My boyfriend has recently made his first ever batch of beer. It's doing its thing in the airing cupboard at the top of the stairs at the moment. We went out together a couple of weeks ago and got all the kit, and I think it might be my turn to brew!
It does highlight that nettle wine can be a bit lacking though, so I might search for a few other recipes to see if there's anything that can be done to improve it.
Nettles are a great wild food as cooking wilts the hairs which will neutralize the sting. Keep it simple: a fresh spring nettle soup with sour cream and a few wild garlic leaves can be a delight. Nettle wine on the other hand can lack something if drunk on its own but works very well when used as a base for a wine cocktail. For a wild cocktail mix with a little elderflower champagne, a few drops of rosewater and a splash of ginger beer. I can't think of a better way to mark the start of the foraging season.
1 carrier bag of nettles
1.5 kg sugar
4 litres water
Half a cup cold black tea
1 tsp wine nutrient
White wine yeast
Wash the nettles and place inside a fermentation bin with the sugar, tea, nutrient and the juice and rind of the citrus fruits. Allow to cool to room temperature then add the white wine yeast. Stand the bin for five days in an area that is consistently warm (no more than 21°c). After about five days strain into a demijohn, attaching an airlock and bung.
Rack once during fermentation. Bottle when fermentation has ceased, this should be in about 3 months depending how warm you keep it.
Nettle wine does not benefit from laying down, so drink immediately and enjoy.
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