I wanted to try another new type of wine, and dandelions are popping up in our neighborhood. I thought about making this wine last year, but it was too late in the year and not enough flowers were readily available. Plus, it seemed like a pretty time intensive preparation, rightly so. I found a nice recipe at HomeBrewTalk.com, which had good reviews, so I am going to try and make that.
This one took a while. I spent three days getting the petals, each day getting enough for 1 gallon of wine. First I collected the heads of plenty of dandelions, and then I had to spend the time to pick the yellow petals off of each of the heads. The green part of the head will add bitterness to the wine which is undesirable. In total, plucking the petals took about 8 hours. I put the petals I collected each day into the freezer to store until I was ready for the next step.
I heated up 9 quarts of water to a boil. I took my dandelion petals out of the freezer and put them into a bucket. I then poured the boiling water over them and stirred them up. The bucket was covered with some plastic wrap to seal it up, and I put it in my brew room to sit for two days, stirring twice daily.
After two days of letting of the dandelion petals sit in the bucket, I poured the petals and water into a large pot, along with 3 quarts of fresh water, to heat up. I heated the mix up to a low boil while I peeled the lemons and oranges (getting only the outer peal, not any of the white pith). Once the boil started I added the peels and the sugar, then boiled the must for one hour.
When the boil was completed, I put the boil kettle into a cold water bath to help bring the temperature down to about 75 F. At this time I also added the lemons and oranges (juices squeezed into a container and poured in, and the pith cut up into small pieces). I then poured the must into my primary buck. I pitched the wine yeast, added the yeast nutrient, and sealed the bucket with a lid and a blowoff tube.
4-30-11: Put into primary bucket. OG measured at 1.126, giving a predicted 16.8% ABV. Will move to strain and move to secondary in about a three days.
5-3-11: Chopped the three pounds of raisins, which took a good hour to do. I then strained the wine from the primary bucket into a holding bucket. I added the chopped raisins to a 5 gallon carboy, then poured the strained wine in the carboy and sealed it with an airlock.
5-11-11: SG measured at 1.052, with the airlock bubbling about once every 10 seconds. Roughly two-thirds of the raisins are still floating at the top of the carboy, with others sunk at the bottom.
5-31-11: Airlock activity has stopped as far as I can tell, so I racked the wine from my 5-gallon carboy into 3 1-gallon carboys (topping each one off with about a pint of water). SG measured at 1.012, giving about 16 %ABV.
6-10-11: TA measured at 0.9%, which is a bit high meaning an acidic wine. Tasted it and it was very acidic, hopefully it will mellow out over time.
10-23-11: Bottled into 12-ounce bottles. FG measured at 0.999 giving a strength of 16.8 %ABV. Tasting it showed that the acidity had mellowed out quite a bit, though it is still a tart wine.