Decided to try a bottle of my first wine batch a little early. See, I made some Pinot Noir using a 6-week kit fully expecting to let it “age” in the bottle afterwards a good couple months. My mother-in-law who will remain nameless (who got half the batch I might add) decided it was time to open up after only a couple weeks. After several OMG texts, we decided to open one too.
Notwithstanding it was young, there was no nasty aftertaste usually found with homemade wines made on store prem. The wine was smooth, deep flavour and was really enjoyable. Can you hear my surprise?
Brewing in the store can produce some good batches, but considering they’re probably cranking out at least a dozen batches a day, they gotta be cutting some corners. Maybe “it needed an extra day”, or maybe “hey, let’s add these bags together rather than 2 days apart”. In any case, there is nothing better than taking your time at home and following the manufacturer’s instructions exactly. The results are surprising.
My mother-in-law has ordered another batch. So I’m starting a Valpolicella (with grape skins). I am fully confident that its going to kick ass.
This post is the first of what I hope will be a whole new section to this inane little web space of mine. I’ve decided to try my hand at home brewing. I read somewhere that successful home brewing is dependant on good sanitation and good documentation. That way, when you screw up, you’ll have enough information not to do it again.
Found this guy on YouTube. Great videos on home brewing; making it easy:
So here are the notes from my first batch, as well as related musings. Decided to do it single stage, for simplicity. Punched two holes in a fermentation pail. Installed a spigot and verified the plug fits on the top.
- Batch started Saturday August 4
- Used Festa Brew Pale Ale, which is a 23L kit of pre-pasteurized and filtered wort
- Made sure all equipment well sanitized with Sodium Metabisulphite and Citric Acid solution
- Poured wort into primary fermentation pail. Got lots of foam and stirred for 5 mins
- Pre-hydrated yeast at 34C 250ml for 15 mins then stirred into wrt
- Starting SG 1.051 @ 20C/70F
- Added vodka in airlock
- Bubbling started after 24 hours
- Topped up the vodka to air lock on 3rd day
- Bubbling slowed on 3rd day
- Allowed primary fermentation to continue for one week
- Bottled on August 11
- Sanitized Grolsch bottles and caps with Sodium Metabisulphite solution
- Used one coopers drop per bottle
- Tested FG 1.011 at 20C/70f
- Used an iphone app and calculated alcohol at 5.12%
- Used a filling tube and hose right off the spigot to fill 48 bottles @ 450 ml
The beer cleared right up after a couple days. Nice cake of yeast on the bottom of each. Just hoping there is enough carbonation. Each Coopers drop is good for a 12 ounce bottle (or about 340ml), but the Grolsch bottles hold 450ml. Decided that since I’m doing an Ale, I don’t want to chance over carbonation. For a lager, I think you would want more carbonation — so two in that case. For now, just gonna try one drop and see where it goes. Interestingly, I found comments online that said after dissolving a coopers drop, the sugars congregate at the bottom. Recommended inverting and giving a shake. So I did that on day 4. May take 10 days for full carbonation.
After a week the beer turned out picture perfect. Lots of carbonation, but no bottle bomb. Got a head when poured with good retention. The beer is actually clearer than it looks above. Condensation on the glass was already forming when I took this. Beer tasted fruity like an ale is supposed to, but a little cidery due to it being so young. I’m sure it will mellow in the coming weeks. I’m totally pleased so far, and looking forward to noticing it improve over time.
Got my eye on a nice stout for batch two. Saw that Festa does a double oat stout.
August 26th follow up: Cideriness is almost all gone. Malt flavour is more pronounced. Smoother & tastes like an ale now! Should be even better in a few more weeks!