The champagne has been fermenting away for a few weeks and the yeast has done it’s job and eaten all the sugar to turn it into alcohol. I’ve taken my readings and made sure that fermentation has finished and I can also tell that it is 8.5% ABV. I’ll explain later how you work out the alcohol using your hydrometer readings.
Now it’s time to bottle the champagne and make it fizzy – after all if it isn’t fizzy, it isn’t champagne.
Bottling champagne is a little bit different from bottling beer, you need slightly different equipment and some brute strength.
You need the following;
- Champagne bottles
this is important. You can’t just use any bottle to bottle something which is carbonated, especially not to the levels that the champagne will be carbonated as the pressure will cause your average glass bottle to explode. You need to make sure you have proper champagne bottles, they are slightly heavier and will stand up to the pressure much better.
I’ve gone with plastic corks that I can force into the bottle without a corking machine.
these hold the corks in place so that the fizz from inside the bottle doesn’t force the corks out.
- Some sort of tubing you can use to siphon the wine into the bottle (I like to transfer the wine to another bucket through a piece of muslin first and then bottle the filtered stuff from that new bucket).
to feed the yeast and make your champagne fizzy
How to work out your alcohol content
- Take note of the reading you took before adding the yeast to your wine (example Start reading = 1075)
- Take note of the reading you took that let you know that your wine was finished fermenting (example Final reading = 998)
The alcohol (by volume) is simply the number of fermented units (start minus final) divided by 7.4. So…
(1075-998) / 7.4 = (77) / 7.4 = 10.4 %
I suspect that if you follow my recipe, your wine will be between 8.5% and 9%.
How to make your wine fizzy
If you were just making wine, you could stop here. Bottle your wine and enjoy, however as we’re making champagne or sparkling wine we need to make our wine fizzy. Now I can imagine you are wondering what sort of fancy machine is involved in making this happen? Well it’s so much simpler than that.
To make wine fizzy, we simply add sugar and let the yeast that’s left in the wine eat the sugar and as a by product of eating sugar, create co2. Simples.
This is why I mentioned earlier that you needed proper bottles. We are going to add our wine to the bottle with a set amount of sugar, cork it and let leave it alone and let the yeast do its stuff.
Now the more sugar you add, the more co2 the yeast will produce and the more fizz you will get, but be careful, adding too much sugar and you could end up with bottles exploding under force.
I added 9 grams for each 750ml bottle.
Now we put it away and forget about it.
Did it work?
Yep. It worked a treat.
I know have some bottles of lovely, sparkly elderflower champagne to enjoy over summer.
The trick to having this lovely drink look all clear is to store it away and forget about it. I’ve had mine sitting for a couple of months now and it’s crystal clear.
Perfect for a sunny day in the garden.
The full process in step by step videos