Many of you may know that I have been experimenting with brewing wines. My first effort was done when I brought up the idea to my Roommates, and it seemed as if they harboured a doubt in my ability. So, I walked over to the nearest corner store, bought myself 2l of orange juice, 2l of tropical fruit juice, and then over the period of two weeks fermented them using bread yeast into “Ghetto Orange” and “Fruit-Punch yo mamma” in a series of 2l pop containers that I sanitized for this process.
I’m not going to show you a picture of my first attempt. It wasn’t made using quality equipment or ingredients, but for the cost of purchasing 4l of juice and a package of sugar I managed to create 1.75 litres of alcohol. It was not the best tasting booze in the world – but it worked… and I managed to show them enough flavour and potential to get interest in my next project: GOOD wine.
This time I got myself some larger jugs- I could not afford to drop $30 each on two glass carboys so I got two culligan water jugs (the ones you can fill at the grocery store). All told I think I put around $40 into equipment for the wine, and about $20 in juice, sugar, raisins and yeast.
2 culligan 11.5l water jugs
potassium metabisulfate for sanitizing
PLastic hose for syphon and pressure offset
550ml pop bottle for pressure offset
Various types of juice – I used wildberry, Concord grape, and cranberry
Raisins – these are perfect yeast nutrients
11x 1l mason jars
1/2 campen tablet
Ok, this is easier than you think.
1. sanitize ALL equipment using potassium metabisulfate mixed with water. The instructions are on the container.
2.Rinse all equipment thouroughly using COLD water to remove all sulfates. You will not get fermentation if you do not rinse thoroughly.
3.mix one packet of yeast with warm water, let sit for 15 minutes.
4. pour yeast into your sanitized 11.5l jug.
5. Pour half a cup of sugar into the jug
6. throw a handful of raisins in the jug
7. Fill your jug with your juice, stir thoroughly ( I put the lid on the container and shake it, another reason why I like these)
8.you CAN top off your jug if you want, but if doing so use simple syrup instead of plain distilled water – juice mutch preferred as it will be more flavourful in the long run.
9. find a quiet dark spot to put your jug.
10. pUt a hole in the lid of the sanitized jug and the sanitized pop bottle.
11. Run a hose through the lids of both jug and bottle, with hose going to bottom of pop bottle and only an inch past the hole of the jug lid.
12. Fill pop bottle with a couple inches of distilled water to cover the hose.
13. seal the jug lid onto the jug, if your wine is bubbling already you should notice air start to bubble in your pop bottle. This pressure offset means your giant jug can remain closed and not exposed to oxygen, without exploding. If too much oxygen gets in, you make vinegar instead of wine. open the lid of the pop bottle slightly – you can adjust the pressure with this so that it bubbles out smoothly. You have also prevented any bacteria from getting back into your wine as the hose will be filled with CO2 and a very hostile environment for bugs.
14. cover your wine and let sit a week. I shake it ONLY the first two days to ensure everything is mixed. The yeast does not like light.
15. Once a week syphon into the 2nd sanitized jug, making sure to leave the yeast etc that has settled to the bottom of hte jug in the old jug. Top off again with juice after you do this.
16. after 24 days, I put 1/2 a campden tablet in the wine to stop the fermentation, and let it sit 24hours to outgass
17. Stir the wine to outgass any remaining bubbles
18. Syphon into your Bottles ( or mason jars in my case – it was MUCH cheaper than buying wine bottling equipment)
19. Enjoy – you can drink it now or let it sit 6 months to improve the flavour.
And my finished jars!
Hope you enjoyed!