Not having made this wine and viewing Jackkellers recipe I see your plight,
I hope this explains what you want to know.
The problems arise from two causes.
Firstly, rhubarb contains a poisonous acid called "oxalic" and secondly, for
reasons partly unknown, it sometimes causes destruction of the yeast which
floats around in clumps in the wine in a most disgusting fashion.
The two problems are resolved by first treating the rhubarb in a different
fashion from that advocated in old country wine-making books, and, secondly,
by ensuring the conditions are ideal for the yeast.
Now, the main acid in rhubarb is malic acid, a good fermenting acid and
valuable in maturing. It is present in almost every cell of the plant. The
"oxalic acid" is in little lumps called nodules which are scattered here and
there in the plant. If the juice is extracted with boiling water as was the
normal way, then the oxalic acid is dissolved into the liquor along with the
flavour and the helpful malic acid. At this point chalk was added to get rid
of the acids and then citric acid was added to allow fermentation to
proceed.This was a very hit-and-miss method which frequently allowed
fermentations to proceed without sufficient acid.
The result was an evil smelling concoction.
On the other hand people quite often eat large amounts of stewed rhubarb
without ill results.
| Hi.....I've started rhubarb wine for the first time in 20
| years......using this for a recipe.....
...it advises taking
| out all the oxalic acid ....which is fine....then putting in juice of
| 2 lemons as the acid.....what is the benefit of citric acid in the
| form of lemon juice over adding "acid blend" usually used in other
| country wines?....also i'd like to tweak a little by adding some
| golden raisins.....would 1/2lb(250grams) be an ok thing?....andy j.