Your Source For Making Wine and Beer

Wine Grapes - Part 1

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Part 1 of the Series

Aah, Spring is just around the corner (in my neck of the woods) and the grapevines will soon be sprouting. Being that I have a considerable amount of time on my hands (not allowed to go back to work unit next week), I can take the time to put together a mini-series about the different types of grapes that are used in making wine. I'll try and cover a large variety and try to include some from each region of the world. Let's get started with some of the red grape varieties.

Barbera is a wine grape that is most used in Italy. It has some of the flavor characteristics you would find in a Cabernet Sauvignon but with higher acid levels. The higher acid levels make it an especially good match for full flavored foods with tomato sauces involved. Other characteristics of wines from this variety include light tannin levels, deep garnet colors and medium to full body.

Barbera is grown in many places around the world but is at it's best in northern Italy. In Italy, it makes Barbera d'Asti, Barbera di Alba and Barbera di Monferato, among others. In warmer growing areas it develops high sugar levels and because of this, the alcohol levels in the wine can be too high. It's primary use around the world is as a blending agent to bring increased acidity to the final wine.

Cabernet Franc is a wine grape that is often used in Bordeaux blends to add acidity and aroma. Cabernet Franc is usually used as a minor (10%-15%) component in a blend with other varieties. The only notable exception is at Chateau Cheval Blanc in Saint Emilion. Genetic research indicates that it is the parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. It makes wines that are lighter and fruitier than Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the premier wine grape in the world. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant grape in the Bordeaux region of France and has spread to every other major growing region. The Cabernet Sauvignon grape produces distinctive wines that are tannic and can have long aging potential. Average aging potential for Cabernet is 5 to 10 years in order to achieve peak flavor. It is usually blended with other varieties to make wines with increased complexity.

When you think of the finest red wines in the world, you often are thinking of wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Sauvignon is known in some parts of the world by other names including: Petit Cabernet, Sauvignon Rouge, and Vidure.

The Gamay grape variety makes its best wines in the Beaujolais region of France. Because its wines tend to be light, low in alcohol, high in acidity and very fruity, there is small margin for error before it becomes too thin, too light or too acidic. The wines are generally meant to be consumed within two years of bottling. Only the Crus of Beaujolais show much aging potential and none of them extend beyond 10 years. Cherry flavors dominate the nose and taste of young Beaujolais.

A wine named Passe-Tout-Grains is produced in Burgundy and is a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir.

6 Month Cheese Gift
Provolone 3 Lbs


Cranberry Wine Recipe

Crushin’ the net yesterday afternoon and stumbled on this recipe for Cranberry wine. Even though it is too late to enjoy it for this past holiday season, the cranberries are plentiful in the stores and now is the time to buy them. You can replace the Sultanas with golden raisins.

Cranberry Wine

  • Cranberries 1 lb
  • Water 1 Gallon
  • Sultanas (minced) 1.5 lb
  • Sugar 2 lb
  • Yeast
  • Yeast Nutrient
  • Citric Acid 0.5 tsp

Place the minced sultanas in a fermenting bin and cover in 2 liters of boiling water. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the acid and allow to cool. Cover the cranberries with boiling water and crush all of the berries. Pour into the fermenting bin and allow to cool. Once cooled, add the pectic enzyme and stir well. Cover and leave to stand for 24 hours. Add the yeast and nutrient and stir well and then cover and move to a warm place to ferment. After 10 days, strain off into a carboy and fit a bung and airlock and then leave in a warm place to ferment out. Clear and bottle the wine as usual once fermentation has completed.

If you happen to have a bottle of cranberry wine, you might want to pair it with this recipe:

Herbs & Goat Cheese


Dry Wine

A wine lacking or deficient in residual sugar. A wine becomes dry when all or most of the sugar within it has been converted through fermentation into alcohol and carbon dioxide. A wine is usually perceived as dry when residual sugar is at or below a specific gravity of 0.999.

Source: Jack Keller


Hydrometer Correction Chart

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Did I ever tell you I hate winter. Cold weather really sucks. Having a cold sucks. Having a cold in the cold weather really, really sucks.

Well enough bitchin'. One thing that I always find handy when making beer or wine is a hydrometer correction chart. I usually pitch beer yeast at higher temperatures than the 70 degrees that most people recommend. So for me, this little chart is an essential.


Noah Body 2008 Presidential Ale

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It's not even 2008 and the race for the next President is on. Personally, I don't like any of the candidates from either the Democrats or the Republicans. So I've decided to support Noah Body for 2008. Reason why? Because of this great scotch ale recipe. Strong and bold, just like any President should be.

Actually, this recipe is from "The Homebrewer's Recipe Guide" page 110. I just thought it would be great to mix a little politics with beer. Just like during the Revolutionary War days. So grab a tankard and check this recipe out.

10 pounds light malt extract
1 pound crystal malt 40L
2 ounces chocolate malt
1 cup light brown sugar
2 ounces Williamette hops
1/2 teaspoon gypsum
1 teaspoon Irish moss
1 package yeast (Scottish ale is preferred)
3/4 cup corn sugar

Steep crushed crystal and choclate malts at 155 degrees for 30 minutes

Remove spent grains and add the malt extract, brown sugar, gypsum and hops

Boil for 1 hour addint the Irish Moss during the last 10 minutes

Cool wort and pitch yeast

Ferment for 10 to 14 days and then transfer to secondary fermenter for 7 to 10 days

Bottle using the corn sugar and age for about 2 weeks

Learn about the flag by clicking here.


Beer Linking

Thursday, January 18, 2007

50 beers to drink before you die, Part 1

A while back the BBC posted a feature titled "50 things to eat before you die" and I thought at the time that this would make a good topic for beer. So in the spirit of adventure and living life to the fullest, etc. etc., I'm coming up with the 50 beers to drink before you die, in ten weekly installments listing five beers each (in no particular order, other than whatever theme I fit them into).

Read More at the Brew Site.

Skunking Beer Experiment

We took five beers - four low carb beers plus one standard beer - and exposed them to sunlight. You'll be amazed to learn how quickly the sunlight completely destroyed the beer's flavor.

We have a friend who makes beer and works in a beer home brew shop. We brought him over for his expert palate, along with his beer drinking wife. We therefore had four tasters for this test.

Read More at Bella Online

How drinking beer can land you a career

VANCOUVER -- Like many of his fellow students, Matt Phillips enjoyed a few cold beers in the mid-1990s while attending Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B.

But Mr. Phillips, 32, took the pastime a step further and produced his own beer. He even incorporated it into his microbiology studies.

A little more than a decade later, Mr. Phillips has gone from making home brew to becoming the craft-beer-industry version of a top chef, attracting praise for his innovation and blend of flavours.

Read More at The Globe and Mail

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Update on Blog

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

There must be a bite of truth in Darwin’s theory of evolution. Everything tends to evolve into something different and this blog is one of them.

I started this blog in October of 2005 with the purpose of providing information on how to make wine and beer. Being cheap, I started it on Blogger and started to post. Soon afterwards, I found Adsense and thought that I would soon be an “internet millionaire” by pasting ads all over the blog. Well, that didn’t happen, so things had to evolve.

In January 2006, I got the idea that posting 3 times a day will bring tons of traffic. Recipes and terminology began to appear as posts. Tons of posts but nothing that was top notch as far as article quality goes. So things had to evolve.

End of Spring 2006, I started to publish on Tuesday’s and Thursdays. First thing that really worked. I wasn’t burned out from posting, ideas came easier and articles had more quality content then the previous months. I got the bright idea of starting 2 new blogs. Beer Recipes being one that was dedicated to nothing but beer recipes and Wine Recipes dedicated to wine recipes. Publishing one post a week on Monday’s was also a workable idea for these two blogs. Life was good.

Fast forward to Fall 2006. New Blogger came out along with all of it’s neat features. What a great way to organize all the content on this blog. Just start a few more blogs and re-publish some content and get it organized. So suddenly, I had this blog along with 6 others to run, publish and maintain. Almost a full-time job to keep things up and running smoothly. A bit too much, so I decided to take a month off to enjoy life and re-think how I wanted to go with this.

December 2006, decided to start my own domain along with switching the software that is used for posting. Spent the last 2 weeks of December setting up the domain, tweaking the template and transferring a few posts. Currently, I am in the process of transferring some more posts to the new domain and plan to start posting on a regular basis beginning the last week of January.

So, what has this all evolved into? I’ll be keeping Beer Recipes and Wine Recipes as ongoing concerns and will continue posting to them every Monday. Making Homemade Beer, Making Homemade Wine, Beer Terms, and Wine Terms are all basically history. This blog, Making Homemade Wine and Beer is scheduled to continue till the end of May. It all really depends on how well the new Making Homemade Wine and Beer or as I call it MHWB dot com goes. I’ll be posting the same material on both until the end of May.

Also, I’ve decided that the posts on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s will have the following format.

· Short article on wine or beer terminology.

· Wine or beer recipe along with a link to a food recipe. My attempt at pairing the drink with the food.

· Feature article

Today is sort of a sneak peek into the new format. This being the feature article. Hopefully this format is one that I’ll keep for a long while. If you have an questions, ideas or comments, please let me know.


Organic Red Ale

This recipe is from Seven Bridges Cooperative.

The recipe is called Seven Bridges Red Ale.

Ingredients for 5 gals:

7# Organic malt extract
1/2 # Briess Organic caramel 60 oL malt
1/4 # Briess Organic caramel 120 oL malt
1/8 # Briess Organic chocolate malt
1/2 oz. Organic New Zealand Pacific Gem hop pellets- bittering (34 IBU)
1 oz. Organic American Cascade hop pellets- flavor (6 IBU)
1/2 oz. Organic New Zealand Hallertaur hop pellets- aroma
Ale Yeast: Wyeast #1056 American Ale or White Labs #001 California Ale
For bottling: 1 1/4 cup Dry Malt Extract (DME)*
Optional ingredient: 1/2 teaspoon Irish Moss

International Bittering Units (IBU’s): 40
Original Gravity (O.G.): 1.048- 1.054
Final Gravity (F.G.): 1.010-1.016
Average alcohol content (% by volume): 5.2%

*If you prefer, you may use 1 cup of organic malt extract or 3/4 cup corn sugar (not included in this kit) or kraeusen with 1 quart of unfermented wort for bottling.


For expanded directions, go to brewing procedures for extract recipes.

1. Make a grain "tea" with the grains using a saucepan & strainer or a grain bag.

2. Add the grain "tea" to your brew kettle along with 5 gallons of water .

3. Add the malt extract and bring to a boil.

4. Once the wort has reached a rolling boil add 1/2 oz. NZ Pacific Gem hop pellets (bittering) and boil for 40 minutes.

5. Add 1 oz. American Cascade hops (flavor) and boil for 15 minutes. If desired, add the Irish Moss flakes for the last 20 minutes of the boil.

6. Add 1/2 oz. NZ Hallertaur hops (aroma), boil 5 more minutes, & turn the heat off. Cool the wort to 65- 75 oF.

7. Transfer the chilled wort into your sanitized primary fermenting vessel.

8. Shake or stir (with a sanitized spoon!) the unfermented beer vigorously to add oxygen. Add the yeast and ferment in a cool dark place for 3-5 days at 60- 70 oF in the primary fermenter.

9. If you have a secondary fermenter, transfer the beer to it when fermentation activity has subsided (after 4-6 days).

10. Ferment for an additional 7- 14 days, or until fermentation is complete.

11. Bottle the beer and let condition in the bottle for 1- 3 weeks.

Pair it with this recipe from What We're Eating : Sirloin w/ a Creamy Wild Mushroom and Sherry Sauce



The solution of grain sugars strained from the mash tun. At this stage, regarded as “sweet wort”, later as brewed wort, fermenting wort and finally beer.

Wort is the liquid extracted by the process of worting, the mashing of malted barley to use in brewing beer. Adding other grains to the barley is used for some varietal beers (wheat beer and oatmeal stout, for example) or, more commonly, to cheapen the ingredients, as in the case of most beer produced by large breweries in North America. It is known firstly as sweet wort and then hopped wort after hops have been added at the boiling process. Wort contains sugars that will be fermented by yeast added once the solution has cooled down sufficiently to allow the yeast to survive.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Anchor Steam Recipe

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Anchor Steam

It's been a very long time since I last had an Anchor Steam. Matter of fact it has been so long, that I can't even remember when. It's an interesting beer with an interesting history. Here is a short excerpt from the Anchor Brewing Company.

Anchor Brewery inherited a long tradition of brewing what had come to be known as steam beer, one of the quaint old nicknames for beer brewed along the West Coast under primitive conditions and without ice. Today "steam" is a trademark of Anchor Brewing.

And here's the recipe.


6 2/3 pounds Light Malt Extract

8 ounces Crystal Malt 40L

1 1/2 ounces Williamette Hops for bittering

1 1/2 ounces Cascade Hops for aroma

1 1/2 ounces Cascade Hops for dry hopping

2 teaspoons Gypsum

1 teasppon Irish Moss

1 Package American Ale Yeast

3/4 cup Corn Sugar for Priming

Place crushed malt in water and steep at 155 degrees for 30 minutes

Remove spent grains

Add malt extract, gypsum, and Williamette hops, boil for 1 hour adding Irish Moss for last 15 minutes

Turn off heat and add 1 1/2 ounces Cascade hops and let steep for 15 minutes

Cool wort and pitch yeast

Ferment for 5 to 7 days.

Transfer to secondary fermenter and add 1 1/2 ounces Cascade hops.

Ferment for 7 days

Bottle using corn sugar and age in bottle for 7 days


Cleaning Tips

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I'm back from my "posting vacation" and ready to start the new year. I have planned some changes for this site over the next year and will be posting about them at a later time

With, the start of a new year it is time to make a "clean" sweep of last year's mistake. And, speaking of cleaning, cleaning your equipment should be one of your top priorities prior to making any wine. Cleaning is different than sanitizing in that cleaning is just removing the visible dirt and soil from your equipment. Sanitizing is the killing of the bacteria that can produce off flavored or bad wine. For a list of sanitizers, check out the future home of Making Homemade Wine and Beer, by clicking here.

1. Wash your hand before working with equipment.

2. Avoid wearing dirty clothes.

3. Before using equipment, inspect, rinse, clean and sanitize, and rinse again.

4. After using equipment, inspect, rinse, clean and sanitize, and rinse again.

5. Before using racking cans, filters, or bottle fillers, clean and sanitize.

6. Avoid starting a siphon with your mouth.

7. Use fresh, dry dishtowels.

I know, pretty basic stuff, but it usually is the small things that we do that makes or brakes a wine.



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