Tapping birch to make wine in Sweden.

Fermented birch sap into wine. Stored in glass jars.
Fermented birch sap into wine. Stored in glass jars.

During my internship a few summers ago at a Swedish Charcuterie in Jämtland I started a little experiment. Sören (At the time 77 years old, only “Swedish” speaking friend) and me decided to make wine from birch sap. He already tapped a few birches in the past and really liked the idea to let it ferment. We drilled the holes and soon the sap started dripping. I wish I had taken more pictures; however, I fear that it would have made me less immersed in the moment.

Throwback to the summer of 2016. Where I did some Birch tapping to ferment the sap into wine. ..You can read more about this on my blog. Link in bio..#handmadehomestead #handmade #homestead #DIYfoodproducer #Sweden #fermenting #wine #winemaking #birchsap #offgrid #offgridliving #blogging #blogger #foodblogger #foodblog

Geplaatst door Handmade Homestead op Zondag 27 januari 2019

This we collected for a few days, till we had a total of around 20 Litres. We both took a large fermenting bucket of 25L and went our own ways.

An eager young man trying to make wine.

jars with crystal clear birch sap.
Crystal clear birch sap.

I added raisins, fruits and various other ingredients to the bucket. The idea was to use the natural yeasts present on the fruit for the fermenting process. Me being an eager young man poured the 5-liter birch sap with 1,5 kg dissolved sugar, steaming hot over the fruit. This obviously caused all the yeast to die. As alternative, I used bread yeast instead. The fruits were left for 4 days in the substrate. Then the most interesting part started. Adding the lid with an airlock in order to create an anaerobic environment. Soon, the wine started bubbling, a few weeks of bloop…. Bloop… Bloop… went by. Which caused a lot of comments and jokes during dinner and breakfast. Oi…joi..joi! Was the slogan during my internship.

A patient “young” man trying to make wine.

Sören and his dog Ronja.
Sören and his dog Ronja.

Sören decided to go a completely different route. He decided to use the rest of the birch sap to follow the instructions written on a package of strong wine yeast. Which used significantly less sugar. This made his wine less favourable among the testers. On the other hand, my wine was very sweet and also quite strong. With a dominating yeast flavour. His wine as very strong and not sweet at all. Therefore, my wine was more preferable. These Swedes definitely had a sweet tooth.

Storing wine and new experiments.

The fermentation bucket and 3 jars with birch wine.
Wine was stored in the same jars.

Both the wines were bottled or in my case put back into jars and stored in a cellar. In the winter the next year and in the summer last year we tested the wines again. My wine kept its’ yeast flavour and his sweetened over time. Both wines did improve and develop more flavour, but I did not like my own wine.  For I prefer not to taste yeast in my wine. This experiment was my first try to produce alcohol. It took a while before I started experimenting more. Currently, I have a small fermentation bucket. Where you will be reading more about soon.

Just writing the title made me feel happy inside. Especially during this cold snowy day. I will be writing more about this internship place and about fermenting. So, stay tuned.

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About Walter 10 Articles
I am Scandinavian lookalike from the Netherlands. Currently studying in Northern Denmark. I was born in the countryside and brought into the city at the age of 5. Since then I always dreamt of having my own productive education farm. This has not changed over the years. I am very much interested in combining flavors and methods to create new products. After the years of trial and error, I came to learn a few things. One of them is that making mistakes is part of the learning process.

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