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Winemaking...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Sheldon, Dec 3, 2001.

  1. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

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    Are their any winemakers or beermakers out there and if so,let us know what you do to change certain wine/beer kits to make them better.Share your secrets...
     
  2. Andrej Dolenc

    Andrej Dolenc Well-Known Member

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    I'm a homebrewer. No real secret to it, I started out with beer kits. Then I realized that the beer kit is simply a recipe with ingredients pre-packaged. Find recipes on the net, buy ingredients at the local homebrew supply store. Then start playing around - hmm, I think I'd like this beer to be a little darker, so add some more dark grains. Don't have a particular hop that the recipe calls for, try a different one. Or more / less hops if you want the beer to be more or less bitter.

    Andrej
     
  3. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    I usually start with a kit and modify it. My favorite is Morgan's Amber Ale kit with a couple of pounds of extra pale malt added (kicks the alcohol up). Towards the end of the cooking, I'll add an ounce of Fuggle (sp?) hops for a minute or two.

    I made some "wino" wine once. Enough Welch's frozen concentrate (Wild Berry I think) to make about three gallons of fruit punch. Three cups of table sugar. Add champaign yeast and stand back. I bottled it in 40oz Miller Lite bottles (I liked the "classy" screw top). It had a good flavor and really packed a punch.

    -Robert
     
  4. Dave Morton

    Dave Morton Well-Known Member

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    I will start with the basics for beer and then change the hops and grains to get different flavors. As far as equipment, I bought some coiled copper piping for a couple of bucks and hooked up a connector to fit the faucet in the laundry room. I stretched out the copper tubing so it is the length of my 5 gallon bucket and have the open end come out and drain down the sink. I then run cold water to force cool my wort. Works great!

    As for wine, I tried to make a port and it came out like moonshine that would eat paint off your car. I made a decent zinfandel and a pretty good merlot from a kit. I'm not that experienced to toy around too much as wine takes a long time to get to the drinking stage.
     
  5. Samuel Des

    Samuel Des Well-Known Member

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    The thing I worry about is sterilzation and the cost of the equipment. I really really want to start my own brewing, but I'm not sure how much it would cost to get durable, good, easy-to-clean equipment.
     
  6. Andrew Seale

    Andrew Seale Member

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    Hi
    Here in Australia Home Brewing is almost a religion.
    Try messing round with adding fruits (stone, cirtus etc) nuts and berries. Also add maybe a bit or molasses.
    I will guarantee some experiments will taste like shit but you may be supprised by others. My only suggestion is do NOT use GLASS bottles until you are damn sure they won't blow.
    Check out these possibilities. YUM YUM
    http://www.shoalhaven.net.au/%7Ebeejay/page6.htm
    Good luck
     
  7. Samuel Des

    Samuel Des Well-Known Member

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  8. Dave Morton

    Dave Morton Well-Known Member

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    For primary fermentation, for either beer or wine, you just need a clean 5 gallon plastic bucket with some saran wrap over the top so nothing foreign falls in. As long as the bucket is sterile/clean to begin with, I think it would be hard for any type of contamination to start with all the chemical reactions going on. It is quite the gaseous affair. (I always wanted to say that)

    Actually, I'm still using my original plastic bucket. For secondary fermentation, I always use a glass carboy. I think it's a must for wine, but not necessary for beer. Glass is easier to care for, generally.
     
  9. Samuel Des

    Samuel Des Well-Known Member

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    Hey dave - I see you're in Elmhurst. Do you goto any homebrew meets?
     
  10. Andrej Dolenc

    Andrej Dolenc Well-Known Member

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    I started out with an all-glass kit and would have no problem recommending the same to anybody else. Cost - a little over $100 for everything you need. I got mine as a gift from my best friend and co-brewer, he ordered it from www.northernbrewer.com. This kit comes with a big 6 1/2 gal bottle for primary fermentation. This helps in that the foam that gets produced during fermentation has more room to expand into. Though I did have a few batches that were very, um, vigorous during fermentation, they foamed right up and thru the little bubbler airlock. I've found it easier to take a plastic hose, fit it in a rubber stopper, cap the fermentation bottle with that and put the other end of the hose in a bottle full of water (so no outside air can enter the system). No messy foam boiling out and over the fermentation bottle.
    I've never had a beer explode on me once capped and stored in the basement. It stays reasonably constant in temperature there, mid 60's to 70 F.
    Glass is easier to care for, clean, and is more durable than plastic buckets, a win-win in my book!
    Samuel, you're already off to a good start if you're paranoid about cleaning everything. The starter kit I got came with a small quantity of cleaner, just make sure that everything that comes in contact with the beer has been cleaned off with that. It says you don't need to rinse it, but I do anyway. Something about harsh cleaning chemicals and then directly to my beer that bugs me!
    Anyway, it's good fun, and you get to drink the fruits of your labor. Go for it!
    Andrej
     
  11. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

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    I work in a brew shoppe and absolutely love it.Make mainly wine and beer from kits.It's quite a passion here in Canada.I understand that their are only about 600 brew shops in the entire USA...I think their is that many in my city (just kidding).Anyway,I also understand that you folks in the US are hard-core brewers ie:that you like using malts and grains,hops etc.I tried that several times and generally tired of the boiling.Kits are much easier to me these days for how much beer I make now (maybe 20-25 kits/year).Wine is another story though.I consistantly have between 300-350 bottles well aged at all times and always at least 3 batches on the go.I love adding things like wine tannins,elderberries,cloves etc to certain wines to distinguish itself from the rest.Check out our retail site www.vintopia.com which hasn't been updated for awhile or our www.winemakeri.com site.
     
  12. Dave Morton

    Dave Morton Well-Known Member

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    Sam,

    I don't know of any homebrew meets. If you have any info to pass on, I'd appreciate it. Are there many? I always though of myself as the rougue brewer. ha ha.
     
  13. Samuel Des

    Samuel Des Well-Known Member

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    Hey Andrej - Those were great tips. But $112 seems like an awful lot... money I could spend on a subwoofer! I think I might give them a call, and ask for some more info.
    Dave - I've looked around. Saw info for a meet in Wrigleyville.
    http://www.realalefestival.com/
    Here are a few others
    http://www.chibeer.org/
    http://www.skotrat.com/clubwort/supplies.htm
    JIM THOMMES 847-397-0203
    Sheldon - vintopia.com is under construction, but winemakeri.com looks good. What styles of beer would you say your customers prefer?
     
  14. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

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    It varies with the seasons.New brewers want to make commercially available brands like light lagers or light ales however many of the seasoned guys want to only make med to dark ales and rich,powerful stouts.I try to get as many people away from using corn sugar as possible and to use other adjuncts such as hi-malt glucose or a blend of glucose and light malt.I personnaly love the darker ales and make a summer raspberry wheat beer that the wife love's.As summer comes,I'm into more lager type than anything else because a lot of my friends that come over prefer the lighter tasting Canadian type beers.
     
  15. Samuel Des

    Samuel Des Well-Known Member

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    it just occured to me -- do you drink mead hot, warm, or cold?
     
  16. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

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    I prefer my Mead slightly warm but it really depends on the drink that you make with it.The majority of Mead makers will drink theirs warm though.
     
  17. Samuel Des

    Samuel Des Well-Known Member

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    Ah... I asked because I've read of some different preperations that include mulling spices. There is a liquor store carying mead. I think I will try a little at room temp to see what it tastes like.

    I am REALLY excited to try this!

    PS - Are the hangovers bad? That seems like a lot of alcohol!
     
  18. Charles J P

    Charles J P Well-Known Member

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  19. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

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    B-Brite cleaner(the pink stuff) is actually Chlorinated Trisodium Phosphate and is very similar to Javex or any other chlorinated product.It is not similar to Oxy-Clean.Think of the pink stuff as a soap.It is used when their are visible stains in the brewing pail or carboy.Most people will fill their pail or carboy completely full with water and a healthy dose of this stuff to eat away at the stains.Leave overnight then rinse and it is very important to dry out the pail before starting a new batch of beer.This is also harmful to your yeast and it may kill it.If this hasn't happened consider yourself fortunate.
     
  20. Samuel Des

    Samuel Des Well-Known Member

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    Ah, an organometallic. Is there any danger of lingering residue?
     

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