Wild Fermented Dandelion Ginger Wine

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It is a beautiful spring, but I’m singing the blues.

I’m down to my last bottle of dandelion wine from last year, and now I have to make more! It will be months before I can drink more of this delicious, nutritious nectar!

Oh, well. I’ll make the most out of it and get a new batch going. There’s no sense in whining when there’s flowers to be picked!

Here’s my dandelion wine go-to recipe, with a different twist than my usual wine and mead posts: I don’t add yeast to this recipe. Instead, I allow the wild yeasts in the flowers and ginger root to come out and do the work.

This recipe and procedure assumes that you have the basic equipment and knowledge for how to brew a gallon of wine or mead. Need help? I have a few great reference books on brewing listed here.

dandelion ginger wine or mead recipe on pixiespocket.com
Dandelion petals trimmed from their bases, ready to be brewed!

Here’s the basic recipe and technique for one gallon of wild fermented dandelion ginger wine:

  • 1 gallon of good, clean water
  • 1-2 cups of dandelion petals (cut them from their green base and pick out as many of the green parts as you can stand to, as pictured)
  • 2-3 cups of sugar, or 3-4 cups of honey if you want to make this a mead
  • 1 inch of minced ginger, unpeeled
  • 1 handful of raisins (or other dried fruit, or a squirt of lemon juice) – this feeds the yeast.
  • Optional: I added a few violets but you can use whatever edible plants you’d like to include!

How to make wild-fermented wine: 

1. Boil 3/4 gallon of water, and let it cool.

2. Pour the dandelion petals into a sanitized container. You can use a crock, or a brewing bucket, or anything that will hold add just about a gallon of water.

3. Dice the ginger, leaving skins on, and throw them into the crock, too.

4. Pour 2-3 cups of sugar into the crock. Use honey if you want to make this a mead.

5. Add the hot (but not boiling) water from step 1, stir the mixture well to blend everything, and cover the crock with a clean towel to keep out the bugs but allow the mixture to breathe.

6. Let the crock sit in a warmish, out of the way place on your counter. Check on it daily and give it a stir with a clean spoon. You’ll know fermentation is active from the bubbling, fizzing sounds coming from the crock, bubbles rising to the surface of the liquid, and the smell of fermenting booze beginning to appear. (You can see a video of a happy fermenting beer here, for reference!) If there is no sign of fermentation after the first 24 hours, it needs help. Add a tiny pinch of bread yeast or brewing yeast to help get things going.

7. After three days, sanitize a carboy (or brewing bucket), airlock, bung, strainer, and a funnel.  Strain the liquid into the carboy and top it off with clean water to the top. Set the airlock in place and let the wine work on its own until the bubbling stops. Mine was bubbling aggressively after the first day in the carboy, but it settled down in a few days.

8. When the bubbles stop and the liquid is clear, it is time to bottle! My last batch took two months to get to bottling point.

This golden brew already tasted great at bottling time, and it only became more and more delicious as it aged throughout the year.

Enjoy your dandy drink!

Want to know more about brewing wild wines? Check out this great article from Herbal Academy of New England! 

WILD FERMENTED DANDELION GINGER WINE


31 Comments

  1. This actually sounds really simple and delicious! I’ve like to make ‘soda’ with dandelions. After reading this recipe I think I’ve just been drinking this wine before it has aged. The addition of ginger, and the aging process, is something I MUST try. Thanks for posting.

    1. And see, I’ve never really tried soda…it just seems like unaged beer or wine to me! *laughs* The early fermentation also seems to be more volatile and I’m scared of exploding bottles!

  2. did I miss something here? This will start fermenting on its own? I dont see where we add yeast in the beginning but after 24 hrs if it is not fermenting to help it?

    1. Exactly, Susan! Wild fermentation is allowing the yeasts in the environment to do their magic. There are natural yeasts everywhere, and the fermentation should start on its own. If it doesn’t, I suggest adding yeast so that you don’t just end up with unfermented, rotting flower water. 🙂 This book by Sandor Katz is a great resource to learn more about wild brewing (http://amzn.to/1MV3WHs) and so is this one by Jereme Zimmerman (http://amzn.to/1MV47SR).

      1. If the water is hot it will kill the wild yeast. I would dissolve the sugars into the water, let it cool completely, and cold brew/ferment the dandelion “tea”. This should allow you to have more green portions without bitterness too. But i am only just planning my first dandelion booze trial–so what do i know?

        1. That’s true, and a good tip. That’s why I let the water boil and then set it aside until it is warm, not hot. 🙂 I bet your recipe will turn out just fine! Keep me posted!

          1. Also wondering if addition of ginger & raisins are necessary. Yeast will be gorging on the honey/sugar. Slthough ginger is sooo good it makes everything better!!! I am cold brewing my dandelion “tea” in the refrigerator tonight.

          2. Ginger and raisins act as nutrients in the brew. They are not always necessary, but can definitely help extend the life and vitality of the yeast as they consume the sugar. It can also add more body to the final product. Sometimes I add black tea bags (one or two) to a brew to give it some tannins. Have fun with it!

  3. Hi Amber,
    It’s kind of you to help us out! I had bubbles in amongst the dandelion flowers that I had soaking in the water, ginger, lemons/raisins after a couple of days. So I strained and poured it off into a one gallon carboy and put in the airlock. It only seems to bubble/release every 45 – 65 seconds. It’s been in the carboy about four days. Is this normal or perhaps I should have waited a little longer for the flowers to do what they needed to do!? Cheers and many thanks for helping me out!

    1. Hmm…it doesn’t sound like there’s a lot of fermentation action going on. You might want to get a bit of yeast (baking yeast will work!) and put a bit in a cup with warm water and a bit of molasses to make a yeast starter. Then, pour that starter in your carboy…happy fermentation is pretty easy to detect! There’s lots of little bubbles…here’s a youtube video with a good example (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iL8E_aDnYj0)

      Wild yeast is always a gamble. If it’s been a few days and I don’t have very active fermentation, I’ll cheat and add a yeast starter like I described above. I hope that helps! 🙂

      1. That’s very helpful. I’ll check out the video too. I may have to cheat! But it is better than wasting all those flowers! Awesome Amber. Thank you very much.

  4. Hi Amber, I have another question! When you say “it’s time to bottle” at the end of the process…can you just leave it in the gallon jugs, take the airlock/bung thingy out and put a cap on the bottle? Or do you transfer it into another wine type bottle? Or does it really matter. My dandelion wine has had the airlock/bung in it for about six weeks. I sort of forgot about them. Thanks so much! I find this so much fun! Cheers, Shelly

    1. Shelly – you can totally just leave it in the jugs and cap it and use it like that; however, as you get closer to the bottom of the jug, it’ll be flatter and flatter, and will taste more and more like the yeast trub on the bottom of the jug. If you plan to drink it quickly, like at one big event, probably won’t matter at all if you bottle it or not! 🙂 I bottle my brews so I can taste how they change and age over time, and it isn’t the tastiest idea to let it age on the dead yeast trub. I hope that helps!

      1. Thank you Amber…I have one bottle that has white chalk like stuff that has developed at the top and I *think* the other bottle looks ok but questioning it now. (The chalky one maybe the one that I added a bit of yeast too as it wasn’t doing much…Is there a way that I would be able to send you a photo so that you can have a look? I was about to throw one out…but you know all that hard work! As a last resort I would appreciate your opinion! Thanks! CHEERS! Shelly

  5. How strong does the dandelion wine end up being? Can you guesstimate the ABV? Thank you! This looks super interesting and I can’t wait to try it at home.

    1. Squee! I <3 Bubbies pickles!

      I'm not sure about the ABV, I'd guess around 13%. It was definitely a strong wine! If it is done as a mead, it tends to be even headier. I hope that helps, and enjoy brewing!!

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