reply to post by spartacus699
Ignore all of the nay sayers.
- You need high dollar equipment
- You need a whole lot of dedicated time
- You need special yeasts
- You need ...well, much of anything.
I make my own spirits and have been doing so for many years. My wine, for example, taste just as clean and just as good as any store bought wine.
The cost of my wine comes out at around $2 a bottle, and that's buying everything I need from the yeast and berries, to the sugar and the bottles.
The key is knowing about your wine, how you want it to taste and what it involves. There is some trial and error depending on how you want your wine
to come out. No matter what anyone here tells you, you dont need special yeasts or equipment to make it.
These directions look way more complicated than it really is.
Basic Equipment: For 5 Gallons of Wine (You can upgrade as you see fit)
ETA - Time to Drink: 1 .5 months to ....
Choose your berries - what you choose and the amount of alcohol you end up with will help determin how long your wine can be stored for.
* In a 5 Gallon batch - 1 Lbs Sugar = 1% Alcohol potentual *
1 Gal Berries (Mash)
7 lbs Sugar (7% alcohol potentual)
2 Gal Water
5 Gal Bucket
1 Cool, Dry, Dark Place
(Note: you can do this in your closet, but keep in mind that wine making produces a lot of CO2, so be safe. 1 Five Gallon batch is ok, but when you
start making 2 or more batches at a time, and you live in a small place... you might find yourself breathing a little harder if that CO2 can't escape
your living area)
- Mash your berries well and dump them in a CLEAN 5 Gal Bucket
(you can use bleach and water to sanitize - this keeps out the wild yeast that will turn your wine to vinegar, which is ok if that's what you're going
- Add 7 lbs sugar
- Add 2 Gallons water
- Add 1 pack of yeast
(you can use regular store bought bakers yeast. The flavor is not much different. You would have to have a really good pallat to tell the
difference. If you're making beer, baker's yeast does make more of a difference than it would for wine. Baker's yeast has a cut off of around 14%
alcohol vs specific wine yeasts which range from 10-18% and more. 14% is good, though, since you dont want to overpower your wine. 10-14% is the
normal wine alcohol content - BUT, wine yeast, if you have a local brewery outlet store, is generally better to use and costs pretty much the same, so
if you can get it, use it instead. Still, either will do for home made wine)
- Let your mash ferment for 8 days. Stir 2x each day. Letting a little air (O2) in the first day is fine and helps the yeast to work better, just
make sure you cover your hooch so no outside contaminants get in. Wild yeast will turn your batch to vinegar quickly.
- After 8 days, strain your mash very well from the juice. Take the juice and place in a 5 gallon waterbottle, charboy or whatever container you plan
to use. Again.. This container MUST be sterile and free from contaminants. Bleach and water will do just fine.
- Add another 7 lbs Sugar (14% alcohol potentual total)
- Fill your bottle the rest of the way with clean water - Distilled water works best and provides the cleanest taste.
- Ferment for 30 days
At this point, I generally like to shake or stir my container once a day to make sure the yeast/sugar gets around and doesn't settle too much.
Make some sort of filter system. This is important. You must let the CO2 get out but you do not want to let anything or any O2 get in. The most
simple do it yourself is - get a cap for your 5 gallon waterbottle, poke a small hole in, attach an aquarium air hose, run it to a bottle of water and
submerge the hose so air can bubble out but none can get in. The CO2 will layer on top of your wine. This is a good thing, so leave a little room
between your wine and the top of the container so this CO2 can barrier from the O2. The CO2 helps keep the wine fresh and free of contaminants.
Once your wine achieves a certain amount of alcohol, the alcohol will help prevent any wild yeast from turning your batch to vinegar. In the hundreds
of batches I've made, I've never had any of my wine turn sour. The key is making sure your equipment is clean.
- after 30 days, your wine will stop bubbling or the bubbles will be very slow. Once it's done, you can start to fine it. Slow bubbles may also be
an indication that your wine stopped fermenting and the CO2 is just releasing from the wine. At this point you can shake it up well to help release,
or just rack it now. Personally, I like a lil C02 in my wine. I like the added spritsy bonus in the taste.
- Now your batch is done or very close you are now ready to "Fine" your wine. This is the process of making it clear as bottled water.
- Buy unflavored gelatin from the store. Follow directions (hot water mixture) and pour it in your batch of wine. Shake/Stir well. Let sit
untouched for 2 weeks or until the wine is as clear as you would like it. The gelatin will grab all of the stuff clouding and floating in your wine
and pull it to the bottom. Siphon everything above that layer of sediment out to bottles or jugs.
* Note: you can buy Chitosan that will take only 24-48 hours to fine - Brewers carry this or you can order online. There are other kinds of fining
ingredients that work differently and take different amounts of time to work *
Drink up! You can drink your wine right away or let it sit for days, months, years. The longer the wait, the better the taste.
Keep in mind, with only 14% alcohol, you've probably burned up all the sugar in your wine to make the alcohol, so it will probably be very dry. You
can add more sugar if you like sweeter wines, but do so only in small portions. You can use 20lbs total (10 first then 10 second) to make desert wine
which is very sweet. Play with your sugar amounts to put the wine exactly where you like it. I personally brew 18% alcohol wines (yeah I know it's a
lot but I like it) with around 19lbs of sugar or a little less for that fruity taste that's not so sweet but not do dry.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me anything.
Spiced Honey mead is my all time fave to make. That is a slightly different process. Same idea, none of the sugar but lots of honey.
Since I have gotten much deeper into my wine making and enjoy my wine daily, I have more expensive equipment to make the process much easier and more
specific to my taste. You still do not need all of this, but it does help the process and makes for more delicate wines.
edit on 28-9-2013 by StallionDuck because: (no reason given)
edit on 28-9-2013 by StallionDuck because: (no reason