Wednesday, January 4, 2012

First time with flavored wine...

I only have one bottle of wine left!  An old Malbec I made about 2 years ago... I find this to be unacceptable.  I went through my last batch pretty quick from cooking, gifting, drinking, etc. so it is definitely time to get to work.  Over the holidays I grabbed 2 wine kits, one red and one white and I still have a beer kit waiting as well.

Last night I stared one of the new wine kits, "Kiwi Melon Pinot Grigio" that my wife picked out.  A Cru - Orchard Breezin' Mist from RJ Spagnols.  I have used RJ Spagnols kits before but this is the first from the Cru orchard breezin mist line.  Its a 4 week kit and  I should end up with 25 - 28 bottles when all is said and done (most 6 gal. kits say 30 bottles, but when I rack the wine off the settling I steer clear of the murky stuff and lose a few bottles). 

-I went to the store and picked up some gallon jugs of distilled water.  I've had some really great results using distilled water in brewing, plus it's cheap.  The last two times I used tap water the wine took a extra long time to smooth out (I'm talking 9+ months after bottling) so I'm not screwing around with the tap water anymore.

-Next came cleaning and sanitizing.  All of the books and instructions about brewing tell you to be sure to clean and sanitize everything.They are right, everything that touches your brew (buckets, bottles, spoons, thermometer, everything) needs to be cleaned and sanitized otherwise you risk destroying the entire batch with bad bacteria or yeasts that could make you sick or turn your wine into a rancid vinegar.  I usually use a "no rinse" powder when I clean everything, the stuff is handy and works great, I just throw some of it in the sink and get to work with a wash cloth I use only for cleaning my brewing equipment.  After I get everything cleaned I empty the sink and put some sanitizer liquid in the sink.  I use Potassium Metabisulfite.  Its usually 3 tbsp per gallon of water to sanitize and you can get the stuff from a homebrew store or website on the cheap.  I usually mix a batch up and keep it in a glass jug like this old rum bottle

Make sure you mark it so no one thinks its clear rum hahaha, you don't want to drink this stuff. 

After the sanitizing, I waited for the stuff to dry a bit and then I rinsed it off.  Make sure you rinse everything off after sanitizing.

-Now I got started on mixing everything together.  It took me longer than usual because I had a bit of trouble getting the water warmed up between 68-86 degrees for the first steps of the kit.  The temperature dropped outside and the apartment was pretty cold too.  So I just put some of the jugs of water in the sink, in warm water.  I microwaved about a half gallon too, for the bentonite powder to dissolve well.  Then I added the juice, rinsed the bag out with hot water and added that, and stirred it up a bit.  Next, I put all of the water I needed into the bucket, to the 6 gallon mark.

-Next came checking the temperature and specific gravity.  The temp was in right range.  The specific gravity was .1060, which is at the very high end of the accepted range for this kit.  I was already at the 6 gallon level, and near the top of the bucket so I let it go and put the yeast in.  This kit did not require me to "pitch" the yeast before adding it to the must.  So I just sprinkled the yeast in, the yeast was lavin ec1118.

-I filled my airlock with half sanitizing solution and half water and set the whole rig up on a folding chair in my kitchen under the heater vent to keep it a little warmer for now.  I will put it by the kitchen door on the floor for the secondary most likely.

Now we wait.

This morning the brew was already showing signs of fermentation (air lock bubbling slowly) so the yeast must be working so far.

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