# Home Brewing Wine - small batch

#### T.G.G. Moogly

Two weeks ago I bottled my first small batch of wine. By all indications it was a great success and is aging in the cold of the cellar.

Tart Cherry Juice, White Grape Juice, Sugar and Rhubarb from the garden constituted the second batch which is presently fermenting.

I never realized how absolutely simple it is to make wine. It DOES NOT take chemicals and fancy equipment. As someone else opined, making wine does not take a chemist and a laboratory, just a babysitter.

The only things I needed from the brew store were a hydrometer, a 2 gallon food grade bucket, an airlock and champagne yeast, the yeast because it consumes alcohol up to 18%, and I prefer dry wines. Beyond that you need the ingredients. In all, 15 dollars spent, and the 1 dollar yeast packet will make 5 batches.

Any food grade container which seals well can be used to bottle the final product. I simply used the containers the juice came in, and some leftover bottles sitting around. No corks, corkers, no carboys or large fermenting containers, siphons or slew of chemicals and sanitizers recommended by most hobbyists and makers. If it had ever been that difficult we would not have been making fermented drinks until the 20th century.

I took a sip of the first batch after it had aged for only a couple weeks and it is already tasting great. It needs a few months minimum from what I can gather but the more time the better.

If you can put together a meal, you can put together a small batch of wine.

#### gmbteach

##### Mrs Frizzle
Two weeks ago I bottled my first small batch of wine. By all indications it was a great success and is aging in the cold of the cellar.

Tart Cherry Juice, White Grape Juice, Sugar and Rhubarb from the garden constituted the second batch which is presently fermenting.

I never realized how absolutely simple it is to make wine. It DOES NOT take chemicals and fancy equipment. As someone else opined, making wine does not take a chemist and a laboratory, just a babysitter.

The only things I needed from the brew store were a hydrometer, a 2 gallon food grade bucket, an airlock and champagne yeast, the yeast because it consumes alcohol up to 18%, and I prefer dry wines. Beyond that you need the ingredients. In all, 15 dollars spent, and the 1 dollar yeast packet will make 5 batches.

Any food grade container which seals well can be used to bottle the final product. I simply used the containers the juice came in, and some leftover bottles sitting around. No corks, corkers, no carboys or large fermenting containers, siphons or slew of chemicals and sanitizers recommended by most hobbyists and makers. If it had ever been that difficult we would not have been making fermented drinks until the 20th century.

I took a sip of the first batch after it had aged for only a couple weeks and it is already tasting great. It needs a few months minimum from what I can gather but the more time the better.

If you can put together a meal, you can put together a small batch of wine.

Cool. I would try it, but I Don’t think Bilby would let me use his fermenters.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
Point of order... all equipment mentioned above can be used for brewing beer... so why wouldn't you want to brew some beer that takes less than a month from start to finish to make total greatness, rather than some stinky old wine that takes a generation to make anything less than greatness?

#### T.G.G. Moogly

Point of order... all equipment mentioned above can be used for brewing beer... so why wouldn't you want to brew some beer that takes less than a month from start to finish to make total greatness, rather than some stinky old wine that takes a generation to make anything less than greatness?

I'm a fan of greatness, don't get me wrong!

Unfortunately for me beer tends to make me feel unwell, whereas wine and hard spirits are presently hitting the spot, without any side effects worth mentioning.

And after a month a home made wine can taste quite good. My first try is great after just two weeks in the bottle.

Mother Earth News has an extended article on making wine at home. Yikes! The equipment list and logistics is enough to intimidate. Clearly they don't get the small batch thing.

But that is what makes hobbies great. One person't toil is another person's joy.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
Point of order... all equipment mentioned above can be used for brewing beer... so why wouldn't you want to brew some beer that takes less than a month from start to finish to make total greatness, rather than some stinky old wine that takes a generation to make anything less than greatness?

I'm a fan of greatness, don't get me wrong!

Unfortunately for me beer tends to make me feel unwell, whereas wine and hard spirits are presently hitting the spot, without any side effects worth mentioning.

And after a month a home made wine can taste quite good. My first try is great after just two weeks in the bottle.

Mother Earth News has an extended article on making wine at home. Yikes! The equipment list and logistics is enough to intimidate. Clearly they don't get the small batch thing.

But that is what makes hobbies great. One person't toil is another person's joy.

yup!

one day, this will all be mine! http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/

#### mrzyphl

##### New member
Wow! 10 gallons of wine for $15! Where I live the gov't taxes alcohol pretty heavily. A cheap blend of dry white wine costs$17 for a 1.5 liter bottle. 10 gallons of that would be close to \$500.
I hope your batch turns out alright. I might give it a try.

#### T.G.G. Moogly

Today I did the final racking (bottling) of my first two batches. I will know how well they turned out in about 6 months when I taste them in the Adirondack Room, near the trees and plants from which they came.

A few bottles will make their way to friends and family. And the rest will wait another year to see if time makes them more enjoyable, which it most certainly should. There were small amounts of each left over after racking today and I thought the taste was just fine.

The third batch is still fermenting and has a way to go on account of the cold weather, but all is well. It is 36 degrees F in the cellar right now. Not sure how good that much chill is for wine after racking but that's what it is.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
The third batch is still fermenting and has a way to go on account of the cold weather, but all is well. It is 36 degrees F in the cellar right now. Not sure how good that much chill is for wine after racking but that's what it is.

It is not likely that much yeast is still awake in that temperature. I am not that familiar with wine yeast.. I know all about Ales and Lagers.. but it is a very rare yeast that can stand such low temperature and still attenuate at all... even slowly.

One thing is for sure, though, you will definitely have complete flocculation and a beautifully clear final product... but maybe a little too sweet, due to that low temp stopping the final fermentation.

#### Kharakov

##### Quantum Hot Dog
Word of warning.

A couple years back my dad decided to build a still- he had written a book on ethanol production years ago, for corny people (even included ways of breaking down cellulose in leaves/stalks with fungi or fungal enzymes, so that energy was usable as well, but it required secondary fermenters.. or primary, since you'd do it first..). Anyways.

He made a still. My uncle had made a rather large batch of wine, and given cases of it away to the family. My dad decided it would be a good idea to test his still with the wine during a family get together.

He's never drank a lot of the stuff. I did. Ketones, aromatics... fricken long chain things you don't want in your head or liver. That's why they do charred oak aging. Absolutely worse hangover in my life. Lasted over a day, and I wasn't as drunk as I've been in the past.

Needless to say, if you decide to distill, do some form of aging that minimizes the other organics.

#### Sarpedon

##### Veteran Member
plus its illegal. wine and beer isn't.

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
plus its illegal. wine and beer isn't.

That depends on your jurisdiction.

Lots of people here distil their own spirits, and as far as I am aware, it's completely legal as long as it's not done commercially (in which case a licence is required). My local homebrew shop stocks lots of distilling equipment, additives, etc.

It's an odd oversight, as in this part of the world there is very little freedom from the law - most things that are not prohibited are mandatory (a hangover from the time when this was a penal colony).

#### T.G.G. Moogly

The third batch is still fermenting and has a way to go on account of the cold weather, but all is well. It is 36 degrees F in the cellar right now. Not sure how good that much chill is for wine after racking but that's what it is.

It is not likely that much yeast is still awake in that temperature. I am not that familiar with wine yeast.. I know all about Ales and Lagers.. but it is a very rare yeast that can stand such low temperature and still attenuate at all... even slowly.

One thing is for sure, though, you will definitely have complete flocculation and a beautifully clear final product... but maybe a little too sweet, due to that low temp stopping the final fermentation.

I should have said after final racking, meaning bottling. Indeed, the first two batches are comfortably cool in the cellar. The third batch is still fermenting in warmer environs.

The yeast I am using is actually a champagne yeast that ferments up to 18% alcohol and ferments down to 49 degrees F, which means I should come out with very dry wines, which on initial tasting is exactly what happened on the first two batches.

The experts say to siphon into a secondary fermenter after no more than a week if using fruit to make the must. But because the fermentation is still so strong I don't want to do that. I want it to be fizzled out or almost fizzled out. So I'm letting it work. The first two batches were basically done at this point but the cooler temps in the house must be prolonging things.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
Cool.. Experimentation is what it is all about... that, and having a repeatable process.. in case you make something you ever want to make again, heh.

Regarding distilling... distilling and brewing are extremely different. The worse thing that can happen to you when a fermentation goes as bad as possible, is you end up tasting something that smells and tastes like puke. The worse thing that can happen to you when a distillation goes bad is you die.

I do not believe there are any states in the US where home distilling is legal. There are only two states in the US where homebrewing is illegal.. .and in one of them (Kentucky) it is because there is a huge Moonshine (distilling) "problem"... and brewing a corn-based mash mixed with plain sugar is the first step of distilling... so they made everything about it illegal there. the other state where it is illegal is Alabama... nuff said there.

##### Loony Running The Asylum
Staff member
Cool.. Experimentation is what it is all about... that, and having a repeatable process.. in case you make something you ever want to make again, heh.

Regarding distilling... distilling and brewing are extremely different. The worse thing that can happen to you when a fermentation goes as bad as possible, is you end up tasting something that smells and tastes like puke. The worse thing that can happen to you when a distillation goes bad is you die.

I do not believe there are any states in the US where home distilling is legal. There are only two states in the US where homebrewing is illegal.. .and in one of them (Kentucky) it is because there is a huge Moonshine (distilling) "problem"... and brewing a corn-based mash mixed with plain sugar is the first step of distilling... so they made everything about it illegal there. the other state where it is illegal is Alabama... nuff said there.

I know a guy that winters in Alabama. Every spring, he brings back fifty gallons of 'shine.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
I have had some shine in my time... and every time I have had it, I immediately appreciated why Whiskey must be aged. "white whiskey", "young whiskey"... "moonshine"... all words for the same thing - Whiskey that isn't done yet. In my opinion, Moonshine is to Whiskey as grape juice that has gone bad is to wine.

#### T.G.G. Moogly

Cool.. Experimentation is what it is all about... that, and having a repeatable process.. in case you make something you ever want to make again, heh.

Regarding distilling... distilling and brewing are extremely different. The worse thing that can happen to you when a fermentation goes as bad as possible, is you end up tasting something that smells and tastes like puke. The worse thing that can happen to you when a distillation goes bad is you die.

I do not believe there are any states in the US where home distilling is legal. There are only two states in the US where homebrewing is illegal.. .and in one of them (Kentucky) it is because there is a huge Moonshine (distilling) "problem"... and brewing a corn-based mash mixed with plain sugar is the first step of distilling... so they made everything about it illegal there. the other state where it is illegal is Alabama... nuff said there.

No distiller am I. But the fermentation process seems pretty straightforward, and I've kept a sourdough culture for bread making for many years. That's taught me a lot about what smells right and what's rotten, and how much sanitation is necessary. People overdo the sanitation thing.

Had one culture go bad on me only because I left it out too long in the warm summer after it had fermented out. "Puke" is being kind. Interestingly, starting a wild sourdough culture smells pretty "pukey" at first until the lactobacilli take over. If you don't know what you're doing you'll toss a good starter before it's finished making. Wine making is similar but it should never smell off at any point, not even at startup.

This morning I mixed up a new batch with apple juice and frozen pawpaw from last fall. Potential alcohol is 11% so it should be a winner. Have never worked with apple before so we'll see how that goes.

I think I've got your repeatable process down at this point, and have kept decent notes so far. If I happen upon a really good batch I should be able to do a repeat.

This should also be another good year in the orchard so there won't be a lack of raw materials to work with. But it doesn't look like I'll ever exceed the 100 gallons per family member that is the law for home wine making.

One thing I'm considering is using yeast from the previous batch to start the next batch. Supposedly yeast acclimates to the locality. If for example I bought some San Francisco sourdough starter, after some time it would become a local strain, same as if I started a wild culture. Just something to think about.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
The way brewers keep their yeast is on "slants" in a refrigerator, which is essentially a small petri dish you make yourself from test tubes and agar gelatin. I have a decent yeast bank of various White Labs brand yeasts. To use, you just inoculate a small starter pitch and build it up to 2 - 4 billion before pitching it to the batch... but yeast is so affordable and available, it really isn't worth keeping a bank unless you are breeding a new strain, like you mentioned about a local version...

pretty cool stuff.

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
The way brewers keep their yeast is on "slants" in a refrigerator, which is essentially a small petri dish you make yourself from test tubes and agar gelatin. I have a decent yeast bank of various White Labs brand yeasts. To use, you just inoculate a small starter pitch and build it up to 2 - 4 billion before pitching it to the batch... but yeast is so affordable and available, it really isn't worth keeping a bank unless you are breeding a new strain, like you mentioned about a local version...

pretty cool stuff.

I have thought about keeping yeast in this way; and every time I do, I conclude '... or I could just buy a smack-pack and use that'.

Perhaps if there was some major supply chain disruption and I could no longer pick it up cheaply from the brew shop.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
The way brewers keep their yeast is on "slants" in a refrigerator, which is essentially a small petri dish you make yourself from test tubes and agar gelatin. I have a decent yeast bank of various White Labs brand yeasts. To use, you just inoculate a small starter pitch and build it up to 2 - 4 billion before pitching it to the batch... but yeast is so affordable and available, it really isn't worth keeping a bank unless you are breeding a new strain, like you mentioned about a local version...

pretty cool stuff.

I have thought about keeping yeast in this way; and every time I do, I conclude '... or I could just buy a smack-pack and use that'.

Perhaps if there was some major supply chain disruption and I could no longer pick it up cheaply from the brew shop.

ya, I'm with you on that... its not very expensive and those smack packs work great... you're pitchable in a few hours rather than it taking a few days to build up the cell count.

#### Sarpedon

##### Veteran Member
But it's always nice to know how to do things the old-fashioned way, JIC

#### T.G.G. Moogly

This morning I skimmed off the pureed pawpaw flesh from the 4th batch of must. I feel terrible now for having discarded it as I was in a hurry and only tasted it at the very end. It was absolutely delicious, with the bite of fermentation but still very sweet. It would have made a great dessert or an addition to something else. I'll never discard this part of the process again, it's good food and would have eaten like a fine healthy custard. Reminded me of creme brulee.

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
This morning I skimmed off the pureed pawpaw flesh from the 4th batch of must. I feel terrible now for having discarded it as I was in a hurry and only tasted it at the very end. It was absolutely delicious, with the bite of fermentation but still very sweet. It would have made a great dessert or an addition to something else. I'll never discard this part of the process again, it's good food and would have eaten like a fine healthy custard. Reminded me of creme brulee.

Ah well. Needs must.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
This morning I skimmed off the pureed pawpaw flesh from the 4th batch of must. I feel terrible now for having discarded it as I was in a hurry and only tasted it at the very end. It was absolutely delicious, with the bite of fermentation but still very sweet. It would have made a great dessert or an addition to something else. I'll never discard this part of the process again, it's good food and would have eaten like a fine healthy custard. Reminded me of creme brulee.

Interesting... If it was a fruit ale you were making, that puree would be mixed with Trub - a tan substance created by the yeast (or maybe it IS dead yeast - I forget).. and would taste like Satan's ass. I guess wine yeast is more like Lager yeast.. bottom feeding?

#### T.G.G. Moogly

This morning I skimmed off the pureed pawpaw flesh from the 4th batch of must. I feel terrible now for having discarded it as I was in a hurry and only tasted it at the very end. It was absolutely delicious, with the bite of fermentation but still very sweet. It would have made a great dessert or an addition to something else. I'll never discard this part of the process again, it's good food and would have eaten like a fine healthy custard. Reminded me of creme brulee.

Interesting... If it was a fruit ale you were making, that puree would be mixed with Trub - a tan substance created by the yeast (or maybe it IS dead yeast - I forget).. and would taste like Satan's ass. I guess wine yeast is more like Lager yeast.. bottom feeding?

I really don't know who feeds where. Satan's ass...that's funny.

This is the yeast I used:

Lalvin EC-1118 (Prise de Mousse) : This is the original, steady, low foamer, excellent for barrel fermentation or for working on heavy suspended pulps. It is one of the most popular wine yeasts in the world. It ferments well at low temperatures, flocculates well, and produces very compact lees. It is good for Champagne bases, secondary (bottle) fermentations, restarting stuck fermentations, and for late harvest grapes. It is also the yeast of choice for apple, crabapple, cranberry, hawthorn, and cherry wines. It has excellent organoleptic properties and should be in every vinter's refrigerator. Alcohol toxicity is 18% and it ferments relatively fast. It tolerates temperatures from 39-95° F. It is not, however, tolerant of concurrent malolactic fermentation.

Strains of Wine Yeast

I noticed now that it does not tolerate malolactic fermentation, but it says it's a yeast for apple wine. Time will tell as this is an apple wine. Seems okay so far.

When I started the must I pureed several pounds of fresh fruit and mixed it with apple juice, added sugar to get the potential alcohol up, and let that sit for 24 hours before adding the yeast. You're supposed to then stir it once a day for the first five days. When I did the puree was always on top, getting kinda lumpy, and the mixture would fizz like crazy.

This stuff tasted great. Wine vs beer making must be different. Probably the yeast as you say.

#### Kharakov

##### Quantum Hot Dog
Doesn't look like you have to worry about it during the primary fermentation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malolactic_fermentation

That's cool. So secondary fermentation by bacteria is what cuts the edge (acidity) off of some of the tarter wines. Never liked acidic wines. I wonder if there is an enzyme that can be added to wines to do something with the malic acid, instead of putting it through secondary fermentation? Say you have a bottle of wine that you want to condition quickly?

The wine snobs I know would consider this "breaking the rules", but I've found "oak flavoring" online too....

#### T.G.G. Moogly

Doesn't look like you have to worry about it during the primary fermentation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malolactic_fermentation

That's cool. So secondary fermentation by bacteria is what cuts the edge (acidity) off of some of the tarter wines. Never liked acidic wines. I wonder if there is an enzyme that can be added to wines to do something with the malic acid, instead of putting it through secondary fermentation? Say you have a bottle of wine that you want to condition quickly?

The wine snobs I know would consider this "breaking the rules", but I've found "oak flavoring" online too....

At the local brew stores you can buy all kinds of things, including oak chips, I suppose to add to the must to give it oakiness and tannins. This wine-making stuff can get way complicated, which is why I decided early on to keep it simple.

On the 25th I mixed up a 5th batch, which is bubbling away quite nicely. To this batch I added a banana because I read it can impart some nice flavors on a fruit wine.

And while at the brew store I noticed a yeast that is specifically for fruit wines. According to the experts it leaves behind more of the fruity aromas and flavors without sweetening the wine. It doesn't have the same temperature range as the yeast I used so far but I will use it on the next batch to see how it behaves.

The fruit mash that sits on top at primary fermentation is quite tasty. Had some with breakfast the other day. Gave me a slight buzz! Whodda thunkit!

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
Doesn't look like you have to worry about it during the primary fermentation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malolactic_fermentation

That's cool. So secondary fermentation by bacteria is what cuts the edge (acidity) off of some of the tarter wines. Never liked acidic wines. I wonder if there is an enzyme that can be added to wines to do something with the malic acid, instead of putting it through secondary fermentation? Say you have a bottle of wine that you want to condition quickly?

The wine snobs I know would consider this "breaking the rules", but I've found "oak flavoring" online too....

At the local brew stores you can buy all kinds of things, including oak chips, I suppose to add to the must to give it oakiness and tannins. This wine-making stuff can get way complicated, which is why I decided early on to keep it simple.

On the 25th I mixed up a 5th batch, which is bubbling away quite nicely. To this batch I added a banana because I read it can impart some nice flavors on a fruit wine.

And while at the brew store I noticed a yeast that is specifically for fruit wines. According to the experts it leaves behind more of the fruity aromas and flavors without sweetening the wine. It doesn't have the same temperature range as the yeast I used so far but I will use it on the next batch to see how it behaves.

The fruit mash that sits on top at primary fermentation is quite tasty. Had some with breakfast the other day. Gave me a slight buzz! Whodda thunkit!

I am skeptical about adding a banana... at least, with Ale, if you ferment at higher than ideal temperatures, you end up with "fruity esters" being left behind. This is considered an "off flavor" by most judges. It is a banana flavor. One exception to the "off flavor" rule is when it is done on purpose to make an Ale called "Banna Bread". It is a seasonal brew in a Belgium style. Intentionally brewed warm, it comes out really tasting like banana. So, if having fruity esters in a fruit wine is a good thing, then don't "cheat" by adding banana flavor, let the yeast produce those esters naturally.

#### Kharakov

##### Quantum Hot Dog
Doesn't look like you have to worry about it during the primary fermentation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malolactic_fermentation

That's cool. So secondary fermentation by bacteria is what cuts the edge (acidity) off of some of the tarter wines. Never liked acidic wines. I wonder if there is an enzyme that can be added to wines to do something with the malic acid, instead of putting it through secondary fermentation? Say you have a bottle of wine that you want to condition quickly?

The wine snobs I know would consider this "breaking the rules", but I've found "oak flavoring" online too....

At the local brew stores you can buy all kinds of things, including oak chips, I suppose to add to the must to give it oakiness and tannins. This wine-making stuff can get way complicated, which is why I decided early on to keep it simple.

On the 25th I mixed up a 5th batch, which is bubbling away quite nicely. To this batch I added a banana because I read it can impart some nice flavors on a fruit wine.

And while at the brew store I noticed a yeast that is specifically for fruit wines. According to the experts it leaves behind more of the fruity aromas and flavors without sweetening the wine. It doesn't have the same temperature range as the yeast I used so far but I will use it on the next batch to see how it behaves.

The fruit mash that sits on top at primary fermentation is quite tasty. Had some with breakfast the other day. Gave me a slight buzz! Whodda thunkit!

I am skeptical about adding a banana... at least, with Ale, if you ferment at higher than ideal temperatures, you end up with "fruity esters" being left behind. This is considered an "off flavor" by most judges. It is a banana flavor. One exception to the "off flavor" rule is when it is done on purpose to make an Ale called "Banna Bread". It is a seasonal brew in a Belgium style. Intentionally brewed warm, it comes out really tasting like banana. So, if having fruity esters in a fruit wine is a good thing, then don't "cheat" by adding banana flavor, let the yeast produce those esters naturally.
I agree. Do not use bananas to add banana flavor because bananas produce banana flavored compounds unnaturally.

#### T.G.G. Moogly

Doesn't look like you have to worry about it during the primary fermentation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malolactic_fermentation

That's cool. So secondary fermentation by bacteria is what cuts the edge (acidity) off of some of the tarter wines. Never liked acidic wines. I wonder if there is an enzyme that can be added to wines to do something with the malic acid, instead of putting it through secondary fermentation? Say you have a bottle of wine that you want to condition quickly?

The wine snobs I know would consider this "breaking the rules", but I've found "oak flavoring" online too....

At the local brew stores you can buy all kinds of things, including oak chips, I suppose to add to the must to give it oakiness and tannins. This wine-making stuff can get way complicated, which is why I decided early on to keep it simple.

On the 25th I mixed up a 5th batch, which is bubbling away quite nicely. To this batch I added a banana because I read it can impart some nice flavors on a fruit wine.

And while at the brew store I noticed a yeast that is specifically for fruit wines. According to the experts it leaves behind more of the fruity aromas and flavors without sweetening the wine. It doesn't have the same temperature range as the yeast I used so far but I will use it on the next batch to see how it behaves.

The fruit mash that sits on top at primary fermentation is quite tasty. Had some with breakfast the other day. Gave me a slight buzz! Whodda thunkit!

I am skeptical about adding a banana... at least, with Ale, if you ferment at higher than ideal temperatures, you end up with "fruity esters" being left behind. This is considered an "off flavor" by most judges. It is a banana flavor. One exception to the "off flavor" rule is when it is done on purpose to make an Ale called "Banna Bread". It is a seasonal brew in a Belgium style. Intentionally brewed warm, it comes out really tasting like banana. So, if having fruity esters in a fruit wine is a good thing, then don't "cheat" by adding banana flavor, let the yeast produce those esters naturally.

I have heard about fermenting at too high temperatures and how it negatively affects the final product. That will certainly never be a problem as my cellar in the hottest of summer never goes over 70 degrees. The five batches I've done so far are all doing their thing at 55 to 68 degrees.

Didn't know about the banana but have definitely heard of off flavors, which I suspect being a newbie I will encounter. But that's okay because I plan on enjoying the product at home and with close friends. Definitely no plans to compete. And doing everything organically presents its own challenges. It's easier using the chemicals but I've chosen not to do so. Judging from the early results I think we'll be okay.

We've been wine-making for a lot longer than we've had all the chemicals so maybe off tastes are part of what people have always experienced with wine. I like the wines that are made with chemicals but have also tasted home brews from friends and found them very satisfying, even with off tastes. I'm probably old fashioned that way.

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
I am skeptical about adding a banana... at least, with Ale, if you ferment at higher than ideal temperatures, you end up with "fruity esters" being left behind. This is considered an "off flavor" by most judges. It is a banana flavor. One exception to the "off flavor" rule is when it is done on purpose to make an Ale called "Banna Bread". It is a seasonal brew in a Belgium style. Intentionally brewed warm, it comes out really tasting like banana. So, if having fruity esters in a fruit wine is a good thing, then don't "cheat" by adding banana flavor, let the yeast produce those esters naturally.

I have heard about fermenting at too high temperatures and how it negatively affects the final product. That will certainly never be a problem as my cellar in the hottest of summer never goes over 70 degrees. The five batches I've done so far are all doing their thing at 55 to 68 degrees.

Didn't know about the banana but have definitely heard of off flavors, which I suspect being a newbie I will encounter. But that's okay because I plan on enjoying the product at home and with close friends. Definitely no plans to compete. And doing everything organically presents its own challenges. It's easier using the chemicals but I've chosen not to do so. Judging from the early results I think we'll be okay.

We've been wine-making for a lot longer than we've had all the chemicals so maybe off tastes are part of what people have always experienced with wine. I like the wines that are made with chemicals but have also tasted home brews from friends and found them very satisfying, even with off tastes. I'm probably old fashioned that way.

'Organic' is a largely meaningless marketing term; it certainly doesn't imply 'produced without the use of pesticides or fertilisers', as most produce marketed as 'organic' is produced using plenty of pesticides and fertilisers.

Every single ingredient in ANY wine (or beer, or spirit) is a chemical - including the water.

There's no problem in trying to make wine or beer the 'old fashioned' way, using the minimum possible number of ingredients; I make most of my beer that way. But don't kid yourself - the ethanol in wine ('organic' or not) is by several orders of magnitude the most toxic component present, and is a known carcinogen. Any other chemicals that are present in a remotely drinkable final product are completely harmless in comparison.

#### T.G.G. Moogly

I am skeptical about adding a banana... at least, with Ale, if you ferment at higher than ideal temperatures, you end up with "fruity esters" being left behind. This is considered an "off flavor" by most judges. It is a banana flavor. One exception to the "off flavor" rule is when it is done on purpose to make an Ale called "Banna Bread". It is a seasonal brew in a Belgium style. Intentionally brewed warm, it comes out really tasting like banana. So, if having fruity esters in a fruit wine is a good thing, then don't "cheat" by adding banana flavor, let the yeast produce those esters naturally.

I have heard about fermenting at too high temperatures and how it negatively affects the final product. That will certainly never be a problem as my cellar in the hottest of summer never goes over 70 degrees. The five batches I've done so far are all doing their thing at 55 to 68 degrees.

Didn't know about the banana but have definitely heard of off flavors, which I suspect being a newbie I will encounter. But that's okay because I plan on enjoying the product at home and with close friends. Definitely no plans to compete. And doing everything organically presents its own challenges. It's easier using the chemicals but I've chosen not to do so. Judging from the early results I think we'll be okay.

We've been wine-making for a lot longer than we've had all the chemicals so maybe off tastes are part of what people have always experienced with wine. I like the wines that are made with chemicals but have also tasted home brews from friends and found them very satisfying, even with off tastes. I'm probably old fashioned that way.

'Organic' is a largely meaningless marketing term; it certainly doesn't imply 'produced without the use of pesticides or fertilisers', as most produce marketed as 'organic' is produced using plenty of pesticides and fertilisers.

Every single ingredient in ANY wine (or beer, or spirit) is a chemical - including the water.

There's no problem in trying to make wine or beer the 'old fashioned' way, using the minimum possible number of ingredients; I make most of my beer that way. But don't kid yourself - the ethanol in wine ('organic' or not) is by several orders of magnitude the most toxic component present, and is a known carcinogen. Any other chemicals that are present in a remotely drinkable final product are completely harmless in comparison.

Good to know, and as I would suspect.

You are a beer maker and I am guessing you have crossed a few hurdles. Anything stand out as worth passing along?

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
'Organic' is a largely meaningless marketing term; it certainly doesn't imply 'produced without the use of pesticides or fertilisers', as most produce marketed as 'organic' is produced using plenty of pesticides and fertilisers.

Every single ingredient in ANY wine (or beer, or spirit) is a chemical - including the water.

There's no problem in trying to make wine or beer the 'old fashioned' way, using the minimum possible number of ingredients; I make most of my beer that way. But don't kid yourself - the ethanol in wine ('organic' or not) is by several orders of magnitude the most toxic component present, and is a known carcinogen. Any other chemicals that are present in a remotely drinkable final product are completely harmless in comparison.

Good to know, and as I would suspect.

You are a beer maker and I am guessing you have crossed a few hurdles. Anything stand out as worth passing along?
It's really not rocket science; People have been brewing since the invention of agriculture, and making a passable beer is do-able for almost anyone.

To make a really good beer, I would suggest that the three key elements are temperature control, patience, and cleanliness. (And obviously high quality ingredients, which should go without saying).

Cool the boiled wort as fast as possible once the boil has finished; and ensure that fermentation takes place as close as possible to the optimum temperature for your yeast (in my experience, the bottom of the advertised temperature range from the yeast supplier is better than the middle in terms of the final flavour, but it is also slower).

Colder temperatures mean lower rates of fermentation, so don't be in a hurry - let the fermentation complete, and use a hygrometer to confirm that it has, before bottling or kegging - if there's still a lot of activity, bottles can become bombs; But even if there's only a little attenuation still to go, the CO2 bubbles can help break up the trub and hold it in suspension, leading to cloudy beer (or excessive sediment in the bottle). Don't be in a hurry to drink the beer once it's bottled/kegged either - a few weeks of maturing can make a big difference to quality. If temperatures fall below the target range, your total fermenting time can increase very significantly; Too high a temperature can easily ruin the final result, so erring on the side of too cold is better than the opposite. If the temperature goes close to freezing, then the yeast may die and need to be re-pitched after the temperature comes back up. Avoid large changes in temperature during primary fermentation. Always keep beer (during and after fermenting) in a dark place, and avoid even indirect exposure to bright light.

Sterilize everything that will come in contact with your beer post-boil. Simply immersing everything in boiling water for five minutes will do the job (although a no-rinse sterilizer like Star San is more convenient) - but it must be clean before sterilizing, or bugs will shelter in the dirt. Clean everything immediately AFTER use; Sterilize everything immediately BEFORE use.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
'Organic' is a largely meaningless marketing term; it certainly doesn't imply 'produced without the use of pesticides or fertilisers', as most produce marketed as 'organic' is produced using plenty of pesticides and fertilisers.

Every single ingredient in ANY wine (or beer, or spirit) is a chemical - including the water.

There's no problem in trying to make wine or beer the 'old fashioned' way, using the minimum possible number of ingredients; I make most of my beer that way. But don't kid yourself - the ethanol in wine ('organic' or not) is by several orders of magnitude the most toxic component present, and is a known carcinogen. Any other chemicals that are present in a remotely drinkable final product are completely harmless in comparison.

Good to know, and as I would suspect.

You are a beer maker and I am guessing you have crossed a few hurdles. Anything stand out as worth passing along?
It's really not rocket science; People have been brewing since the invention of agriculture, and making a passable beer is do-able for almost anyone.

To make a really good beer, I would suggest that the three key elements are temperature control, patience, and cleanliness. (And obviously high quality ingredients, which should go without saying).

Cool the boiled wort as fast as possible once the boil has finished; and ensure that fermentation takes place as close as possible to the optimum temperature for your yeast (in my experience, the bottom of the advertised temperature range from the yeast supplier is better than the middle in terms of the final flavour, but it is also slower).

Colder temperatures mean lower rates of fermentation, so don't be in a hurry - let the fermentation complete, and use a hygrometer to confirm that it has, before bottling or kegging - if there's still a lot of activity, bottles can become bombs; But even if there's only a little attenuation still to go, the CO2 bubbles can help break up the trub and hold it in suspension, leading to cloudy beer (or excessive sediment in the bottle). Don't be in a hurry to drink the beer once it's bottled/kegged either - a few weeks of maturing can make a big difference to quality. If temperatures fall below the target range, your total fermenting time can increase very significantly; Too high a temperature can easily ruin the final result, so erring on the side of too cold is better than the opposite. If the temperature goes close to freezing, then the yeast may die and need to be re-pitched after the temperature comes back up. Avoid large changes in temperature during primary fermentation. Always keep beer (during and after fermenting) in a dark place, and avoid even indirect exposure to bright light.

Sterilize everything that will come in contact with your beer post-boil. Simply immersing everything in boiling water for five minutes will do the job (although a no-rinse sterilizer like Star San is more convenient) - but it must be clean before sterilizing, or bugs will shelter in the dirt. Clean everything immediately AFTER use; Sterilize everything immediately BEFORE use.

I agree with everything here but would like to emphasize one part of it.... Patience.
It is so terribly easy to fool yourself into thinking your brew is done weeks before it is.
It really does not take long to make Ale, 2 to 6 weeks depending on the recipe. longer for fancier stuff that no one should be starting out doing. Regardless, those last few days are key.... It can never hurt to let it sit jut a little longer. You can't "over-ferment", but you sure can under do it. Don't listen to old people that talk about "autolysis" of the yeast. They are remembering the old days before a billion different kinds of Ale yeast became commercially available, and people had to use baker's yeast to homebrew.. and if your beer sat on top of that yeast that we never intended to produce beer for too long, it can get bad tasting. So, don't use bread yeast and don't forget about your beer for over a year, and autolysis will never be a problem.

Be patient. Let it happen.

oh, and take joy in WATCHING your beer grow:

The motion you see is due to temperature convection currents formed by the biological activity of the yeast.
The chunks of matter floating around are "islands" of yeast... clumped together having an orgy, and dislodged trub.
The layer of tan stuff at the bottom of the fermenter is "trub" (pronounced "troob", I think). Dead or sleeping yeast.
The foam at the top is active yeast.

Fermentation is nearly done when there are no more bubbles (CO2 being produced), no more swirling activity, the foam at the top has gone flat, AND you measure the specific gravity of the beer and see that you have attained the expected alcohol content.

#### T.G.G. Moogly

That vid is not so different than what I see, just a tad more active. I see that activity mainly when I rack off from the primary fermenter. Things are quite violent for a while and I've had to clean out the airlock a couple times. It's the additional oxygen I guess.

In future brews I plan to add a yeast nutrient because it seems everyone recommends it. But I don't want to start making factory wine at home, if you know what I mean.

The next batch will have some honey. For whatever reason the melomel stuff seems to ferment out much more quickly, which I like.

This morning I ate the last of the still fermenting fruit that I pulled off the last batch and have kept in the fridge. That is good stuff, quite a kick. I'm guessing that is not possible with beer, guessing it tastes like crap.

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#### T.G.G. Moogly

I racked batch 5 off the primary fermenter because it was not fermenting anymore. I think that was a classic case of a stuck fermentation. Decided to have a look in the cellar and cracked the cap. Went fizzing like crazy and still is. This can happen when oxygen is reintroduced so it will ferment further, hopefully until it's dry. Good thing.

But it's only 45 degrees down there. Must be damn good yeast.

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
I racked batch 5 off the primary fermenter because it was not fermenting anymore. I think that was a classic case of a stuck fermentation. Decided to have a look in the cellar and cracked the cap. Went fizzing like crazy and still is. This can happen when oxygen is reintroduced so it will ferment further, hopefully until it's dry. Good thing.

But it's only 45 degrees down there. Must be damn good yeast.

Many yeasts are happy at 7°C; I usually ferment my Czech style Pilsner at 9°C with W34/70 (Weihenstephan) yeast. It's very happy with such low temperatures. You just need to give it a little time.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
In future brews I plan to add a yeast nutrient because it seems everyone recommends it. But I don't want to start making factory wine at home, if you know what I mean.

Ya, I know what you mean... The yeast for brewing beer that comes in "smack packs" has nutrient in the pack.... it is actually the nutrient that you break open by "smacking" it, and the outer package expands as CO2 is generated by the now-awake yeast... just ring the dinner bell and they jump right into work.

You want your yeast to be happy so they are productive.. it's no different than giving plants nutrients. The question is, do you feed them miracle grow chemicals, or organically-sourced material with naturally occurring micro-nutrients?

Same with your yeast... either the mash (beer or wine) has the correct sugars and such to make the yeast happy, or you need to add something so that they are happy. For beer, if you are making the cheapest, crappiest Budweiser clone out of DME (Dry Malt Extract). then the yeast is not going to be very well fed on that alone. If you are making a nice medium-gravity ale with various barley malts, then the yeast will likely get the variety of nutrients they need to do a good job.

#### Malintent

##### Veteran Member
I racked batch 5 off the primary fermenter because it was not fermenting anymore. I think that was a classic case of a stuck fermentation. Decided to have a look in the cellar and cracked the cap. Went fizzing like crazy and still is. This can happen when oxygen is reintroduced so it will ferment further, hopefully until it's dry. Good thing.

But it's only 45 degrees down there. Must be damn good yeast.

some of the renewed activity you see after racking is due to the physical churning up of material... it wakes them up a bit... Also, CO2 gets trapped within the trub / must / yeast islands / mash... and the churning up releases it.

#### T.G.G. Moogly

For any potential home brewing enthusiasts I wanted to say that the yeast nutrient worked as promised. All fermentation was done after two weeks. The previous two batches are still fermenting.

Next batch will have some rhubarb from last year's harvest, honey, pawpaw and probably apple or grape juice.

#### Jason Harvestdancer

##### Contributor
Wine is fun and easy. I've made many flavors, and have a basic recipe that works for almost all fruits. It doesn't work on citrus though.

3 lbs fruit
3 lbs sugar
1 gal water
1 egg (optional)

Bring to a boil to break up the fruit and dissolve the sugar. Allow to cool. Strain out pulp and throw it in your garden as fertilizer.

Add one packet of yeast. Bread yeast will do, this is wine, not beer. Wine is less picky. Sit for 3 days to allow the yeast to grow.

Pour in one gallon bottle, cap with airlock. Sit for one year. Get wasted.

Citrus is different and a lot more tricky. Never ever EVER EVER try with bananas.

My favorite is cranberry wine, but you have to add pectic enzyme or you get cranberry wine jelly.

#### T.G.G. Moogly

@Jason Harvestdancer,

You've basically got it. Fun and easy is definitely it.

Today I cracked open my first small batch - Rhubarb, Tart Cherry and White Grape. I originally added some sugar to bring the potential alcohol up to 12%. Then I basically let it do it's thing and racked it a while back. No self-promotion intended here but I must say it is top-of-the-line brew. Nice and dry with that rhubarb tartness and just the tiniest bit of sweetness, and not at all yeasty. I am really surprised at the level of success on my very first try. It did not clarify 100% so looks a bit like a rose, but it is really, really good.

These home brews are supposed to sit for six months to two years, after which they begin to go south. But the wonderful Spring weather told me to have a glass in the afternoon shade of the side yard after five months on the shelf in the cool cellar. Something they don't talk too much about on those wine instructional videos is that the wine will darken as it ages. All of my batches are doing this, and it's not something I expected, it's just part of the aging process.

Feeling nicely buzzed.

#### Lion IRC

##### Veteran Member
I've never acheived anything much over 9% - measuring with a vinometer.
Late summer excess plums, red grapes, nashi apples

...eating fermentation must????

#### T.G.G. Moogly

I've never acheived anything much over 9% - measuring with a vinometer.
Late summer excess plums, red grapes, nashi apples

...eating fermentation must????

9% is okay. I add sugar or honey or fruit concentrate to get the sugar content up.

And if you are going to consume the fermenting fruit it is okay for a few days, depending on the speed of the fermentation, as it will still be slightly sweet. And I freeze it first.

#### Jason Harvestdancer

##### Contributor
I am pleased. I had a batch of lemon wine and a batch of lime wine, and both of them were refusing to turn. Normally a fruit wine takes a year, these took over three. And they FINALLY turned out. I was afraid I'd have to throw them out and start over so I could use the jugs again.

Citrus is very fickle.

#### T.G.G. Moogly

Yesterday I drank a bottle and half of my wine, a mix of pawpaw, rhubarb and white grape, to celebrate the 4th.

Also mixed up batch 9 which is more of the same.

#### Underseer

##### Contributor
I had a friend who took a stab at home brewing long before it became a fad. What she made tasted great, but she complained "I have become little more than a maid for microbes."

#### T.G.G. Moogly

I am pleased. I had a batch of lemon wine and a batch of lime wine, and both of them were refusing to turn. Normally a fruit wine takes a year, these took over three. And they FINALLY turned out. I was afraid I'd have to throw them out and start over so I could use the jugs again.

Citrus is very fickle.

I'm going to use some lemon in the next batch for acidity, basically a blueberry melomel. Batch 5 did not settle out as well as I like so I tried the bentonite clay thing. It helped but it's still cloudy.

But I don't mind cloudy. It's the taste that matters. Other batches clarified very nicely, thought not like you buy in a store. That stuff is full of chemicals. I put the latest batch into secondary ferment but I think it's played out so will merely age for at least six months.

This next batch will get started tomorrow. When all is said and done it's 5 to 7 bottles per batch, nice and simple.

#### T.G.G. Moogly

Today I threw together batch 12 using rhubarb, a fruit juice mix and sugar. Lately I've been using honey but the rhubarb just seemed to call for sugar.

Also used my juicer to keep from having to remove the pulp from the primary fermenter! Glad I kept that thing!

Half the rhubarb was frozen and juiced beautifully. The rest was picked fresh and so was a bit harder to juice but worked great. Got half a gallon of rhubarb juice total, half a gallon of fruit juice and half a gallon of water. Sweetened to 14% potential alcohol. This will make seven bottles of finished wine.

Have been drinking apple, honey and pawpaw wine that needs a bit more time but it is good. It's more like a mead/cider as the alcohol is 9%.