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Oakwood 05-23-2007 06:20 PM

new to the game
I have made about 7 batchs (5G each) of beer and feel pretty comfortable with it. I am looking at Northern Brewer and would like to make some wine for this christmas as gifts around my office. What is really differnt about making wine from beer? I have 4 carboys, and a nice size cellar. Please let me know what else I need to know or is it pretty much the same making beer? Or is it somthing completely different?

MikeRLynch 05-23-2007 09:06 PM

Well there are a couple things, but I guess the primary thing is the lack of boiling. Since you're using primarily fruit juices, boiling will set the pectins in the juice, causing permanant haze (pectic enzyme can counter this, but I digress). To pasturize winemakers use campden tablets to kill off the baddies. Just make sure to wait at least 24 hours before pitching yeast after using campden, because the campden will kill your yeast too!

The second big difference is alcohol content. You're probably going to want to shoot for a minimum of 10 %, as your wine will need to age for a while, and the high abv will kill anything that might want to grow in there. Besides, who wants a weak wine? ;)

The third is the aforementioned time. Give these things at least 6 months, or even a year to get good. I had a pom/blueberry wine I cooked up and it tasted simply like tart-alcoholic-juice at 3 months in the bottle, but once it hit 6 months it was like a commercial wine from the shelf, but still very unique. Still had some of that residual tartness though, so I'm waiting a few more months to see how it comes along. Don't give up on beermaking, its good to have something to do while waiting for all your wines to mature. Also poke around on these forums, there are a LOT of experianced winemakers, most of this info was gleaned from them.


Yooper 05-23-2007 11:32 PM

I think wine is "easier" than beer in many ways- and you use the same basic techniques. Find a recipe you like and do it! You can do country wines (fruits and flowers and such) or buy a kit and make a merlot! It's a bit more forgiving than beer, and pretty easy to get a drinkable product. All you might need to add to your supplies is a corker and some winebottles and corks. You should already have airlocks, etc. A one-gallon batch of something is easy and fun.

Bri-H 05-25-2007 09:10 AM

hi there i just thought id give you the English point of view ,over here we tend to lean more towards wine making than beer making,

a simple wine like coffee would be ready in about 4 weeks and drinkable within a month as i find if left any longer it lacks in feshness and starts to taste flat,flower wines will produce some fantastic wines particularly dandilion and you dont get the pectin problem

if your looking large scale then plastic buckts small scale then a few demojohns solves the problem ,as said above a corker and some wine bottles,but id also add a few chemicals to the list ,acids and enzymes tannin etc,most good Recipes will tell you what you need ,tannin can be replaced by adding cold strong Tea to the wine or raisins,i personaly prefer wine to beer as you get a great buzz when you see your finished product labeled and presented in a wine rack rather than just 40 pints in a crate or keg

CBBaron 05-29-2007 05:54 PM

Is there any reason you can't bottle wines in beer bottles instead of corked wine bottles?
I'm thinking of trying a couple "country wines" and I already have a collection of beer bottles and a capper. Any reason a beer bottle won't work?


MikeRLynch 05-29-2007 08:56 PM

I don't see any reason why not, except perhaps the possibility of residual yeast in the wine creating co2, and thus causing a slight carbonation (not in the style of wine, unless you're specifically priming it) or bottle bombs (wine needs to age for a while, so this could build up over time). I don't know if I made this up or I read it somewhere, but I thought that cork was slightly gas permiable, which allowed for excess co2 to escape. Could be my slightly alcohol-muddled mind :p


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