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How to Make Homemade Rhubarb Wine

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http://christopheredwinjohnson.blogspot.com/ A step by step instructional video documenting how I've made delicious rhubarb-raspberry wine. A consistently successful recipe and process. How to Make Infused Vodka: http://youtu.be/CwPKk-GzJBw Bacon Fat Cocktail "The Smokey Joe": http://youtu.be/idpBiJUn2NE
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Text Comments (100)
xxx xxx (6 months ago)
Chris , how does it taste like ? Fruity or herb 'ish' or nutty ? I can't even imagine a wine from Rhubarb. Thanks for the video, love from India
Thanks for sharing the love from India. Love from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, America!
Very fruity, but with a nice tartness to balance it out. The rhubarb brings the tartness, but also lends it' unique fruity flavor/aroma.
stephriani gallant (1 year ago)
holy f!!!!!!! spit that gum
Martin Ede (1 year ago)
Can't stand the chewing either. Going to try another upload.
Matthew Bouwman (1 year ago)
starting my first attempt at rhubarb wine. i used 8.5 lbs of rhubarb and 2 lbs of strawberries with 10 lbs of sugar. after 24hrs i worked the bag a little bit since there was sugar sitting in the bag yet. i added 1 gal of distilled water. what are your recommended next steps?
I'm obviously responding to your comment way too late to be of use to you for this batch, but in that same situation in the future, I recommend adding just enough water so that your total yield from the fruit juices and water is between 5 and 6 gals (basically maxing-out your carboy; 5 gals will result in a higher ABV wine, around 12%, and 6 gals in a lower ABV wine, around 10%). HINT: I found an awesome new technique which resulted in better flavor and A LOT more color extraction from the red fruit (raspberries in my case). I allowed the fruit to ferment in the primary carboy until it fermented most of the way (about 1.010). I just let it float on top and gently shook the carboy every couple days to wet the fruit and reduce the risk of mold on top of the fruit (the pH of the wine prevents nasties from growing). Then I transferred to secondary and there was so much more fruit color and flavor than I got before. Good luck and please tell me how it goes for you!
landroverlongdon (1 year ago)
Ignore the lip smacking and just read the zany sub titles
Earl Ledden (2 years ago)
I made straight rhubarb wine from your shared experience and it is my favorite wine, crisp yet sweet with a wonderful fragrance. I used 3 lbs of rhubarb per gallon. I choose it over the blueberry, ginger, concord, raspberry , mead and red wines I've made. I also did a gallon of raspberry rhubarb; the raspberry dominated the rhubarb and the combination was not complementary to each other to me.
That's great to hear - thanks for sharing! You used more rhubarb than I've ever done - I'll have to try that. Yes, the raspberry shows itself pretty easily, but I've found that keeping it down to only about 15% of the total fruit balances nicely. Hope you keep having such great success with your wines!
Sheila Mailett (2 years ago)
my gravity reading was 1.30 YIKS
Yowza! That's gonna be some sweet wine. I'd be interested to know what the final gravity is before bottling. I'm guessing it'll just stop around 1.18, which would be nearly 16% ABV and likely kill the yeast by then.
wthigo77 (2 years ago)
sorry I had to stop watching. too much lip smacking annoying as hell
wthigo77 (2 years ago)
+Evilmadsniper ya that's funny how that happens. hope I didn't ruin it for ya. 
Evilmadsniper (2 years ago)
lol I didnt even notice that until i read your comment and now i cant stop hearing it. XD
wthigo77 (2 years ago)
+Christopher Edwin Johnson it's just one of those things that really bothers me so it probably seemed a lot worse to me than others. not sure why it annoys me so much but it does. always has. maybe i'll try again.
Yeah, sorry about that. I wish I would've thought about that when I shot it. Thanks for checking it out, regardless.
Nitchevo123 (2 years ago)
Excellent video Chris! Thank you for posting this. I have a question.. Do you wait for secondary fermentation to stop, or do you test the wine with the hydrometer after 7-10 days to see where it's at? I believe I read on of your earlier comments saying the target reading should be bellow 1.010. Ours has been fermenting for 12 days and it's still going strong, but I'm not sure if I should just wait longer or just go ahead and test it. It's our first time making wine and I'm worried about messing it up. Thank you again for sharing!
Thank you! And congratulations on endeavoring your first attempt. No need to test while it's still going strong. I know the urge to get in there and test and sample is strong, especially on your first batches. By all means you can, but you do increase the risk of contamination/infection, especially in the beginning. Assuming your airlock is good and nothing is getting in the wine, you won't do any harm by waiting a couple weeks longer before racking to secondary. I wish you success and delicious wine! Please do let me know how it turns out for you.
The plant based barber (2 years ago)
Great video! currently waiting for my last crop of rubarb so that I can try this, I noticed in the comments you recommend weighting the fruits whilst submerged for 7 days instead of squeezing, I have a few Questions 1: do you add anything else during this phase other than distilled/mineral water and sugar? 2: do you add an airtight lid or not during this phase. And finally how long you allowed this particular batch to ferment for before racking off? I couldnt tell from the vid. Great tutorial though especially it was only intended for you mother in law!
The plant based barber (2 years ago)
+Christopher Edwin Johnson thankyou for your speedy reply! would love to see more tutorials like this with different fruit etc, thanks for you time.
Thank you! In response to your questions: 1) I add 1/8 tsp of potassium metabisulfite dissolved in about 1/2 cup water at least 24 hours before pitching the yeast 2) No airtight lid, just a cover to keep stuff from falling in, and I allowed 2 weeks submerged, then a couple weeks to a couple months depending on the temperature and activity of fermentation (usually months for me, since I'm fermenting upper 60s/low 70s) until the specific gravity is below 1.010, then I rack until clear (another couple months). You can bottle sooner if you use a purchased clarifying agent. One important step to account for prior to bottling is degassing to get all the dissolved carbon dioxide out (otherwise it'll be a bit fizzy and it effects the flavor). I've learned to do this over a week or so by shaking or stirring with a stainless degassing rod in my drill, since trying to do it all in one day hasn't been effective for me.
Krista Mckenna (2 years ago)
Can I use my juicer? Would it be the same amount of sugar?
Certainly. I expect you'd even get more of an extract from the fruit than I do with squeezing the straining bag. I'd be curious to know if there's any difference in color extraction, since the sugars wouldn't get a chance to do their hygroscopic work before juice extraction (i.e. attracting/absorbing water).
AzurielMist (2 years ago)
How crucial is the K2S2O5? As now getting into brewing myself and starting of the rhubarb wine, got to the process of thawing the fruit/rhubarb with the sugar for juicing, but don't have any K2S2O5 at hand, I am assuming there is a possibility that it could spoil and the K2S2O5 just reduces that chance?
How crucial it is depends on the amount of wild bacteria and fungi/yeast that are present in the liquid (e.g. the must) and fermentation vessel when you first add the cultivated yeast. The cleaner you've kept everything along the way, the less chance for the wild stuff to take-over before your added yeast does. The quicker and more active your fermentation from the cultivated yeast, the more likely it will be to overcome and take-over any other living things that you don't want to dominate your wine. One way I've read that people try to minimize the wild stuff that's naturally on fruit is to pour some boiling water over the fruit (not enough to cook it, just kill stuff on the outside) before processing. Getting a good, strong, active fermentation going was quickly as possible, so the yeast takes over and lowers the pH, will be your best way to prevent spoilage from this point. Also, minimize exposure to oxygen (i.e. by filling a carboy to the neck so the surface area is minimized). Good luck! Let us know how it turns out.
wolfie1917 (2 years ago)
Thanks for this vid Chris. I used your recipe last year and my wine went down a storm with friends. I used 9lb of rhubarb and 1lb of blackberries for colour. Turned out great. Cheers.
+wolfie1917 That's excellent! Thanks for sharing your experience, and I'm really glad you and your friends enjoyed your good work. For this past batch I tried an alternative approach to extracting the sugared fruit juices: I submerged the straining bag (using weights) in 5 gals of water and allowed the must to ferment for a couple weeks before transferring to a carboy. I then made a smaller seconds batch using the same pulp and adding more sugar and submerging again. The color was still good, slightly lighter, and I plan on fermenting both and perhaps blending a bit.
Earl Ledden (2 years ago)
Really informative and methodically done. Thanks for the "add on" additional info throughout your video. Do you think rhubarb wine can stand on its own or does it need another fruit to blend with?
+wolfie1917 Thanks for that feedback! I've also used a pound of store bought frozen raspberries when I wasn't able to pick my own that season and it turned out great.
wolfie1917 (2 years ago)
+Earl Ledden I used 1lb of blackberries with 9lb rhubarb. Colour was lovely and tasted great.
+Earl Ledden You're very welcome. Thank you for your feedback and encouraging words. I do think it stands on it's own very nicely. It's very interesting how it looses all of it's initial red/pink color and eventually pours a glass that looks something like a chardonnay (yellow/straw-like color). You may desire to balance the natural acidity of the rhubarb by back-sweetening before bottling. However, if you're willing to take the time, I've actually found that my wines which tasted young (a bit harsh in brightness and too vegital/green-plant-like) significantly mellowed and let their fruitiness and light-sweetness shine through after 2+ years in the bottle. I just had a bottle from my 2013 harvest a couple months ago and it was a very different wine and so much better than it was after a year old.
The plant based barber (2 years ago)
People actually taking the time to bitch about him chewing gum at the start of the video, this guy seems like he genuinely wants to share with the world how he's cracked making his rhubarb wine, humility guys! this is youtube not anchorman of the year awards. great upload btw and many thanks for sharing your passion.
RealJunya (2 years ago)
Love this video, it was very helpful; I'm going to pattern my new hobby on this video! Quick question: have you ever made pear wine? I would imagine it would be a similar process; dice the fruit, freeze it, dump sugar on it and thaw etc. Do you have any extra tips or tricks?
+RealJunya Awesome, thanks for your feedback! No, I've never made pear wine, but if I were to attempt it, I'd start with what you've outlined. One tip would be to use a food safe mesh bag (I get mine from my local homebrew store) to keep all the fiber/mash together during primary fermentation in a 5-6 gal bucket. You can use some sterilized weight (like a stainless steel pot lid or ceramic mug) to keep the bag, with all the thawing fruit and dissolving sugar tied in it, submerged below the liquid level for the first few weeks of fermentation. This way you won't get a mess of floating fruit pulp on the surface exposed to oxygen and other microorganisms that would just love to eat that (and make not-so-lovely byproducts that get in your wine). When racking to secondary to finish up, I would just let the bag drain as much as it would without squeezing it and introducing more pulp/solids in your wine. Let me know how it goes!
UnbaisedWine (2 years ago)
Will share this to friends!
Tahir Khan (3 years ago)
Hello bro, I live in Afghanistan. As access to wine yeast is very difficult so I planned to make my first home wine to use the bread yeast. I used 11g bread yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) in 4 litter natural juice after activating it. The initial gravity was 1.11(1.04 was before mixing sugar and this is also target). But surprising when after 25 hours I took the gravity, it showed 1.07. Could you please update if this is normal. If yes then when the target gravity achieves 1.04, how should I make the yeast dormant/killed?
+Tahir Khan Sounds like you're making the most out of what's available to you. Very resourceful! Here's a link to more info on stabilizing wine (that's what it's called to stop fermentation once a target gravity is reached): http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/finishin.asp If you have trouble accessing some of these resources to stabilize your wine, I'd suggest searching the web for other "DIY" techniques. I'm sure you'll find something that works for what you can get your hands on. Good luck! Please let me know how it goes.
David Hart (3 years ago)
10lb or rhubarb.. 2lb or raspberries, 6oz blackberies ..  how much sugar ?
David Hart (3 years ago)
+David Hart I use 10 lbs white sugar which gets me in the 12% ABV range. You can add/subtract to your taste, but this has yielded good results for me. Happy home-brewing! Good luck!
Sethos (3 years ago)
im watching this not for the wine aspect since im a mazer and i make Mead instead of normal wine, just looking at the way you process your rhubarb since i have a large patch of it in my backyard.
Dan Baker (3 years ago)
Interesting video, but your constant talking while your mouth is full of food is pretty distracting.
zeranzeran (3 years ago)
alley property bitch
John Reichert (4 years ago)
great Video thx
Thank you, John!
lepastis (4 years ago)
Well I got everything I needed for this at my brew supply store down the street. Luckily here in Portland there are tons of these stores. I just put my frozen fruit in the bag with the sugar to thaw. I had a bit less rhubarb but had more raspberries. Wish me luck! Thanks for the awesome video.
+Rudie Watzig Re: clarifying, I've done it two ways 1) "au naturel" where I didn't add anything to help it clear and just let it settle over time until I could see my hand pretty clearly through the 5 gallon glass carboy (which takes several months) and 2) where I added a clarifying agent from a wine kit to speed up the process.  Both good results.  I've usually just let time do its thing.  I do add about 1/4 teaspoon of potassium metabisulfite and 3.75 teaspoons of potassium sorbate before bottling to stop fermentation and remove any dissolved oxygen.  Re: color, it's been fun for me to see the drastic color change early in fermentation.  It gets significantly lighter when the pH drops.  Sometimes it looks like it lost almost all of its pinkish color, but that really comes through again once it clears.  Re: the smell, like you said, it's nothing like the final.  Re: drier, I believe that doesn't really have much to do with the original gravity, but rather the fermentation (yeast type, yeast health, temperature and time, etc.).  Please let me know how it turns out!
Rudie Watzig (4 years ago)
+Christopher Edwin Johnson Awesome!  How to you clarify your wine?  This is my very first wine.  It is bubbling away now, and is bright pink/reddish.  The smell smells fermenty and yeasty.  It doesn't smell too sweet, but I remember brewing beer the fermenting smell was nothing like the final smell.  It looks great.  My gravity was 1.092, a little lower than yours.  So I imagine my wine will be 12 to 13% and a bit drier.  
Sweet - good luck!  I really appreciate your kind words and engagement.  I've got a batch from last year's harvest just about ready to clarify and bottle.  This batch was started in the winter, so the temperature started on the cooler side and has risen slowly, which made for a nice steady and clean fermentation (even the young unfinished wine tasted nice and clean).  Looking fwd to bottling this batch and starting another!
LissyPlaysMinecraft (4 years ago)
use that pulp to make muffins!
Nice idea.  Do you have a recipe you could share?
deep lv (4 years ago)
But your cute!
deep lv (4 years ago)
Can you please make a Video that your not chewing in. It sounds so horrible!!!
Kara Hamilton (4 years ago)
Have you made blueberry and rhubarb? I made some a while ago and I think it's ready now! I'm hoping it's nice.
Kara Hamilton (4 years ago)
That sounds like an awesome trip! Oh it's delicious by the way hehe :)
No I haven't, but it sounds delicious.  That reminds me of the wild blueberries my family and I would pick "up north" during summer vacations growing up.  For Wisconsinites, "up north" usually means camping or staying at a cottage in the tall pine woods of Northern Wisconsin (e.g. Eagle River and Rhinelander).  For me, it meant two weeks in a small cabin on South Twin Lake.  Picking small wild blueberries in the hot sun, sandy dry soil, ants crawling up my ankles, anticipating dad's blueberry pancakes: good childhood memories.  Thanks for triggering that trip, Kara Hamilton!
QuantumRift (4 years ago)
Yea, no smacking gum....!  LOL
Yep - a definite video faux pas.  Sorry!  Thanks for checking it out and still engaging, though.  I'm glad you at least watched and responded.
Rudie Watzig (4 years ago)
Dude, are you smacking on gum?????  So irritating!  I think I have to stop watching.
+Rudie Watzig Thanks for your feedback (and patience) Rudie!
Rudie Watzig (4 years ago)
Well I stuck through and watched the whole thing. Very informative.
Yes ;(  I'm getting hammered on that - sorry.  What started as a video to help my mother-in-law has turned into a couple two-three people watching.  Lesson learned.  Thanks for checking it out and commenting all the same.
Sorry for the delayed response,@Calchick7. I got my filter bags (brewing grain bags) at my local home brew store (Northern Brewer) which sells online also (example: http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brewing/brewing-equipment/stirring-straining/large-straining-bag-18-3-4-x-19.html).  As a backup, I did hear that large nylon paint strain bags from your hardware store will work too, but I can't vouch for having used them.
Thanks for the feedback. Now I know!
Earl Ledden (2 years ago)
+Christopher Edwin Johnson I've used the 5 gallon paint strainer bags from Home Depot and they are the best!
Rich kalsky (4 years ago)
Hi Chris, great video.  From later comments I think I got the rest of the recipe.  Thanks 
Thanks for your feedback, Rich!  I've got a batch in primary fermentation (from last year's harvest) right now and looking fwd to the spring harvest.
Calchick7 (4 years ago)
where did you get the filter bag for the fruit at? 
Mary Beth Hilgendorf (4 years ago)
OMG, I want to watch, but I think you must be chewing gum. Can't do it. Thanks for the video anyway. :)
I know!  Video fail.  Lesson learned.  I had no idea there'd be hundreds of people watching, let alone thousands.  I promise my next videos will be gum free!  Thanks for engaging and commenting anyways, Mary.
gorp27 (5 years ago)
Wow, my mouth started watering when you started primary fermentation. I am definitely going to start a rhubarb patch. Great video.
Martina Couzens (5 years ago)
brilliant thank you Chris thats fab. I can write it all down instead of watching the video so many times. I will let you know how i get on! fingers crossed i get something drinkable. One last question, i've ordered one of those straining bags too, do you soak that in a steralising solution too? x
Once below 1.010, rack to secondary vessel (I use a 6 gal carboy). Let sit for another month, then I rack for the last time to a 5 gal carboy filling all the way to the top. It's important that little to no air exposure happen while clearing by itself (it takes several months). I add another 1/8 tsp potassium metabisulphate after it clears before bottling to prevent oxidation.
Sure. I cut and froze 10 lbs rhubarb. Placed frozen rhubarb plus 2 lbs frozen raspberries in a 5 gal bucket lined with a mesh net (I used a brewing bag, I heard a paint strainer could be used). Over fruit I poured 10# white sugar and left covered to thaw for 24 hours. Squeezed and rinsed next day. Added enough clean water to make 6 gal, then add 1/8 tsp potassium metabisulphate and let sit overnight. Next day add 1 pkg wine yeast, and ferment for 7-10 days (SG should be below 1.010).
Martina Couzens (5 years ago)
Hi Chris, I have been watching your video, which is really helpful as i'm about to start making rhubarb wine (im a beginner) first time. Would you be able to write it down too? exactly what you are doing and when? I've watched it numerous times now and have all the kit ready, but wasn't sure about when you were putting the yeast in and the amounts etc. And the other stuff on the teaspoon exactly how much that is. I'm in the uk so i need to convert what you say into uk measurements.
John Gregory (5 years ago)
Rhubarb is so fibrous that you'll ruin the juicer in no time
uvegotnate (5 years ago)
Couldn't you just use a juicer?
Yes! Sorry about that. I noticed that too when I went back to watch recently - annoying. I initially documented for my mother-in-law and didn't expect 4,000+ views, otherwise I would've paid better attention! Live and learn.
derfta (5 years ago)
Are you chewing gum?? Christ!!! Very informative though.
Thanks, Frank Alt. Best of luck to you!
Frank Alt (5 years ago)
Nice video Chris, thanks. I've just frozen about 2 kilos of rhubarb, I think enough to make 1 imperial gallon. I'll try it with a few ounces of raspberries and/or blackberries this time.
MrBugalugs2 (5 years ago)
thankyou! your are a great help to us beginners.
Hello MrBugalugs2. Yes, I made 2 batches last year: one spring harvest and one fall. I attempted to keep all other variables the same, but inevitably they're discernibly different. I preferred the first batch sooner than the second, but both are good IMO. It's taken a while for the "edge" to wear off the second batch. If I'm able, I'll post a video of tasting notes from the 2012 batches.
MrBugalugs2 (5 years ago)
nearly a year now since video. have you tasted it yet or do you wait longer?
I'll have to make a bottling video ;) To date, I've only used potassium metabisulphite (1/8 tsp per 5 gal) at bottling. This is an antioxidant, which means it helps to prevent the wine from oxidizing during degassing and bottling. I plan to also add potassium sorbate next time I bottle to stop all yeast activity (otherwise I could get sparkling wine). I taste and "season" each batch before bottling. My "salt and pepper" (figuratively speaking) is an acid blend and sugar. Ideally, I add none
Morgan Gauthier (5 years ago)
So, I'm planning on trying this and was wondering about the eventual bottling. Do you use wine conditioner? and do you sweeten prior to bottling if your wine is not as sweet as you want it?
For 5 gals wine (2 cases): 10-12# rhubarb, 2-3# berries, 10# sugar, enough good water (I use bottled distilled or spring drinking water) to start with about 6 gals at primary fermentation. I've had good results with several wine yeasts.
Thanks for your comments, MrSilveyss!
Thanks, Liza! I wish you well in your first wine attempt. The one thing that I overlooked the first time I made wine that I would've appreciated a heads-up on was the importance of minimal airspace during secondary fermentation. Since it usually takes a few months to clear up during the second fermentation, it's susceptible to oxygen (not good) and making sure to fill it all the way to the top (just an inch under the airlock) is key. Like MrSilveyss does, it helps to save some juice for later
MrSilveyss (5 years ago)
Thank you for posting your video. One thing I have done in the past is reserve about 3-5 cups of the initial juice, which I filter and disolve sugar in, adding it before bottling. One word of caution if anyone attempts this, you may get a secondary fermentation. Personally, there is nothing better than sparkling rhubarb wine. I've heard others add sweet Rhine wines before bottling...similar to your idea of concord or Niagra grapes, which are native to the Americas and really sweet.
LIZA London (5 years ago)
Fab Video............thank you. Going to start my first ever attempt of making any kind of wine. I have started with the Rhubarb as this the first fruit of the season here in the UK' I will add some frozen berries that I stored last summer, did wonder what I was going to do with them...lol.
I developed my own recipe by reviewing several others I found and building off of one that sounded like it what I wanted (semi-sweet). I began adding raspberries since 1) I had access to some from my mother-in-law's garden and 2) to give it a red color it lacked when just using rhubarb alone. I've been using a 1:5 raspberry to rhubarb ratio. Provides a beautiful light red color and has a good balance between the fruits so as to still taste both.
MrBugalugs2 (5 years ago)
do you have a recipie with given amounts or have you developed it over the years adding the berries?
...I should add that it's important to minimize exposure to oxygen during secondary fermentation (after the first racking). I accomplish this by ensuring I fill the 5 gal glass carboy up the neck, 1 inch under the airlock.
I rack first after 4-6 weeks (once most of the fermentation has occurred) then once more after settling for another month or two. 3 months is the shortest time I've done from start to bottling, but I've gotten clearer results with less particles in the bottle after 5 months
togio100 (6 years ago)
Looks great. I just laid down some rhubarb wine myself. How long did this batch take to ferment?
Thank you, Skigirl52. I'd love to know you your wine turns out (and your recipe/technique if it turns out well). BTW, I'll post a continuation in a few months after bottling.
Thank you, Loosewheel1000.
Robin MacCready (6 years ago)
Excellent video! I just had a shot of my rhubarb wine as I bottled it. Clove+ginger rhubarb. Next time I'm adding fruit--yum.
Lucie Berube (6 years ago)
You did a great job with this video thanks!

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