Home brew / wine making

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G for George
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by G for George »

I've never tried anything other than standard brewing sugar for priming, I might try some spray malt to experiment. Finally got round to starting my Christmas brew this week, ten days later than I'd planned. 2kg of light malt extract, 300g of mixed black and crystal malt whole grains, and 500g of brewing sugar. Should be about 36 pints of 5.8ish% ale. Challenger and Goldings hops for flavour, might dry hop with a few citra hops for aroma. Amazingly for me, the starting gravity was exactly what the recipe said it should be! Hopefully it'll be ready for the week before Christmas

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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Big Eric »

Nice one, G for George - what's your address? :grin:

G for George
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by G for George »

Look for the house with the confused looking man struggling to get his front door key in the lock. My house is next door to that one :biggrin:

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speedbird2639
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by speedbird2639 »

There are going to be a lot of tired UKARian livers come January if all this moonshine gets consumed over the Xms break!

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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Brevet Cable »

Mine won't be ready until after Christmas, so it'll last a bit longer :lol:

In the process of bottling my final batch of mead -- it should have been sweet, given the amount of honey used ( about 2.7Kg ) but to me it's turned out dry and very sharp.
Finishing SG was about 1.065, so about 13% ABV, similar to the other 2 batches.

Trying to decide what to do next.
I've just started another 5L batch of red wine ( Rioja Tinto ) from a kit I picked up cheap.
Just bought a 23L cider kit for under £10 ( Black Rock ) so might do that as 15L.
Undecided as to whether to start the Pils or another ale.
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G for George
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by G for George »

Transferred my brew to the pressure barrel today. Final gravity was 1.008. It's a lovely colour, and a nice flavour, just needs to clear up. Hopefully the gelatin will work it's magic and it'll be nice and clear for Christmas. Only downside was that whilst purging the barrel with gas, I discovered that the valve on the lid is damaged. I'll have to replace it before I can pressurise it with co2. Hopefully the natural gas from the yeast will be good for the first couple of gallons.

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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Brevet Cable »

One of the reasons I use bottles instead of barrels, if anything goes wrong it won't affect the whole batch.

Just think, you've got a good excuse to drink it faster "in case it starts to go off" ! :lol:
Some of the pubs I go to still have kegged 'guest ales' & they use natural pressurisation without problems ( other than how long it takes to pour a pint ) :biggrin:
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by G for George »

Just drew a small amount off to see if the barrel is holding pressure and it seems OK. Quite lively actually, which after 24 hours is promising.
I used to try those sort of excuses for drinking too much, unfortunately she knows me too well by now :lol:

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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Brevet Cable »

Just decided to start the batch of Pils.
Making it as a 12L batch so in theory it didn't need any added sugar, but I've decided to give it a boost by adding 500g of extra-light spraymalt.
I'll also be using 'Mangrove Jack's M54 Californian Lager' yeast, as it's designed to ferment at higher temperatures than normal lager yeast ( 20C or so, similar to 'Ale' yeasts ) so no need to mess around finding somewhere with a consistent cool temperature ( 8-12C ) whilst it's brewing.

Just waiting for it to cool down enough to add the yeast.
** SG reading at 20C was 1.06 ( the instructions with the kit say that - without sugar - it should be 1.042 for 4.5% ABV )....the finishing SG is supposed to be around 1.01, so theoretically a starting SG of 1.06 would mean about 6.5% ABV :dizzy:
From the previous kit, it wouldn't surprise me if the finishing SG doesn't get down that far, but I'd be chuffed if it did :biggrin:

** Edited to reflect the SG reading**
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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Brevet Cable »

Stopped my latest batch of wine today, so be bottling that in a couple of days.

Unexpectedly, the Pils didn't to a volcano impression.....in fact, the fermentation's been extremely sedate.
Checked the SG earlier ( 3 days after starting it ) and it's down to 1.02 ( about 5.3% ABV :biggrin: ) so it's obviously working.
Doesn't look like a normal Pils at the moment, though, it's dark enough to match an IPA, tastes more malty than a normal Pils too.....think the DME I added may have turned a Belgian Pils into a German Pils :lol:
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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

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Hmm....6 days since I started the Pils, I checked the SG and it's still 1.02 ( same as it was 3 days ago )
3 days would be a very quick ferment, so I might chuck another batch of yeast in to see if that does anything.

Wine bottling session tomorrow.....or to be more precise, wine bag-in-a-box-ing session as I picked up a few 5L DIY reusable BIABs :biggrin:
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Wissam24
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Wissam24 »

I remember having some homebrew mead once at my mate's. I had probably 330ml or thereabouts and I was off my face!
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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Brevet Cable »

Good stuff, innit....no wonder the Vikings were so shouty & fighty :lol:
It's made worse by the fact that it doesn't taste alcoholic.


Filtering & bagging my wine at the moment.
Rojo Tinto ( a Spanish blended red )......slightly disappointed as it's only about 10.5% ABV, about 1% down on what it should be.
Tastes OK, though.
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Wissam24
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Wissam24 »

Especially if you shove as many drugs in it as the Vikings used to.

Not that we did that mind!
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by G for George »

Still waiting for the replacement valve for my pressure barrel. Just drew another small amount off. There's still pressure there so I don't think it's leaking. Still not clear yet, but I've read that very cold temperatures can cause 'chill haze', and the barrel's in the porch which isn't much warmer than outside. We had minus 9 yesterday morning. Tastes nice though :smile:
Sounds like the spray malt you used has darkened it up then. It's that kind of experimenting I love about brewing.
I might ask ask Father Christmas for a wine starter kit.

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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Brevet Cable »

If you do, I'd suggest not going for one of the cheaper kits - 'Solomon Grundy Gold', Winebuddy, 'Youngs Definitive' - as they contain very little grape concentrate ( often less that 1/4 of what other kits contain ) and require large amounts of sugar to compensate ( over 3Kg for 30 bottle/23L kits )........not that they won't produce drinkable wine, but they can be over-sweet and disappointing in taste.

Beaverdale, California Connoisseur & 'Cellar 7' are much better, contain decent amounts of concentrate & don't need any added sugar.....and with some of the Beaverdale kits you even get sachets of oak chips to add if you want to.

Not forgetting the premium kits by the likes of Kenridge & Winexpert, if Sinterklaas is feeling really generous :lol:

For comparison of how much concentrate they contain in a 30 bottle/23L kit -- a cheap one contains between 1.5-2L, a decent one contains 7-7.5L, and a premium contains 10L ( then there's the 'silly money' ones with upwards of 15L concentrate )

Don't know if you've gone wine before, but like cider it's got to be made in airtight fermenting vessels......unless you really enjoy making vinegar !
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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Brevet Cable »

Chucked another batch of yeast in the Pils this morning & gave it a good stir.....it's now frothing again, so I'm hopeful it'll improve.
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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

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Yay !!
Checked the Pils....SG is 1.012, which is about 6.3% :dizzy:
Still doesn't look or taste too much like a Pils, though, very hoppy.
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G for George
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by G for George »

I've got a couple of demijohns from when my dad used to do a bit. If I use bungs with airlocks would that be OK?
My ale has cleared. Drew a half pint off and straight away noticed a drop in pressure. So I fitted my new valve, purged the barrel, then gassed it with a soda stream bottle. Bit lively now, but it's a really nice brew. Only problem is, it's now taking longer to pull a pint than it is to drink it :lol:

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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Brevet Cable »

Yep, demijohns with bungs & airlocks are perfect, that's what I use.
You could use ordinary fermentation buckets fitted with an airlock, but you'd have to make sure they really are airtight ( if the lid bulges & bubbles come out the airlock, they should be airtight enough )
To be honest, for the first day or two when fermentation's at it's most vigorous it's not critical as the brew pumps out enough CO2 to keep the oxygen out, but once it starts dying down it needs to be airtight.....some instructions even say to use a non-airtight FV for the first few days then transferring it to an airtight one ( especially if you're making wine from real fruit/grapes where the pulp/skins are part of the process )
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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Brevet Cable »

Hopped Pils* has stopped again at 1.012 SG, definitely looks like it's finished this time.
Calculator gives an attenuation of about 79%, which is pretty much the upper limit.

* ( Did a google search for 'hopped pilsner' and it appears to be pretty common )
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Wissam24
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Re: Home brew / wine making

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Gonna ship any out? ;)
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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

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Got to wait until it's ready then try a few myself first.....just to make sure it's all good... :whistle: :lol:

There's a good chance that a number of bottles will make their way to next year's RIAT( or Kempsford, anyway ) where I'm sure there'll be some people willing to sample it :biggrin:
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by G for George »

Demijohns it is then. Let's see what Father Christmas brings. Pretty pleased with my ale. I've got a couple of mates popping round later to put a dent in it. Let's see how their heads are in the morning! :dizzy:
I'll bottle a few of my springtime brew up in time for Cosford and RIAT :biggrin:

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Brevet Cable
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Re: Home brew / wine making

Post by Brevet Cable »

Done a bit of sampling today.
Christmas ale -- good head, but doesn't last long, like a 'natural pressurisation' ale, tastes good.....not completely settled, so probably needs another month or so.
Sparkling cider -- fizzy but no head ( wasn't expecting one ) still a bit sharp, not as much as it was though ( won't bother with the tanin next time ) with a good bite.
Orange mead -- sweeter and 'oranger' taste than it originally had, and about as subtle as a cricket bat across the back of the head.....not something that you'd want to drink a lot of in one session unless you want to wake up feeling like someone's trying to poke your eyeballs out from the inside :biggrin:
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