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Old 01-10-2014, 04:39 PM   #1
Jug3049
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Default New homebrewer

Hi, Just to start off, i'm 22 and recently got interested in home-brewing after my grandpa gave me some wine he made. He has a large plastic bucket and made orange wine from his orange tree. I've never liked wine in my life and would rather drink a beer, but his was so good that I could drink it like I would orange juice. The way he brewed his though and some things i've read have made me wonder which is really the proper way. For example:

His plastic bucket has a large mouth to it, and he just had a cheesecloth rubber-band attached to it. He had it open to the air like this for several months before siphoning it out into mason jars. Is it really OK to leave it open to air this long? Would it have turned out better if he would have air-locked it eventually?

He didn't use any special equipment and didn't even use yeast. He just boiled oranges in water and put that in to the bucket and let it sit. It turned out very sweet and with quite a bite to it. Would it have taken less time or turned out better if he used wine yeast?

Also his had a slight vinegar taste to it. Is this normal for home-brewed drinks?

Anyway, I went to a local store and bought some welch's grape juice and a 3 pack of bakers yeast and started a gallon of my own grape wine in a 1 gallon milk jug. I don't expect it to be nearly half as good as my grandpa's was, but this seems like something I will enjoy and eventually buy proper equipment for. So hello everyone!

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Old 01-10-2014, 05:00 PM   #2
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I've heard of two kinds of wine made with oranges

Orange wine
Vin D'Orange
Both of which Ive been promising myself to brew every orange season but never have

More info here http://www.easy-wine.net/making-home...range-wine.htm

But this sounds more like hooch. Ive heard of open fermentation to increase ester production but this is never a long term thing.

Lots of things are brewed with wild yeast. Especially wines and cider because the yeast are abundant on the skins of fruits. But you will almost always get a better result if you kill the wild yeast and pitch a known good yeast.

Vinegar taste is often as a result of wild (unwanted) yeast

If your going to brew wine at home I would definitly not use anything from the supermarket. ESPECIALLY bakers yeast. It will taste really bad.

Hit up your local home brew store and they can hook you up with everything you need for a small batch of wine. On the cheap to.
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:05 PM   #3
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Agreed, The bakers yeast will not do what you want. And the preservatives in the juice may also cause problems.

I suggest buying proper equipment and a good wine ingredient kit. I have done a couple and they have been as good as or better than most commercial wines.

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Old 01-10-2014, 05:15 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum. You are starting down a road that most of us have been through. Relative gives some good home made wine and we try to do it ourselves and after several months we find ouselves up to our necks in carboys.

Your grandpa used spontaneous fermentation for his wine which may or may not be a good thing in most places. Yeast are all around us all the time. If you live in regions where wine making is common then often those wineries in eons past would dump good yeast cakes out in the vineyards to help cultivate good wild yeast. Here in the states where I live and our land is very young compared to the rest of the world in relation to wine making so our wild yeast is very random and often not as strong.

Another problem with spontaneous fermentation is that there is more than just yeast around us. All sorts of bacteria can infect a wine. When yeast get to cultivating they can usually out compete many bacteria and keep them from causing an infection as long as the bacteria is not too plentiful. But with spontaneous fermentation some bacteria can take hold before the yeast does and add some off flavors. But then the yeast start to roll and it evens out. Adding your own yeast up front cuts out that lag time and helps keep the bacteria from causing damage.

Using a wine yeast will dry out a wine like this a lot more and it will not be as sweet.

The cheese cloth method can work for a long time if used properly. CO2 produced by the yeast is heavier than oxygen so a layer of it will sit on top of the wine and keep it from oxidizing. So as long as you leave it alone then in theory it should be fine for a couple months but the CO2 will eventually escape and so for long term aging it is recommended to have a small neck carboy with airlock.

Have fun with the Welche's wine with bread yeast. You will learn a lot. Small bit of advice is that bread yeast is hard to settle out of a wine. So after about 3 weeks put your wine in the fridge. It should help settle it out into the bottom so you do not have as much of a yeasty taste to your wine.

Stick around and let us know if you have any other questions.

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Old 01-10-2014, 05:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickL View Post
If your going to brew wine at home I would definitly not use anything from the supermarket. ESPECIALLY bakers yeast. It will taste really BAD!
Quote:
Originally Posted by kh54s10 View Post
Agreed, The bakers yeast will not do what you want. And the preservatives in the juice may also cause problems.

I suggest buying proper equipment and a good wine ingredient kit. I have done a couple and they have been as good as or better than most commercial wines.
I do not want to open a can of worms here but I also do not want the OP discouraged. Bread yeast does not always give the best results. But that does not mean for a first timer you can't make a wine that you will not smile at.

Also to say to not use anything from the supermarket is not a fare thing to say. In the Mead world the fabled "JAOM" (Joe's Ancient Orange Mead) only uses super market ingredients and also uses bread yeast. I make that all the time and it is great. I also make a mean Welche's White Grape Peach wine that will knock the socks off most wines. I do use proper wine yeast and yeast nutrient from the HBS but the rest of the ingredients are supermarket stuff.

So to the OP. like I said in the prior post. The biggest problem with bread yeast is it not wanting to clear and so you have suspended yeast in the wine and that does taste bad. Putting it in the fridge for a week. Decanting the clear liquid and repeating this step a few times helps that a lot.

Also expect that the wine may be a little acidic since the grapes Welche's uses are not wine grapes. Just right before serving mix with some ginger ale or a little sugar and that helps a lot. Or you may like the original taste. Read up on Stabilizing and back sweetening. With future batches or even this one if you like can help balance out acidic or bitter notes in dry wines. This batch can go fine and future batches as you learn will be twice as good.
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:42 PM   #6
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Lots of people have made wine for a long time with supermarket bread yeast... Go for it! What's the worst that will happen?

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Old 01-10-2014, 06:49 PM   #7
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Go for it! What's the worst that will happen?
Agreed! Fermenting is fun.
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Old 01-11-2014, 03:04 PM   #8
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Here's a couple more questions..

If I buy a 5 gallon carboy, will I need 2? Once the primary fermentation is done in the first and I siphon it out.

How do you stir the everything in the beginning, when it's in the primary 5 gallon? It's easy to pick up and shake a 1 gallon plastic jug, but what about a heavy 5 gallon?

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Old 01-11-2014, 03:11 PM   #9
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It is easier to have two 5 gallon carboys. Just so you can rack off sediment and in the secondary it usually drops more sediment. You can keep racking back and forth till no more sediment drops.

You can get what is called a wine whip to stir the wine. Also many HBS or supermarkets sell plastic or stainless long handled spoons you can fit in the neck of a carboy. I like whipping my wines with a drill early on so I went super cheap and just took a coat hanger, straitened it out, bent it in odd directions in two places and checked it into a drill. Keep it clean and it works great!

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Old 01-16-2014, 02:04 AM   #10
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I went to a local brew shop and bought a their wine kit. It came with a 7 gallon bucket primary and a 5 gallon glass carboy. I spent more than I probably should have for someone who's so new to this all (around $90) but I think i'll enjoy this as a hobby.

I've read thousands of posts on here and other sites and still hear different answers. On my bucket, the lid will lock down very tight and it has a small hole with rubber. If I am doing an open-air primary, am I supposed to completely lock down the lid like this and leave the hole open to the world? Should I just let the lid rest on the bucket? Or should I not use the lid at all and cover it with a cloth/similar?

Also I didn't feel like buying one of their $50 wine box kits or whatever they were, so now i'm sitting here looking at a pretty carboy with nothing to use it for

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