Home brew / wine making

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Brevet Cable
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Home brew / wine making

Post by Brevet Cable »

Anyone else on here do it, or am I the only one ?

Did it many years ago then stopped as it was too much messing around.

Picked up eight 5L glass demijohns extremely cheap at a car boot sale a couple of weeks ago, so thought I'd have a go again, especially because it's now a lot easier & cheaper to do.
Oh, and having half-dozen red grape vines ( producing upwards of 50Kg of grapes ) growing in my garden may have had something to do with it :lol:

Not started the wine-making yet ( still a bit early to pick the grapes ) but I'm currently using 2 of the demijohns to make plain mead....one which should be dry ( 1.5Kg honey ) the other sweet ( 3Kg honey )
The only depressing thing is that - like wine - it'll take about a year before it's properly ready. :sad:

Think I may try something which is ready in a far shorter timeframe ( not ginger beer, though ) so I may try one of the commercially available wine kits which are supposed to be ready to drink in a few weeks.
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Dan O'Hagan
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Dan O'Hagan »

My dad was into home brewing back in the 80s. The airing cupboard was always full of bottles, with one occasionally exploding...

I'd imagine that, given the craft beer trend, home brewing is going to soar in popularity again.

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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Brevet Cable »

That's one of the reasons I stopped, beer was and probably still is far too temperamental even when it had been bottled.
It's also why I don't currently plan on making it again.

At least with wine & mead any excessive fermentation, or fermentation restarting after it's bottled in the case of mead, usually only results in it frothing over or blowing the cork out of the bottle.....and that can be largely negated by using one of the current 'low foam' yeasts.
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starbuck
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by starbuck »

After a quick google search it seems you only need approx 1kg of grapes for a bottle of wine so it doesn't look like lack of supply is going to be an issue!

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The Baron
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by The Baron »

I dabble with home brew beer.
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sdad
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by sdad »

How do you keep wasps and other pests away from your grapes?

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AFKAMC
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by AFKAMC »

My Dad used to make his own wine – I remember going with him to pick elderberries or whatever.

He used to take night classes in wine making at my school. One day, we had a lesson in what happened to be the room used by the wine makers. I seem to recall the teacher disappearing into the stock room, and re-appearing after a not inconsiderable amount of time, slightly the worse for wear. :grin:

And the time when one of the demijohns exploded in the airing cupboard back home…

I was too young to sample the stuff back then, which is probably just as well, as I imagine it tasted foul.

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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Brevet Cable »

sdad wrote:How do you keep wasps and other pests away from your grapes?

Up until last year I didn't, which usually resulted in them - especially the blackbirds - getting almost as many grapes as I did. :oops:
Since then I've used fine-mesh netting, although they still get the ones which grow through it ( I follow the Bob Flowerdew philosophy & don't prune them to within an inch of their lives )

I've tried some white ( muscat ) vines, but in 6 years they've produced literally a handful of grapes ( and a kiwi fruit which has produced nothing ) so they'll be getting binned in favour of some Riesling vines....after which, I may go the whole hog & build a polytunnel over them.
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Big Eric
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Big Eric »

I lived for a couple of years in a top flat in Morningside, Edinburgh and was given 2 home brew beer kits for Christmas. I followed the instructions to the letter, bought 2 fermentation bins and let the dark ale ferment in them for almost the correct length of time before filling about 55 large screw-top lemonade bottles with the brown stuff and left them in the airing cupboard. :whistle:

I came back from work to be met by our neighbour outside his front door (he lived directly underneath), who was a bit "perplexed" as his ceiling had partially collapsed and he had beer dripping into the corridor and airing cupboard inside his flat. I rushed up to our flat, opened the airing cupboard door to find around 10 intact bottles and a load of broken glass and a very soggy & smelly carpet.

I gave up with home brew after that. :grin:

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iainpeden
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by iainpeden »

Lemon wine was a great favourite at college and could be made with Jif (?) lemon juice (not the floor cleaner). It was made at in 2 litre orange squash containers as I remember and was very good mixed with advocaat.

Dad and I used to make strawberry wine; problem is the proper stuff is so cheap in the supermarkets it's not worth the effort anymore.

Anybody up for admitting to distilling their own whisky/gin/vodka?
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Sundowner
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Sundowner »

My old man was a gamekeeper and on shoot days it's traditional to have a glass of sloe gin....just to keep you warm he used to say :whistle: he used to make his own, it tasted nowt like the stuff you can buy in the shops and I'm pretty sure you could run a top fuel dragster on it.

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sdad
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by sdad »

Do you have to put the netting over after pollination?

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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Brevet Cable »

Most of those grown these days ( 'Boskoop Glory' in my case ) are self-pollenating so they can be left covered.
Just as well, they're in 15' long rows, 3 rows about 3' apart & the vines are around 6'-7' tall.

And despite them not supposed to do so, mine are thriving in heavy clay soil ( guess no-one told the vines they're supposed to be fussy :lol: )
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G for George
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by G for George »

I brew beer at home. After primary fermentation I transfer to a keg or pressure barrel. That way, should things get unexpectedly lively, there's the safety feature of pressure relief valves helping to stop anything going bang. Plus, I love being able to draw off a pint of draught ale with a proper head, all in the comfort of my own home. A good way of impressing your mates, too, but then the beer never seems to last long! That said, I've never had a bottle go bang, probably down to luck rather than precise brewing methods!

CMS
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by CMS »

G for George wrote:I brew beer at home. After primary fermentation I transfer to a keg or pressure barrel. That way, should things get unexpectedly lively, there's the safety feature of pressure relief valves helping to stop anything going bang. Plus, I love being able to draw off a pint of draught ale with a proper head, all in the comfort of my own home. A good way of impressing your mates, too, but then the beer never seems to last long! That said, I've never had a bottle go bang, probably down to luck rather than precise brewing methods!


Just what I do. I have to say the quality of beer kits now is exceptionally good, really close to a good pint of ale from a pub. Like you it just disappears too quickly, and that's not through evaporation!

rebel14
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by rebel14 »

Sundowner wrote:My old man was a gamekeeper and on shoot days it's traditional to have a glass of sloe gin....just to keep you warm he used to say :whistle: he used to make his own, it tasted nowt like the stuff you can buy in the shops and I'm pretty sure you could run a top fuel dragster on it.

Very easy to do your own and taste so much better, in fact just prepared a batch yesterday. Just have to wait three months now. :biggrin:

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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Brevet Cable »

CMS wrote:
G for George wrote:I brew beer at home. After primary fermentation I transfer to a keg or pressure barrel. That way, should things get unexpectedly lively, there's the safety feature of pressure relief valves helping to stop anything going bang. Plus, I love being able to draw off a pint of draught ale with a proper head, all in the comfort of my own home. A good way of impressing your mates, too, but then the beer never seems to last long! That said, I've never had a bottle go bang, probably down to luck rather than precise brewing methods!


Just what I do. I have to say the quality of beer kits now is exceptionally good, really close to a good pint of ale from a pub. Like you it just disappears too quickly, and that's not through evaporation!

One of my friends makes 'still ale'.....looks like flat Coca Cola, but is absolutely evil as it normally runs at about 10-15% ABV :dizzy:
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G for George
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by G for George »

CMS wrote:
G for George wrote:I brew beer at home. After primary fermentation I transfer to a keg or pressure barrel. That way, should things get unexpectedly lively, there's the safety feature of pressure relief valves helping to stop anything going bang. Plus, I love being able to draw off a pint of draught ale with a proper head, all in the comfort of my own home. A good way of impressing your mates, too, but then the beer never seems to last long! That said, I've never had a bottle go bang, probably down to luck rather than precise brewing methods!


Just what I do. I have to say the quality of beer kits now is exceptionally good, really close to a good pint of ale from a pub. Like you it just disappears too quickly, and that's not through evaporation!

:lol: Agreed. I remember a few years back some of those kits were a bit ropey. Things have definitely improved. I used to use a website that attempts to recreate some popular beer recipes. They send out the barley and hops with an instruction sheet, you choose which yeast to use and away you go. Not quite all-grain brewing from scratch, but it does leave room for a little experimentation. Now I buy malted barley and experiment with different hops. If I don't like the end product, I drink it even more quickly so I can get on to the next brew :biggrin:

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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by G for George »

One of my friends makes 'still ale'.....looks like flat Coca Cola, but is absolutely evil as it normally runs at about 10-15% ABV :dizzy:[/quote]
Had a pint of Munich lager at Bridgnorth Severn Valley railway station once. Was as black as the ace of spades. Looked just like coke, but tasted like a nice lager. Rather confusing. Wasn't quite that strong though! :sick:

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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Brevet Cable »

Some parts of Germany ( Bavaria & Saxony spring to mind ) are big on 'dark' & 'black' lagers.

Apparently 10-15% isn't that strong -- he said it's limited by how big a batch you brew, as the more hops/malt you start off with the stronger you can get it....by all accounts over 30% ABV is possible :shock:
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G for George
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by G for George »

I think the black colour is achieved using barley that has been roasted. That's what I've used in the past when brewing a stout. 30%? Safe to say I'll be steering clear of that stuff!

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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Brevet Cable »

I think the record is somewhere up around 40-45% :shock: made by the Brew Dog company, if I recall correctly.....Think it was only a single batch & they never sold it to the public.

That reminds me....
I think this time around I'll invest in a hydrometer -- never bothered last time, I just brewed the stuff until it was ready :oops:
Yes, a bit late for the batches of mead I've got on the go, but at least I can get a finished SG then use the starting SG of the next lot I make as a base-line for working out the ABV of this lot :lol:
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by G for George »

Good grief ...thats mind boggling, quite literally!
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.
Got some books on the history of brewing. The first commercial brewers in Britain were the churches and monasteries. It wasn't unusual for beer to be brewed to high alcohol volumes due to it being safer to drink than the water. Some monks were rationed to a maximum of three gallons a day! Because, you know, you wouldn't want them getting too drunk, would you? :lol:

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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by CJS »

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

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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by iainpeden »

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

:dizzy:

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