Your Source For Making Wine and Beer

Beer Carbonation

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Whenever I first started homebrewing, the toughest thing for me get right was priming my beer. My first batches were either under carbonated or over carbonated. A few tweaks here and there and now I have a basic idea. Still, I use more art than science. The following article from gives a more scientific approach and hopefully will help you from experiencing what I did.

by Mark Hibberd (Bayside Brewers Club, Melbourne, Australia)
Most homebrewers carbonate their beer by adding priming sugar at bottling time. Usual instructions call for about a teaspoon of sugar per bottle. But exactly how much sugar is needed and what types of sugar are suitable? And what can you do if a beer is over- or under- carbonated?

Carbonation levels

The amount of carbon dioxide in a beer can usefully be described in terms of the volumes of CO2, i.e. how many volumes of CO2 (at atmospheric pressure) are dissolved in one volume of beer. This terminology is familiar to those who keg. Charts for kegging systems show the gas pressure to apply at each temperature to achieve a particular carbonation level. If this pressure is held for several days, the carbonation reaches its equilibrium value, i.e. the beer will absorb all the CO2 it can at that temperature. In bottle conditioning, the CO2 is produced by the fermentation of an accurate dosing of priming sugar.

If you are not into reading the article, check out this Priming Calculator at

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Rotten Egg Smell In Wine

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ever smelled rotten eggs when you racked your wine? We sure hope not, but if you have, your wine has been bitten by the dreaded hydrogen sulfide bug. No one wants to drink wine that smells like rotten eggs, so is there anything you can do to save the wine? You bet. Better yet, we'll offer some tips that should help you avoid the problem in the first place.

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) usually forms at the end of fermentation, but most home winemakers won't notice a smelly problem until the first racking. If you do smell rotten eggs, the quicker you can act, you'll increase the chances of saving your wine. If you tarry too long before treating the wine, hydrogen sulfide will react with other carbon compounds in the wine to create mercaptans, and later into disulfides. These boogers are extremely difficult to remove from your wine once formed, so the faster you can detect and treat your wine for hydrogen sulfide, the better!

Read how to fix it.

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Orange Concentrate Wine Recipe

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

This is another recipe that uses store bought juice.  Personally, I use 2 cans to a gallon and adjust the sugar by using a hydrometer.

Orange Concentrate Wine

Makes 1 gallon

  • one 12 oz. can 100% pure orange juice concentrate
  • 1 1/2 lb sugar
  • 1 tsp tartic acid
  • 1 tsp pectic enzyme
  • 1/4 tsp tannin
  • 1 gallon water
  • wine yeast and nutrient

Add orange juice,sugar and nutrient to 4 pints of water.
Stir to dissolve.
Dissolve tannin in a small amount of boiling water and add.
Top up with 7 pints of water,leaving lots of space in your fermenting jar.
Add pectic enzyme and yeast.
Let ferment 1 week.
Top up to full gallon.
Let ferment until finished.
You can drink this wine right away, but it improves with age.
Serve chilled.

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Fat Tire Amber Ale Clone Recipe

Fat Tire Amber Ale
(5 gallons, extract with grains)


o 5 lbs. Laaglander plain extra-light
o 0.50 lb. crystal malt (20° Lovibond)
o 0.50 lb. crystal malt (40° Lovibond)
o 0.50 lb. carapils malt
o 0.50 lb. Munich malt
o 0.50 lb. biscuit malt
o 0.50 lb. chocolate malt
o 3 AAUs Willamette pellet hops (0.66 oz. at 4.5% alpha acid)
o 1.33 AAUs Fuggle pellet hops (0.33 oz. at 4% alpha acid)
o 2 AAUs Fuggle pellet hops (0.50 oz. at 4% alpha acid)
o 1 tsp. Irish moss
o 2/3 to 3/4 cup corn sugar to prime
o Wyeast 1056 or BrewTek CL-10

Step by step:

Steep specialty grains in 3 gallons of water at 154° F for 45 minutes. Remove grains and add dried malt extract. Bring to boil and add 0.66 oz. Willamette pellet hops. Boil for 60 minutes and add Irish moss. Boil 10 minutes and then add 0.50 oz. Fuggle hops. Boil another 20 minutes, add remaining Fuggles and remove from heat. Cool to about 70° F and transfer to fermenting vessel with yeast. Ferment at 64° to 68° F until complete (7 to 10 days), then transfer to a secondary vessel, or rack into bottles or keg with corn sugar. (Try lowering the amount of priming sugar to mimic the low carbonation level of
Fat Tire.) Lay the beer down for at least a few months to mellow and mature for best results.
All-grain option: Omit extract and mash 6 lbs. pale malt with specialty malts in 9 quarts of water to get a single infusion mash temperature of 154° F for 45 minutes. Sparge with hot water of 170° F or more to get 5.5 gallons of wort. Bring to boil and use above hopping and fermentation schedule.

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Store Items Done

After busting my butt this evening, I got all the store items completed.  You can access the store by clicking on the upper right icon.  Thanks for your patience during this change.
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Blog Store

Monday, March 27, 2006

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Beer and Wine Books

Note: These items are ordered from


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Beer Clothes

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Beer Making Equipment

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Wine Making Equipment

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Advertising - A Reprint

Friday, March 24, 2006

I have decided after looking at a gazillion blogs, that I am going to take off most of my advertising and put some of the items into a "store" format. The primary reason I started into blogging was to provide information on making homemade wine and beer and the secondary reason was to make a little money. The money thing seems to have taken over most of the sidebars and I want to fix that.

So, over the next couple of weeks, you might see posts like the one below. These posts will end up as part of "store." I'll most likely have a weekly post featuring some of the "store" items and I'm going to work on cleaning up the sidebars.

Bear with me, I'll continue to post items about making wine and beer while trying to redesign the blog. I'm hoping that it will work out for the better.


Cheesemaking Books

Note: This items are ordered from To find out more or to order, click on the picture.

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Note: Items are ordered from  To find out more or to order, click on the picture.
MR. ROOTBEER BREWING KIT Fun, easy and economical Naturally carbonated Hands on science fun Includes: 8 liter bottles, 8 caps, 1 mix Fun book, yeast, 1 balloon Makes 2 gallons of premium rootbeer.

Refill for Mr. Rootbeer Kit (sold separately) Allows you to make another 2 gals. of root beer with your kit. 2 packets of no-rinse cleaner, 2 packets of flavor crystals, a bottle of root beer mix and packet of yeast

Make your own soft drinks that are tastier, healthier, and cheaper than anything you'll find in stores! From soda water to sarsaparilla, in Homemade Root Beer, Soda & Pop, you'll find easy-to-follow instructions for more than 60 traditional and modern soft drink recipes. Your whole family can make delicious batches of old favorites and experiment with new combinations of natural ingredients to create your own refreshing recipes.

You'll make fabulous, fizzy creations like:-- Old-Fashioned Root Beer -- Sarsaparilla Soda -- Birch Beer -- Virgin Islands Ginger Beer -- Lemon-Lime Soda -- Cherry Vanilla Soda -- Cream Soda -- Raspberry Shrub -- Molasses Switchel -- Coffee Whizzer -- Fruit Smoothie -- and much more!

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Advertising Items on The Blog

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I have decided after looking at a gazillion blogs, that I am going to take off most of my advertising and put some of the items into a "store" format. The primary reason I started into blogging was to provide information on making homemade wine and beer and the secondary reason was to make a little money. The money thing seems to have taken over most of the sidebars and I want to fix that.

So, over the next couple of weeks, you might see posts like the one below. These posts will end up as part of "store." I'll most likely have a weekly post featuring some of the "store" items and I'm going to work on cleaning up the sidebars.

Bear with me, I'll continue to post items about making wine and beer while trying to redesign the blog. I'm hoping that it will work out for the better.

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Beer Ingredient Kits

American Bock - A lighter twist on the bock style. Lighter in body than a traditional bock, but not a light beer by far. Rich color, full malt flavor and authentic German hops make this one a "Shiner".
British Pale Ale - Among beer lovers and homebrewers alike, Pale Ale is the world's most popular beer style. This is a traditional Pale Ale with just the right amount of English hops to make this fine ale shine.
Irish Stout - This Dry Stout is black in color with a brown head, and is very full-bodied. It has a rich maltiness paired with a sharp bite from the roasted grains, and impressive hop profile.
London Porter - Porters are a black ale with loads of roasted flavor but without the sharp bite found in Stouts. This recipe has been a Home Brewery favorite for years. Black, rich and malty with a great hop profile of Cluster, Cascade, and Tettnanger.
Scots Brown Ale - This is one of the deliciously malty brews of Scotland with much more color, flavor, and body than a Pale Ale. Easy to make and quick to enjoy!
Wheat Beer - Traditional beer recipe brewed in the German tradition from wheat and barley. Great as a refreshing drink in warm weather, this beer style is known for its crisp, clove-like flavor.
Yellow Dog Ale - An American style Pale Ale that has won best of show in beer brewing competitions straight out of the box. A special blend of malt extracts and fermentables backed by a healthy dose of American hops such as Willamette and Cascade. A great Pale Ale beer recipe.


Note:  These kits are offered through and are sent out by The Home Brewery.  To order or to find out more information, click on the picture.

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Filtering Wine

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

There is always a debate among home winemakers about filtering their wine.  What are some of the problems or benefits?  Isn't just racking good enough?   What kind of fining agent should I use? This article from explains the basics about clarifying, fining and filtering your wine.
P.S.  Personally, I just rack my wine and serve the clearest wines to friends and family.  The cloudier wines get consumed by me.

As wine ages, natural settling and clarification will occur to some degree, although it is inefficient and inconsistent. The public, however, is usually unwilling to accept cloudy wine or wine with crystals or other particles in it, so various methods are used for "cleaning-up" and finishing wine after fermentation, either before, during, or after aging. These processes also insure a level of stability or shelf-life for wines shipped to retail or restaurant outlets where the bottles may spend some time "on the shelf" before purchase and consumption.

Clarification methods are similar for both white and red wines. All methods of clarification remove unsightly particles from wine, but may also strip wine of pleasant aroma and flavor elements, body, and color.

Racking is the oldest technique of clarification that is just one step beyond natural settling. This is simply siphoning off the relatively clear wine after the lees have settled to the bottom, leaving them behind to discard. The lees are the insoluble matter including dirt and dust, cellulose, dead yeast cells, bacteria, tartrates and pectin. Racking may be done only once or several times before a wine is bottled. Red wines, especially those barrel-aged, are sometimes bottled after racking without further processing.

Cold stabilization may be considered an adjunct or enhancement to racking. This process removes excess tartaric acid that, if untreated, might later form potassium bitartrate crystals, which can show up in wine bottles or on corks. Although these tartrates dissolve easily and are edible (cream of tartar, commonly used in cooking) and harmless, they can alarm the uninformed consumer who thinks there is "broken glass" in his wine. Cold stabilization is accomplished by allowing the wine to warm up to "room temperature" and then chilling it down to about 40° F. The tartaric acid crystallizes in the tank and the wine drawn off by racking.

Fining is a method of clarifying or chemically stabilizing wine. The procedure begins by stirring into the container of wine a fining agent that is heavier than both water and alcohol and does not dissolve in either. The agent ultimately settles to the bottom of the vessel (tank or barrel), causing small suspended particles to precipitate out along with the agent. The clarified wine is then separated by siphoning (racking) off the settlings (lees).

Fining can lower high levels of tannin, remove haze, and reduce color. Care needs to be taken to chose the proper fining level that conforms the wine style that winemaker wants to achieve. Over-fining can result in thin wines that lack aroma complexity, flavor depth, viscosity, and aging potential.

Physical agents work by absorbing tiny particles and dragging them. Chemical agents work by forming chemical bonds with hydrogen elements in the undesired particles. Fining agents include egg white, milk, blood, gelatin, carbon, casein (the principal protein constituent of milk and cheese) and isinglass (an extract of sturgeon bladders). Heat stabilization is a fining process that uses bentonite (a clay of hydrated magnesium silicates) to remove protein, which may cloud a wine.

Filtering means passing the wine through a filter small enough to remove undesirable elements. Various filtering technologies allow great flexibility to winemakers to make stable wines of varying styles. As with fining, filtering can also remove elements that contribute to flavors and aromas, so winemakers need to be judicious and conservative with this technique to avoid "collateral damage" that leaves their wine clean but lifeless.

Depth or sheet filtration uses a relatively thick layer of fine material (diatomaceous earth, cellulose powder, perlite, etc.) to trap and remove small particles. Surface or membrane filtration passes wine through a thin film of plastic polymer with uniformly-sized holes that are smaller than the particles.

Sterile filtration uses micropore filters, which are fine enough to remove yeast cells, to prevent further fermentation. This is especially significant when residual sugar is allowed to remain in the wine at low levels. Prior to the advent of modern micropore filtration, slightly sweet wines were endangered by the possibility of revived fermentation in the bottle.

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Jalapeno Wine

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Here's a recipe I'm not sure if I would ever try.  It sounds interesting but given my history with hot peppers, I'm not sure if it is worth another stay in the hospital.

Jalapeno Wine

  • Jalapeno Peppers 0.75 lb
  • Raisins 0.75 lb
  • Sugar 1.5 lbs
  • Water 1 gallon
  • Yeast
  • Yeast Nutrient

Chop the raisins and the peppers. Pour boiling water over them and add sugar. Add the yeast and nutrient and stir well. Cover and leave somewhere warm to ferment. After two to three weeks siphon into secondary, leaving the sludge behind. Continue fermenting until dry. Rack again and leave to clear before bottling.
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Newcastle Clone Recipe

Monday, March 20, 2006

Simple little recipe that tastes similar to Newcastle Brown Ale.  Personally, I like to add an ounce or two of biscuit malt to add a little more complexity.


  • 2 oz 60L Crystal Malt
  • 2 oz Chocolate Malt
  • 1 oz Black Malt

  • Extracts:
  • 6 lbs Light DME

  • Hops:
  • 6.5 HBUs Target Hops (Bittering)  I usually use 1 oz of Fuggles Hops
  • 1/2 oz East Kent Goldings (Flavor)

  • Yeast:
  • British Ale Yeast
  • Instructions:

    Put the specialty grains into the muslin bag and steep in 150 degree water for 20 minutes. Pull the bag out, allowing it to drain freely into the brew kettle. There is no need to "squeeze" the bag. Squeezing the bag will only release tannins that will harm your beer.

    Add 170 degree water to the brew kettle to bring the total volume to 2.5 gallons. As you add this water, run it over your bag of grains to sparge ("rinse") the rest of the grain water out of the bag.

    Bring kettle to a boil, then remove it from the burner. Stir in the Dry Malt Extract (DME), and put Target (Bittering) hops in a muslin bag (tied closed) and add into the kettle.

    Return to heat and boil for 45 minutes. Add the 1/2 oz East Kent Goldings to the muslin bag and boil for 15 minutes.

    Cool to room temperature, add water to bring total volume to 5 gallons. Stir vigorously to incorporate air into the wort. Pitch (add) your yeast.

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    Weekly Thoughts

    Friday, March 17, 2006

    It's St. Patrick's day and the end of the week. What could be better than pounding down a few pints of Guinness and celebrating.

    As you know, I have been doing a series on wine grapes for this week. I hope you enjoyed the readings and picked up something new. Being the typical American that drinks more beer than wine, I never knew there were so many different varieties. Gives me a new goal to strive for. Trying all the different varieties.

    I bottled my Tropical Wine on Tuesday and tasted it on Thursday. It has a pineapple smell with a coconut after taste. Very unique.

    In beer news this week, Victory Brewing turn 10 years old. Victory is located in Downington, PA and makes some very excellent beers. The owners started out as homebrewers and decided to make a profession of it. A couple of role models for us to follow. Nice article at Bellaonline about Victory, if you want to know more.

    I added my first non-beer or no-wine link to my list of encouragers. Holding down the Fort, is a blog that is about the adventures of a young mother. She added me to her list of favorite reads, so I only thought that it would be fair to reciprocate.

    If you have the time, read some of the articles from my list of encouragers. Quite a few interesting articles (actually too many to list here).

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    White Wine Grapes - Part 3

    Thursday, March 16, 2006

    Part 5 in the Series

    The Sauvignon Blanc grape produces wines of distinction in most of the areas where it is grown.  It can tolerate greater heat than many varieties.  Sauvignon Blancs are higher in acid and often exhibit 'melon' in the nose and tastes.  If grown in too cool a climate, it can develop an herbal ('grassy') character in its aromas.  Sauvignon Blanc produces large crops and is a low cost variety.

    It performs well in the Loire river and Bordeaux regions of France.  Because it can get overpowered by the oak flavors, it is not often aged in wood.  It can gain additional complexity and richness with that treatment.  In the U.S. it is often known as Fume Blanc.  New Zealand is having notable success with this variety and produces wines that have very high levels of acidity.

    Sauvignon Blanc is often blended with small amounts of Semillion in order to 'round-out' the taste of the wine.

    Sauvignon Blanc is especially good when served with seafood.

    Semillon grapes make up 80% of the blend in the most expensive and famous dessert wine in the world, Château d'Yquem. Semillon seems the favorite foil of Botrytis Cinerea, the noble rot which concentrates the sugars and flavors and intensifies the aromas for d'Yquem and the other "late-harvest" dessert wines of Monbazillac and Sauternes. These wines hold up spectacularly in antiquity, unique in the spectrum of unfortified wines.

    Consistently productive at six to eight tons per acre and of vigorous vines, semillon is easy to cultivate. It is fairly resistant to common vine diseases, with the notable exception of rot, which most often is hoped to be the noble type and not the destructive strain. This viticultural profile has led to widespread propagation and popularity of semillon vineyards.

    While semillon is the majority white variety in Bordeaux, Graves, and Sauternes, more grows in Chile than anywhere else on earth. Early in the viticultural development of Australia, semillon (often incorrectly labeled as Riesling) dominated as the major white variety, although the vineyards are mostly Chardonnay and sauvignon blanc today.

    The ripe semillon berry is a rich yellow color at maturity, although increasing sun exposure may turn it amber-pink. In warmer climates, there is always danger of sunburn and raisining. If processed as a dry or semidry table wine, the thin skins and tender, juicy pulp require speedy but gentle handling.

    Viognier seemed literally an endangered variety only a few years ago, but seems to be recovering worldwide in both popularity and acreage. Less than 35 acres remained planted in all of France, its homeland, in the late 1960s. Its newest realm, California, has 2,001 acres as of 2002 (although a considerable portion is not yet mature enough to bear a commercial crop) and there are also relatively new plantings in Australia and Brazil, as well as other U.S. plantings in Colorado, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

    The major drawback of the viognier grape is that it is a very shy producer and somewhat difficult to grow. Although drought tolerant, it is easily infected with powdery mildew in damp conditions or humid climates. Like many other varietals, viognier must be harvested at its peak of maturity in order to display its unique aroma and flavor character. The grape's tendency to develop high sugar but low acid can result in wines with neutral, merely vinous flavors and high alcohol. These cultivation problems and producer desires to capitalize on the grape's somewhat rarity combine to make many Viognier wines relatively expensive.

    Probably the main attraction of Viognier is its potentially powerful, rich, and complex aroma that often seems like overripe apricots mixed with orange blossoms or acacia. With as distinctive and sweet an aroma-flavor profile as Gewürztraminer, Viognier is nevertheless usually made in a dry style and seems to appeal more to the typical Chardonnay drinker. The distinctive Viognier perfume holds up even when blended with a large portion of other grapes. The fruit usually has very deep color, but is somewhat low in acidity. As California wineries experiment with Viognier-Chardonnays, Viognier-Chenin Blancs, and Viognier-Colombards, this may be the grape's ultimate destiny, as a blender.

    Because the prime appeal of Viognier is its fresh and striking aroma, it is a wine that should be consumed young in most instances. The exception is Château Grillet, where the grapes are harvested early and the wine kept in oak for several months prior to bottling; this wine has a reputation for aging up to two decades.


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    White Wine Grapes - Part 2

    Wednesday, March 15, 2006

    Part 4 in the Series

    Pinot blanc is a genetic mutation or clone of pinot gris, which is in turn, a clone of pinot noir. The leaf structure, clusters and berries so resemble Chardonnay that there are many vineyards in Europe where plantings of the two grapes are intermingled. This may have led to some confusion and mis-naming of grapes as "pinot chardonnay" (chardonnay is decidedly not of the pinot family).

    Pinot blanc berry skins have an unusually high tannin content and the wines are prone to browning.

    Pinot blanc is allowed in both the Mâconnais and wine labeled "Bourgogne Blanc", but plantings are nearly phased out of the Burgundy appellation. There are still many pinot blanc vineyards in Alsace, where the variety sometimes is called Klevner.

    Pinot Blanc cluster photo.Plantings are extensive in Italy, where the grape is known as pinot bianco. Many vintners there make relatively neutral-tasting, crisp, high-acid versions intended for early consumption. Due to its low aroma and high acid, high production clones of pinot blanc are also used for blending with muscat in Spumante.

    There are vineyards in both Germany and Austria, where pinot blanc may be called Weissburgunder and is even made into a trockenbeerenauslese version. There is also much pinot blanc planted in Eastern Europe.

    A considerable amount of pinot blanc is planted in Uruguay and Argentina. Most of the 1,000 or so acres of pinot blanc in California are planted in Monterey County.

    Aroma in pinot blanc is very light, non-distinct, nearly neutral. It is balanced with high acid and can be full-bodied. California winemakers frequently get fairly good results by applying the same techniques as they might to Chardonnay, barrel fermentation, lees stirring, full malolactic, etc.

    Pinot gris (or pinot grigio, as it is known in Italy) probably is the best-known "white" variant-clone of Pinot Noir. Ripe pinot gris grapes may be described as having colors from bluish grey to light pinkish brown. Clusters with a variety of colors are not unusual.

    The variety can attain a very high level of sweetness, but will begin to lose acid rapidly when near to fully ripe. Sometimes it is used to add richness and to lighten, when blended with Pinot Noir.

    Some pinot gris is grown in Burgundy, where it may be called pinot beurot. Where planted in Germany, it is known as ruländer. It is of little commercial significance in either locale. Friuli, in Italy, produces the largest quantity, but only two appellations have Pinot Gris stars in the wine quality galaxy: Alsace, France, the traditional base of Pinot Gris appreciation and Oregon, the newest Pinot Gris area to come to light.

    In Alsace, the pinot gris grape is called tokay d'Alsace (no relation to the Hungarian Tokay). The Alsatians value it as a full-bodied wine that can stand up to food without introducing any flavors of its own. In Italy, Pinot Grigio can be quite distinguished, coming from some producers, especially in the Friuli region, who devote attention to growing and vinifying. Unfortunately for its reputation, there are many other Italian Pinot Grigio makers that overcrop and harvest early to produce crisp, but vapid wines.

    Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio is usually delicately fragrant and mildly floral with lightly lemon-citrus flavors. Depending upon ripeness at harvest and vinification technique, Pinot Gris can be tangy and light, or quite rich, round and full bodied. Made in an appropriate style, it is one dry white wine that may even age well.

    The Riesling is considered on of the 'noble' grape varieties for wine making.  It can produce wines of high acidity and elegance in very cool growing conditions.  Its wines usually show fresh fruit flavors and a zesty character.  Riesling has the ability to produce wines that run the gamut from bone dry to very sweet but are usually made in dry of semi-dry styles.  It has perfumey aromas with peach and honeysuckle notes and can develop a 'petrol' nose as it ages.

    Riesling does best in cool climates and is very resistant to frost.  It is planted very widely in the northern European growing regions but is less popular in other areas of the world.

    In the right circumstances, some of the finest sweet wines in the world can be made from Riesling that has been affected by Botrytis Cinerea.  This mold attacks the skin of the grape and concentrates the sugars in the grape by allowing the water to evaporate.  This is especially true in the Moselle and Rhine river valleys of Germany as well as the Alsace region of France.  These wines are at the same time:  wonderful, rare, expensive and long-lived.


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    White Wine Grapes

    Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    Part 3 in the Series

    Albariño is the primary grape used to make dry white wine in the Rias Baixes (Lower Inlets) section of the Galicia region of Northwestern Spain. Considered by many to be Spain's premier quality white wine, Albariño is also known in Portugal as Alvarinho and often used as a component of Vinho Verde.

    Typically, wines made from Albariño are very aromatic, often described as having scents of almonds or almond paste, apples, peaches, citrus, and flowers or grass. Albariño wines are particularly suited to seafood due to their bracing acidity (Jancis Robinson calls it "razor-sharp."). This grape's inherent tartness should be embraced in youth, for wines made from albariño do not age well, and the vibrant aromas begin to noticeably fade within months of bottling.

    The Chardonnay grape variety is a classic white wine grape grown all around the world. The original fame of Chardonnay comes from it's success in the Burgundy and Champagne regions of France. White Burgundy must be made from the Chardonnay grape unless the label indicates it was made from a much less well known grape, Aligoté.

    Chardonnay takes oak well, and many higher priced Chardonnays are typically fermented and/or aged in oak barrels. When Chardonnay is aged in oak barrels, it may pick up vanilla overtones in its aromas and flavor.

    Chardonnay also ages well in the bottle, though it will not age as long as many red wines. It likes slightly cooler climates (warm days/cool nights) and develops less acidity than
    Sauvignon Blanc. Some producers put their Chardonnay (or some of it) through malolactic fermentation which reduces crispness and brings out a rich, buttery taste. This usually shortens the life of the wine as far as aging is concerned.

    Wines made from the Chardonnay grape are usually served chilled. Chardonnay matches very well with chicken and with dishes that are served with a lot of butter or a cream sauce. Most Chardonnays lack the acid to match as well with seafood as Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling.

    Grüner Veltliner is the most widely planted grape variety in Austria, accounting for 37 percent of the country's total vineyard area, about 50,875 acres. Most of these vines are in the large wine region known as Niederösterreich (Lower Austria), along the Danube River north of Vienna. It also grows in a few other Eastern European countries, such as Slovakia, Yugoslavia and the Czech Republic, but the variety is most closely associated with Austria, where it has been cultivated since Roman times. Simply put, Grüner Veltliner is the indigenous variety of Austria.

    It's ability to age beautifully is one of the many interesting characteristics that Grüner Veltliner shares with Riesling. Both varieties have naturally high acidity, an essential component of wine that will age well. With today's improved winemaking technology, it is still too soon to say how the modern versions of wines from either grape will age for the long term, but the indications are quite positive. And in the Wachau, the consensus seems to be that Grüner Veltliner will ultimately be the longer lived variety.

    Of the four principal varieties of the muscat grape, including Muscat of Alexandria, Muscat Blanc, Muscat Hamburg, and Muscat Ottonel, the most widely propagated and also most representative of the family character is Muscat Blanc, known as Muscat Frontignan in France and Moscato di Canelli in Italy.

    Each muscat produces, with subtle variation, wines with the distinct, intense, aromatic, sweet, and easily-recognized scent of muscat and, unusual for most wine varieties, that actually taste like grapes. Muscat of Alexandria and Muscat Hamburg are, in fact, cultivated as table grapes, as well as for making wine.

    Muscat is a very ancient variety and, with its strong and distinctive perfume, was probably one of the first to be identified and cultivated. Nearly every Mediterranean country has a famous wine based on muscat and varying from light and bone dry, to low-alcohol sparkling versions, to very sweet and alcoholic potions.


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    Monday, March 13, 2006

    I decided to go way back for a beer recipe. This style of beer was popular during the Medieval times and I thought that it would be a fun beer to make. After the recipe is a little history about this style of beer.
      3.3 pounds, wildflower honey
      3.3 pounds, amber malt extract
      2 pounds, wheat extract
      1 pound, light malt extract
      1/2 pound, 10L crystal malt
      2 ounces, Northern Brewer hops (8.0%), 30 minute boil
      2 ounces, Kent Goldings pellets (4.6%), 20 minute boil
      1/2 ounce, Kent Goldings pellets, 15 minute boil
      1/2 ounce, Kent Goldings pellets, finishing (10 minutes)
      Irish moss, last 5 minutes
      Whitbread ale yeast
      1/2 teaspoon, yeast energizer

      Step mash. Crush grains and add to 3 qts water (with gypsum dissolved) at 130F. Maintain mash temperature at 125 for 30 min (protein rest).
      Add 3 quarts of boiling water to mash and maintain temperature at 158 for 1 hour (saccharification rest).
      Drain wort and sparge grains with 5 quarts water at 170.
      Add to the wort in the brewpot the malt extract and brown sugar. Bring to a boil.
      After 30 minutes of boil, add 1/2 ounce of Northern Brewer hops and 1/2 ounce of Fuggles hops.
      After 15 more minutes, add an additional 1/2 ounce of each hop.
      Boil for a total of 1- -1/2 hours.
      Ten minutes before the end of the boil, add the Irish moss.
      Five minutes before the end of the boil, add 1 ounce of Fuggles hops (for aroma).
      Cool the wort and add to the primary fermenter with sufficient water to make 5 gallons.
      Pitch yeast when temp of wort is below 75. Ferment at 65 for 5 days. Rack to secondary and ferment for 15 more days at 65. Bulk prime with corn sugar before bottling.

    History of Braggot

    Braggot (aka Bracket, Braket, Brackett...) is a malted beverage made with honey and barley. It is usually categorized as a type of mead, except for when hops are added - then it is usually considered a beer. The honey/barley ratio should be about 50/50, in the amounts used in the recipe and in the taste of the braggot. Both should be clearly defined, with an overall sweetness. Braggot is a very old drink, and was very popular in Medieval Europe. Chaucer wrote about it, as did several other authors.

    Modern braggot is made usually as novelty ales by micro-breweries or by wineries specializing in Honeywine. Braggot is also very popular in home brewery for the same reasons it was popular in ancient times - they were as easy to brew as beer, but due to the honey were very high in alcohol content (generally around 10-12%).

    What's Braggot?

    by George de Piro

    A long time ago, before the days of television and internet surfing, people actually had to rely on social interaction for entertainment. The local pub was a place where people would gather to discuss life, argue relevant issues, and drink a little something to make the night seem warmer.

    Mead was a popular choice for those wanting more alcohol than the average beer. A fermented beverage made from honey, meads can exceed 10% alcohol by volume (ABV). They were sometimes spiced to add complexity to their flavor.

    Braggot was made by blending mead and beer, to produce a strong drink with unique flavors. This blending was often done right at the bar, but was sometimes performed by the brewer. Today there are few modern examples of braggot produced commercially.

    From Evans Ale

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