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Old 01-30-2007, 04:27 AM   #1
geeeeoffff
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Default newbie here, taking first crack at homebrewing

After reading this guide i think I'm ready to start a very primitive brew, and i have a few questions for those of you who have a lot of experience in this area.

http://www.leftofme.com/how-to-brew-cheap-wine/

I'm planning on following his directions for the most part. except I'm buying some packets of bona fide wine making yeast so my wine doesn't taste like bread.

1. in addition to grape juice, i was thinking of picking up some guava, or some other random juice to see how it goes. do you have any suggestions, recommendations or warnings?

2. is it okay to just use a tube to get rid of the air? i was thinking of running a tube from the top of the bottle to a cup of water as the author mentioned. Do you think this would be better than the balloon method?

3. People in the comments mention letting the wine sit from periods ranging from 1 to 2 weeks. is there a way to tell when its 'done'?

4. When its finished, and I'm siphoning out the wine should i be using some kind of filter too? i was thinking of a coffee filter or cheese cloth.

5. Got any other general warnings? advice?

thanks in advance guys


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Old 01-30-2007, 04:00 PM   #2
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I'm not a wine maker but, I'll give this a shot. At the very least you'll get a bump. Using proper yeast is critical. Never use bread yeast.

1) I recommend you start with a known recipe first. Get the process and mechanics down. A wine kit made with fruit concentrate will give you a better product as a beginner than grape juice.
2) Yes, this is called a blowoff tube and it will prevent a very vigorous fermentation from blowing the lid on your fermenter.
3) Learn to use a hydrometer. Otherwise err on the side of patience.
4) I got nothing on that one. I'd say no. Siphon but do not siphon the sediment at the bottom. Don't get greedy.
5) Be Patient. Like in terms of months patient.
Find a different source material. In the brewing work, it's www.howtobrew.com.
Since this looks to be a zero budget operation, be prepared for a barely drinkable product.
Be prepared for someone to accuse you of being an underage newb with the sole purpose of making an alcoholic beverage and not a quality drinkable wine. This whole recipe and using bread yeast looks designed to be run under-the-radar. If this is the case, at least you had the courtesy to lie about your age.
Consider making the apfelwine (search this site) recipe. It is the most documented recipe on this site.


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Old 01-30-2007, 04:54 PM   #3
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I just don't 'get' these cheap ways of making wine, except maybe for the abililty to say that you did it yourself.

The introductory level of 'real' grape wine kits works out to about 90 cents a bottle, all ingredients included.

Why spend more than that on screwball recipes that will probably taste like cr*p?
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Old 01-30-2007, 05:18 PM   #4
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Well, I don't recommend the balloon method at all, and I'm thinking a blow off tube isn't what you want. Airlocks are about $1.00, and a stopper is about .50. If you buy those items along with some Campden tablets, you're actually all set. Really, these items are necessary. Even though you are doing it on the cheap, you want a drinkable product.

I've posted this recipe before, but I really like this one:
Welch's Frozen Grape Juice Wine
2 cans (11.5 oz) Welch's 100% frozen grape concentrate
1-1/4 lbs granulated sugar
2 tsp acid blend
1 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp yeast nutrient
water to make 1 gallon
wine yeast

Bring 1 quart water to boil and dissolve the sugar in the water. Remove from heat and add frozen concentrate. Add additional water to make one gallon and pour into secondary. Add remaining ingredients except yeast. Cover with napkin fastened with rubber band and set aside 12 hours. Add activated wine yeast and recover with napkin. When active fermentation slows down (about 5 days), fit airlock. When clear, rack, top up and refit airlock. After additional 30 days, stabilize, sweeten if desired and rack into bottles.

You can skip the acid blend, pectic enzyme, and yeast nutrient if you must. (Get it- must? Winemaker's joke). This is similar to what your instructions say, but I guarentee that this will be a very good wine- I make it myself and use it as our table wine. Don't mix other juices with it- make it as written the first time. After that, try any 100% juices- cranapple, white grape, apple-raspberry, etc.

You also need some siphoning tubing and some sanitizer. Everything that touches the wine (including the container) should be sanitized first.

As far from when it's "done"- well, you could wait until the wine is clear and done fermenting, about 60 days. You could get a hydrometer and actually measure the fermentation taking place. Or you could just use a turkey baster siphon some out and drink it when you want. It's ok after 30 days. 2 weeks is a ridiculously short period of time, that's why they are only using 2 cups of sugar. It'll be a tart juice drink with very little alcohol. My recipe is about 13% alcohol, so it takes a little longer.
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Old 01-30-2007, 05:29 PM   #5
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Alright, I'm jackin this thread.

Lorena: Is there any reason to why this is a 1 g recipe?
I mean, why not 6 to make 5 like with beer?

Also: What changes if any, if you didn't care about price? Is there a better sugar substitute?
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Old 01-30-2007, 07:43 PM   #6
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Um, okay. You can make 5 gallons- but probably not 6. Only because I think you'd be pushing your yeast to make 6 gallons. You're looking at 13% ABV, and 5 gallons would be about the most you could make with one package of yeast. Of course, if you did a yeast starter and used nutrient, you could make the 6 gallons. Or yeast is cheap- pitch two packages of the same strain. You don't need to make 6 to get 5, though- there is very little lees that settle out. When I rack, I lose very little. The lees are pretty compacted and easy to rack off, usually just flocculated yeast. When I make 1 gallon, I usually get darn near 1 gallon.

Table sugar is widely used in country wines with very good results. You don't have the cidery flavors you get with beer. The reason is that all the sugar is eaten by the yeast and you get alcohol and co2 with no residual sweetness. I wouldn't change that. If I were to make a change, it might be to go ahead and mix juice types. Maybe, 4 concord, 2 white (niagara) for three gallons. The only reason why- it's very concord grape-y. Think Mogen David. Good as an easy drinking table wine. But very concordy. Maybe if you used the niagara grape juice, you'd keep the body and cut some of the concord flavor. I'd also consider sulfiting, sorbating and backsweetening with maybe some white grape juice or sugar. I don't sweeten mine, and my friends always try to drink it before it's done because they like a little residual sweetness. But really, it's very good as is. Remember, it's not fine wine. It's not for wine snobs! I also would think that you could make it as it, and add some 7-up in the summer for the "wine cooler" types.

If you're interested, jack keller's website has a billion recipes for juices, and fruits.
http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/request.asp
Scroll down a bit to see the recipes.
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:15 PM   #7
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Thanks.

I'm going to do Ed's Federweisser, but I might try this as well.

Wine snob? I just posted in another thread how I drink yesterdays opened wine out of a pint glass.
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Old 01-30-2007, 10:22 PM   #8
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Is acid blend better than lemon juice? I've seen a lot of recipes that call for lemon juice instead of acid blend. How much lemon juice equals a tsp of acid blend?
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Old 01-31-2007, 12:20 AM   #9
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Acid blend has citric, tartaric and malic acid blended together. So lemon juice really isn't a replacement, as that is only citric acid. A little acid blend goes a long way toward making a balanced wine. I would only use lemon juice in something I wanted a citrus acid taste to- there aren't any wines I can think of off the top of my head. Maybe dandelion, but I like the acid blend even in that.

I don't have a ph meter or acid testing equipment. I just go by taste and recipes. If it tastes good, it's probably enough acid is my motto. The combination of tannin and acid blend gives a good finish to country wines.
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Old 01-31-2007, 08:18 PM   #10
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sorry to side track! But when making a Kit Wine Red Zin, does anyone ever check the Acid level or add tannins? The instructions do not say to do any of that. Brand new to this wine making and just wanted to know. Thanks
Mark


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