Saturday, 7 December 2013

Home made Sloe Wine and Gin the easy and cheap way

Sloes (Prunus spinosa) are a kind of wild prunes as the latin name suggests. The blue berries which look like frosted when ripe are best picked after the first frost. Unfortunately sloes are getting rather rare nowadays and it's difficult to still find some after the first frost.  Hence if you do find some then just put them in the freezer for a couple of days.

For Sloe Gin you just need to cover the berries in an affordable gin preferably in a big jar. add some sugar and strain them into bottles after two month or so and sweeten if necessary. Don't leave them too long on the berries as the bitterness of the pips will take over the liquid. the remaining berries can be frozen again and used as ice cream or cake topping.

If you are more adventurous then do some wine and  get more booze for even less money. all you need is the berries, sugar, yeast and bottles for storage.

Take the berries from the freezer and in a fermentation bucket cover them with boiling water and add a Campden Tablet . Add some Pectolase which will prevent the liquid from becoming jelly. Also add the yeast which can be a tsp of bread yeast or a dedicated Wine Yeast. Don't use beer or ale yeast.

After 3 days of fermenting on the pulp strain it into fermenting vessels e.g. demijohn with airlock and adjust the sugar content to approx SG 1.10. At this point i want to repeat how important a £3 tool is called Hydrometer for Wine & Beer  to adjust the sugar content and hence the expected alcohol. Just order it together with the pectolase and the yeast from a homebrew shop.

After a couple of month, depending on the yeast, room temperature and SG the bubbling should have slowed down significantly and the hazy liquid should have become clear (It will not if you haven't used pectolase). No its time to bottle. The day before that add one crushed campden tablet to each vessel. Fill  your sterilised bottles the following day and close them properly either with cork or screw whatever you use.

Let the wine rest for at least 3month before you try it. Enjoy and CHEEEEERS!

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