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Started by Hundredsand on Sep 12, 2013 10:09:05 AM
Bung an Airlock in the Demi-john

If you've got stuff brewing in the cupboard, are you doing it because it gets cheap result, or is a tasty little hobby which can cost more than buying a bottle of plonk?

Hundredsand - 03 Dec 2013 18:33:11 (#36 of 663)

My own homemade jam.

SinnerBoy - 09 Dec 2013 17:18:41 (#37 of 663)

Hundredsand -

The wine was fine. Dry. Lovely colour. Made with 2/5 white grapes, 2/5 elderberries, and 1/5 apples, plus addition of blackberry jam.

Did you add pectolase? The jam will contain pectin and make the product cloudy.

Hundredsand - 09 Dec 2013 17:26:05 (#38 of 663)

Yes, I added pectolase. However, the jam contained no pectin. I made it using plenty of sugar, that's all. The wine is crystal clear and a beautiful colour.

SinnerBoy - 09 Dec 2013 18:03:10 (#39 of 663)

It may not have been on the list of ingredients, but it will have had pectin. It's often included under the guise of mixed fruit, ie plums.

Hundredsand - 09 Dec 2013 18:16:36 (#40 of 663)

Fruit skin contains natural pectin, I guess. Commercial jam has it added, so they can use less fruit and sugar to make bigger profit.

These days, commercial jam tends to go off more quickly because of the addition of pectin, which is why I just use plenty of sugar in my homemade jam.

I put pectolase into my wine must the day before adding yeast, or something like.

SinnerBoy - 10 Dec 2013 16:01:21 (#41 of 663)

These days, commercial jam tends to go off more quickly because of the addition of pectin, which is why I just use plenty of sugar in my homemade jam.

Pectin's simply a naturally occurring carbohydrate polymer, found in some fruits. In the past, the plum growing industry in Britain did very well, as plums contain a large percentage of pectin.

It used to be that plums could be added to jam, labelled as strawberry, raspberry etc. EU rules changed that and said that such jam could only be sold as mixed fruit jam.

As far as I'm aware, most jams have the same % of sugar as they ever did, but less, or no artificial preservatives, which could account for them going mouldy. For what it's worth, I can remember jam, home-made and commercial, going mouldy from a very young age.

Tomnoddy - 10 Dec 2013 16:29:12 (#42 of 663)

Gin sitting in a demijohn and three Kilner jars over sloes. This should keep us in sloe gin from next summer for a couple of years at least.

The downside of a very good year for sloes is the cost of 4 litres of cheap gin. The upside is over a gallon of sloe gin :0)

djsuggz - 14 Jan 2014 21:03:29 (#43 of 663)

2014 update.

The pre-mulled effort went down very well at Christmas. I'll do that again, but the blackberry and coffee effort remains my strongest concoction to date, I think.

Three things on the go at the moment:

1/ A straight out, two-bucket one-week kit my mate bought me. Smells a bit synthetic and is taking longer than a week due to lack of consistent temperatures in Winter.

2/ A Cab Sauvignon flavoured by steeped dark chocolate and Serrano chillis. Experimental, that one. Feel it ought to work.

3/ A Chardonnay that will have lime, lemon, lemon grass and ginger in the cooled top-up water.

Antimatter - 15 Jan 2014 01:55:50 (#44 of 663)

We get a very good Barolo kit here, which includes a pack of dried Elderberries, might be worth considering.

We don't have Demi-Johns here, we have Carboys. Larger basically. Makes about 30 bottles at a time. I find that the cheaper packs of grape juice work fine, the extra you pay for expensive kits just isn't worth it. We just mix it all up, sling it in the furnace room and two weeks later reap the harvest.

djsuggz - 15 Jan 2014 08:24:42 (#45 of 663)

Yeah, when I get the brewing kit I have lined-up for purchase for my birthday, it comes with a substantial fermentation vessel that you use before you pipe it off into a pressure barrel.

What I might do is buy a second such bucket (Carboy) and do something similar when I go away for a couple of weeks in the Summer. Leave it (a big kit's worth) a fortnight to ferment, then on returning home siphon it out into the other one and add finings etc. then let it settle. Could be a good route to a decent but cheap supply of everyday drinking red.

Jinkjude - 15 Jan 2014 14:45:01 (#46 of 663)

I'm currently waiting for 80 pints to condition in barrels. I think they're still months away sadly. I'm keen to do the hops thing this year too.

Rhubarb wine sounds great...we have plenty of rhubarb twice a year here.

OneOfOne - 15 Jan 2014 15:12:33 (#47 of 663)

We're going to set old Gaffer Ron up as our local brewer. We drink enough of his beer as it is, so we decided to buy a pressure vessel and install it in the poker house.

Ron will do us brews and fill it up when it's empty, and we will have a cash box for 50p a pint to cover his costs.

djsuggz - 15 Jan 2014 15:57:51 (#48 of 663)

On reflection, I think I might do a cheeky Wilcos order before I get my brewing kit.

One can get a screw-lid, airlocked fermentation vessel for 25l of fluid, plus a Merlot 30-bottle kit for a smidge under £30 total. So, £1 per bottle (give or take a few pence for sugar) and I could get it done and squirreled away in the garage for later in the year before I turn my attention to brewing experiments.

I'm really enjoying this hobby. Can you tell?

Hundredsand - 15 Jan 2014 16:13:09 (#49 of 663)

I've got to shell out for some bottles. Earlier experiments I used plastic drinks bottles to store my wine, but it seems so hillbilly.

From what I read on the internet, there isn't much wrong with it if you plan to drink your vino within a few months. I've got some elderberry which I am assured benefits from aging.

Jinkjude - 15 Jan 2014 17:00:30 (#50 of 663)

I've been stockpiling screw top wine bottles in anticipation.

djsuggz - 15 Jan 2014 18:41:38 (#51 of 663)

I think I might store my 'house red' thirty bottle stash in used plastic 2 litre water bottles. Can't hurt. Will save the bottles for my more 'artisan' efforts. Paying for bottles makes it a more expensive exercise.

carterbrandon - 15 Jan 2014 22:06:41 (#52 of 663)

Where my sister lives (the little town near Vancouver where they film Once Upon A Time), there's this place

http://www.grapes2wine.com/

where you can use their equipment to make big batches of your own. Beats having a demijohn blow up in your airing cupboard....

djsuggz - 16 Jan 2014 21:37:05 (#53 of 663)

Got the big kit this evening. Quite excited. 25 litres of water weighs a shitload, mind. Fermentation vessel full of it, with sterilising tablets. Setting it off tomorrow evening. Have to siphon the cleaner out first, as there's no way I can lift it up to the sink to empty it. Went for Wilcos 'Spicy Cab Sauvignon'. It works out at 90 x 250ml glasses at about 45p per glass. Extraordinary value, if it's even half drinkable. One of the best things about this stuff is it's always a sensible ABV level. I've become sick of the constant supply of 14% stuff in the shops. Too strong and sickly by far.

Elsewhere, the Hot Chocolate Drop and Thai Chardonnay are going great guns. The bucket kit is probably three days from being fined and cleared. Added a drop more yeast as the hydrometer indicates it isn't quite into the safe level yet.

Antimatter - 19 Jan 2014 20:01:57 (#54 of 663)

It really is good value, and I agree with you about the sticky stuff.

The thing with glass bottles is you only buy them the once. We store the empties in plastic crates in the garage. When it comes to bottling time, they just get a blast from the garden hose.

We do all our brewing in the garage, the primary fermentation gets done in the furnace room where it's nice and warm. MrA has also rigged up a stirrer attached to an old electric drill to speed up the stirring process.

It's quite the set up down there, at times it resembles a scene from Breaking Bad.

djsuggz - 20 Jan 2014 16:22:56 (#55 of 663)

We do all our brewing in the garage, the primary fermentation gets done in the furnace room where it's nice and warm

Reading this back, I am wondering if it could prove to be the answer to a problem I am having with the Big Kit.

Set it all going on Friday evening - 23 litres, in a screw-top fermentation vessel with an airlock and bung.

Gave it a stir at one point, as the instructions on the kit indicated 3.5 kg of sugar to go in, and it takes some mixing. Nice fermenting froth developed - probably 2/3 of an inch thick? However, no sign of any CO2 going through the airlock, as of this morning. We sealed both the screw top and the bung with vaseline yesterday afternoon, but that didn't do anything.

Does it just take longer for a larger vessel to emit sufficient gas to shift through the water in the airlock?

I thought it could be a regular temperature problem, given the amount of fluid that needs to be at the right temperature. It was by a radiator anyway, but heating only comes on twice a day - a total of 5/6 hours in every 24. Left it on constant this morning to try and warm up that part of the house, to see if that starts it. If it does, I can transfer it to a continuously warm bathroom downstairs, where my demijohns speed through in a week or so.

Any ideas, anyone? I'm slightly suspicious about the amount of year in the packet. if you do 4.5 litres, they give you 6g. This is 23 litres, and it was only 12g. More yeast needed?

Thought welcomed. I don't want to just have £££ of grape juice sat in the kitchen for the Winter!

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