Archive for the ‘wine making’ Tag

02-27-2015 Journal–Home Brewing Challenges!   Leave a comment

Today will be a short lesson on making wine.  As I’ve mentioned in past postings I’ve been attempting to make a batch of Honey/Maple Mead.  A few weeks ago I began the process and things were going quite well.  After the initial fermentation the color of the mead was a beautiful golden color and was clearing nicely as the yeast completed it’s alcohol production.   Maintaining a temperature of seventy degrees was the only challenge at first but things appeared to be going well.

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I siphoned the wine a second time two weeks ago and was feeling pretty good about things but I should know by now never to get overconfident.  After completing the siphoning and out of curiosity I decided to take a quick taste.  I was hoping for a smooth and mildly sweet mead.  Wrong, wrong, and wrong. It was extremely dry and tart with almost no aroma of either honey or maple. I’m afraid that the champagne yeast was a wrong choice for this type of wine. Champagne yeast is more resistant to alcohol giving the batch a tartness I wasn’t looking for. Normal yeast would’ve given me a much milder version that was a little sweeter and closer to my goal.

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What I’m really  trying to say is this batch is awful and I was sorely tempted to throw the entire experiment out. I then decided to attempt the impossible and fix the problem.  I needed to add just enough sugar to sweeten the mead to bring back the flavor that is being hidden by the harshness of the alcohol. After experimenting with different sugars I decided to stay with the theme of the mead and to sweeten it with Maple syrup.  I added one cup of diluted maple syrup to each gallon of mead which I hoped would give the mead a much sweeter flavor and a deeper color.  The maple flavor was wonderful and the aroma was amazing.

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I placed the jugs back into a warm room to determine if the yeast would reactivate.  So far it seems to be lightly fermenting which was expected.  I’ll let it sit for a few weeks to allow the yeast to die and for it to clear once again. Then a final taste test and I hope a successful bottling.

I’ll have my fingers crossed the entire time hoping against hope the problem has been resolved. I’ll let you know.

06-03-2014 Journal Entry–Small Projects!   Leave a comment

We’re having a rainy, gray, and gloomy day today with little or no chance of sunshine.  It’s an inside day where I can catch up on a myriad of small tasks that I tend to ignore so I can go out and enjoy the nice weather.   Honestly it doesn’t take much for me to blow off these tasks but unfortunately the list keeps getting longer and longer until I’m forced to do something.

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I’ve been in the process of redesigning my  man-cave which requires a few large tasks and many smaller ones.  Sometime ago I ordered two wooden wine boxes. They arrived two weeks ago and were immediately stored away and pretty much forgotten.  Today is their day.

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Yesterday I made a short trip to one of my favorite retailers, Michael’s.  My aim is to line both boxes with felt and to create brackets to hold many of my glass wine making tools.  They include a small collection of hydrometers, a large thermometer, vinometer, and a wine thief.  The hydrometer is used for measuring the sugar content of the wine during fermentation.  The thermometer is a long one that is used to measure temperatures of the "must" in the earliest stages of fermentation. The vinometer is a small glass device that uses small samples of wine to determine alcohol content and proof. Lastly the wine thief is just a glass tube used to extract samples of wine in the final stages of fermentation to test the flavor and finish. I added a spray adhesive to my purchases along with four sheets of royal blue felt and two pieces of balsa wood.  I was ready to get to work.

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“The Finished Product”

In years past I’d been forced to replace these delicate devices due primarily to my clumsiness during moving from place to place or during general use. Hopefully this small project will keep future damages and costs to a minimum.  I returned home and began pulling out old file folders from my archives looking for a collection of old and unique wine labels I’d collected many years ago.  A perfect decorative addition to these  boxes.

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A few hours later I had one box completed to my satisfaction and the second coming along nicely.  I should have the second one completed tomorrow and then I can move on to the next task on my list.  The bigger tasks of building a new siphoning table and shelving units can wait until the better-half has vacated the premises and is on her way to the left coast.