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Home brewing is fun but messy.
We had mini brewery "shop" locally, now sadly closed, where you could choose different recipes of barley malt and hops and yeast and brew your own blends. Leave it in a mini barrel to ferment at the brewery under controlled temperatures etc.

A lot of fun designing your own labels too. We'd brew 96 bottles at a time and give them to customers for Xmas.
 

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A guy I know has the crazy idea he is going to brew beer.

Good idea, but a lot of work for what usually turns out to be 2 - 3 cases, which with the help of a few friends and acquaintances, and it's gone

Just about every time I go to local grocery store, there is another brand of beer - some don't last too long, but it's not a bad thing to see things changing.

I enjoy it, but it's a f**k-ton of work.
 

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that's where making wine is soo much easier.

At it's most fundamental

sugar
yeast
grapes / apples

Yes, apples, anything to give the schmutz some flavor.

Had the best luck with really sour apples - probably because there is less sugar in them.

Generally, about 5/8 a cup of sugar (maybe 1/2 cup) per gallon. So if you had a 5 gallon pail not quite full, about 2 cups of sugar, yeast, stir and wait.

dig into it, not too warm, not too cold finishing it with potassium sorbate which will stop the process. Can be bought at any beer/wine store, keeps the yeast from continuing to ferment and the "exploding bottle" syndrome.
 

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yes, in old gallon milk jugs.

Made some wine like that back in college - think it cost something like $1.25 / gallon.

or less than gas.

When you make cheap home-made hooch, bottling it would not only be anathema, but it would be ridiculous.

Reminds me, need to grab a bucket, some baking yeast, fetch some apples from the store (you really don't need many apples, and with a blender, you don't even need to slice them more than in quarters so that the blender can bite into them) and sugar.

Stir every couple of days until you don't see anymore bubbles - which is the yeast working. Eventually the yeast will run out of sugar or suffocate from the rising level of alcohol.

Never did anything too scientific, but reckon the alcohol level to be around 6%.

and tastes way better than malt liquor, barf.
 

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Jim. I make a mean cider too. Like you said. Simplicity at it's finest. I take it one step further. 5 Gal Apple Juice with no additives a packet of knottingham yeast, and let 'er rip.. Typically three days of fermentation, and it's done. If you add sugar, you just are increasing the alcohol content, and as such, the yeast profile has to change. Away from Knotty, and more towards a winemakers strain or champagne strain. They're tolerant of high levels of alcohol.
 

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fermentation varies; if you read up in the wine books you can learn all you want - however, I used a very simple rule of thumb.

Every day or two, I would uncover the wine (or fermenting stock if you will) and stir.

When you can stir and there are very few bubbles, the wine is nearly finished working. Either no more sugar or the yeast has run its course.

A cover should be snug but not too tight; ideally you go to a store and get a small water trap that lets the wine breathe; next best is piece painters plastic or saran wrap (kind of a pain) with a rubber band. This will keep the pressure from building up much.

I usually let the wine run its course over 4 - 5 weeks, not too hot (much over 70 degrees) not too cold (much below basement temperature, in the 50s, if it gets too cold the yeast will not react with the sugar).

The brewer/wine store will sell potassium sorbate - it gets stirred in and will kill the yeast which will settle to the bottom in a couple of days.

Remember when the wine is all done working, siphoning the contents out to avoid stirring up the settlings with a fish aerator hose and a coffee filter in a funnel work pretty well.

Containers can vary; the experts use glass carboys. This is fine if this is something you plan to do several times, otherwise go to the good will or local store that has gallon glass jugs of some kind for a couple of bucks.

Failing all else, an old milk jug will do.

Lastly, I have notice from the few times i made wine, if you let it age a couple 3 weeks, the flavor mellows somewhat. The amount of apples by weight if I had to guess would be about 1/2 lb per gallon and different apples will create very different tastes.

If you want to gamble, you can scale up your efforts to a 5 gallon plastic pail - recommend against metal as the presence of alcohol can act as a bit of solvent on the paint inside and you can thoroughly clean out a plastic bucket before use. By thorough, we're talking either bleach or ammonia, whichever one is handier in order to kill all living schmutz inside the bucket.
 

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Leg Humps The Snap On Tool Man
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I made some pumpkin wine last fall. Brewed it in the pumpkins, and yes the bottling sucks. Turned out okay, little citrusy and fizzy like soda. Not much alcohol as far as I could tell, maybe 4% +/-.

Was debating about making five gallons of mead this summer.

NMc
 

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if the wine is fuzzy, at least a couple of things happen.

a) you didn't filter the wine after siphoning it into the container - coffee filters do a good job of this; two coffee filters work better, but when you get to three filters, the process slows down a bit too much for my liking
b) fuzzy is also caused by not pouring in (a teaspoon I think) of potassium sorbate, it kills the yeast. You need to stir it in and wait at least a day for it to sufficiently kill all yeast which will clear the wine and keep the yeast from possibly reactivating in the bottle (hence the old wives tale of exploding bottles - by the way, another way to kill yeast is to throw it in the fridge, yeast doesn't like cold, or hot for that matter, but exposing wine to heat almost seems sacriligious).

as far as the yeast / wheat reacting, I will have to guess that protein, fat (yes fat) and carbs interact with the yeast. Reckon the yeast feed like pigs off of a nearly ideal food source. The carbs would go first, then followed by the fats, and finally the proteins. Kind of like a three stage rocket, not as neat as that, but in an analogous method.
 

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Leg Humps The Snap On Tool Man
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Yeah, didn't entirely kill the yeast. Had one pumpkin explode and make a gawdawful mess. I filtered with a strainer and coffee filter but it was slow going and also made a mess. Very likely some pulp went through. Had a layer of yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottles and they were indeed very well carbonated.

Seemed to give me a little heartburn. Even so we drank down about 3 gallons made for about $40 and had a months worth of good nights out of it.

NMc
 

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Leg Humps The Snap On Tool Man
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Hollow out some pumpkins, fill with lukewarm water (after boiling) add a handful of sugar or two (or brown sugar) and random spices from the pantry like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, lemon zest ect and some brewers yeast. Let sit on the porch for a couple weeks, filter and bottle before the pumpkins go soft. Punching a hole in the bottom of the pumpkins is the easiest way to drain them. Let sit for another week or two and drink with friends. There are appropriate recipes on the net but we didn't adhere to them too closely. Probably why we had a mild alcohol content.

We started with five pumpkins, each holding roughly 1.5-2gal. We lost one that was too tightly sealed causing a terrible mess. After the losses of pouring we had five gallons of hooch and roasted pumpkin seeds for around $40.

Not going to lie, the whole process was pretty gross and messy. Do all of it out side. I had a little trouble convincing my friends to have a drink especially the one who helped make it. After they watched me drink a few glasses they each took a tentative sip. The following week we got down in earnest on the stuff.

NMc
 

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Discussion Starter · #360 ·
Tried a new beer since I'm back on the west coast. Ballast Point Victory At Sea Coffee Porter MMMMM oh yeah!

Respect it. Drank a couple of these real quick and was spinning :)

- Nut
 
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