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Starscream

Do you Make wine or Brew your Own?

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I strongly urge participants in this thread to be 19+(canadian legal age) and discussion of distilling be avoided.

 

I'm curious about people who may make their own wine, beer or mead. I am a Chef, so making consumables always fascinates me.

 

I am a novice wine maker, I actually just started to make my own in house (after I moved) using various kits until I get a feel for the process and can move toward making my own wines from non kits (such as purchasing juice from growers)

 

I have made

White: Chenin Blanc (a south african style wine) (dry)

Red: Pinot Noir (dry)

Blush: White Zinfandel. (Zinfandel is usually a red)(sweet)

 

I plan to make a Gevurtztraminer styled wine after my beer and another batch of Pinot is done.

 

I bought the equipment years ago with intent to make wine, but my apartment was so small and so warm it was not easy to control the temperatures - so I mothballed the equipment

I have several large carboys (glass bottles of roughly 23L), fermentation buckets, A bottle corker, various tubes, and plastic pipes, bungs, airlocks, and cleaners. I also have a second fermentation bucket I am dedicating to the production of beer.

 

So while I am getting a grasp on wine, I am starting to study beer making. I got a kit, coopers European style lager (like heinekin I think) but the instructions were vague. I get the feeling since it was a refill kit the assumption is the person buying it has a clue -  which I did not have. I looked on the net and noticed people adding stuff from another mysterious box. I read the tin and it had "suggested brew enhancers" which actually involved the sugar I needed to ferment the stuff. Just as well I read up rather than dive in head long.after a lot of poking around and research, I finally determined what ratio of stuff I needed to make the beer I had then went to the shop to buy it and the guy who owned and operated said.. just use the Dextrose.I have bottles cleaned and waiting, I need to get a few more, a capper and some other goods to complete my beer making kit -  we'll see, warnings are out there that beer can explode if you use too much sugar to get the carbonation. Sugar carbonation will result in dead yeast at the bottom of the bottle, for anyone who drinks beer and doesn't make it, if you get a craft brew with sediment, it likely was fermented in bottle to get the carbon.

 

for fun, I plan to grow hops in my back yard (or front yard) but I am trying to figure out do I explain to the police when they come knocking at my door why i was shooting an arrow over the house with twine tied to it, or do I try to drop a thread and sewing needle out my mothers bedroom window so I may pull up the twine so I can make a something my hops can grow up - I think I want cascade if I can get those. (used often in IPA beers with strong citrus flavours)

 

For me, this is all information that I like to sponge up and absorb. learn as much as I can to become more knowledgeable in these areas. As a culinary student, we were trained with beer and wine tasting (mostly wine)

 

If anyone has any experience with making wine, beer or mead, please share, I would love to read your experiences and learn from them -  be them great stories or utter disasters.

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I used to make my own. But the pleasure I used to take in it wore thin. I used to do fruit wines though, not try to do grape wines like the big guys. I did dandelion, orange, parsnip, elderberry,  choke cherry, elderflower champagne... I can't even remember  them all.

 

One thing I DO remember, though, was when I was clearing out under the stairs and found a six year old bottle of orange I'd made. WOW that was amazing. And STRONG !

 

Beer I did for much longer - I got pretty good at it. I never considered growing my own hops though. They are so easy to buy. Beer certainly can explode; I agree. I had a crown capper (I probably still do; a great heavy one; at first I had a little one. It just wasn't up to the job) and it was very exciting (NOT !) waking in the night to hear some of them popping off in their crates. I recommend storing them in the boxes the bottles come in from the Beer Store - and put the flaps down with some newspaper over. Then when they DO pop their tops, the beer won't spray over everything else.... Trust me, this is the voice of experience posting...

 

There are some very useful books you can get. If I still have mine, I'll be in touch if you like.

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35 minutes ago, Fuzzbucket said:

I used to make my own. But the pleasure I used to take in it wore thin. I used to do fruit wines though, not try to do grape wines like the big guys. I did dandelion, orange, parsnip, elderberry,  choke cherry, elderflower champagne... I can't even remember  them all.

 

One thing I DO remember, though, was when I was clearing out under the stairs and found a six year old bottle of orange I'd made. WOW that was amazing. And STRONG !

 

Beer I did for much longer - I got pretty good at it. I never considered growing my own hops though. They are so easy to buy. Beer certainly can explode; I agree. I had a crown capper (I probably still do; a great heavy one; at first I had a little one. It just wasn't up to the job) and it was very exciting (NOT !) waking in the night to hear some of them popping off in their crates. I recommend storing them in the boxes the bottles come in from the Beer Store - and put the flaps down with some newspaper over. Then when they DO pop their tops, the beer won't spray over everything else.... Trust me, this is the voice of experience posting...

 

There are some very useful books you can get. If I still have mine, I'll be in touch if you like.

I had to laugh at some of the images. Crown capper -  I will look that up. I would personally prefer one of hte antique ones for their charm factor as well as practical.

 

I am actually interested in more about your non grape wines, do you recall any of your procedures or recipes? I know my mother told me of a story of sour cherry wine that was amazing and my aunts did a pea-pod wine.

 

if you have any books  -  or titles at least, that would be grand.

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In BULK and POWER looking, the magnitude is right. But mine was more like the metal of giant plumbers' pliers.  I looked for an image but clearly Life has Moved On. The ones to avoid like the plague are the hammer cappers. They aren't accurate enough (or tight enough !) and also it is JUST possible to break the bottle...

 

I'll dig up my old recipes if I can find them - but really it's not hard. I do have a friend who makes mead - I'll ask her for that.


Procedures: one thing I learned long after I stopped doing it is to FREEZE any fresh fruit for 3-4 days before using it, as it gets rid of wild bacteria that can spoil things. I wish I had known this way back when.

 

When thinking about sugar quantities, remember how much sweeter some fruits are than others. You need way less sugar with elderberries or choke cherries than you do with - say - pears.

 

But basically - mash up the fruit, add to your sugar and water (you will have boiled the water and dissolved all the sugar in it); put it in a Greta Big Bucket, and when coll enough, add the yeast. cover, stir regularly for about a week.

Then you siphon it off through a strainer into Big Glass Jars and put those airlock things on them 41BuCUDMK8L._AC_UL130_.jpg

 

After a month or so, you get to bottle it.

 

Short on detail but you get the idea ! On the whole, as long as you keep everything good and clean, and don't try siphoning out more than you should (so you get a bit of dead yeast in the later stages) it's pretty much foolproof. The tastes you get get better as you get a feel for things. Beer mostly I used kits, as it was such a pain dealing with actual hops !

 

If you are that type (which I no longer am !) you will actually enjoy this.

 

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I read about freezing fruits -  It didn't explain why, but that makes  a load of sense. I had to google hammer cappers... yeah no... I like something a little more weapons grade :P

 

How would you determine sugar levels?

 

I use the RODI system to obtain my water -  same water I use to make sea-water for my aquarium - it strips everything out I probably should use my induction burner I have down here - safer than carrying buckets of boiling water water -  well not buckets but pots. I am doing wine kits to get the feel-more or less, at least to get a sort of understanding of the procedure as well as comparing instructions between brands.

 

What did you do about clarifying? I know our last bottling, my husband I racked the wine and we had a near perfect batch because all the sediment was left behind and it was a beautiful white wine. However we use their clarifying agents. Did you rack and re-rack?

 

I sterilise the crap out of eveything. I use a powdered bleach - and metabisulfied powder (not mixed) the latter I use when I sterilise before bottling.

 

I use a beast like this for my corking: Although mine is green - its a pain in the aft because its always In. The. Way.

corker-burgundy.png

 

 

 

my wine rack is getting full again.

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47 minutes ago, Starscream said:

I read about freezing fruits -  It didn't explain why, but that makes  a load of sense. I had to google hammer cappers... yeah no... I like something a little more weapons grade :P

 

How would you determine sugar levels?

 

I use the RODI system to obtain my water -  same water I use to make sea-water for my aquarium - it strips everything out I probably should use my induction burner I have down here - safer than carrying buckets of boiling water water -  well not buckets but pots. I am doing wine kits to get the feel-more or less, at least to get a sort of understanding of the procedure as well as comparing instructions between brands.

 

What did you do about clarifying? I know our last bottling, my husband I racked the wine and we had a near perfect batch because all the sediment was left behind and it was a beautiful white wine. However we use their clarifying agents. Did you rack and re-rack?

 

I sterilise the crap out of eveything. I use a powdered bleach - and metabisulfied powder (not mixed) the latter I use when I sterilise before bottling.

 

 

Sugar - form the recipe and from experience. BUT for instance, if you have (as I did at the time) a trusted recipe you like to use that you've been using with raspberries - if you want to use gooseberries or rhubarb instead, it would make sense to up the sugar unless you want a very dry wine. I hate to say his - but - it's partly down to trial, error and experience.

 

I wouldn't use bleach for sterilising, myself. The taste lingers. I still can't get it out of the coffee pot I used it on months ago :)

 

Used a clarifier, yes, but I did rack several times, usually. Except when I - um - didn't.

 

More later - Big Bang just came on TV !

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2 hours ago, Fuzzbucket said:

 

Sugar - form the recipe and from experience. BUT for instance, if you have (as I did at the time) a trusted recipe you like to use that you've been using with raspberries - if you want to use gooseberries or rhubarb instead, it would make sense to up the sugar unless you want a very dry wine. I hate to say his - but - it's partly down to trial, error and experience.

 

I wouldn't use bleach for sterilising, myself. The taste lingers. I still can't get it out of the coffee pot I used it on months ago :)

 

Used a clarifier, yes, but I did rack several times, usually. Except when I - um - didn't.

 

More later - Big Bang just came on TV !

its chloraclean -  they sell it at the wine shops. Unlike javex, it doesn't stick around and it doesn't smell horrendous like javex. I trigger migraines easily on smells so I find things that are not as offensive or lingering.

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Ummm OK - I don't remember what I used, only that I decided not to do it again !

 

Does no-one else here do this tuff ?

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I can't find ANYTHING I used to use. I am now officially well hacked off.

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hacked off? you mean annoyed? I'm just visualising something a bit more brutal.

 

 

Anyway, the Pinot Noir fell through, but we got Merlot - this is oaked, so that might be interesting to try. I also got some cappers, bottles, and a stirer we can hook into a drill. And a couple other goodies

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Not up for fruit yet, then. Good - gives me a BIT more time to see if I have ANY of the recipes I used to use....

 

Oh yeah - hacked off means EXTREMELY cross :)

Edited by Fuzzbucket

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40 minutes ago, Fuzzbucket said:

Not up for fruit yet, then. Good - gives me a BIT more time to see if I have ANY of the recipes I used to use....

 

Oh yeah - hacked off means EXTREMELY cross :)

No, I am up for trying fruit wines, its just we are low on red and my husband loves drinking reds - I need to make a red before that supply is depleted and he has to wait until its done.

 

So... where would you placed hacked off in the scale with pissed off and cross? I assume after cross, before pissed? I know totally off topic, but I do enjoy collecting words and expressions.

Edited by Starscream

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I don't make alcohol, but I thought I'd mention that "hacked off" is something you usually hear from British English speakers. It's pretty much the same as "pissed off," just a bit more illustrative.

 

Edit: It could just be a generational thing as opposed to not being spoken in her region, but it is British.

Edited by Sesshomaru

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My mum is british, but I don't think it might be something spoken in her region. I do love it though, it seems so much fun.

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I don't make wine, but my Nonno makes it. He uses a red wine recipe that's been in his family for about 100 years now. My dad never bothered to learn how to make wine and neither did his siblings, so I'd love to have my grandfather teach me so I can carry on the tradition. I turn 19 in two days, so I guess there's no better time to learn! :P 

 

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it would be a shame to lose that tradition. I strongly recommend learning. Its actually fairly easy. My former culinary school also taught wine and beer making. We had a class that was dedicated to pairing food and wine. (our favourite class)

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I am going to attempt a small batch (1 gallon) Mead (very experimental and due to it being a small batch relatively inexpensive.)

My recipe: (just so I can repeat if i like

about 3.4 pounds of honey,  Heated and dissolved (but not boiling)

Stash Tea (not sure how many bags I will use yet - Lemon Ginger and Meyer Lemon

Herbs: Lemon Grass (possibly ginger that was frozen)

Yeast: EC-1118 - going to hydrate this in some honey water.

 

I have a 2 gallon bucket with a lid, cut to add a bung I will be adding the teas to the primary.

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We racked off our beer and White Zinfendal. Tried a tiny amount of the beer -  its flat at the moment, but my husband says it tastes like Castle. Very exciting experiment!

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On 2/13/2018 at 12:24 AM, Sesshomaru said:

I don't make alcohol, but I thought I'd mention that "hacked off" is something you usually hear from British English speakers. It's pretty much the same as "pissed off," just a bit more illustrative.

 

Edit: It could just be a generational thing as opposed to not being spoken in her region, but it is British.

 

It is indeed - sorry. And spot on - fractionally more polite than pissed off !

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20 hours ago, Fuzzbucket said:

 

It is indeed - sorry. And spot on - fractionally more polite than pissed off !

I am more familiar with rhyming slang - as my grandfather used it a lot.

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I don't make it, but my best friend makes mead and melomels, and I've helped. Our other friends make mead/wine/metheglens/melomels/ceysers all the time, and it's so delicious. Mmm. 

He's working on a pomegranate melomel right now, should be ready in March I think. Maybe April. 

 

I've made kombucha though. Does that count? 😅

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Well, the guy at the winestore I go to, makes Kombucha -  so it counts :P

 

I am starting the Merlot and a Brown Ale tonight.

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I've not tried wine or beer but I have made limoncello and nalewka (a Polish liqueur)

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