FAQ for newbies

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

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Apr 3, 2012
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We need a sticky in this forum for the newbie questions. I'll kick it off by asking two questions I can answer, and ask a few of my own. Could we get a mod to pin this one please and get the folks to help fill in the blanks and add to this list? Thanks all!

Q: What if I want to use honey instead of refined sugar?
A: Substitute 1.2lbs of honey for 1lb of sugar in the recipe.

Q: What is the difference between wine tannin and wine acid?
A: Tannin makes your mouth dry (dry wine) and wine acid makes your mouth water (sweet wine).

Q: Why do some recipes call for both wine tannin and wine acid?
A: ??? Dry and sweet? There must be a ratio based on something cool you're trying to accomplish.

Q: What happens if you use too much tannin? Too little?
A: ???

Q: What happens if you use too much wine acid? Too little?
A: ???

Q: Is there a rule of thumb or ratio for substituting juice vs raw fruit in a recipe?
A: ??? You can get all kinds of organic juices from drsmoothie.com. Example: X oz of juice = Y lbs of fruit?

Q: In winemaking, how does over-yeasting a batch change the outcome? (double, triple the yeast called for in a recipe)
A: ??? Faster fermentation, change in flavor, change in the outcome of alcohol content?

Q: In winemaking -- Campden tablets, yes or no?
A: ???

Q: Cork or screw-on caps?
A: ??? I'd love to know the experiences of the people here versus what I can find in random places online.

Q: Aging: Some recipes say there is a peak age (let's say 1 year for fruit wine, at least the ones I've done) -- what happens after that? I've never had them last long enough to know. :D
A: ??? No improvement in flavor, flavor begins to drop off, something else?
If adding 1/4tsp. of bisulfite at bottling 2 years for sweets, 3 years for dry.
Campden tabs are a manufactured dose of K-meta with added filler material. They are more expensive than the wine maker taking K-meta crystals and dissolving them in water to make one of three different uses for the SO2 the K-meta produces: to kill indigenous yeast and bacteria; to sanitize equipment and to inhibit oxidation at racking and bottling. You would use 1/4 t per 5 gallons to kill indigenous yeast and/or to inhibit oxidation (typically, you need about 50 ppm free SO2) and about 3 T per gallon to sanitize equipment (more accurately about 50 g/gallon)
I can try to answer the cork question , a friend of mine who got me started brewing years ago came over and we traded some muscadine wine we made . He handed me an old plastic reused screw -off bottle of his wine and I handed him an old reused glass wine bottle that I corked with my Portuguese floor corker , and he says "oooh fancy" and walks off to show his wife ... "look honey" .
both containers held wine just fine , but the corked wine bottle was classier and the equipment was cheap and the bottles are free .