This is an adaptation of a recipe published by Brewbitz on AllRecipes back in 2014. "An amazing wine that's normally overlooked because of sloe gin or vodka, but this wine really holds its own against a full bodied red. It has lots of flavour, body and keeps you coming back for more."
- 1.5 kg sloes
- 2 gallons boiling water
- 2 teaspoons pectolase
- 2 Campden tablets
- 2 kg caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons wine yeast
- 2 teaspoons yeast nutrient
- Gather and then wash your sloes. 2020 has been an excellent year for the fruit of the blackthorn so let's make use of them. Sloes should be gathered after the first frost but as the weather is all over the place get 'em and freeze 'em. The thawing/defrosting process performs like a frost in that the skins of the fruit are easier split and the juices flow better.
- Remember to sterilise all equipment before use. Pop the sloes in a bucket and pour on 2 gallons of boiling water. Give them a good stir and pop the top on firmly. Place the bucket somewhere warm (about 20°C) for 2 months to allow a mould to grow on the top. The mould will add lots of amazing flavours and give it a natural spice, while the hints of almond will start to seep out of the stones and add extra flavour. I've done two variations of this recipe and never had a mould but the resultant wine is excellent.
- After 2 months there should be a thick mould, carefully remove this in one go if possible. Do this by loosening the mould from the side of the bucket and getting your hands in and under and lift it all in one go. Yes it looks and feels yucky, but just get in there! Pop the mould on your compost heap.
- Prepare your 2nd fermenting bucket by stretching a muslin bag over the top. Use clothes pegs every few inches around the top of the bucket to hold the muslin in place and stop it dropping into the bucket - leave a little gap of a few pegs to allow you to pour in the sloe infusion.
- Carefully pour in the sloe infusion, being careful not to splash it everywhere. Once you have poured it all in, leave it in the muslin for a little while to allow any remaining liquid to drip into the bucket. Now remove the muslin bag and the sloes.
- Stir into the sloe infusion the pectolase and a crushed Campden tablet. Pop the lid back on and leave for another 24 hours.
- After 24 hours add the sugar and stir until it is all dissolved. Take a hydrometer reading and save this for later. Stir in the yeast and yeast nutrient. Put the lid on loosely and transfer to somewhere warm (approx 20°C) for 7 days, stirring daily.
- After 7 days, strain again through clean muslin into another bucket to catch any remaining bits of sloe and then transfer into 2 demi-johns. Fit bungs and airlocks (half filled with water) and transfer to a cool corner in the house, ideally around 16°C to 20°C to allow for the the fermentation to complete. This can take up to 4 weeks but can take longer. Fermentation is complete when no more bubbles pass through the airlock.
- When you think the fermentation has finished, check the specific gravity with your hydrometer (it should be under 1.000 and ideally around 0.990). If not leave it for another week and test again. Repeat as required!
- Once the fermentation has completed, rack the wine off the sediment into clean, sterilised demi-johns. Add 1 crushed Campden tablet per demijohn and shake well. Refit the airlock and leave to clear.
- You may need to rack this wine a couple or three more times until it is completely clear.
- Once clear, take the final hydrometer reading. This will tell you the proof of your finished wine. Bottle and leave for 6 months.
The second batch of this I made was for 5 gallons of the stuff. I used 5kg of sloes and 6 of everything else. This is a wine that matures over time. If you stash a bottle or two away for a few years you will be amazed at the result.