Your Source For Making Wine and Beer

Vegan Wine

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Vegan wine is wine made without animal products. As such it can be part of a vegan diet. While wine is essentially made from grapes, on occasion animalic products are used in small amounts in the production process. Wineries might use animal-derived products as finings. To remove proteins, yeasts, and other organic particles which are in suspension during the making of the wine, a fining agent is added to the top of the vat. As it sinks down, the particles adhere to the agent, and are carried out of suspension. None of the fining agent remains in the finished product sold in the bottle, and not all wines are fined. All Kosher wines are vegan.
Source: Wikipedia



This is something that I really never gave much thought to. Generally, I don't use any finings in my wines primarily because I think just a little bit of sediment leaves some extra flavor. For those of you that want to try a vegan wine prior to making one, check out this list.

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Earth Day, Elections, Tax Freedom Day Thoughts

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

With today being Earth Day and Election Day (here in Pennsylvania) and tomorrow being Tax Freedom Day, I just felt that it was time to sit down and evaluate how making your own wine and beer relates to all 3 days.

Earth Day - The biggest thing this Earth Day is the climate changes and our carbon footprint. Personally, I'm still not sure on the whole global warming/climate change thing but carbon footprinting is something that I can see. If possible, you should grow as many of the ingredients for your wines and beers. Hops and grapes are rather easy to grow and harvest and will cut down on use of fossil fuels (harvesting and transportation). Another benefit is that you can control the amount of chemicals that go on into your beer or wine.

Election Day - It is our duty as a good citizen to vote on election day. Today our problems are a lot more complex and laws making wine and beer and nowhere on the candidate's radar. But a little over 200 years ago, it was a major issue in Western Pennsylvania. The Whiskey Rebellion was all about taxes and taxes and government spending should be something everybody should be concerned about. Take a little time and find out more prior to casting your vote.

Tax Freedom Day - is the first day of the year in which a nation as a whole has theoretically earned enough income to fund its annual tax burden. It is annually calculated in the United States by the Tax Foundation—a Washington, D.C.-based tax research organization. Every dollar that is officially considered income by the U.S. government is counted, and every payment to the U.S. government that is officially considered a tax is counted. Taxes at all levels of government—local, state and federal—are included. Tomorrow, April 23 is tax freedom day, the day start keeping the money that we make. Personally, I think paying 30% of my income to the government is way too much money. I would prefer 15% or less. I am thankful though that I don't live in some other countries where 40 - 60% is the norm. Enjoy your tax free day by drinking some of your homemade wine or beer.

Ok, enough of my thoughts and rants. What do you think about these subjects?

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How To Prune Raspberries and Blackberries

Thursday, April 17, 2008

This is a nice video on how to prune your raspberries and blackberries. Both make fine wines.


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How To Brew Antioxidant Rich Beer

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My son sent me an e-mail about this brew that he found on Wikihow. It's a very interesting article and closely mirrors my techniques when brewing. Here's a snippet of the article.

Beer is a source of readily absorbed antioxidants. Scientific studies indicate that the moderate consumption of beer, as well as beer-specific antioxidants, may help to promote cardiovascular health [1] and help to reduce the incidence of certain types of cancer.[2] Beer that is particularly high in antioxidants may have a longer shelf life, as it may be more resistant to oxidation.[3] This should result in higher quality, more stable sensory characteristics, such as flavor and aroma. Certain hop polyphenol antioxidants can also contribute to desirable foam stability. Beer is a complex beverage that is brewed using various ingredients and various types of equipment. Therefore, beer can be brewed to contain greater concentrations of antioxidants.


If you want to read the steps on to make this beer, you can read more here.

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Maddalena Wines From The San Antonio Winery

Thursday, April 10, 2008

San Antonio Winery

Since 1917, The San Antonio Winery has added flair and flavor to celebrations of friends and families throughout Los Angeles and the West.

Today, it is the last of more than one hundred producing wineries that once lined the Los Angeles River Basin. It is a popular restaurant and legendary banquet location, a comprehensive tasting room, and an international wine shop with hundreds of domestic and imported labels.

The winery is an oasis of good living in the heart of the city.

Family matriarch, Maddalena Riboli, has inspired both a restaurant and a brand of high quality varietal wines from California’s Central Coast. Grapes are grown in renowned viticultural regions that include Monterey and Paso Robles. Maddalena Vineyard features balanced wines with ripe fruit flavors and an elegant finish. They include Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscat Canelli and White Zinfandel.

Living in Central Pennsylvania and having never visited LA, I don’t get a lot of chances to try this winery’s fine selection of wines but the nice people at San Antonio Winery sent my a couple samples to try.

Also, being a home winemaker my style of evaluations are completely different than those done by more “experienced” wine tasters. You won’t find that it has such and such a nose, or nice legs, etc. My rating scale is this: I’d spend my money on it, Maybe, Not worth it. Plain and simple, no numbers, no in-depth descriptions.

Maddalenna Wines

The two wines that I sampled are:

Maddalenna Sauvignon Blanc 2006

Maddalenna Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

The first one that I tried was the Sauvignon Blanc. Honestly, I am not a white wine drinker because white wines are usally too light for my palette. I would not purchase a white wine for my own consumption, but if I had to buy one this would me the one that I would buy. Biggest reason is that it did not have that “yucky” white wine taste.

Maddalenna Sauvignon Blanc 2006 - rating - I’d spend my money on it.

The second one, Cabernet Sauvignon, all I can say is WOW!!! I haven’t tasted a wine that good since Valentine’s Day 2002 when I took my late wife out to a very nice resturant. This is a definite spend your money on it if your a red wine drinker. Hey, winery guys, could you send a case of this for me sample.

Maddalenna Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - rating - A definite spend my money on it.

Overall, I was impressed with the quality of both wines. Seems like the family takes pride in making an excellent product. Too bad that it is a special order here in Pennsylvania because I could drink massive quantities of these wines while waiting for my wines to mature. Good job San Antonio.

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Loos Lucy Ginger Beer

Tuesday, April 08, 2008





This recipe is taken from Victory Beer Recipes

4 1/2 pounds Laaglander light malt extract
1 1/2 pounds honey
3 ounces freshly grated ginger root
1 ounce Cascade hops - 60 minutes
1/2 ounce Cascade hops - 30 minutes
zest of 4 oranges - 10 minutes
1/2 ounce Cascade hops - 2 minutes
American lager liquid yeast
3/4 cup corn sugar to prime

Boiling time 60 minutes
Primary fermentation 6 days at 50 degrees
Seconadry fermentation 13 days at 50 degrees

Spices added at beginning of boil, orange zest for last 10 minutes of boil.

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Easy Beer Labels

Thursday, April 03, 2008



Normally I don't make labels for my beer (I mark the crown), but every so often I make batches of beer to give away. For those batches, I always like to make the bottles look attractive by putting on labels. I've always used Photoshop or Microsoft Publisher to make my labels and spent hours making them. I made the label above in less than minute at Beer Label Builder (sponsor of this post).

Not only did I find this as a real time saver but if your making several cases for that special occasion you can have professionally looking labels. Price wise, Beer Label Builder is very reasonable and they also have quite a few styles to chose from. You can also upload your own custom label and have them print them for you.

So, if your looking for some professional looking labels, give
Beer Label Builder a try.

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Beers Reviewed

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I've started to do video beer reviews and have started a new blog for those posts. I have also decided to provide captions on these videos for the hearing impaired. This beer review is the first one to have captions and I'm still a little rusty on getting everything correct. You can view the other videos at Beers Reviewed. If you have any suggestions on improving the reviews, please contact me.



Highlights: Kind of a bland beer. Good beer to drink after cutting the grass. I give it a Good, middle rating.

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