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Winemaking Terms - Petillant to Pomace

Sunday, April 30, 2006


French term for a mildly effervescent wine causing a slight sensation on the tongue, but not enough carbonation to produce bubbles in the glass the way Champagne or other sparkling wines do. Frizzante is Italian and synonymous.

A chemical shorthand for [p]otential of [H]ydrogen, used to express relative acidity or alkalinity in solution, in terms of strength rather than amount, on a logarithmic scale. A pH of 7 is neutral; above 7 is increasing alkalinity and below 7 is increasing acidity. Thus, a pH of 3 is 10 times more acidic than a ph of 4.

French for a wine which has a slight tendency towards turning to vinegar, and / or a wine which is showing a secondary fermentation. Strictly speaking, it is a purely tactile sensation which is noticed when the wine touches the mouth.

The residue of pressed pulp, skins and pips of apples, grapes or any fruit after pressing. When pressed under great pressure, a pomace cake or brick results. Pomace from appropriate fruit can be ameliorated with sugar, acid, water, and yeast nutrients (possibly acid and tannin will also be required) and a second wine can be made. The pomace provides enough flavor for a reduced volume of wine and should contain enough viable yeast (assuming the pulp was pressed after an initial period of fermentation) to continue fermentation.

Source: Jack Keller


Beer and Wine News

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Some fun articles worth reading.

The beer buzz: Facts about beer and brewing

  • The world's largest resource of organic homebrewing ingredients and recipes is Seven Bridges Cooperative Homebrew Supply in Santa Cruz.
  • July is American Beer Month.
  • Nearly 30,000 people attended the 2005 Great American Beer Festival, an event held each fall in Denver. Dubbed "the Napa Valley of beer" by beer experts, Denver also hosts the World Beer Cup.
  • The oldest known beer recipe written on a Sumerian clay tablet dates from 4000 B.C.
  • Women were the first brewers and continued as the primary brewers in Europe until the 1700s, with the Industrial Revolution and the rise of commercial brewing.
  • In ancient Babylon, special priestesses brewed beer as a drink for royalty — both for this life and to be left with their bodies as an afterlife refreshment.
  • Beer was originally considered food; the Egyptian hieroglyph for "food" combined the symbols for "beer" and "bread."
  • Early cultures drank beer through a straw to filter out bits of residue; royalty used straws made of gold.
  • Bad beer smells: a wet newspaper odor indicates oxidation and "skunkiness" can result from sunlight damage hence brown bottles to protect beer.

More Fun Facts at Santa Cruz Style

Home brew "hobby" grows up

ORANGE GROVE -- Squirt, buzz, clank.

Those were the sounds at one local working farm as its owners prepared for this weekend's Piedmont Farm Tour.

In what sounded like spitting tobacco from between your teeth, the drip irrigation system spurted water onto young roots. A tractor mowed an area that would become a play area for young visitors, and insects did their necessary song and dance routine for Mother Nature.

And Andy Zeman, who owns Benjamin Vineyards & Winery with his wife, Nancy, was busy Monday morning putting up a tent in preparation for the tour.

More at the Chapel Hill News

Harnessing the power of barley

A proposed new power plant could simultaneously help an Indian tribe, a Shakopee company, farmers and the environment -- by burning waste from malt making.
A company that's an integral link in the beer brewing chain teaming up with an Indian tribe to build a power plant fueled by barley hulls?

It might seem an unlikely partnership. But together, Rahr Malting Co. of Shakopee and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community hope to cure their fossil fuel headaches, and help the environment while they're at it.

Rahr and the tribe have announced plans for an eco-friendly, $40 million power plant that would generate 15 megawatts of electricity and 125 million BTU of heat per hour -- enough heat and electricity to run Rahr's malting operation, and then some.

More at the Star-Tribune

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Winemaking Terms - Pateux to Perle


French for pasty, sticky. A wine of thick substance which fills the mouth and seems to stick to the palate.

Pectic Enzyme :
The enzymes such as pectinase that hydrolyze the large pectin molecules.


A heavy, colloidal substance found in most ripe fruit which promotes the formation of gelatinous solutions and hazes in the finished wine. Fermenting fruit pulps with high pectin content, such as apples, should be treated with pectic enzyme, especially if the pulp is boiled to extract the fruit flavor (boiling releases the pectin, while pectic enzymes destroy it).


An enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of pectin molecules.


A spicy odor sometimes found in white table wines and perhaps related to sub-threshold sulfur dioxide. Not considered a fault unless excessive.


French term for a lightly effervescent wine, less than pétillant. Mead

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Source: Jack Keller


Winemaking Terms - Oechsle to Pasteurize

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


German standard scale for fixing a wine's sugar content.


The science of winemaking; from the Greek oinos, wine.

A wine having no vices and no virtues. Applied to vins du pays, usually natural wines without any fortification.

The process of reaction between many molecular components of wine with oxygen, resulting eventually in in a darkening (browning) of the wine and the development of undesirable odors and flavors.

The process of killing bacteria by heating wine or must to moderately high temperatures for a short period of time and then rapidly cooling it to 40°F or lower.

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Source: Jack Keller


Brix Scale

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

In beer making you usually hear of Original Gravities being 1.0 something and some winemakers will do the same.  More common in winemaking is the Brix Scale.  So, what is the Brix scale and why should I know it.  Basically, it measures the sugar content of your juice and knowing that you can get an idea of how much alcohol your wine will produce.  Here are a couple of definitions:
Brix scale from

A system of measurement, given in degrees, of the amount of sugar present in grape juice. Similar systems are used in different countries, eg. the Balling, Baumé and Oechsle scales, all providing sugar content measurements that can be used to approximate the final alcohol content of wine being produced. See also must weight.

Another definiton from

Balling: The name of a density scale for measuring sugar content in water base solutions. Since grape juice is primarily sugar and water, the balling scale was used for a quick and easy "sugar analysis" of juice. The Balling scale contained a slight inaccuracy however, and it was corrected by Dr Brix. Today the Brix scale is in actual use, but the terms Balling and Brix often are used interchangeably.

The Balling (Brix) scale is simplicity itself: Each degree is equivalent to 1 percent of sugar in the juice. For example, grape juice which measures 15.5 degrees on the Balling or Brix scale contains about 15.5% sugar.

Now that you know the Brix of your juice, you can easily fiqure out how much alcohol your juice will make by using this formula:

Brix count x .575

So if your brix count is 23, take 23 x .575, which equals 13.23.  Your wine should be slightly over 13% alcohol content whenever it is done fermenting.

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Winemaking Terms - Mycoderma to Off


A bacteria that converts ethyl alcohol into acetic acid and ethyl acetate, resulting in a vinegary flavor and odor.


The smell of a wine, combining both its aroma and bouquet, thereby revealing the character of the base from which it was made and the character of its maturation.


Food for the yeast, containing nitrogenous matter, yeast-tolerant acid, vitimins, and certain minerals. While sugar is the main food of the yeast, nutrients are the "growth hormones," so to speak.


The process of immersing oak chips, shavings, particles, cubes, "beans," or sticks into a wine to simulate having aged the wine in an oak barrel or keg. The oak may be natural or it may be toasted (light, medium or heavy toast). Oaking allows young wines to soften and absorb some of the wood's flavors and tannins. However, most light, delicate wines should not be oaked.

Oenosteryl Tablets:
A proprietary product containing potassium bicarbonate in a premeasured amount and used for acid reduction. Use only as directed by the manufacturer.


An unexpected, nondistinct, slightly offensive odor or taste in a wine and considered a minor fault.

Source: Jack Keller


Beer Convention

Monday, April 24, 2006

I got to attend the annual Pennsylvania Malt Beverage Distributor's Association's meeting in Pittsburgh over the past weekend.  Besides having training in alcohol laws and underage drinking prevention, they also have some fun things.  I attended the Beer School seminar, which was to teach beer sellers how beer was made.   The idea being, if you know how it is made, then you can better inform your customers.  The class was run by a couple of home brewers and there were a couple of micro brewer's brewmasters there.
After, the seminar, there were numerous booths set-up with samples from quite a few breweries.  Of course, the major breweries were there, but the Pennsylvania Room was the best.  I got to sample beers from the following Pennsylvania mircobreweries:
The best thing about the microbreweries is that they usually post on their websites what ingredients are in each beer.  This allows us homebrewers a chance to replicate the many fine beers that are being made.  Check out some of the sites.

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Winemaking Terms - Mousy to Mute

An disagreeable odor in wines made from late-harvested grapes or low-acid musts and caused by bacteria.
Muscovado Sugar:
A British specialty brown sugar, very dark brown, with a particularly strong molasses flavor. The crystals are slightly coarser and stickier in texture than "regular" brown sugar. Also know as Barbados Sugar.


The combination of basic ingredients, both solid and liquid, from which wine is made. The liquid content of must is called liquor or simply juice, while the solids, when pushed to the surface by rising carbon dioxide, is called the cap. When the alcohol content reaches 8 or 9%, the liquid component is more accurately referred to as wine.


French for stopping fermentation.

A partially fermented grape juice whose fermentation has been stopped deliberately. This juice is then used to sweeten or body-fortify another wine.

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Source: Jack Keller


Hombrew Term of the Week

Hopback - A vessel that is filled with hops to act as a filter for removing the break material from the finished wort.

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Blog Shorts of Interest

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Occasionally, I like to share some posts from other blogs that have me listed on their blogroll. For me, it allows me to see what is going on in the world of wine. Besides, sometimes it is more fun to read what other people are writing. So enjoy these four excerpts and if you want to read more, just click on the links.

2002 Bonny Doon Madiran Heart of Darkness

In anticipation of a steak for dinner, I stopped by a newly remodeled wine shop in the area and picked up a bottle of the 2002 Bonny Doon Madiran Heart of Darkness . I hadn't seen or heard of it before. I do love Bonny Doon wines, but they're a little scarce around here. The label bore blood-spattered designs by the great Ralph Steadman , as well as a map on the back that was similarly spattered. It seemed to point to an area in France near the Spanish border, but there was no other information.
Read More at Wine by Benito

Wine Producer Switches to Screw Caps

This is definitely interesting: the Quinta do Cotto vineyard is switching from cork to aluminum bottle caps . Considering pretty much all cork comes from Portugal, this is a pretty gutsy move for him. Miguel Champalimaud, the owner of the vineyard, doesn't seem to say anything about whether corks or better or not for wine. Instead, he seems only to say that the move would save about 25 cents per bottle and that cork prices are now too high.
Read More at Days That End in Y

Put Down That Glass Of Wine. It Might Be Bad For You.

Filed under: Wine News

My dad has been slowly switching from beer to wine. I'd like to say it's my influence, but I can hardly take full credit. Certainly one of the motivating factors has been all the great health news about drinking red wine in moderation. I used to keep track of all the health benefits of red wine, but they got so numerous that I had to stop, otherwise I would be reporting several new ones per week. Literally. One of the longest standing research results about red wine's health properties has been its benefits for the heart, specifically it's tendency to... continue reading . at Vinography

Don't know Bordeaux? Check out

OK, so you've heard about how complicated learning old-world wines is, right? I personally, even after over a decade of enjoy and learning, have TONS to learn about old-world wines. And, admittedly, I will ask the sommelier for recommendations on those wines, particularly French, because I'll spend a couple bills Verre_de_vinon a wine to go with a dinner but I'm not going to waste that on a "guess". This frustration with old-world wines and learning the regions makes the learning curve even longer (at least for me).

Read More at Vivi's Wine Journal

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WineMaking Terms - Mercaptan to Methylated Spiriits


The skunky odor of methyl and ethyl sulfides.


Synonym for methyl alcohol, found in very small traces in wine and produced during fermentation.

Methylated Spirits:
Denatured alcohol. Used to check if a haze is pectin in origin. Add 3-4 fluid ounces of methylated spirit to a fluid ounce of wine. If jelly-like clots or strings form, then the problem is most likely pectin and should be treated with pectic enzyme.

Source: Jack Keller


Winemaking Terms - Maturation to Mead

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


The process of aging in bulk or in bottles or both, to achieve smoothness (in acidity), mellowness (in tannins and other phenols) and unique character and complexity. The major activities in this process are the chemical reduction of certain compounds into others, primarily by hydrolysis or oxidation, and the joining together of short molecular chains into longer ones. Volatile esters, ethers and acids create bouquet, which is not the same as aroma.


A fermented beverage made from honey, water, acid, yeast nutrients, and yeast. Tannin may also be added, but the only flavor is derived from the honey itself. Different honeys, meaning honeys made from different nectar sources (flowers), yield different flavors. Thus, a clover mead is made with honey produced primarily from the nectar of clover flowers, while a heather mead is made with honey produced primarily from the nectar of heather flowers. There are three kinds of "true" mead:

Dry Mead contain no flavoring other than honey and is made using about 2-1/2 pounds of honey per U.S. gallon of mead.
Sack Mead contains no flavoring other than honey but is sweeter than most other meads and is made using about 4 pounds of honey per U.S. gallon of mead.
Small Mead contains no flavoring other than honey but is made using only about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds of honey per U.S. gallon of mead and is fermented using an ale yeast. A small mead is closer to ale than to wine, while both dry and sack meads are closer to wine.

 A dditionally, there are other beverages made with honey that are generally referred to as meads but indeed have their own names. Just a few of these (there are scores of them) are:

Balche is a Mayan mead made with Balche bark
Bochet is a sack mead that has been burned or charred
Bracket is mead and ale combined
Braggot is mead made with honey and malt
Capsicumel is mead made with honey and chile peppers
Clarre is another term for Pyment and is a mead (actually, a Melomel) made with honey and grapes or grape juice
Cyser is a sack mead (actually, a Melomel) made with honey and apples (or apple juice) and is closely related to hard
cider. Another name for this kind of mead is Cyster.
Hippocras is a spiced pyment
Hydromel is a French drink of watered-down or diluted mead
Meddeglyn is a Welsh spiced mead

Melomel is a mead made with honey and fruit. Another name for this type of mead is Mulsum

Metheglin is a sack mead made with honey and herbs and/or spices. Also spelled Metheglyn

Morat is a sack mead (actually, a Melomel) made with honey and mulberries

Omphacomel is a mead made with honey and verjuice (the juice of unripened or immature grapes)

Oxymel is mead mixed or blended with vinegar

Perry is a sack mead (actually, a Melomel) made with honey and pears

Pyment is a mead (actually, a Melomel) made with honey and grapes or grape juice. Another name for this type of mead is Clarre

Rhodamel is a mead (actually, a Metheglin) made with honey and rose petals

T'ej is a mead made with honey and hops

Traditional is mead made with honey, water, acid, yeast nutrients, and yeast only

Varietal is a Traditional mead made with a pure variety of honey, such as Clover, Fireweed or Heather

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Source: Jack Keller


Aging Wine with Oak Chips

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Over the weekend, I opened a bottle of 3 year old Burgundy wine that I had made. It was one of the first of my wines that was not made with store bought materials. It was also one of the first where I used oak chips to impart an oak flavoring. Well, needless to say, the oak flavoring is rather strong. Hey, being a "newbie" at the time how would I know how much to use. The article below (from EC Kraus) gives a good overview on oaking. Two other articles worth reading are at Grapestompers and Winemaker Magazine.






It has long been understood that aging red wines in oak casks improves its flavor and character much more so than just aging these wines in glass or plastic. French winemakers have employed this method for centuries, the result being wines of remarkable complexity and flavor. The insides of these barrels are lightly toasted.



This brings out a velvety, sweet character in the wood that through time is captured by the wine that is stored within. The warm texture that is added to these wines is without question an alluring improvement. While barrel aging is without question the ultimate way to age red wines, there is another option that has close to the same effect. We call them Toasted Oak Chips. They are simply chips of oak that have been evenly toasted to match the toasting of a wine barrel. These chips of wood are the same special type of oak wood that is used to produce wine barrels. Using the correct type of oak wood is important.



Some oak varieties will do more damage than good to a wine. Some release more tannic acid than others, producing a wine with immeasurable harshness and bitterness.



It is also important that the oak wood be air-dried for several years so as to become "sap clear". Their use is very straight forward. The only preparation necessary is to boil the oak chips in water for about 10 minutes. Once your wine has cleared and is ready for aging, rack it into a clean container and add the Toasted Oak Chips - typically 2 to 4 ounces for every 5 gallons - and allow to age 3 to 9 months.



How much you use and the amount of time it is given to age in the wine varies along with the character of the wine. In general, the fuller or more hearty the wine is the more wood and aging it will required to reach its ultimate flavor and balance. Just sample the wine every 3 to 4 weeks to monitor the wine's aging progress.

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Winemaking Terms -Madre Vino to Maltase

Madre Vino:

Spanish for Mother Wine, grape juice or must boiled down to one third or a quarter of its original bulk and used in parts of Spain and France for the improvement and fortification of young fully fortified wines. In Italy it is called calamich.

Malic Acid:
A naturally occurring acid found in apples, cherries, grapes grown in less sunny regions, and certain other fruit. It is the presence of malic acid, along with Bacillus gracile, which sometimes produces malo-lactic fermentation.

Malolactic Fermentation:
MLF for short, this is a bacterial fermentation which can occur after yeast fermentation winds down or finishes. The bacterium Bacillus gracile converts malic acid into lactic acid and carbon dioxide. Lactic acid is much less harsh than malic and thereby softens and smooths the wine, but the wine also is endowed with a cleaner, fresher taste. In addition, diacetyl (or biacetyl) is produced as a byproduct, which resembles the smell of heated butter and adds complexity to wine. MLF is a positive event in some cases and has a downside in others--the fruitiness of wines undergoing MLF is diminished and sometimes off-odors can result. To ensure MLF, the wine should not be heavily sulfited and it should be inoculated with an MLF culture. If MLF occurs after bottling, it produces a slightly carbonated wine which may or may not be appreciated.


An enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis maltose to glucose. 
Source: Jack Keller

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