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.