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Lum's down and dirty wine making thread.

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posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 05:27 PM
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I’ve been approached on occasion here and on other forums to give a quick tutorial on how I make wine.

Winemaking is something that my family has always done and I picked up the basics young in life. I have had the benefit of going through my father’s recipe books and the wealth of knowledge he learned from his father as well as his experiments over the years. I’ve been doing it for over 30 years so maybe something I have learned over that time may help others.

The process itself is simple… sugar and yeast are put in an environment where the yeast eats the sugar and converts it into alcohol until there is no sugar left and it becomes dormant or the yeast dies when the alcohol in its environment becomes too high for it to live.

Making a wine that actually tastes good is another matter all together.

What I’m going to focus on in this thread is the simplest and easiest wine to make… a berry or fruit wine.

You CAN do this in gallon containers and just use a balloon as an airlock, but what I would recommend as basic equipment to start up is the following:

1./ a five gallon container. The easiest way to get one is simply buy 5 gallons of water at your local store. You are after the container… I would suggest buying a container that has a handle.

2./ an airlock. I like the twin bubble airlocks. You can buy them on Amazon with a bung for a few dollars. You will also need some alcohol variant (I use cheap vodka) to fill your airlock with. You can use water, but that makes the wine susceptible to bacterial invasion in the beginning. PRO TIP… the “bung” is what you are going to be putting into the mouth of the 5 gallon jug. These come in different sizes! So figure out what size bung will fit your new container.

3./ a large funnel, preferably one that has a removable strainer.

That’s really about it besides a few kitchen utensils. If you are going to be bottling your wine you will need corks, bottles and a corker… I used a cheap double lever corker for decades with no problems. You can get one on Amazon for 20 bucks. You can either use recycled bottles or purchase them… you are looking for a 750ml wine bottle, preferably clear. Corks also come in different sizes!!!

On to the basics.

The 5 important parts of winemaking are water, yeast, temperature, ingredients and time.

1./ WATER. Water quality is important in a wine. Yes, you can make a wine with fluoridated city tap water. I would not recommend it. If all else, water that has gone through a reverse osmosis process will work just fine, although I am personally not a fan of it because it de-mineralizes the water and makes the water too acidic.

2./ YEAST. There are many different varieties of yeast. The battle over which yeast is better for which wine has raged for centuries and is a topic all of itself. Keep in mind, different yeasts give you different flavors, different back tastes, different finished alcohol percentages.

I use 3 different types of yeast…

a./ Red Star or Fleishman’s baking yeast. I will explain why in a moment.

b./ Red Star Montrachet wine yeast. I have experimented with yeasts for decades and always come back to this one for berry or fruit wines.

c./ Red Star DADY distiller’s yeast.

For a basic berry or fruit wine using a wine yeast will not impart any odd flavors to your wine and will get you to a 13-15% ABV. If you want to get adventurous and make some really good wine that also ends up at over 20% ABV, I will explain double fermentation later in the thread.

3./TEMPERATURE. When fermenting your wine, temperature is important. Under 60 degrees Fahrenheit, your yeast get sluggish and may go dormant. Over 75 degrees Fahrenheit, your yeast may overproduce, add odd flavors to the mix and kill itself off prematurely. A stable temperature though the entire process allows you to be able to repeat a recipe that you like. Which is why historically wines were made in caves… they have a stable temperature.

Temperature is also important with a berry or fruit wine when we prepare the ingredients for the maceration process by boiling them. Maceration is essentially the process of breaking down the cell structures of your ingredients and allowing the skins, flesh and seeds of the fruit or berry to leach into the “must”, or body of your wine.

4./ INGREDIENTS. Only pick or get the best quality ingredients that you can. Go organic! You do not want to make a batch of wine that you have taken the time to concentrate a lot of pesticides in. No rotting fruit or unripe berries. Keep consistent ingredients and again you can repeat a recipe you like.

ETA... ALWAYS use a cane sugar. Beet sugar has a bit of it's chemical composition that yeast can't digest so it is left in your wine. Your intestines don't know what to do with it either so it results in gas and/or diarrhea. Like drinking a cheap beer.

5./ TIME. Making wine is not a race. Some wines take months or years to clarify and mature. With most fruit or berry wines, however, the quality and taste of the wine does not really improve with age so that is a benefit for those starting out. What you pour out of the jug when the fermentation is done is pretty much what it’s going to taste like 10 years from now out of a bottle.



edit on 19-4-2020 by Lumenari because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 05:27 PM
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a reply to: Lumenari

OK! Now with the basics out of the way, let’s get on with the important part!

Here is my secret recipe to every berry and fruit wine that I have ever started with that will get you on your path to making a good wine.

1 gallon jam or jelly recipe, any fruit or berry. Use just the berry/fruit, sugar and water part of the recipe. Boil until skins on berries have burst.

3 gallons water. Add both to your 5 gallon container. Let cool to room temperature.

Add wine yeast, put in airlock, walk away. Wait until the airlock is no longer bubbling.

Strain out berries/fruit.

You are done… drink.


Pretty simple, isn’t it?

Now of course there are layers and layers of other things that you can do to this basic recipe. There are also some basic problems you will run into as you perfect your recipes.

1./ Too Dry. Your wine is done and it is so dry that it puckers your facehole. The easy fix is to add a pound of sugar, let sit a week to make sure that the yeast is indeed dead, re-taste. Too dry still? Repeat step one. Remember how much sugar you had to add for the next recipe.

2./ Too sweet. You’ve inadvertently made a syrup. The easy fix for the batch, double ferment it… add DADY yeast and re-taste after the yeast has died off again. Remember to use less sugar next time.

3./ Tasteless. You made a wonderful pear wine that tastes like rubbing alcohol. The usual problem here is that the alcohol content is too high and you have over-ridden the taste of the fruit. This is a problem with pear, strawberry, watermelon and huckleberry wines, to mention a few. The short-term fix is to strain the batch, add another gallon of the same fruit and let sit a month. The long-term fix is to use a yeast that dies off at a lower alcohol percentage. Use baker’s yeast next time.

At the end of the day, you can take a basic recipe, tweak it as you go and come up with a wine that people will love.

Now to the fun part… double fermentation.

I use this with wines that have a heavy taste anyways… like elderberry, blackberry, chokecherry, blueberry.

Make your first wine with a baker’s yeast… let the yeast die off.

Strain the wine into another 5 gallon container, add 4 pounds of sugar and a DADY yeast.

Pro Tip… if you are making a berry wine at this point add a handful of smoked wood chips. This is a topic all of its own as well, since I smoke my own wood chips so use ones like pear smoked maple chips, etc. My go-to for most wines though is French oak lightly smoked chips, available on Amazon at a few dollars a pound.

Let it die off again.

You now have a wine that will be between 20-22% ABV.

Which tastes absolutely wonderful.

This is the end of my basic thread but will answer any questions I can.

And keep in mind, fruit/berry wines are just the easiest to make. That in no way means that there are not others.

I've made potato wine, tomato wine, maple leaf wine, cucumber wine.

A pumpkin wine made the year before is perfect for the next Thanksgiving season.

The list goes on.



edit on 19-4-2020 by Lumenari because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 06:09 PM
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a reply to: Lumenari

Those instructions are very easy to follow. Good job👍



posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 06:19 PM
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a reply to: Lumenari


Hey Luminari…Thanks for putting this thread together...

I really don’t have much of clue about this stuff…I once left a bottle of apple juice in the fridge for over 7 months and when I went to open it…Whoah!!! Lol

So yeah getting back to my question on the Potato Thread…What’s the fastest wine you can make…I guess a lot will depend on the quantity being fermented/brewed…but is there a faster fruit lol

And do certain fruits give a higher/lower alcohol percentage…Because I just looked up making Lemon wine and it’s supposedly difficult to get a high alcohol percentage from that type of fruit…

S+F


- JC



posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 06:31 PM
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Back during the prohibition, my Italian great grandfather used to make wine. He had a secret cellar that was accessible , via a door under the stairs, inside the house. One day he was coming out of the cellar, backwards, with a case of wine in his arms, and he heard a shout. Hands up! He turned around to see that it was the parrot messing with him.


Ive made wine a few times over the years, but have a 15 gallon brewery in my shop, complete with 5 gallon stainless soda kegs, dual gage regulator and 2 sizes of CO2 tanks. I also have a capper, and many cases of 22 oz beer bottles. I always formulate my own recipes.

My ex wife used to get into my cases while I was at work. My 5 and 6 year old sons used to open the beer fridge in the garage and drink off the taps, whenever their mom took naps.

S and F



posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 06:34 PM
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a reply to: Joecroft

Meyers lemons have a higher sugar content then most other lemons. I would try those, and maybe mix another sweet fruit too. Lemon pear might be nice, as long as you don't add too much lemon.



posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 06:36 PM
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originally posted by: Joecroft
a reply to: Lumenari


Hey Luminari…Thanks for putting this thread together...

I really don’t have much of clue about this stuff…I once left a bottle of apple juice in the fridge for over 7 months and when I went to open it…Whoah!!! Lol

So yeah getting back to my question on the Potato Thread…What’s the fastest wine you can make…I guess a lot will depend on the quantity being fermented/brewed…but is there a faster fruit lol

And do certain fruits give a higher/lower alcohol percentage…Because I just looked up making Lemon wine and it’s supposedly difficult to get a high alcohol percentage from that type of fruit…

S+F


- JC


A lot of people do juice wines, which are fast.

2-3 weeks?

They are also for the most part a home made version of Mad Dog.

So to save time and money, just buy a 10 dollar a gallon bottle of wine.

As far as a lemon wine, the fruit doesn't matter very much if you are just going for maximum ABV.

A distiller's yeast does not care about anything but the sugar.

A distiller's yeast also has nothing to do with taste... it just makes the maximum amount of alcohol in as little time as possible.

Because you are distilling the product after so the taste doesn't matter at all.

An average berry/fruit wine done right is going to take you 6-8 weeks at least, just to get a good taste.

Keep in mind that a good berry/fruit wine relies on maceration for the actual flavor.

Hope that helped.



edit on 19-4-2020 by Lumenari because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 06:38 PM
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a reply to: visitedbythem

Thank you!

I didn't get into beer making here which is another passion of mine.

I'm told I do a rather amazing 7 point white wheat lager.

The next thread maybe!



posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 06:50 PM
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What about cleaning and sterilising your bottles? What do you use and how do you do it? I have the glass jugs gallon sized and the air-locks to cork the top with but was told I needed to use 2 different chemicals to clean and sterilise my jugs. What say you?



posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 06:53 PM
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originally posted by: Trueman
a reply to: Lumenari

Those instructions are very easy to follow. Good job👍


It wasn't too far back in our history that every house made their own wine, beer or cider.

Just like they made their own bread.

I hope I can inspire just one person to give it a shot and go from there.

To me it's a survival skill, as far as bartering goes.

I pay my property taxes each year with wine.



edit on 19-4-2020 by Lumenari because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 06:55 PM
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originally posted by: one4all
What about cleaning and sterilising your bottles? What do you use and how do you do it? I have the glass jugs gallon sized and the air-locks to cork the top with but was told I needed to use 2 different chemicals to clean and sterilise my jugs. What say you?


Bleach and sunshine.

Add 2 tablespoons of bleach to the 1 gallon bottle, top off with water, put in the sun for the day.

Rinse that night, let it dry overnight and away you go.




posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 07:00 PM
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a reply to: Lumenari
Thanks for sharing all the good info.




posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 07:01 PM
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a reply to: Lumenari

Thank you kindly I am now off to the races.




posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 07:13 PM
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originally posted by: one4all
a reply to: Lumenari

Thank you kindly I am now off to the races.



OH!!!

Something I needed to put in the OP and I will edit and add.

Sugar.

ALWAYS use a cane sugar.

NEVER beet sugar.

A beet sugar has an extra part of it's chemical chain that yeast does not digest well and it will stay in your wine.

Ever drank cheap beer and get the "beer squirts" the next day?

Your intestines don't know how to handle that extra little bit either.




posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 07:49 PM
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a reply to: Lumenari

Thank you very much. I appreciate your giving so freely from such long experience. I have a couple gallons of elderberry wine from last year, which seemingly can be much improved!



posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 08:08 PM
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originally posted by: BlueJacket
a reply to: Lumenari

Thank you very much. I appreciate your giving so freely from such long experience. I have a couple gallons of elderberry wine from last year, which seemingly can be much improved!


For you from my wine bible...

Elderberry/tripleberry wine.

1.17.2004

6 lbs elderberry
3 lbs blackberry,blueberry,raspberry mix
Boil until skins burst. Boil 20 more minutes.
Add 3 gallons water, 10 lbs sugar.
At room temperature add wine yeast.

3.1.2004

Strained, added 4 lbs sugar, DADY yeast, handful of French oak medium smoked chips.

4.27.2004

Bottled.

I have a lady that buys 24 bottles a year of this at $50 a bottle.

I have never changed the recipe.

She picks them up in May and brings the bottles back in September.

It's really a wonderful wine.




posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 08:18 PM
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a reply to: Lumenari



Originally posted by Lumenari
OH!!!

Something I needed to put in the OP and I will edit and add.

Sugar.

ALWAYS use a cane sugar.

NEVER beet sugar.


Yeah I was wondering about the type of sugar…




Originally posted by Lumenari

An average berry/fruit wine done right is going to take you 6-8 weeks at least, just to get a good taste.


Right, so 6-8 weeks is needed to get a good flavour…


I much prefer White wines…Do you have any other juice wine recipe's…and I was curious about good flavours to combine…do you have any favs that you prefer…

And does it matter about the 5 gallon container type…tap or no tap…?



- JC



posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 08:42 PM
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a reply to: Joecroft

If you are talking about the difference in flavor between a white wine and a red wine, it is an entirely different fermentation process using grapes.

In a white grape wine, the maceration process is not used.

Instead, the fermentation process does not use the skins and seeds of the grape, but relies more on decreasing the oxygen available when the wine ages.

Which means you would need to ferment in a stainless steel container and age it there as well.

It would also mean that you would need to bottle the wine and let it age for quite some time.

You are looking for a quick way to make a white wine without spending a lot of money.

There is no quick way unless you just want to make white grape juice hooch.




posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 08:55 PM
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a reply to: Lumenari

Ok I could always go back to the red wine recipes...but for now...

Yeah... lets go for the Hooch!...no wait... this is a Wine Thread lol

- JC



posted on Apr, 19 2020 @ 09:20 PM
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a reply to: Lumenari

Thank you , now I will avoid the one race no one enjoys.....lol..cane sugar it is.

Could you use Birch sap or Maple sap to make a wine with?



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