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The Spoils of... MUST?!

By GhostOfTiber in Culture
Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 06:52:45 PM EST
Tags: The Spoils of Wort, Wine, Winemaking, Vinting (all tags)

I had to run down a bottle of one step sanitizer for my pilsner I had fermented at 90F. Rather than let it go to waste, when I took the lid off the fermenter there were really neat apple, fruit, apricot notes. I decided that while it wasn't nearly on style, it would be interesting to drink. Then I realized I was out of sanitizer so off to the homebrew store. I decided to go to the crappy one. It's closer, but the guy is much more into winemaking than he is into beermaking. However, with the overlap of simple supplies like tools, buckets, and sterilizer, it made it a reasonable choice.

But then my wife wanted to come.

Actually this isn't a bad thing - spending time with the wife, and she might get into brewing I thought to myself. She liked some of the brews I put together before I worked the IPA thing out (grossly underhopped) and she drinks the cheap brown I made out of whatever was left in the fridge. Actually, she drank enough of it to throw off the brewing schedule so that the pilsner won't be ready in time to finish the case assuming I have a beer a night. A few times having friends over and whatnot and suddenly the beer larder is looking bare.

We got to the store and I found he had reclaimed almost all the beer shelf space for winemaking and installed a humidor. His prices on the remaining beer items were high, especially considering that I'm not a huge fan of Munton's malt extract. It just doesn't grab me flavor-wise and I find myself having to use a ton of specialty grains to get decent flavor profiles. Which is fine for esoteric, holiday beers that require dead chickens and fairy dust as an adjunct but for table-beer, this isn't a good situation to be in. Coopers and John Bull both made stuff I liked, until John went under. Of course, only the Muntons hadn't been bought up, and what was left of the dusty cans was pretty specialized malt.

We get in there and get talking, and my wife notices that he's got a huge winemaking section complete with oak barrels of various toast, a spice rack filled with the standard beer spices (coriander, poppy, coffee, etc), books upon books on winemaking, and a huge selection of grape extracts, grape kits (freeze dried grapes?) and wine kits. Instead of hop vines, he's selling vine cuttings. My wife couldn't resist. I came in for two $5 packages of cleaner, and I could see I was going to be leaving with probably a few more buckets.

The wine equipment kits have a strong overlap with the beer kits. They have a siphon, hydrometer, two buckets, a corker, an airlock, pretty much what you would expect. Oh, and a small instruction book that basically says, "It as easy as pouring from A to B and adding yeast!" Well that's what Mr Beer said to me also a few years ago and we saw how well that scratched the itch. Talking with the guy I asked him what it would take to go from a beer kit to a wine kit. He said I would need a new bucket and a new carboy. I asked if having a 6.5g carboy would cut it. He said I would be better off in the bucket for the headspace (the bucket is actually close to 8 US gallons, so I don't mind buying it for an all grain setup). He also said the carboys for wine are supposed to be filled up to the top by the airlock, and valid configurations were 6 gallons - to the brim. The reason for this, he said, is because the wine oxidizes much quicker than beer. And unlike beer, he says, where the carbonation and yeast activity let you get away with some oxidation, this will spoil your wine very quickly. If you're looking to make the jump, you need a new bucket, and a new carboy.

I told him "thanks for your information" and was going to excuse myself, but it was too late - my wife had found a kit.

There's two types of kits: Crushed grape kits where they haven't removed the water (literally 1 lug which is about 12 lbs of grapes - crushed), and grape extract kits which are exactly like beer malt extract kits. It's enough grape-smash condensed that you need to add the water to six gallons and you're good. Both of these include or should include the skins since there's flavors there which pruno isn't going to give you fermenting store grapejuice. Hold the bag up to the light and make sure there's some particulate floating in there, and he showed me. It looked like jelly. My wife interrupted and asked about watermelon merlot versus the honeysuckle one.

"Oh but let me show you!" he says, and runs into the back.

There was some rummaging around and some quiet. I looked at my wife expecting that he had just hung himself and we were about to be party to murder but when I poked my head into the stock room he was in the back trying to read labels. I pulled out my PDA and lit the room dimly to reveal what could have been a scene from National Treasure 3: Dungeon of Alcoholics Anonymous. Rows upon rows of bottles stored in the back of the shop with the boxtops pasted to the shelves and serving as labels.

"Here's the one..." he said "...your wife will like it. It's similar to what you've got but it's their kiwi strawberry white".

He pulled out a 750ml bottle off a shelf, blew the dust off, and brought it out. "This kit makes 30 of these". There's exactly .2 gallons of dregs, called "lees" in the fermenter when we're done. "Now, the kit says 'delicious taste in four weeks', which does not mean 'ready to drink'. You need to bottle it in four weeks and then it sits in your fridge for four months while it fines. This bottle is six months old, give it a try!" Before we could say no he popped out the cork and had poured us two shares into plastic wine goblets. I should probably ask where he got those... The smell was good. I don't normally like whites, but it wasn't tart and definitely tasted fruity as advertised without the Sam Adams Lambic flavor (fruit syrup like Cherry Coke). In fact, it was really, really drinkable. Which was bad because it was also about 17% ABV if the box is to be believed.

My wife was sold.

We got home, sterilized the kit (I bought another airlock just because those things are handy) and I showed her how the hydrometer worked. She cleaned the bucket, the airlock, and the hydrometer kit while I read the instructions. Sure enough, it takes four weeks in the fermented, transferred once to secondary to get it off the lees (dregs), and then needs four months in the bottle in a "location free of light and under 60F" to lager. Whoever wrote "tastes great after four weeks" probably was fresh out of prison.

Alright, so what's actually involved? Cool water, open the bag, fill fermenter with about a gallon, wash the rest of the bag out with warm water into the fermenter and top it off. These are cool space bags which are double-layered and vacuum sealed, making them impossible to open. Don't bother trying to rip off their airlock, just cut open the top and don't drop the inner bag into the outer bag and cover everything in grapes. Your OG should be 1.06 or close. Here's where it differs from beer - you add bentonite (a fining agent) to the primary and try to keep as much air out as possible. The bag is simply labeled with a big number 1 on it so you know "use bag #1 - bentonite" means #1.

After two weeks, and the kit is written well to tip you off you're going to need to lift the whole mess at some point, they tell you to siphon off the wine while reserving a small portion in another container. Why? You need to fill the carboy to the very very top with wine, which leaves you no room to stir. With other additives needed to actually make wine, you need to be able to stir. Once it's racked, package 2a is sulphite (what gives some people, including myself, "wine hangovers") and 2b is potassium sorbate. The potassium sorbate kills off the yeast, and everything else. The wine needs to be degassed, which if you've ever added spices to beer, you know the effect. The beer or wine has suspended carbonation and since carbonated wine would be weird, we need to get that out. This is accomplished by stirring. Package D1 is kieselsol and package D2 is chitosan. There's a stern warning to add D1 first, and stir for no less than a minute, then add D2 and do the same. Reversing them carries dire, but unspecified consequences. Just what is the stuff? Ask Mr Wizard. Slowly add the reserve until we're within "two inches" of the airlock. That's how important oxidation is to wine. The instructions advise adding any flavorings now.

Two weeks later, the wine should be "delicious" according to the box. From here's it's pretty standard beer fare. Siphon the wine into the bottles while leaving an inch from the bottom of the cork, insert the cork, let the wine stand upright for a day (this is another de-gassing to avoid carbonation) and then store the bottles on their sides in the fridge "two to three months" prior to consuming. There's no word on what happens if you store them warmer for two to three months. Considering I don't like fruity wines, I shudder to consider it.


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o I brew and I also make wine 20%
o I brew and I do not make wine 0%
o I don't brew, but I would make wine 10%
o I brew, but I am interested in making wine 10%
o There's enough whining around here to fill 10,000 bottles, you insensitive clod 60%

Votes: 10
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o watermelon merlot
o Ask Mr Wizard
o Also by GhostOfTiber

Display: Sort:
The Spoils of... MUST?! | 45 comments (39 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
I made one of those extract kit wines (none / 0) (#1)
by Vampire Zombie Abu Musab al Zarqawi on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 10:49:06 AM EST

Turned out fairly good if inconsistent from bottle to bottle (some are oxidised and taste like shit, the others are on par with reasonably good commercial whine). Used a bucket and a carboy I also use for beer, and didn't bother with the headspace. The oxidised wine is a result of poor corking and maybe storage conditions.

What do you use to sterelize? (none / 0) (#2)
by GhostOfTiber on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 10:55:45 AM EST

I recently went from using a mild bleach solution back to commercial sanitizer. I found that I was getting inconsistent carbonation, which is the first tip that the bottles weren't cleaned properly.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

I've always used bleach (none / 0) (#3)
by Vampire Zombie Abu Musab al Zarqawi on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 11:17:26 AM EST

Never had a problem with it. Then again, I do clean my bottles properly, using dishwasher detergent, before sanitising. I probably should move to a non-rinse type of sanitiser, though.

[ Parent ]
Now make mead. (none / 1) (#9)
by xC0000005 on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 03:28:03 PM EST

Mead is delicious. A concorde mead combo is awesome. I do not drink, but I loved the taste. It's not like the nasty meads you buy in the store. Just delicious.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
by GhostOfTiber on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 05:35:49 PM EST


[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

I'm still (3.00 / 2) (#11)
by rusty on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 04:06:07 PM EST

trying to figure out how to write a cider making article that is longer than one sentence. Thank you for keeping the interest up while I do that.

Not the real rusty
don't aim for the n00b (none / 0) (#12)
by GhostOfTiber on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 05:22:29 PM EST

the first person who buys a wine kit is going to have half a clue what all the puzzle pieces look like. On the other hand, I have no idea what to do with acid blend, PH, or if I need to keep the bottles AT 60f until they age or if it's just OK to toss them in the fridge and crash the fermentation.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

SCIENCE! ... did (none / 1) (#14)
by mybostinks on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:13:00 AM EST

the wifey become a wino or a party favor when she drank some?

Instant party favor (none / 1) (#15)
by GhostOfTiber on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:19:07 AM EST

She's like "man I love this stuff, it has a wonder nose ME SO HORNEY"...

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

BTW (none / 1) (#16)
by mybostinks on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:23:15 AM EST

I will be sending you something shortly that you have been wanting to try. Things have been screwed the past couple weeks, death in the family, work, etc...stay tuned.

[ Parent ]
Take your time (none / 0) (#17)
by GhostOfTiber on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:45:18 AM EST

Don't kill yourself.


[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

OT - be envious (3.00 / 3) (#18)
by postDigital on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 10:14:32 AM EST

A few days ago I went to a grocery store across town that I visit infrequently. It's a specialty grocer with a large pseudo/new-age/health food section well-stocked with bulk items of stuff I like to keep in the larder (mostly nuts, but some dried fruit and freeze-dried veggie mix I use to enhance rice and soups too). I take a quick look in the liquor section and find they have 750ml bottles of Ommegang priced at $6.99. Rooting around the rack, I discover they still have 6 imports from Belgium, instead of the NY domestic. I picked-up the 6 imports and 6 domestic, because an old friend puts on a big annual Oktoberfest Party in his backyard annually, and I usually commit to bringing the Abbey Ales (along with some self-made breads, and bowls of fluff for the buffet table-he's a close old friend). So now I've got a nice chunk of that chore started a quarter early, and extra for my own less than regular drinking habits. Locally, that price hasn't been seen for about two-years.

(I even asked the liquor store clerk to double-check the price before I bought it too) State-run liquor stores are an atavistic throwback to the 1920s.

Epic win (none / 0) (#19)
by GhostOfTiber on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 10:29:11 AM EST

Although the recent ommegang was weirdly disappointing. It tasted exactly like dark malt syrup, cherries, and had a "dog food" nose.

Now that you've read that, you're totally fucked. I couldn't get past it once my buddy brought it up.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

i can do a taste comparison (none / 0) (#20)
by postDigital on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 02:38:42 PM EST

Between the imports and the domestic to see if just like Heineken, brewing in America degraded it. I plan to have a blind taste test with friends some point in the future. Hopefully, I can just spring it on them some evening.

For the record, I have a strong preference for Chimay Blue among the Trappists Ales I've tried.

As an aside; if you ever have the chance, give a slice of Velveeta® to a European (Brits don't count) who doesn't know about it, and tell him/her it's true American cheese. Make sure they see it in its box with foil wrapping, and see it cut into slices (use a butter knife). It's a great joke.

[ Parent ]
ror @ Velveeta (none / 0) (#21)
by GhostOfTiber on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 02:49:23 PM EST

Have you had chimay's cheese?

Have you tried Orval? I like Orval much more than Chimay, but their quality control seems iffy bottle to bottle. I had a sixer and fully half of them were "good" but lacking the "OH WOW". It may have just been my nose interfering with my taste or something similar.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

I fear Belgique cheese (none / 1) (#22)
by postDigital on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 06:04:50 PM EST

They lean towards the French with affections for the pungent. My first choice for cheese is the very sharp cheddars that come from the NE US, Canada, and Tillimonk, Oregon. After that, probably some of the Italian cheeses, and I've spent exorbitant sums buying imported parmesans, as well as mozzarellas, but a few years ago found a San Francisco based cheese manufacturer who went with the water buffalo milk and the creepy encased in cloudy water effect at a much cheaper price. Provelone, I can take or leave, and would prefer some of the Swiss/German varieties of soft-cheeses for use in place of it.

I know tha Chimay makes cheese, but I've never seen it for sale, and passed up the cheese-eating chances when actually in Belgium, drinking ale.

I prefer Catalonia, German/Swiss/Austrian, and Italian on the continent for my cuisine.

Speaking of foreigner cuisine: have you seen the DoD propaganda, and the right-tarded ditto-heads hooked?. Here's an update at TPM Muckraker. Got Faux News?

[ Parent ]
I dunno what the problem is (none / 0) (#23)
by GhostOfTiber on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 06:26:31 PM EST

Are you objecting to jingoisms or pointing out that niggers everywhere enjoy fried chicken?

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

you really need to get out of Philly (none / 0) (#24)
by postDigital on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:09:54 PM EST

You make geralisations based solely upon the demographics of your locale. Out west, a proper stereotyping wouldn't use KFC as the example, but Popeyes. Still, just the same, from the TPM Muckraker story previously linked to:

Now, call us cynical, but something about that segment seemed off -- oddly upbeat even. On Friday I put in a call to KFC headquarters to ask if the Fallujah chicken joint is the real deal. KFC told me they were looking into the matter. Today, Yum! Restaurants International spokesman Christophe Lecureuil wrote me back:

I understand you wanted some details about the store in Falluja that looks like a KFC. This store is not approved by KFC International and we have working with the US Military to warn the troops of this situation.

Iraqi entrepreneurs fooling their occupying forces with a low-down theft of intellectual property? That should terrorise all right-tards.

[ Parent ]
See, I'm not bothered by it (none / 0) (#27)
by GhostOfTiber on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:59:48 PM EST

As a geek, if I had a dollar every time cheap shit turned out to be fake OR my relatives got "sony" confused for "coby" DVD players, I could buy Iraq.

Now, I do think you're not entertaining the idea enough. Where's the nearest KFC? Turkey. In fact, the debunking work looks like it was done entirely with Wikipedia, since KFC has a list of countries on their site which disagrees with the wikipedia one.

More likely than not it really is a KFC, but a "locally adapted" one much in the way plenty of stuff Americans eat as "chinese food" is just a cultural interpretation of it. Is it a KFC? Maybe, maybe someone packed up an entire KFC and shipped it from Turkey, and it's really selling chickens that happen to be fried. Or maybe it really is an official KFC, but owned by another company through some kind of unenforceable IP deal. Who knows?

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

lol murdoch (3.00 / 2) (#25)
by Nimey on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:13:15 PM EST

Say what you want about the man, but he's a master propagandist. I wonder if he was sexually abused by Joseph Goebbels as a boy.
Never mind, it was just the dog cumming -- jandev
You Sir, are an Ignorant Motherfucker. -- Crawford
I am arguably too manic to do that. -- Crawford
I already fuck my mother -- trane
Nimey is right -- Blastard
i am in complete agreement with Nimey -- i am a pretty big deal

[ Parent ]
as a boy? (none / 0) (#26)
by postDigital on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:15:45 PM EST

Murdoch was at least an adolescent in Goebbels day.

[ Parent ]
I've gone to a cheese factory in oregon (none / 1) (#32)
by xC0000005 on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 07:11:06 PM EST

and had cheddar straight there. It's actually mildly unpleasant when fresh but their aged line is delicious.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
i kant spel (none / 0) (#35)
by postDigital on Thu Aug 07, 2008 at 01:11:15 AM EST

Was it Tillamook? Their aged white sharp is one of the best for the price, and yes, unaged cheddar sucks.

[ Parent ]

Correct. (none / 0) (#36)
by xC0000005 on Thu Aug 07, 2008 at 01:25:19 AM EST

The place is deceptively huge.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
Apparently, there's a recipe for an Ommegang clone (none / 0) (#30)
by Vampire Zombie Abu Musab al Zarqawi on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 05:56:50 PM EST

in the latest BYO. And four other Belgians. Not on their web site, sadly.

[ Parent ]
Moinette (none / 0) (#42)
by postDigital on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 08:21:38 AM EST

750ml - $9.99 - 17 proof
First time I've tried it. S'OK, but on the light-side for my personal tastes. The cork however, of all the fucking details, is outstanding in that I am able to easily recork the bottle tightly with it. I need to remember to save that little bugger for future use. Often, this is an issue with me, because I usually do not drink 750ml ale in one sitting, and the reusable rubber O-Ring devices I've found do a piss-poor job capping the carbonation in Ales.

[ Parent ]
Buy a case of grolsch (none / 1) (#43)
by GhostOfTiber on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:05:01 AM EST

Oldest trick in the book is to get a case of grolsch (probably $20) and choke those down. Tada, you now have many of those swing top bottles which will reseal carbonation. The o-rings to fix them if yours aren't tight are cheap also.

That one is on The List to try, it's another dupont so it shouldn't suck.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

i'd forgotten about Grolsch (none / 1) (#44)
by postDigital on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:16:34 AM EST

it's been a while.

[ Parent ]
it shouldn't suck (none / 1) (#45)
by postDigital on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 09:18:45 AM EST

It's a far cry from Coors Light, that's for sure...

[ Parent ]
The best bit (none / 1) (#28)
by daveybaby on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 12:27:57 PM EST

was where you pretended it was all your wife's idea to start making girly wine instead of butch manly BEER.

Biodynamic and Organic wine (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by Stick Apart on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 01:22:02 PM EST

biodynamic wine is BULLSHIT (3.00 / 2) (#34)
by GhostOfTiber on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 07:18:27 PM EST

You're not going to convince any of the worlds major grape growers to change a thing in their vinyards.

Neat link though.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

Gravity q (none / 0) (#31)
by eightball on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 06:27:22 PM EST

The suggested alcohol percent of %17 does not square with the gravity of 1.060, which would give you a max of approximately 7.5% depending on the unfermentables.

Sorry, I did miss a step (none / 0) (#33)
by GhostOfTiber on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 07:16:37 PM EST

There's a second addition of grapes for this particular kit. Only the second addition looks pretty much like straight up grape juice with no skins or anything.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

Bentonite? The clay? (none / 1) (#37)
by Smiley K on Fri Aug 08, 2008 at 08:41:43 PM EST

Isn't that the same stuff kitty litter and automotive weather stripping is made out of???
-- Someone set up us the bomb.
HERE'S HOPING! (none / 0) (#38)
by GhostOfTiber on Fri Aug 08, 2008 at 09:14:14 PM EST

yes. Why do you care?

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

yes (none / 0) (#39)
by NotALamer on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 01:11:42 PM EST

It's also used as a binder for clay and for creating sand molds for casting glass.

[ Parent ]
No carbonation? Surely you jest (none / 0) (#40)
by HackerCracker on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:21:37 PM EST

There's a word for carbonated wine--it's called CHAMPAGNE (ok, if it's not done in that particular region of France then it's sparkling wine, sosume)

And who is champaign for? (none / 0) (#41)
by GhostOfTiber on Mon Aug 11, 2008 at 09:40:32 AM EST


[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

The Spoils of... MUST?! | 45 comments (39 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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