Vinter's?? Brewers??? Drunkards???

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Jagger, Jun 19, 2004.

  1. Jagger

    Jagger Well-Known Member

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    How many of you are brewers or vinter's???

    I make a little wine myself. I have brewed a little beer in the past. I had decent succes, but i am no expert. I liked the taste of the brew, but a few of my buddies at the time did not. It was labed with a skull and cross bones. I drank most of the bottles. I like a dark, heavy, earthy, beer. Does anyone make beer? Do any of you grow your own hops? I like to make wild fruit wines. Mainly blackberry, elderberry, mulberry(my most recent addition) as well as a few others. What kind of wine do you like to make? Receipe's please? I also will make apple wine or hard cider in the fall. I am interested in the process of turning grain into alcohol. Is there anyone on here to get me going? I have read in the past from a volume of Foxfire on the process of moonshining. I would like to know more. I am also would like to know the process of making brandy.?. Anyone know of this? I used to enjoy a drink made from honey. It was Honey Mead. I will dig up the receipe and post it.I and several others use to consume lots of this at S.C.A events, as well as some Civil War battles. I was always a big hit. Sometimes adults would drink it thinking it did not have alcohol or at least very little. They would drink a glass then another then another. I guess you can figure out what happened from there. It is a wonderful low alcohol content drink. Bleive me me it will give you a buzz after a few tankards full. It is like ambrosia. Fruit of the gods. All you bee keepers ought to take notice. What other kind of drinks do you all enjoy?

    Well i'm not really sure why i got onto this subject this evening. I just was enjoying a couple drinks. Unwinding from a long day at work. It's just another hobby of mine. I enjoy making what i consume. Tonight i'm drinking fresh mulberry wine. Barely 30 days old. I used the balloon method for fermentation. It is very beautiful as well as delicous. I feel that home brewing is a spoke in the wheel of this thing we call homesteading. I also feel that it is a technology or trade that we as homesteaders ought to become proffiecient in. All you moonshiners out ther let me know a little of your trade. At least get me going in the right direction. I'm looking for simplicity. My Scott ancestors will thank you for it.

    Well i guess thats about it, have a good one everybody..........

    Be Good......
    Cheers!!!!!
    Jagger
     
  2. Kris in MI

    Kris in MI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Dh and I are homebrewers. We would like to try making wine too (dh's dad used to make grape wine in oak barrels, his mom did small batches of fruit wine in gallon glass jugs). We have tried several different kinds of beers, but I prefer the dark ones. I never liked beer until we started brewing our own and I tried something other than the commercially made stuff. Bitter and hoppy is better :)

    So far we have just used malt syrup or powdered malts from the nearby homebrewing store, but would like to get into whole grain brewing (dh went to a demonstration on it this spring). We have 40 acres, so have plenty of room to try growing our own grains and hops. Probably will plant the hops in the next year or so, grains we may buy a while longer.
     

  3. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    My husband and I are actually starting up a hard cidery and have been home brewing for years (dark and earthy, NOT hoppy).

    For really good hard cider, look for the bitterest, sourest apples you can find. Those are the ones that taste best once they've fermented. Sweet apples just turn into Blah once they've fermented. Crab apples work really, really well. I've found that English ale yeast works better than the actual cider yeast, if you're buying yeast at a home brew store.

    We made some mead last year that came out really nice: Use the best honey you can find - something with a strong good flavor (we used cranberry honey). We used 1 pound of honey to one gallon of water. Heat the water and honey together on the stove to about 180 degrees. Let it cool to room temperature and add your yeast (we used a high-alcohol yeast. I can't find my notes right now to give you the exact strain, but just use something that will stand high alcohol). We fermented it at 45 degrees farenheight (we use an old deep freeze to keep the temps steady for our home stuff). It took a couple of months until the fermentation was done, and then a good 4 months after that till the flavor mellowed out. And now this stuff is GOOD! It goes down real easy, then the alcohol sneaks up on you.

    Cheers!
     
  4. Old John

    Old John Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi Y'all,

    I have been brewing awhile, off'n on, since my twenties.
    Over the years, I've made a buncha wine. Lately I have been Brewing Ales, Lagers & good Sweet Mead. sometimes called Sack.

    I use to be associated with a couplea little groups of Folks that enjoyed
    a good free homebrew. Yup, SCA & Pagan BOTH.There for about 3 years
    running, I brewed about 85 gal. of Beers, and about 40 to 50 gal. of Mead.
    It's ALL gone........

    My favorite beer was a one pound of Crystal Malt, crushed & added to
    the cold water, to start. Brought to the boil then strained out. Add a 4#
    can of Malt, Hopped or not, boiled up withan ounce, a half of Tettnanger, Brewers Gold or Saaz Hops, 2 or 3# of honey, and a half oz. of Saaz Hops for aroma. Sparge it through the grain, top off w/ hot water. When it cools add
    a package of dry Euro-lager yeast added dry to the Wort.
    We called it "Common Swill", 'cause I made so much of it. It is a good mild eminently DRINKABLE Brew, with a nice aroma & mouth-feel.

    I've Brewed a bit of Metheglin, which is a Specialty Mead, Brewed with
    herbs and/or spices. Sometimes it's "fortified" with spirits to make it
    stronger, along with extra Honey. Good adjuncts for a Xmas Holiday
    Metheglin are: 1 oz. each of Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Allspice, or ginger.
    I think Metheglin is an old Scottish word for "medicine". I've made a couple
    of "medicinal brews" also.

    I guess my favorite Mead is Brackett, or Braggett. It's a Mead brewed
    with the addition of a couple pounds of Amber dry malt, boiled in sufficient
    water, added to the must.
    I make my Meads Strong & Sweet. The neighborhood of 16 to 17 percent
    alcohol is nice. I add back Honey & stabalize with the addition of sorbate.
    Not very "Traditional" but very palatable.

    I brew now, for my Kinsmen & Friends, & myself. At 64, I'm retired. & my
    time is my own. I never drink more than 2 beers. Enough, if they are
    good ones. I love a beer with dinner.It is a very good Homesteading
    Craft.
    Have a good un.
     
  5. kentuckyhippie

    kentuckyhippie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This is good stuff

    Raisin Jack
    1 large 30-gallon plastic garbage can (new)
    1 large wooden barrel (used whiskey barrel preferred)
    5 dozen large oranges
    24 pounds raisins
    4 pounds prunes
    120 pounds sugar
    4 pounds plain cornmeal (white or yellow)
    12 cakes yeast or 24 packages dry yeast
    Cook the raisins in enough water to cover until tender, then cool. Cook the prunes in enough water to cover until tender, then cool. Mix the raisins and prunes together with 40 pounds of the sugar. Slice the unpeeled oranges and set aside. Mix the yeast with about 2 quarts lukewarm water. Watch this! If the water is too warm, it will kill the yeast. Add more water if yeast is difficult to dissolve. Mix the cornmeal with warm water to a consistency of watery mush. Now dump the raisins, prunes, oranges, cornmeal, yeast, and remaining 80 pounds of sugar into plastic can. Fill with water to within 10 inches of top. Stir well. Cover with a couple layers of clean cheesecloth or something similar. Let sit 10 days, stirring every day. On day 11, strain out the fruit and pour the fermented liquid into your wooden barrel. Water seal the barrel and let age 6 months or longer. (You might want to add some water to the barrel, perhaps 2 or 3 gallons, before sealing. This is strong stuff, so you can cut it a bit). Caution: Watch and make sure the temperature of the fruit is lukewarm before adding anything else to it. Also, be sure to use lukewarm water for dissolving the yeast. This is important.
     
  6. DAVID In Wisconsin

    DAVID In Wisconsin Well-Known Member

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    I make a few batches of brandy each year. I like it plus it's a way to use up the extra raspberries and grapes we get. It's too easy.

    In a glass container layer about 3 inches of fruit then about 1/2 inch of sugar. keep layering leaving about 3 inches headroom at the top for expansion. Cover with plastic wrap leaving a inch or so for expansion. Secure with a rubber band. Put in a dark cool place (or keep covered with a paper bag) for 4 months or so. Strain and get drunk. It keeps well for a very long time in a tightly sealed container.
     
  7. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    Old West B Board (newbies) and Skotrat's (advanced brewers) have B boards
     
  8. heidith

    heidith Well-Known Member

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    Hey,
    My hubby is a brewer. He makes porter, stout, IPA and other stuff I can't even remember. Homebrew is ALIVE, which makes is actually sort of good for you like yogurt. But that could just be a giant rationalization on our part, too!
    We also use our friendly bee keeper to make mead (which after a year and a half of "setting" now acts and tastes like champagne!) and I tried my hand at dandelion wine this spring. Will drink on the Winter Solstice.
    We grow our own hops and are trying our hand at growing and harvesting barley in a traditional manner at our friendly farmer's. Will let everyone know what it's like to harvest barley with an old scythe this fall!!
    Heidi
     
  9. danielbrown

    danielbrown Active Member

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  10. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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  11. Jimmy Mack

    Jimmy Mack Well-Known Member

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    what is the "the balloon method for fermentation?
     
  12. Yeast ferment sugar into carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol. Most people ferment beer and wine in large glass bottles. When fermenting, you need to find a way to let the carbon dioxide escape while preventing the outside air from reaching your fermentation vessel. Any method that seals off the fermentation will cause problems cuz the carbon dioxide will begin to build up pressure an either pop the cork or explode the glass bottle.
    Modern brewers use a small device called an air lock or use a piece of plastic tubing that has one end attached to the top of the glass fermenter and the other end suspended in a glass of water. The water in the glass keeps the atmosphere (free range yeast/bacteria) from entering your brew but will still allow the carbon dioxide to escape. Years ago, people used to attach a toy rubber balloon to the glass top of the glass fermenter for the same purpose. The balloon also had the advantage of inflating as the fermentation progressed allowing you to follow the progress of the fermentation. When the balloon deflated you knew the fermentation process was complete and it was time to rack your beer/wine.
     
  13. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    Using a balloon with a tape patch with pinhole gas bleeder over the mouth of a secondary fermenter jug is a balloon lock. While cheap and easy, it exposes the wine to oxygen potential more than a water filled airlock . Often the must work will produce more cO2 than the pinhole bleeder can handle and over inflate the balloon.

    Air locks are available for less than $2 and well worth the investment. They can be found at www.eckraus.com and orders of $25 total recieve free shipping to your door. BTW $25 worth of materials will last you for years of winemaking.
     
  14. danielbrown

    danielbrown Active Member

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    I ran across a moonshine forum not long ago, but i can't remember the name of it now.
     
  15. flutemandolin

    flutemandolin mark an eight, dude!

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    I used to homebrew and I would like to do it again when I have a better kitchen and more time...there's nothing like the smell of a pot of wort boiling on the stove! :D I like hoppy brews and I did have a hop plant growing until it took over too much of my garden; if I could grow it in sandy soil in Minnesota weather, they could probably grow anywhere. I only did extract brewing, although I would like to try all grain some day. I also want to try wine making, using some of the wild black cherries, chokecherries, blackberries, and other fruits that grow around here.

    You would probably enjoy this book: Good Spirits: A New Look At Ol' Demon Alcohol by Gene Logsdon. He discusses distillation in detail, all but tells you how to make moonshine, tells stories of his moonshining father in law, and discusses wine and beer. A very enjoyable read.
     
  16. Jimmy Mack

    Jimmy Mack Well-Known Member

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    yea, those HOPS vines will take over the garden, talk about vigorous!

    here's a cut and paste from http://www.realbeer.com/hops/FAQ.html#definition:

    "What Are Hops?
    Hops are cultivated flowers (humulus lupulus), green in color with yellow lupulin glands down between the petals, used for preservative and flavoring characteristics in beer. The bitterness of the hop is used to balance the sweetness of the malt, and the essential oils add a flavor/aroma which cannot be achieved by using any other plant. The hop plant is a perennial spiraling vine which will grow in almost any climate given enough water and sunlight. It can climb either string or poles and can reach heights of 40 feet. The flowers (or cones as they are often called) are usually dried before use."

    thanks for the information unregistered and Shrek. I've got a couple of glass gallon jugs and I'm going to try making some home-made wine. Maybe get some seasonal fruit like peaches, strawberrys or cherries. Sounds fun, tasty AND economical.

    great thread all, Jimmy
     
  17. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

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    This is the way I make wine, and yep, the balloon has been known to pop now and then. :D
    Two of my favorites are sandhill plum and wild grape wine.
     
  18. Jagger

    Jagger Well-Known Member

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    Alot of great replies. I haven't check out all the different sites yet, but plan to. Thanks for all the links and book suggestions.

    Cowgirllone- Me too, this is how i was taught to make wine.

    I had a couple of those air lock thingies. They always get misplaced, usually lent out. The balloon method is just handier for me. I have always had good results with it. Yes the balloons do pop, but i just put another one on and hope for the best. Like it was mentioned, i like to watch the balloons grow and deflate.

    I have a hard time aging my wine. I always find a special reason to share a bottle or two. I am no wine expert. I just go by if it taste good. I don't think i've had really old wine. I like it when its young and full of vigor.

    David in Wisconsin- Can i use any kind of fresh fruit? I want to try this method. Does the fruit contain alcohol after it is strained? My grandmother use to make some sort of cake thing, like a fruit cake. She had a big crock setting on the counter covered with saran wrap. It was fruit in a thick liquid, thats all i really remember about it. Could she have been making brandy, and not a fruit cake.?. Hmmm... maybe thats why grandma's fruit cake was so good.

    Kyhippie- This sounds like a drink that i would enjoy. Thanks for the receipie. I would like to try it out sometime.

    Jagger
     
  19. DAVID In Wisconsin

    DAVID In Wisconsin Well-Known Member

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    I've tried different kinds of fruits. Some do better than others. Berries of any kind, grapes and peaches seem to work best for me. Boy, does the fruit every contain alcohol after straining!!!!

    Your grandma was likely making an Amish Friendship Cake. Those things are out of this world. So, grandma was not a boozer who just told you it was for a cake.
     
  20. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    Myairlocks are simply a oxygen mask hose epoxyied onto the lid of a five gallon plastic jug, or into a cork for a carboy, and the other end stuck into a quart jar full of water...... nice inexpensive water seal air lock...hjave to watch to make sure the water dont evaporate before the wine is done though.

    Mooshine is grain alcohol, while bradies are made by distilling fruit wines.

    Making mooshine and brandy is not lawful, so i make MEDICINAL alcohol which is not regulated and trade that off to consumers [what they do with it is their business not mine]

    I use a copper still with a water jacketed worm that holds five gallon of mash for bigger runs of 80-110 proof although i have got higher but not a common event with the copper still. It sits upon an old army cook burner somewhat like a single burner coleman only on steroids. It will cook off about 1-2 gallon of clear in a little over 3 hours, at a cost of about $6.00 per gallon total [sugar yeast, fruit, gas].

    My higher proof medicine comes from a simple double boiler with a 15 foot copper worm.... glass jug in pan of water over heat.....worm in cork, cork in gallon jug.... gives about a pint to pint and half of 130 - 150 in about a hour

    Higher the proof the less you get in the jug. Corn gives you about 12 gallon per bushel and sugar beets will give you about 20 gallon per bushel of high grade rocket fuel.

    130 proof moonshine/brandy/medicine will suck moisture out of your lungs so never get it near your lips without diluting it.... water and alcohol magnetically attract each other and mix instanaeously.... ergo the gas treatments that will take water out of your fuel tanks are nothing more than 100% high grade wood alcohol [it would kill you to drink it]

    Making fuel for your car can be done but unless you have access to your own grown grain, nad animals to feed the mash to get getyer money out of it, it aint worth the effeort making it to drive with for awhile.... now to experiment wiith anything can be done on a small scale....

    Ive been making for about 12 years now.... corn beer is kinda nice to sip off before making medicine. I have to admit though nothing beat elderberry wine, unless its raspberry champange [take out the seeds].... or maybe that blackberry that i ran off wasnt to far behind that.....

    I hardly ever drink the stuff i make, but i enjoy making it.... and watching peolple say that dont taste like its very strong..... 3 glasses later they cant stand up.... yeah i am mean like that once in awhile.....

    William