Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Racking the Red

I racked the Cranberry wine this weekend. It tastes pretty dam good already. Hope I can keep from drinking it til next Thanksgiving. This, my second time racking, went much better than the first. I picked up a short racking cane at the brew-shop. The bend in the rod stands only about 2 inches out of the top of the jug - still I couldn't get enough head pressure to keep a siphon on it. This time I didn't mess around trying. I just used the hose and siphoned down to about an inch of the lees and then slowly poured off the rest.

It worked out good. I barely lost any wine - but got most all the sludge off the bottom. I have a picture somewhere of the lees. I'll find it. Here:)

They were a purplish-puce color. Kind of ugly. The wine remains a beautiful cranberry color. It looks like it should have bubbles, but I'm not sure that I'm up for adding CO2 yet. At some point I'll try fizzing some drink.

Peace Linny

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bartering - Alive and Well

My good friend Sailor Ted has agreed to trade me a 5-gallon carboy for a pot of chili.

I picked up all the chili ingredients, but only realized once I started browning up the burger, that I was out of onions.

So, Ted shall have his chili tomorrow. I shall have my carboy by Christmas. I'm guessing AFTER Christmas before I get out and get my grape juice. But THEN I shall brew my first REAL batch of wine.

Help me: Should I start with a Merlot or a Cabernet Sauvignon?

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I made up a gallon batch of Cranberry wine. Here is my process - it's rather half-hazard.

I made a must by simply chopping up about 2lbs
of cranberries. You'll find cranberries are hard to chop - they roll. I just made sure each one had the skin broken. I put these into a brewers sock and into a pail with a gallon of water, a couple lbs of sugar and about a 1/2 tsp of pectin enzyme
(to help break down the skins). I let this sit, covered, for 3 days.

Most all the recipes I found for Cranberry wine called for raisins. I had not raisins and I also dislike raisins enough to not want them tainting my wine. The raisins, I'm sure are to provide nutrient for the yeast, so the day before I was set the wine to brew I added a tsp of yeast
nutrient, and also a pectin tablet.

The Must:

The night before Thanksgiving I strained out the cranberries. I squeezed the bag good (squeezing your fruit is not always recommended) and poured most all of it into my jug. Then I added the prepared yeast (about a 1/2 package to a cup or so of warm water - let sit for about 10mins) added the remaining must and shook for about 5mins. Then added the airlock and that was it. It began bubbling pretty well before the evening was out.

Isn't the color lovely?!

It's now been two weeks. The bubbles did not go as long or as vigorously as I would have liked or expected. The benefit of using the small jug, however, is that I was able to swish the brew around every couple of days - this seemed to help prolong and reinvigorate the fermentation. It's still fermenting now, but slowly. I'll probably rack it this weekend. I'll post. :)