Elderflower Champagne Recipe

It's the time of year when the Elderflowers are coming into flower. This weekend we were able to pick quite a few locally. So we dug out our trusty Elderflower Champagne Recipe and got our first batch started!

Of course technically this is not really 'Champagne', it is sparkling wine. But traditionally that's what people call it, and that's what it's known as in our house.

If you've never brewed before and have no equipment, the good news is we now have Young's Sparkling Elderflower Champagne Equipment Starter Kits in stock. This is a new product for Young's and includes all the equipment plus the yeast and a steriliser. You just need to add ingredients. Young's have supplied the following recipe to go with the kit.

Elderflower champagne kit

However if you are reading this in 2020, you may struggle to find an Elderflower Champagne Starter Kit anywhere because nobody has any. Our suppliers have all had issues in the current global pandemic. So I have broken down what is in the kit with links to where you will find the parts. 

The following is what the kit would include. Unfortunately buying parts separately like this with all the postage costs will make this more expensive than buying one kit in one place. Hopefully you have a funnel and spoon in your kitchen already, you only need 1 sachet of yeast per batch (though the kit would have included 2) and the kit would include 10 bottles and I can only find a listing for 24. Nevertheless, hopefully you'll find the following useful if you are looking for the kit and you cannot find one anywhere:

* 100grm Steriliser (us) 
* 25 Litre Fermentation Vessel / Drilled Lid & Grommet (Ebay) https://ebay.to/3c4ycni
* Handy Airlock (Ebay) https://ebay.to/2Xs9iZe
* Sparkling Wine Yeast x 2 (us) 
https://www.almostoffgrid.com/products/sparkling-wine-yeast-5g?_pos=1&_sid=8f2a95e6f&_ss=r
* Funnel (Ebay) https://ebay.to/36FMPfB
* Plastic Spoon (Ebay) https://ebay.to/2X6tgtK
* Telescopic Syphon (Ebay) https://ebay.to/2ZESroO
* 10 x 1L PET Bottles (this is for 24 - Ebay) https://ebay.to/2M505RE
* The recipe below.

Elderflower Champagne Recipe

Elderflower champagne recipe

This recipe makes 10 Litres of Elderflower Champagne. Fermenting time: Approx 1-2 weeks. Maturing Time: 4 weeks. The bottles can be left longer so that the elderflower flavours develop.

Ingredients

6-8 large Elderflower heads (make sure that they are fully open). The more elderflowers you use, the more elderflower flavour you'll get in the end product.

1kg sugar

2 x Lemons

5 x Tablespoons of White Wine Vinegar

10 Litres of cold water

1 x sachet of Sparkling Wine Yeast (sufficient for up to 25 litres).

This recipe is based on making 10 x 1Litres Bottles. To make larger batches, increase the quantities in proportion.

Method

Before starting make sure all your equipment is sterilised using your steriliser of choice (or that included in your kit), following the instructions on the label.

1. Add 10 Litres of warm water to the Fermentation Vessel and add the 1kg of Sugar and the Vinegar. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

2. Wash the lemons and remove the rind. Squeeze the lemons and put the juice into the Fermenting Vessel along with the lemon rind.

3. Remove any insects, leaves or other unwanted objects from the Elderflowers.

4. Add the Elderflowers to the water, being careful not to crush the flower heads.

5. Sprinkle a sachet of Yeast on the surface of the liquid. Stir carefully.

6. Put the lid on the Fermentation Vessel with the Airlock inserted in the Black Grommet on the lid. Half fill the Airlock chamber with water.

7. Leave to stand for approx 5-7 days or until the majority of the bubbling and fizzing has ceased. Each day check the contents of the bucket, you'll probably find the flowers floating on the top mixed in with bits of yeast. Be sure to gently stir that back into the liquid with a sterilised spoon and then quickly replace the lid, ensuring it's properly closed.

8. Sterilise the bottles prior to using with the Steriliser.

9. Place your fermenter higher than the bottles. Use the Syphon to transfer the mixture through the funnel / mini strainer into bottles. Take care not to disturb the sediment in the Fermentation Vessel and try to avoid transferring any debris. The less sediment you pick up, the clearer the end result will be.

10. Fill the bottles to approximately 11/2” Inch from the top of the bottle, placing the caps on carefully. Store somewhere cool.

What happens next?

As the weeks go by, you can test the progress of the secondary fermentation in the bottle(s) by trying to squeeze the bottle - it should be hard to the touch.

Make sure you store your bottles somewhere cool and check them regularly. If any of the bottles look very close to exploding (!), 'burp' the top to release some of the pressure.

After four weeks your Elderflower Champagne is ready to drink. The taste does improve with time and can be left for a year or more.

Open bottles carefully to avoid the contents spraying out. It is advisable to chill your Elderflower champagne in the fridge before drinking. Enjoy !

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13 comments

  • Hi Kathie, well done for persisting, it is worth it! I’m assuming you have an airlock on your bucket so you can see the level of fermentation. So you have 2 options: wait until fermentation has completely stopped, then bottle and add half a teaspoon of sugar to each bottle to get your bubbles. Or you can bottle before fermentation has totally stopped (which is a perfectly acceptable way of doing this) so that the bubbles are created by what’s left of the yeast in the bottle, just not as much as you had in it the first time around. As you have experienced, yeast creates a lot of activity so it is high risk until fermentation has almost stopped. If you don’t have an airlock, you will need to eyeball it and wait until the foaminess on the surface is diminishing and then carry on as above. Good luck, hope this helps.

    Bev
  • Hi. I made a batch of elderflower champagne without yeast. When there were no bubbles after 4 days I added yeast. When there was just a few bubbles on the top, after 5 more days I decided to bottle up (do or die). I discovered the liquid was fizzing, rather than bubbling and had to burp the bottles 2/3 times a day. When I did the plastic bottle, the lid almost pulled my hand off and hit the other end of the room.
    So I thought I’d better go for demijohns to release some of the air. So I cleaned the bucket and put it all back. Now desperately hunting for demi johns …..
    How will I know it’s ready to go into bottles next time round?

    many thanks

    kathie
  • Hi Julia, if it hasn’t bubbled then it hasn’t fermented. However bubbling is sometimes missed when the fermentation actually happened, such as if there was a seal broken so the air was escaping without you realising. I would try a little bit of it from the bucket/demijohn, as straight after fermentation it should essentially taste like ‘flat’ elderflower champagne. It will improve with bubbles and a little time, but you should be almost there. If it doesn’t taste anything like that, it hasn’t worked. If it hasn’t been sitting around for days and days, ie isn’t about to go off, you could try adding fresh yeast and putting it near a heat source (such as by a window where the sun shines in, rather than a really hot source). If it tastes horrid then I’m afraid it hasn’t worked and is beyond saving. So in this instance I would discard it, pick more flowers and try again. If the issue is your yeast, you would need to use a different batch of yeast this time. To test whether it is your yeast, put 1 teaspoon of sugar, a teaspoon of yeast and about 1/2 cup of luke warm water together. If a froth starts to form on the surface after 5-10 minutes, the yeast is good, if it does nothing then your yeast is the problem. Good luck.

    Bev
  • I have completed stage one but it really hasn’t ‘bubbled’ should it have done?

    Julia Hawthorne
  • lol I’ll have to use that! I actually have sparkling elderflower mead on the go right now…

    Bev

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