Home brew / wine making

Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby CJS on Sun 24 Sep 2017, 7:59 pm

iainpeden wrote:
CJS wrote:Ah don't.....dwink home bwoo, brew, vereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee oftin in case it makes me sl... :sleepy:

:dizzy:

Light weight!


Sowee mister sir, it is a nool schight though :tongue:
"Forewarned is forearmed"
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby Brevet Cable on Sun 24 Sep 2017, 9:04 pm

G for George wrote:I'd strongly recommend using a hydrometer. They give a great indication of when fermentation is complete. If the readings are constant for a couple of days you can be pretty confident that primary fermentation has finished.

I tended to use the traditional method -- if it stopped bubbling for a few days, it was ready :biggrin:
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby reheat module on Mon 25 Sep 2017, 8:53 am

A group of us 'youngsters' dabbled in home-brew in Junior Ranks accommodation in Kinloss in the late 70s.
We built racking and storage in the Drying Room, until
Bang!
Stn Order was issued after that, banning the HB in accommodation.
Good fun, but the sediment at the bottom of the bottle had to be ... 'managed'
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby G for George on Mon 25 Sep 2017, 3:48 pm

Reminds me of a story I was told by a former colleague who'd led, shall we say, a 'colourful' life. Him and the lad he was sharing a prison cell with were brewing some potato-based moonshine in a cupboard. The hooch went bang, apparently the noise was so loud the officers thought they were trying to blow their way out! :shock:
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby Brevet Cable on Mon 25 Sep 2017, 5:10 pm

Well, splashed out & got a hydrometer.
Used that as an excuse to start another 5L batch of mead ( 3Kg honey )
I think I've got a problem, though......the hydrometer runs to from about .980 to 1.12, but it's floating higher than that.
Theoretically 3Kg honey should give a starting SG of around 1.11 to 1.12, but obviously not -- unless it's a naff hydrometer, this looks to be around 1.15 to 1.16
Guess I'll have to try a different hydrometer ( one which goes up to 1.15 ) :oops:
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby G for George on Mon 25 Sep 2017, 5:45 pm

Does your hydrometer read one(ish) when placed in plain water? If so it's reading accurately. I've never brewed mead so wouldn't know where to start with regards to starting gravity. Now for some reason I've gone very thirsty...
G for George

Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby Brevet Cable on Mon 25 Sep 2017, 6:39 pm

Didn't think to check that ! :facepalm:

Just did and it does, so presumably it's accurate. :up:

Going by my old books, 1Lb honey adds about 0.03 to the SG of a gallon of water, so 3Kg ( actually 2.8Kg ) being about 6Lb would add about 0.18 to the SG....a total SG of around 1.18 :shock:
That's either going to be some highly alcoholic mead or very sweet ( or both ) :lol:
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby G for George on Mon 25 Sep 2017, 7:18 pm

I just got home and checked my hydrometer. It only reads up (or down?) to 1.12. So yeah, your brew is starting out pretty dense! Do you have an expected final gravity? I can't remember the exact calculation, but is ABV% measured by the distance between the two readings? The larger the gap, the more alcohol that's present? If your expecting to get down to a typical final gravity for regular beer, then yes, I think you can safely say you'll have a nice winter warmer on your hands! :dizzy: :biggrin:
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby iainpeden on Mon 25 Sep 2017, 8:07 pm

And if want any help with quality control I am happy to volunteer.
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby Brevet Cable on Mon 25 Sep 2017, 9:07 pm

Doing some more digging though my books, one of them has a chart for the potential ABV from various starting SGs....
In the normal range, a starting SG of 1.10 finishes at around 13% ABV & a starting SG of 1.15 finishes at around 20% ABV....a rough extension of that would have an SG of 1.18 potentially finishing at around 25% ABV :dizzy:
The finishing SG would be between around 1.005 to 1.03 ( depending how dry/sweet it is )

3 different batches, 2 different amounts of honey.....also 3 different types of yeast used.
The one with 1.5Kg honey is using a specific mead yeast ( Mangrove Jack’s M05 Mead Yeast ) which is supposed to be capable of 18% ABV
One of the 3Kg honey ones is using a high-alcohol 'normal' wine yeast ( Gervin GV4 ) which can give up to 21% ABV
The other is using a 'champagne' yeast ( Lalvin EC-1118 ) which is supposed to be good for 18% ABV

Sorry, Ian, I couldn't risk allowing others to try these first batches, just in case there's something wrong.....fear not, though, I've volunteered myself to be the guinea-pig :lol:

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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby iainpeden on Tue 26 Sep 2017, 4:34 pm

You want to be careful about customs and excise getting wind of that stuff - they'd whack enough tax on it to solve the national debt.
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby G for George on Tue 26 Sep 2017, 5:15 pm

Is anything added to mead for flavour, or does all the taste come from the honey? I've been experimenting with different hops in my ale brewing, trying to achieve something other than the usual bitter flavours.
G for George

Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby Brevet Cable on Tue 26 Sep 2017, 5:30 pm

iainpeden wrote:You want to be careful about customs and excise getting wind of that stuff - they'd whack enough tax on it to solve the national debt.

S'OK.....it's medicinal :biggrin:

From what I recall, home brew's fine as long as you don't sell it ( although they may ask questions if you suddenly knock up a batch in a 1000L IBC :lol: ) but distilling needs a licence/authorisation ( not that most home-distillers seem to bother )
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby Brevet Cable on Tue 26 Sep 2017, 6:00 pm

G for George wrote:Is anything added to mead for flavour, or does all the taste come from the honey? I've been experimenting with different hops in my ale brewing, trying to achieve something other than the usual bitter flavours.

The stuff I'm making is just honey, although one batch I'm trying is made with orange blossom honey to see if it affects the taste.
The flavour ( from meads I've drank in the past ) is what you'd expect -- like drinking alcoholic honey :biggrin:

There are different types of mead which do use fruit, herbs, spices or flowers to add flavour, though.


Edited to add.....
I've come across a recipe for making cider using cartons of apple juice, so I may give that a go ( as the crop of apples in my garden have already been consumed )
That or I may give mint wine a try ( not short of different varieties of mint growing in the garden )
Hmm...have to look on t'internet to see if you can make wine from tomatoes !! :lol:
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby G for George on Tue 26 Sep 2017, 8:05 pm

I've read that Robinsons Summer Fruits makes a nice fruit cider. Can be made in small batches in a demijohn with an airlock. My missus loves those fruity ciders. Maybe if I brew her a jar of that alongside my barrel of ale she'd stop moaning about the mess I make of the kitchen!
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby Brevet Cable on Tue 26 Sep 2017, 8:29 pm

:lol:

Oh, and apparently you can make wine from tomatoes ! :shock:
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby Brevet Cable on Wed 27 Sep 2017, 2:30 pm

Finally got around to start picking my grapes this morning......and found that a lot of them had 'self-picked' during the gales the other week :sad:
Still plenty left, though. :biggrin:
Forgot how much fun it is ( not ! ) de-stalking 6Kg of grapes, especially when they're that ripe that they're either falling off everywhere or split as soon as you touch them.
Also forgot just how smelly Campden Powder is.
Did learn that if you crush & squeeze 6Kg of red grapes using your hands, you end up with redish-coloured hands ! :oops: :lol: ( Serve my right for being too lazy to dig out my fruit press )
Checked the SG & the OG is between 1.07-1.075, so that'll need about 700-750g of brewing sugar to go with it.
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby G for George on Wed 27 Sep 2017, 6:45 pm

Not sure I like the idea of tomato wine! So if you're using your own grapes it'll be a genuine home-made end product! I salute your hard work. Amazing what some of us do for that warm fuzzy feeling :lol: I've thought about growing hops for my brewing to make it as near to a true home-brew as I can. I've heard they spread like wildfire, however. And it'd just add to the to do list of jobs in my garden :biggrin:
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby Brevet Cable on Sat 30 Sep 2017, 7:42 am

Apparently tomato wine tastes better than it sounds....and it's got to be better than the silly craze in some Countries for mixing tomato juice in a perfectly good pint of beer/lager.

Wine's now fermenting well.
Only one problem....being red, for the first week or so it's a mixture of the juice & the grape pulp as that's where most of the red colouring comes from ( unlike white wine which is just made from the juice )
Despite stirring the mix several times a day, it doesn't take long for all the pulp to float to the surface. The problem then is that despite leaving more than the recommended 2" air-space between the top of the must & the lid, what happens is that the fermentation gases force the pulp up against the bottom of the lid, which means the juice starts getting forced into the 'bubbler' airlock :sad:
Note to self.....next time, when making a 5L batch of red wine use a 10L brew-bin. :facepalm: :lol:

Edited to add.....
It was my birthday a few days ago.
What did my sister get me ?
A 5L Riesling home-brew kit !! :lmao:
So that now makes 15L mead, 5L red wine & 5L white wine I've got on the go -- guess I'm going to spend a lot of time getting drunk when that lot's ready ! :biggrin:

Oh, and the red wine's currently making more noise brewing than a coffee percolator :dizzy:
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby Brevet Cable on Sun 01 Oct 2017, 6:52 am

G for George wrote:I've thought about growing hops for my brewing to make it as near to a true home-brew as I can. I've heard they spread like wildfire, however. And it'd just add to the to do list of jobs in my garden :biggrin:

Watch today's episode of Gardeners' World, about 10 minutes from the end...... :lol:
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby G for George on Mon 02 Oct 2017, 7:50 pm

Brevet Cable wrote:
G for George wrote:I've thought about growing hops for my brewing to make it as near to a true home-brew as I can. I've heard they spread like wildfire, however. And it'd just add to the to do list of jobs in my garden :biggrin:

Watch today's episode of Gardeners' World, about 10 minutes from the end...... :lol:

:shock: Wow! Now I know why the man in our local garden centre was reluctant to order me some plants. Apparently last year he'd bought some, never sold them and spent the next few months constantly pruning as they were taking over his display! He's made me promise that as soon as they arrive I'll go and collect them! Interesting about the bees transferring wild yeasts. I'd read somewhere that the fine white powder you sometimes see on grapes is actually wild yeast. Had you heard that? Do you always add additional yeast?
G for George

Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby G for George on Mon 02 Oct 2017, 7:51 pm

Oh and a belated happy birthday! Have a drink!
G for George

Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby Brevet Cable on Mon 02 Oct 2017, 8:57 pm

The problem with wild or natural yeasts is that you don't know what you'll end up with or how alcoholic it will be ( wild yeast tends to produce lower alcohol levels )
You could end up with something drinkable or you could end up with vinegar or drain cleaner.

Tried it with home-brew cider in the past, never with wine.

These days, with it costing less than £2 to pick up a commercial yeast to suit whichever style of wine, beer, or whatever, that you want to finish up with ( and you know that it should do what you want it to ) it's not really worth risking potentially ruining a batch by not doing so.

Or there's the old middle-ground between wild & specialist yeast -- using designed for bread or cake-making....or if you're brewing beer, the ancient method of simply chucking a lump of bread in the mash instead of yeast :biggrin:
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby G for George on Sat 07 Oct 2017, 4:51 pm

I'd been using White Labs liquid yeast up until my last brew. They're grown in sterile conditions so you can be sure that it's not contaminated. Quite pricey, about 7 pounds for a vial that you keep in the fridge. Then my last brew was a spur of the moment attempt, I just grabbed some malted barley and cheap yeast from Wilko, used some left over citra hops I'd got at home, made up the recipe as I went along and ended up with one of the nicest ales I've ever brewed!
G for George

Re: Home brew / wine making

Postby Brevet Cable on Mon 09 Oct 2017, 11:29 am

Cheap brewing yeast or cheap ordinary ( bread-making ) yeast ?

I've been using whatever's been available for a decent price - mostly Gervin ( wine, cider & 1 mead ) but Lalvin for one batch of mead & Mangrove Jack's for another.....Most of them were wine yeasts, but the cider one was a proper cider yeast & the Mangrove Jack's was a proper mead yeast.
Also got some 'no name' yeasts & some by Youngs & Ritchies yet to be tried.

Most of the brews have now died down to the occasional bubble.

Did a quick check of the red wine's SG & it's down around .995 so should be around 12-13% ABV
Ditto the cider, SG's just under 1.0 so should be around 5.5-6% ABV ( I took the OG before I added about 200g sugar :facepalm: so the ABV could be closer to 7% )

Edited to add.....
Just tested the 'weakest' of the meads - the one with the least honey - and the SG's down around 1.015 ( still some fermenting to go, yet )....that works out at a minimum 11% ABV at the moment.
( If my other meads with twice the amount of honey in match this SG, they could potentially be a minimum of 17% ABV ! )

Edited again to add....
Tested one of the other meads, that's only down to around 1.06 SG ( about 12% ABV ) :dunno: ....yeast used in this has a claimed potential of 21% ABV so I may bung in some brewing sugar/honey and/or some 'restart' yeast to see if that kicks it off again as the finishing SG should be down around 1.0-1.01 ( possibly less )
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