

 

Our review
https://youtu.be/I7YFFgovVGU

6 Comments

  1. Any advice you can give me on your elderflower champagne making.

  2. It’s. My start gravity started at 110 and after a wk of good fermentation we are down to 70. Still fermenting. Do you think it will reach around 1000 or 994 for bottling. I plan to bottle your way. What would be the least finished gravity you would bottle please. First time at this I normally brew wines and beers. Any help advice appreciated.
    Deano.

  3. Hey Deano,
    as you know, I can’t really guess at what’s going to happen with your brew, but as you are already brewing beer and wine (elderflower champagne is, after all, a wine), I think you are in good stead.
    Just keep it somewhere at about 18 degrees and give it time. Mine usually takes a few weeks, much slower than beer.

    Try to relax and enjoy
    Eli

  4. Thanks Eli
    Yeah thats fine I will do. That’s my intention. After a week of fermenting its at 70. That’s where my wines normally start . Followed your stages of your recipe to the book. Just hoped its going to come down a lot more. When I have 3 days of the same hydrometer reading I guess it’s bottling time. I’m a brewery operator by trade. (real cask ales)Never Had to do this bottling procedure before. Safely!! Everydays a school day. I let you know where it ends up. Thanks for your help.

  5. I’m sure you’ll be fine.
    The danger is adding too much sugar, thats what causes the bottle bombs so just measure carefully.

    This is the standard bottling procedure for homebrew so you won’t be alone.

    Will keep my fingers crossed for you.

  6. Eli
    Yes that’s fine. Many thanks. Been a great help.
    Deano.

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