Festive Spirit

Well, not really, as it’s not going to be ready until summer (and it DEFINITELY won’t have any spirits in it) but after our trip to the toon at the start of the week, where we managed to pick up some frozen blackberries and blackcurrants (and in an effort to clear the freezer of some of the tonne of elderberries and sloes picked earlier in the autumn) we finally got around to making a start on our English Port from a CJJ Berry recipe.

J and I first made this years ago (in those halcyon, pre-children days) when we were first trying our hand at homebrewing.  We successfully brewed it, but then decided that because it was called port it, of course, should be fortified with brandy.  No.  It shouldn’t.  Before we totally ruined it, I remember it tasting lovely, full of fruity flavour (unsurprisingly given the amount of fruit in it).  Then we added the brandy and left it for a few months to mature.  It didn’t, it just tasted like a nice drink that had been spoilt by adding a strong spirit to it.  We even found a few bottles when we were preparing to move, they must have been maturing for about 6 years.  The age didn’t help and they went straight down the drain (though I think I saw a tear in J’s eye at all that wasted alcohol).

However we have learnt from our mistake, and we shall not be diverting in any way from the recipe this time.

So the recipe is

2lb Elderberries

2lb Blackberries

1lb Sloes

1lb Blackcurrants

¼ Pint Red Grape Concentrate

3lb Sugar

1 Vit B1 Tablet

2tsps Pectolase

Port Yeast and Nutrient


Firstly we covered the sugar with water in a large pan and boiled it until the sugar dissolved.  Whilst it was heating up we put all the fruit into a fermentation bucket, and myself and the girl crushed all the fruit into a nice purple pulp (the girl enjoyed this a lot, I just had to remind her not to fling the mush all over the kitchen.  Constantly).


Once it was suitably mushed we added the sugar water into the fruit, gave it a stir and then allowed it to cool.  Once cool we added the grape concentrate and pectolase and then stashed it away in the spare room for the night.  The next day we added the Vitamin B1, yeast, nutrient and 5 pints of water.

Looking weirdly like something from a grisly murder scene

This is now fermenting away in the spare room and will do so for at least five days (fermenting on the pulp apparently), we’ll then strain this into a demijohn and then add water to make it up to a gallon and then leave to clear for at least three months before we siphon it into another demijohn for a further few months before bottling.

So hopefully we should be testing it in about six months, with no added brandy.


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