Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Update on the wine making and beer brewing.

Sorry I haven't been keeping up with the blog, but here I am giving an update.

I'm just about done drinking the Viognier from  last year, and I've done a Cabernet Sauvigion which is still aging.  I gues I need to bottle it soon.

My beer brewing has improved greatly over the last year, and people can't believe how good many of the batchs taste.  There are too many varieties to mention all of them, but suffice it to say I've run the gambit in styles.  Everything from Belgian Wheats to Russian Imperial Stouts; and all of them were delicious.

Right now I'm comtemplating the construction of a new home brewery.  One that would be capable of consistent 10 gallon batches.  It would improve my efficiency by adding an hour to my brew sessions yielding double the amount of beer.  Seems like a no brainer.  Making 5 gallon batches is fine for experimenting, but staple batches need more

More to come. 

In the meantime, checkout the book below!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Irish stout clone

It can't be all work...right?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Started Viognier Kit

I started a batch of kit wine today March 5, 2010. I chose Wine Expert's Vintners Reserve Viognier, which I ordered from Austin Homebrew Supplies.

Viognier is our absolute favorite white wine as it pairs well with just about everything that we eat. It has a spicy and rich flavor that is especially good with spicy foods – especially HOT Asian foods. We like Thai food – Go figure!

In this post, I'll discuss the process/procedures that I used to start the fermentation process. You'll notice that certain terms and abbreviations contain superscripts that correspond with definitions that can be found at the end of this article.

This is the estimated timeline for our Viognier:

March 5, 2010      -    Put the must1 in the Primary2 , check gravity3, and pitch yeast.
March 12, 2010    -    Check gravity and Rack4 wine into the secondary5. Take care not to disturb the lees6.
March 22. 2010    -    Check gravity, stabilize7, add fining8 agents, and agitate to drive off residual CO2
April 5, 2010         -    Wine should be clear – rack to clean secondary.
April 12, 2010       -    Bottle
May 12, 2010        -    Enjoy by the pool J

Step 1
Sanitize all of your equipment, including your fermenter.

Step 2
White wines typically start by mixing hot water with bentonite clay in the bottom of your primary fermenter.

Step 3
Pull the cap from the bag of grape concentrate, and pour it into the primary fermenter. Rinse the back with ½ gallon of warm water. This will ensure that you get all of the sugars out of the bag.

Step 4
Fill primary to the 6 gallon mark with cool water and stir gently. 6 Gallons is crucial because the fining and stabilizing agent amounts are based on 6 gallons. Use your water addition to adjust the final temperature of the must. It should be 65-75°F when pitching the yeast.

Step 5
Check and record the specific gravity of your must. Your kit will tell you the expected gravity range.

Step 6

Pitch the yeast by cutting open the pack, and sprinkling it on the surface of the must.

Step 7Install the cover on your primary fermenter. Install the airlock and fill it with water to the half-way mark.

Step 8
Wait 7 days for the magic to happen.

I'll post more late next week.

Terms used above
  1. Must = Unfermented wine.
  2. Primary = short for primary fermenter. I use a 7.9-gallon bucket and drilled lid to accommodate an airlock. When fermentation begins, the 6 gallons of must will foam vigorously. Since the bucket is almost 8 gallons, there is plenty of room for foaming so that you do not have problems with the airlock blowing out.
  3. Gravity = Short for specific gravity. In this context, it is used to determine the sugar content of beer or wine.
  4. Rack = this is a term used by wine and beer makers which is the process in which the product is transferred from one fermenter to another, taking care not to disturb the sediment and lees.
  5. Secondary = short for secondary fermenter, which is usually a large glass bottle, ranging from 3 to 6.5 gallons. This is normally where the wine completes its fermentation to dryness(specific gravity of ≤ 1.000. This is also where the wine or beer settling phase happens.
  6. Lees = this is the word for the dormant yeast cells that settle out at the bottom of the fermenter.
  7. Stabilize = this is a term used for the process of killing off the residual yeast the wine holds in solution. This is particularly important because certain styles of wine contain residual sugars that reduce the dryness of the wine. Residual sugars and yeast will form CO2, potentially carbonate your wine, and blow the corks from the filled bottles.
  8. Fining agents – these are agents that are added to the wine to ensure that the wine is clear when bottling.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Racked the Fat Tire Clone, and bottled the Belgian Wit Today

I racked the Fat Tire clone to the secondary today. The FG was 1.013. It smells really good, and I tasted the hydrometer sample. It’s really good and I can’t wait until it’s carbonated. It will definitely be a staple brew around here.

I also bottled the Belgian Witbier today. It looks pretty good. The color was a little bit darker than I anticipated, but I think it was because I did a full 60 minute boil on the extract portion of the wort. I spoke with the owner of Brewstock today, and he said that while it may have affected the color, it should not affect the flavor. Time will tell.

Sanitizing bottles sucks! I really want to start kegging, I’m just trying figure out when.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fat Tire Clone

I brewed the Fat Tire clone yesterday afternoon, and I think it’s going to be awesome. I did it as a partial mash and it smells similar to the dead guy clone I did a few weeks ago. When I racked it into the primary, it smelled bready, malty, and well…just friggin awesome. The OG was 1.058, not bad for the test run on the mash tun. It is in the spare bedroom in bubbling away in the primary. I pitched the pacman yeast leftover from the dead guy ale.

I'll put it into the secondary in a week and a half.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Racking day, bottling day, and brewing day

Belgian Witbier
I transferred the Belgian Witbier to the secondary today, and it looks pretty good. Final gravity was 1.007, putting the alcohol by volume at 4.7% which is a little low, but I think it’ll be fine. The color is nice, and smell rolling off was very nice. It was spicy, orange, and bready all at the same time. It should be a really nice brew. Just right for springtime by the pool.

Irish Stout Extract batch
I also bottled the Irish Stout extract batch, and I have to say, “wow! That stuff smells good…I even tasted a little bit of the flat product. It was really good! It’s malty, bitter, with a touch of yeast character. I can’t wait to taste it once it’s carbonated.

Fat Tire – Partial Mash
I’m currently mashing the Fat Tire clone I put together from an extract recipe that a friend gave me. I just took the extract recipe to Aaron at Brewstock New Orleans, and he helped me put together the batch. I’ll post the recipe in a little over a month, when I taste the finished product. This is my trial run on the new mash tun, and low and behold, I’ve got a leak. It’s leaking about 7-8 drops per minute, which isn’t bad really; it’s just annoying. Its sitting at 156°F.  I’ll be doing the vorlauf step and a batch sparge in about 20 minutes.  Wish me luck!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Brown Ale is ready to drink - Delicious

Well the Newcastle Brown Ale clone is ready to drink. It’s been in the bottle three weeks, and it’s pretty good. It’s actually much smoother than the commercial version. I actually would have liked it to be a little bit hoppier. I was impatient and tried it last weekend, but it wasn’t quite ready. It’s absolutely delicious today. Very nice!