Simple & Easy Plum Wine Recipe

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Plums come in many different forms, sharp, sweet, yellow, red or purples. You have plums suited for cooking whilst others are best eaten straight from the tree. The great thing about them though is if you have a tree nearby you can usually get quite an impressive glut of them, depending on the year and they make a fantastic wine. This Plum wine recipe is simple and easy and it doesn’t matter what variety of plums, whether they are Victoria, Goldens or Damsons.

Plum Wine Recipe

As there are so many different types of plums is makes the finishing wine a little variable, as an example you get some plums that are nearly black in colour, these are going to make a much darker wine than victoria plums for instance which are a more blushed pink colour.

There are some basic rules of thumb for getting the best wine whatever kind of plums you use, firstly, you want to get the ripest fruit possible. The riper the fruit the higher the concentrations of sugar and juice and this always makes for a better finished wine. Plum wine can have a tendency to be a tad thin bodied and mild flavoured so harvesting your plums at the point where they are most fully flavoured is key to your wines success.

Plum trees are pretty common in the UK and more often than not, if you have a plum tree in your garden, you will have a glut around the end of August or September. Plum trees can be really productive and you only really need around 1.5 – 2kg per gallon of plum wine so you will have more than enough.

If you want to make this plum wine but don’t have any trees nearby then you can buy plums in. I would recommend you still wait until the fruit is in season rather than buying imported fruit. British fruit when in season tends to have a slightly fuller flavour and because they aren’t travelling as far the plums will be riper and have higher sugar content.

Preparing Plums For Wine Making

To prepare the fruit for wine making you will need to pick through the plums and discard any bad or damaged fruit, give them a wash and then remove the stem and the stones. You should leave the skin on the fruit as this will provide colour and a small amount of tannin which is desirable. Cut the fruit into quarters over a bowl to save all the juices that come out of them.

What You’ll Need To Make Plum Wine – Makes 1 gallon / 4.5 litres

The equipment needed for this plum wine recipe is fairly straightforward. You will need the following items, you can pick up any equipment you do need here.

  • Fermenting Bucket
  • Demijohn
  • Medium Pan
  • Funnel
  • Syphon
  • Potato Masher
  • Fine Straining Bag
  • Airlock & Bung

Plum Wine Ingredients

Method

  1. Place the wine straining bag in the sanitised fermentation bucket into this add the prepared plums. Mash the plums with a sanitised potato masher to break them up and free the juices.
  2. In a medium pan combine the water and sugar and bring to the boil, ensure all the sugar is fully dissolved. Once boiling turn off the heat, pour the hot sugar solution over the plums secured in the straining bag.
  3. Allow to cool to room temperature and then add the Campden tablet, tannin, acid blend and yeast nutrient and mix thoroughly. 12 hours after this add the pectic enzyme to the must and mix again.
  4. After 24 hours has passed you can sprinkle the sachet of yeast onto the surface of the must. Allow to ferment for around a week stirring daily.
  5. After a week lift out the straining bag and allow to thoroughly drain. Let it settle for a few days and then rack the wine into a clean and sanitised demijohn, attach a bung and airlock and leave the wine to condition and settle for around a month.
  6. As the wine clears and the sediment builds up rack to a clean demijohn again. I like to leave this wine in the demijohn for around 4-5 months and then bottle. This plum wine is fairly dry but it is also particularly good if you like sweeter wines, to learn how to back sweeten this wine then see this guide.
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Small Batch Extract Brewing Kit Giveaway – Worth £70

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Brewing Kit Giveaway

Today we have something a little different, we are really excited to be offering one of you guys the chance to win one of our small batch extract brewing kits.

The whole purpose of Home Brew Answers was to help people understand how to home brew. Creating beer recipe kits that made the process of home brewing as simple as possible was the next logical step. The response to this endeavour has been great and I hope we have gotten a few more people into the hobby.

Keeping this in mind we have decided that what better way to thank you, the people who come and read this site than to give away one of the extract brewing starter sets and a beer kit of your choice.

Complete Beer Kit Original

We designed these beer kits to use minimal amounts of equipment and to be able to brew a beer in the kitchen on the stove. The equipment consists of the following: fermenting bucket, bottling bucket and filler, capper, caps, hydrometer, thermometer, airlock and syphon tubing. You can view the setup here.

Each beer kit produces 8 litres of beer and the range is gradually expanding as we introduce new beer styles and try to keep things interesting.

If you want to be in with a chance of winning the brewing starter set all you need to do is go to this page and register your details to sign up to our newsletter. The competition will run until 19th June 2017 at which point we will randomly select an entry and get in touch with you to confirm that you’ve won.

Enter Here!

Get over to the entry page now and register!

 

 

What Is Wine Tannin & How To Use It

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Wine Tannin

Tannin also known as tannic acid is a compound found in wines, most notably red wines that give them a pleasing dryness. Wine tannin is also an additive for increasing the tannin present particularly in country wines that use fruit, vegetables or flowers. If you look at some of the wine recipes here you will see it is in most of the fruit wines even if it is only a tiny amount. What is wine tannin and why is it needed? That is what we are going to cover in this article.

What is Wine Tannin

Tannin is an astringent polyphenol that is naturally occurring in plants, wood, bark and leaves. You have probably heard people describe some red wines as having high tannin content. This is because of grape skins, seeds and stems contain tannins. Different varieties of grape contain more tannin than others and this is why certain varieties of wine are characterised by having an astringency.

Wood also contains tannin and it is notable that wine aged in barrels and wooden casks are more astringent than other wines. The word tannin refers to the use of wood used in tanning process of turning animal skins into leather.

Unripe fruit has a higher tannin content than ripe fruit and this trait stops animals from eating the fruit before the seeds are ready to be dispersed by these animals, tannin in the leaves also inhibits predation by herbivores.

In a similar fashion, grape growers can monitor the tannin content of grapes, when the tannin content drops low enough as the grapes ripen they can determine the best time to harvest the grapes produce a balanced wine. A wine that has the right amount of tannin and is not too astringent at the same time as having the correct dryness, balance and mouthfeel.

Tannin is produced by extraction using a solvent from organic matter such as grape skins. The liquid is called tannic acid and is then dried which produces a tannin powder.

Adding Tannin to Fruit Wines

Wine making grapes have a tannin content that makes wines that have a pleasing astringency. For the country wine maker however, there are not many fruits that have a similar level of tannin. This is a problem because the character that emerges in some fruit wines with low amounts of tannin is flat and dull. It can seem as if there is something missing.

Many older recipes call for tea to be added to a wine. Strong tea is astringent because it is full of tannins. Adding tea was a simple method to introduce tannin to a fruit wine that had low levels of tannin.

Elderberries contain a level of tannin close to wine making grapes, blueberries and blackberries have some but not quite at the level of grapes. In the case of most fruit red wines you make at home, the addition of wine tannin is beneficial to the quality of the wine. White wines will usually not require an addition of tannin or only very tiny amounts.

Wine tannin is a brown powdered additive which makes it extremely easy to adjust your wine. Just add tannin to the must and mix thoroughly.

What we really hope to achieve by adding tannin is to mimic the mouthfeel and dryness that we find pleasant in grape wines. Now, this is of course down to personal preference, some people find even the smallest amount of astringency unappealing, others like it. So how much tannin is needed?

Tannin

How Much Tannin To Add?

Most tannin comes in powdered form here in the UK and in most cases, the package recommends around 1/8 – 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of wine. This is a rough guide, I would, however, suggest following a recipe rather than adding one teaspoon into every wine you make.

White wines, for example, will often need less tannin than red wines. Some fruits like elderberries and blueberries already have a modest amount of tannin in their skins so will require less. If a recipe states how much tannin to add then follow that advice.

The good thing about adding tannin is you can add it at any point before, during or after fermentation.

I will always add a small amount of tannin before fermentation, allow the wine to ferment and condition and when it comes time to rack the wine to a new vessel, test a sample. At this point, I can see if more tannin is required to balance the texture of the wine and dry it out further.

It is always best to add a little, then add more if necessary. It is more difficult to cover up excess tannin so err on the side of caution

If you are unsure of how much tannin to add then add a small amount, you can always add more if required after testing a sample. The next time you come to make the wine you will have a better idea of exactly how much tannin will be needed.

Brewing A Peanut Butter Porter – Mixing Beer & Peanuts

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Occasionally it becomes irresistible to try out something completely different to the ordinary home brew beer. As homebrewers we can pick and choose exactly what goes into a beer with no repercussions on whether anyone else will like it. I like Peanut Butter and I like dark beers and think the two will marry in perfect harmony, so, I have made a peanut butter porter to fulfil this desire.

Peanut Butter Porter

Using Unusual Ingredients

Ordinarily, I am not a massive fan of adding all sorts of ingredients to a beer just for the sake of it. I have talked about adding fruits before and spices and these additions work great in any beer. I do make an exception though when I think the addition of an ingredient will lift a beer and complement it. In this case, I think the peanut butter really will work well alongside the roasted, toffee and chocolate notes of a porter. That is not to say though I haven’t done a little bit of research on the best way to get the peanut butter into the beer.

Peanut Butter & Beer A Tricky Partnership

The problem with peanut butter as a beer ingredient is the fact that most peanut butters are around 50% fat, not only do peanuts contain a fair amount of fat content but peanut butters are made with oil. Oil and water (or beer in our case) don’t really mix all that well.

This desire to get peanut butter into a beer without the whole batch turning into a mess of beer, oil and peanuts has led home brewers to fairly laborious lengths of de-oiling peanut butter.

Deoiling peanut butter is a process that can take weeks or even months. You get yourself some organic peanut butter which seems to separate itself fairly easily, wait for oil to pool to the surface and tip it away, repeat this process a dozen times over several weeks until you get a dry and dry peanut butter. Still, however, it will have oil in it.

The only option in my view is to find some powdered peanut butter.

Powdered peanut butter contain just 13 grams of fat per 100 grams which is a much better starting point to regular peanut butter. Essentially powdered peanut butter is just roasted peanuts with the oil squeezed out of them. Using this powder we can add peanuts to the beer at any point we choose without introducing a lot of oil, the whole thing is much simpler and less messy. I found powdered peanut butter in ASDA so it must be gaining some popularity here in the UK.

When To Get The Peanut Butter Into The Beer?

Now the crucial decision is when to add it to the beer to get the best results. I have chosen the last minute of the boil, this was in the hope that it will retain as much of the nuttiness as possible and avoid any contamination by adding it into boiling wort. I did notice however the peanut powder settles out into a goop at the bottom of the brew pot fairly easily, I tried to get as much as I could into suspension and therefore into the fermenter to maximise the flavour of this addition.

Peanut Butter Beer Recipe

I added pretty much the whole jar at the end of the boil!. From what I’ve read using peanut butter provides a subtle flavour that fades with age. I will update the site with tasting notes when ready to see if the whole jar was a mistake.

The Porter Base For The Peanut Butter

The beer I have added this peanut butter to is a fairly strong Porter at 6.2%. I never imagined this was going to be a session beer or one I would want to drink pints of back to back, so, I decided to boost the ABV to really fill out the palate and give the nuttiness something to match it in terms of flavour.

The beer is fairly straightforward with a Maris Otter base, Munich, Chocolate and Wheat malts. I did think about adding oats but decided there was enough oils and lipids coming from the peanut butter so decided to leave them out, I can imagine this beer not having great head retention as it is. Hops are a single addition of Fuggles at the beginning of the boil.

Please note that this is a recipe for 9 litres, to scale the recipe check out this information

 

Peanut Butter Porter - Robust Porter
================================================================================
Batch Size: 9.103 L
Boil Size: 10.190 L
Boil Time: 60.000 min
Efficiency: 70%
OG: 1.061
FG: 1.014
ABV: 6.2%
Bitterness: 30.2 IBUs (Tinseth)
Color: 62 SRM (Morey)

Fermentables
================================================================================
                       Name  Type    Amount Mashed Late Yield Color
     Pale Malt, Maris Otter Grain  1.950 kg    Yes   No   82%   6 L
             Chocolate Malt Grain 230.000 g    Yes   No   73% 886 L
 Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L Grain 230.000 g    Yes   No   74% 118 L
                Munich Malt Grain 180.000 g    Yes   No   80%  18 L
Total grain: 2.590 kg

Hops
================================================================================
    Name Alpha   Amount  Use       Time   Form  IBU
 Fuggles  4.5% 25.000 g Boil 60.000 min  Leaf 30.2

Misc
================================================================================
                   Name   Type  Use    Amount      Time
 Powdered Peanut Butter Flavor Boil 400.000 g 1.000 min

Yeast
================================================================================
               Name Type Form    Amount   Stage
 SafAle English Ale  Ale  Dry     11 g   Primary

Mash
================================================================================
               Name     Type  Amount     Temp   Target       Time
            Mash In Infusion 6.500 L 72.000 C 65.556 C 75.000 min
 Final Batch Sparge Infusion 6.500 L 75.970 C 75.556 C 15.000 min

 

 

What Is Pectic Enzyme & What Does It Do?

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Pectic enzyme is included in many of the wine recipes here on Home Brew Answers, it is an integral additive in the winemaker’s arsenal. Did you know it even has uses in beer making depending on what kind of beer you are brewing? When you see it included in a home brew recipe you may wonder why it is needed, that is what we are going to cover in this article.

Pectic Enzyme

What is Pectin?

Pectic enzyme or pectolase is a fairly common ingredient in the vast majority of fruit wines and fruit beers because many fruits contain pectin.

Pectin is a type of carbohydrate called a polysaccharide which helps maintain the structure of a plant or fruit. The effects of pectin as a gelling agent are most evident in things like jam making where pectin is the key ingredient to set a jam after being heated with sugar. If you don’t have enough pectin in your fruit when making a jam it won’t set and stays runny.

There are some fruits that have higher amounts of pectin, fruits such as pears, apples, plums gooseberries and citrus fruit have high amounts whilst softer fruits like strawberries, grapes and apricots have lower levels of pectin.

Pectin is important when you are cooking and want something to set or gel together but for the winemaker or brewer introducing fruit with high levels of pectin can be problematic for several reasons.

Pectins Effect On Wine or Beer

If you are making a fruit/vegetable wine or a beer with a lot of fruit in then you are introducing pectin to a liquid. If you don’t take preventative measures it’s highly likely there will be a permanent haze in the finished wine or beer. This can be fine in some styles of beer where haze is a natural occurrence but it is definitely not good for wine, I can’t think of any instances where a haze in a wine is acceptable.

The other problem caused by having pectin in your wine is that if you intend to filter the wine prior to bottling then it is very easy for the filter to get blocked and stop running at all.

Fortunately, it is easy to reduce the amount of pectin in your wine or beer using a pectic enzyme which is also referred to as pectolase.

Using pectic enzyme has the following effects:

  1. It breaks down the fruit you are trying to extract juice and flavour from. After you pulp or mash a fruit pectin still acts as a structural member, using pectic enzyme breaks this structure getting more juice and flavour into the wine.
  2. Prevents pectin forming a haze in the finished wine or beer.
  3. Aids filtering should this be part of the process prior to packaging.

Using Pectic Enzyme / Pectolase

Pectic enzyme is a protein that works specifically to break down pectin. It is recommended you use this in almost all fruit wines you make, even commercial wine producers will add pectic enzyme as it aids juice extraction.

This is the reason why it is desirable to add pectolase before fermentation as you will produce a wine better colour, clarity and you will importantly extract more juice and flavour from the fruit you are using.

How Much To Add and When to Add Pectolase

The typical dosage for pectolase is 1tsp per gallon added directly to the wine “must” and stirred thoroughly before fermentation. If you forget to add it before fermentation you can add pectic enzyme later but you will have less juice extracted from the fruit. It will not inhibit yeast growth or activity if added later.

Elderflower Wine Recipe – Light To Medium Bodied

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Elderflower Wine Recipe

Elderflower wine has one of those flavours that is so distinct you cannot really compare it to anything else. That elusive floral bouquet seems to be amplified in a wine and the number of elderflower bushes in the UK makes it one of the most popular ingredients for wine making. Most people opt to make an elderflower champagne but in all honesty, I prefer an elderflower wine, the elderflowers really do fill the palate even without the bubbles.

Elderflowers have a unique flavour all of their own in most cases you either like it or you don’t. If you like something like an elderflower cordial or presse then this wine recipe really does showcase that distinct flavour and aroma.

Picking Elderflowers

As Elderflower bushes are so abundant around the UK finding and picking Elderflowers is your best option for making a wine.

One of the great benefits of elderflowers in the use of winemaking is the ease of harvesting. The flower heads grow in umbels so it is just a case of snipping the whole flower head at the base of the umbel. When harvesting the flowers I would recommend taking a few from each bush you encounter rather than taking all the flowers from each bush.

It should be noted that if you are picking your own Elderflowers that you are 100% certain you have correctly identified the plant as an elder bush. Once you spot a few bushes they are quite easy to identify using a field guide for confirmation.

When to Pick Elderflowers

Elderflowers will start appearing in early June so keep an eye out for them at this point. If they stay on the bush too long the flowers will start to go brown. You should be able to harvest some throughout June into July in most places in the UK.

When you go picking take a curved handled walking stick and you’ll be able to hook down branches to get some of the florets that are higher up on the bush.

To make a gallon of this wine you will need roughly 24 elderflower heads which should take you no time at all to pick. Any more than this and the wine can become a little too pungent.

Using Dried Elderflowers

You can make this wine with dried elderflowers should you not be able to pick your own. As they are dried you will need to use a lot less, check the details of the recipe down below for exact quantities.

Preparing The Elderflowers

When you pick the Elderflowers, give them a gentle shake to dislodge any debris or bugs before putting them in an open container, if you seal the container or bag the flowers will sweat and turn brown.

You can wash the flower heads whilst they are intact and this is recommended, especially, if you picked the flowers next to a bust road.

Elderflower Wine Picking

You will also need to strip the flowers from the stalks, they best way to accomplish this is once the flowers are picked and are dry grab a fork and comb the flowers from the stalks into a bowl. It’s a fairly simple process and will result in a much better wine.

What You’ll Need To Make Elderflower Wine – Makes 1 gallon / 4.5 litres

The equipment needed for this Elderflower wine recipe is fairly straightforward. You will need the following items, you can pick up any equipment you may need in our shop here.

  • Fermenting Bucket
  • Demijohn
  • Large Pan
  • Funnel
  • Syphon
  • Fine Straining Bag / Sieve
  • Airlock & Bung

Elderflower Wine Ingredients

  • 24 Elderflower heads, flowers removed from stalks or 20g Dried Elderflowers
  • 1.4kg of Sugar
  • 4 litres of Water
  • 1 Campden tablet
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
  • 1/4 tsp Wine Tannin
  • 1 Sachet of Wine Yeast (Our recommendation is Lalvin 71B 1122)

Elderflower Wine Method

  1. Remove the zest from the lemon taking care not to grate the white pith, add this to the sanitised fermenting bucket along with the Elderflowers.
  2. Bring 4 litres of water to a boil and add the sugar to dissolve, pour over the flowers and the lemon zest. Allow to cool and add the Campden tablet, yeast nutrient, tannin and the juice of the lemon, mix and leave for 24 hours.
  3. After 24 hours pitch the yeast into the fermenter, allow the wine to ferment for at least 6 days until activity starts to slow down.
  4. After the initial burst of fermentation activity pass the wine through a sieve or straining bag into a sanitised demijohn. It is probably easiest to accomplish by placing a funnel in the demijohn with a sieve or straining bag in it.
  5. Let the Elderflower wine complete fermentation and condition in the demijohn for at least a 2 – 3 months, racking off the sediment as and when needed. Check this guide for more information.
  6. Once cleared you may wish to stabilise the wine before bottling, this Elderflower wine is best sampled after around 6 months but will last well for a year or two.

Lager Fermented At Ale Temperatures?

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Warm Fermented Lager

Fermenting a beer with a lager yeast at ale temperatures. There are probably a few purists that will say the beer will end up a mess of off flavours and fusel alcohols. I have bent the rules however and done this very thing, fermented a lager yeast at 18°C and the result, is quite simply, a fantastic beer!

The term lager is not really appropriate to a beer fermented at ale temperatures. One of the most distinguishing features of lager is that it is matured in cold storage (store/storeroom is the literal translation of lager). The other defining feature of lager however, is the yeast strain used to ferment it. Ales are fermented with top fermenting yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and lagers are fermented with a different species of yeast (Saccharomyces pastorianus) which are bottom fermenting.

It’s safe to say a lager made at ale temperatures cannot be called a lager at all, it is a hybrid beer. Will it taste like a lager, though? Or will it taste like a complete mess? Depending on your recipe and the lager yeast strain you use, it can taste just like a lager, there may be some differences in a side by side comparison but you get a lot of the same characteristics as well as a delicious beer in its own right.

If you would prefer a more traditional lager recipe you will find my go to Pilsner recipe here.

Warm Temperature Lager Yeast Strains

When choosing a yeast strain to use you have to do a little research. If you look at the note released with each strain provided by the manufacturer you can easily find suitable lager yeast strains that can deal with higher temperatures without producing a lot of undesirable flavours. It should be noted, not all lager yeast strains are going to make a pleasant beer if you ferment them warm.

Every yeast lab will give you recommended fermenting temperatures for each yeast strain they produce. As an example take the dry yeast from Fermentis:

Saflager W-34/70, it states right on the front of the packet the recommended fermentation temperature range is between 9 – 22°C, this is something I only first noticed from a post on Brulosophy, the range does seem incredibly wide.

Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager is another yeast strain I have experimented with. Bohemian Lager, this is another yeast strain that has the detail we are looking for right in the notes from the lab;

A versatile strain, that is great to use with lagers or Pilsners for fermentations in the 45-55°F (8-12°C) range. It may also be used for Common beer production with fermentations at 65-68°F (18-20°C).

If you spend a little time looking up various yeast strains it is possible to find something you can use in an unconventional way. These two strains just go to show that yeast can be a very versatile ingredient of a beer recipe.

Common Beer

In the quote from Wyeast above, you may have noticed the term Common beer. This refers to an American lager beer style like California Common or Steam Beer. One notable example of a common is Anchor Steam Beer. The defining features of these American Lagers are that they are fermented with lager yeast strains at higher than usual temperatures.

This quote from the BJCP guidelines gives us an idea why these lagers are fermented warmer:

Large shallow open fermenters (coolships) were traditionally used to compensate for the absence of refrigeration and to take advantage of the cool ambient temperatures in the San Francisco Bay area. Fermented with a lager yeast, but one that was selected to thrive at the cool end of normal ale fermentation temperatures.

Common beers are usually fermented around 14 – 18°C, which, as you can see is just in the ballpark of an ale fermentation temperature. This makes the case for using lager yeast at warmer temperatures even stronger, one particular yeast strain that is synonymous with steam beer is WLP810 San Francisco Lager yeast from white labs. The recommended fermentation range for this yeast is between 15 – 18°C.

California Common is not a beer that is widely produced in the UK, I’m not too sure why this is but there are many hundreds of examples brewed in the US that the British drinker may be familiar with, the previously mentioned Anchor Steam and Flying Dog Amber Lager are a couple of examples.

Designing A Warm Fermented Lager Recipe

Now we know there are some lager yeast strains that can turn out a beer when fermented warm then we can think of how to make a beer around them. I decided that there was not much point in following any particular style guidelines for this kind of beer. You could, of course, follow a particular lager recipe if you wanted.

I know that I wanted a beer that was light in colour like a pilsner but also that uses ingredients that were closer to home just like the early California Common brewers would do.

It’s for this reason I have chosen a grain bill made up of 50% Pilsner malt and 50% Extra Pale Maris Otter. Extra pale Maris Otter is a grain I’ve been using a lot recently and it provides some of the character of Maris Otter we all know while lending itself to lighter coloured beers.

The hops are a combination of Perle from Germany and a classic hop variety for lagers alongside East Kent Golding to give the lager an earthy and floral note.

The yeast strain in this beer is the most important part of the recipe. I chose Saflager W-34/70 and held the fermentation temperature at 18°C, there was plenty of sulphur notes coming from the fermenter on the nose but not very much at all, if any, in the taste when the beer was bottled. Whether you agree with me or not this yeast strain has made a delicious lager and I am in the process of experimenting a little more with these “common” style beers.

 

Maris Otter EP Lager - Dortmunder Export
================================================================================
Batch Size: 18.000 L
Boil Size: 21.000 L
Boil Time: 60.000 min
Efficiency: 70%
OG: 1.053
FG: 1.013
ABV: 5.2%
Bitterness: 22.3 IBUs (Tinseth)
Color: 6 SRM (Morey)

Fermentables
================================================================================
                   Name  Type   Amount Mashed Late Yield Color
 Pale Malt, Maris Otter Grain 2.300 kg    Yes   No   82%   6 L
     Pilsner (2 Row) UK Grain 2.300 kg    Yes   No   78%   2 L
Total grain: 4.600 kg

Hops
================================================================================
    Name Alpha   Amount  Use       Time Form  IBU
   Perle  8.0% 20.000 g Boil 60.000 min Leaf 17.9
   Perle  8.0% 10.000 g Boil 10.000 min Leaf  3.2
 Golding  5.0% 10.000 g Boil  5.000 min Leaf  1.1

Yeast
================================================================================
           Name  Type Form    Amount   Stage
 Saflager Lager Lager  Dry 11.000 mL Primary

Mash
================================================================================
               Name     Type   Amount     Temp   Target       Time
            Mash In Infusion 11.960 L 73.092 C 65.556 C 75.000 min
 Final Batch Sparge Infusion 11.031 L 87.450 C 75.556 C 15.000 min

 

Rhubarb Wine Recipe – How to Make A Delicious Rhubarb Wine

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Rhubarb Wine Recipe

Rhubarb Wine is actually a vegetable wine, although, rhubarb is the vegetable that is almost always used like you would a fruit. The sharp tartness is a great quality that really shines through in a country wine so this rhubarb wine recipe is a definite winner.

Most people will be familiar with rhubarb in the form of rhubarb Crumble. Plenty of sugar helps to restrain the acidity and tartness of the rhubarb. If you like the taste of rhubarb then you’ll be pleased to know the flavour comes through in the finished wine.

The reason why rhubarb is so tart is because the stems contain an excess amount of oxalic acid. This is also the reason why some people have an aversion to rhubarb. Too much oxalic acid is bad for wine yeast and may result in poor fermentation so we will take this into account when preparing the recipe.

Reducing the amount of acid is a fairly simple process of making a small addition of chalk which causes a reaction and reduces the acidity in the wine. Apart from this one small step the process is the same as almost any country wine recipe.

It should be noted that rhubarb leaves should not be used in wine or eaten. The levels of oxalic acid are far too high and can in fact be poisonous (you would have to eat a lot for it to be problematic). The stems are perfectly edible and can be used in wine. Rhubarb is always sold without leaves so it’s only really an issue if you are picking your own rhubarb..

Pectic Enzyme

Using Rhubarb In A Wine

Rhubarb has two crops in a year, the first crop is forced rhubarb and is grown earlier in the year, around January to February. The stems and leaves are grown under pots and the result is a pale pink stem that is more delicately flavoured and tender.

The second crop of rubarb is grown outside and arrives late March until June, the resulting crop is slightly hardier darker in colour and contains more oxalic acid than the forced rhubarb. This stronger flavour may be less desirable to cook with but is still great to make wine with.

Later in the season some rhubarb stems can become a bit tough and stringy which makes these stems less desirable to eat but still fantastic to make wine with. If you grow rhubarb yourself then consider using the larger and tougher stems to make a wine.

What You’ll Need To Make Rhubarb Wine – Makes 1 gallon / 4.5 litres

The equipment you’ll need to make this rhubarb wine is fairly straightforward if you’ve made wine before you may have everything you need, if not check out our shop where you can pick up the stuff you might not have:

  • Fermenting Bucket
  • Demijohns
  • Large Pan
  • Syphon
  • Fine Straining Bag
  • Airlock & Bung

Rhubarb Wine Recipe Ingredients

Rhubarb Wine Method

  1. In a clean and sanitised fermentation bucket add the rhubarb stalks cut up into inch pieces and chopped raisins to a straining bag. Break up the rhubarb slightly with the end of a rolling pin, just enough to split the stalks, you don’t need to completely mash them.
  2. In a pan combine the sugar with 1.9 litres of water and bring to the boil. Once boiling turn off the heat and pour over the ingredients in the straining bag. When the mixture is cool add the campden tablet, stir thoroughly and let stand for 48 hours.
  3. After 48 hours lift out the straining bag and squeeze out the juice. Into the remaining liquid add 1/4 tsp of Calcium Carbonate (Precipitated Chalk) every 30 minutes stirring thoroughly. The mixture will fizz as the chalk reacts with the oxalic acid.
  4. After this step add the pectic enzyme, stir and leave for 24 hours.
  5. After 24 hours add the tannin along with the yeast nutrient, mix thoroughly and then sprinkle the yeast on the surface of the must.
  6. Allow to ferment for two weeks before racking to a demijohn to allow the wine to condition and clear. Leave in the demijohn for a few months until completely clear racking to a new demijohn when necessary. Check these steps for more information on racking and maturing wine.
  7. Rhubarb wine is best left for the best part of a year before enjoying, maybe open a bottle once every few months to see what I mean.

Brewing Beers With A Quick Turnaround

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Quick To Brew Beers

Is It Possible To Go From Grain To Glass In 10 Days?

Brewing a quick turnaround beer or a “fast” beer is entirely possible and something I have done before in a pinch. Today we will look at some of the factors to take note of brewing a beer quickly.

You have just gone to get a bottle of home brew from the fridge, there are only a couple left. You check the keg you started a few weeks back and there is only a few pints left. Pretty soon you’ll be all out of beer. If you brew fairly regularly then you may have had the experience of getting caught out in a position like this. What you need is a home brew that has a quick turnaround. From grain to glass in as short of a period as possible. You want to get the fridge stocked and a keg filled.

Of course taking your time with each batch of beer is likely to yield the best results in the long term. There are ways, however, of making good beer that don’t require lot’s of time to be ready. It is a case of thinking about the way beer conditions and ages and then building your recipe around this.

How To Brew Quick Turnaround Beers

The length of time it takes for a beer to be ready is variable. A lot of factors can make affect the time from grain to glass. Trying to compress this period to get a beer ready to drink requires a little bit of thought.

There are definitely beer styles that you won’t be able to brew quickly and you can take off the list. High gravity beers and sour beers require a lot of time fermenting and conditioning to be contenders for a quick turnaround beer. The same applies to lagers which take much longer to ferment at low temperatures than ales fermented at warmer temperatures (although commercial brewers even turn lager out quickly).

Now we have excluded a few beer styles it gives us a bit more direction on what we should be looking to brew. A beer that has a low starting gravity will ferment quicker than a high gravity beer and a quick fermenting ale yeast to shorten the time it takes to get to final gravity.

The Importance of Yeast For Brewing Beers Quickly

When brewing any beer the biggest chunk of time from the brewday to getting the beer kegged or bottled is the fermentation and conditioning period. If you can shorten this phase of making the beer then the turnaround will be much quicker.

This fermentation and conditioning phase is all down to the yeast and the environment they have in the wort you produce. Producing a wort that has ideal conditions and pitching the right amount of healthy, viable yeast cells will mean they can ferment the wort and produce less undesirable flavours during the process. Reusing yeast from a previous batch is an ideal way to pitch enough yeast.

Choosing A “Fast” Yeast Strain

Selecting a yeast strain to ferment a beer quickly means you need to look for certain traits. The best strains will likely have the following characteristics:

High attenuation – High attenuation means the yeast will ferment out to a low final gravity and usually in a timely fashion

Highly flocculant – High flocculation will result in the yeast dropping out of suspension quickly so once fermentation is complete the beer clears a lot quicker. Although wheat beer strains are an exception

Tolerates higher fermentation temperatures – If you can ferment a beer warmer, around 22°C for example, the yeast will attenuate out much faster than at 18°C. Optimal ranges for yeast are always listed on the package, at these higher end of these optimal ranges the yeast will ferment quicker without producing undesirable compounds such as higher alcohols and phenols.

Picking yeast strains with these traits will usually result in faster fermenting beers and beers that condition a lot quicker than usual.

Utilising Bold & Strong Flavours

“Fast” brewed beers can suffer from being “green”. In other words, most beers take a little time for the flavours and byproducts created during fermentation to even out and round off. This is why we want to choose a yeast strain that limits the production of byproducts that will affect the taste of the beer.

Conditioning the beer for a period of a few weeks to allow the flavour to round out really isn’t an option if you want to brew a beer quickly and be drinking it in around 10 days. If however we make a lower alcohol, bold flavoured beer any potential undesirable flavours can be overwhelmed so you don’t notice their presence. Clean tasting or subtle beers are usually best avoided for quick to brew beers.

Choosing roasted grains and caramel malts with bags of flavour will fill the palate when you drink it, the same is true of using bold, fruity and citrusy hops. When you fill a beer with flavour any undesirable flavours that are a consequence of short brewing times get disguided.

A Couple of Examples

  • Make a 4% ABV Stout and the dominant flavour you are going to taste straight from the fermenter is toasty, roasty, chocolate and toffee notes. Big bold flavours will always shine.
  • A Session Pale Ale of around 3.8% with bags of hops added at the end of the boil. The main flavour will be these aroma hops even before the beer has been carbonated the flavours fill the mouth
  • A 3.2% Mild although being a really low ABV has complex malt driven flavour. Mild are a definite contender for being one of the best fast to brew beers.
  • A 4.5% wheat beer although it uses simple fairly neutral tasting ingredients has one of the boldest tasting yeast strains. Wheat beers are also hazy by nature so flocculation of the yeast isn’t really a concern.

Packaging & Carbonating Your Beer

A truly quick beer will need to be kegged and force carbonated, a process that will take far less time than bottling and waiting for the beer to carbonate over a week or two. Once the beer is racked into a keg you can add CO2 immediately by either shaking the keg or if you have one using a carbonation stone. This will easily carbonate the beer within 24 hours and you can start pouring straight away.

If you have no other option than to bottle the beer, you will have to wait at least a week to achieve any kind of carbonation. The process can be sped along a little by holding the bottles at around 26°C for 3 – 4 days. This is how many commercial breweries bottle condition beers by using warm rooms. After a few days, you can let the bottles condition at normal temperature and check the carbonation by opening a bottle. Once carbonated the bottles can be chilled and served as and when needed.

Our Malt Extract Beer Kits & What’s Coming Next

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As you may or may not be aware, there is now a shop here on Home Brew Answers primarily selling small batch malt extract beer kits. When I initially setup this website the whole point was to get more people brewing. When I tell people I brew they are always interested. It’s not always the easiest hobby to explain in a conversation so Home Brew Answers is where I try to direct people.

The first article I published here was “How To Make A Beer Kit”. It is still one of the most popular pages here. It seemed pretty obvious that I should do something to try and make beer kits a little bit better than the old “Kit and Kilo” (beer kits that rely on plain sugar) type of brewing kits that new brewers start out with.

That is why I chose to make all the core small batch beer kits in the range using malt extract, plus steeped grains, hops and quality dried yeast.

Beer Kits

Why Malt Extract Beer Kits?

Malt extract is a great way to make beer and that’s why we have chosen it for the core beer kits in our range. The quality of malt extracts available today is a lot better than a few years ago, plus the range of malt extracts mean you can brew a large range of beers without having to compromise or be limited on which styles to brew.

When we set about designing our malt extract beer kits the primary goal was to brew beers with maximum flavour, clean tasting with no undesirable characters. If we couldn’t do that using malt extract, we wouldn’t use it at all.

What Is Malt Extract?

All of our beer kits currently use dried malt extract. You can get both liquid malt extract (LME) or dry malt extract (DME). The beauty of dry malt extract is its stability is a lot better than LME which can pick up flavours in storage and dried extract is far easier to handle and package in the correct quantities.

The way any malt extract is made, is in a brewery. We use Muntons malt extract who have a commercial brewing facility. They take malted barley and add it to a vessel called a mash tun to convert the starches in the malt to sugar, a process called the mash. This is exactly what pretty much every commercial brewery in the world does to make a beer. The grain is separated from the liquid which is now called wort. After this the wort is boiled exactly the same as a commercial brewery would do. At this point, however, the wort is concentrated by boiling to create a syrup which is liquid malt extract or, alternatively, dried completely by spraying the wort into a heated chamber to make a powder which is dry malt extract.

Malt extract beer kits are just one step away from brewing beer like a commercial brewery would.

Malt Extract Beer Kits Are A Lot More Consistent

This process means one step of brewing is completed by a commercial brewery. The product we use, malt extract, is consistent every single time. It will produce the same results and therefore using it in a beer kit means you can consistently create the same beer no matter who brews it.

We spend a lot of time brewing and re-brewing each beer before it gets made into a beer kit to sell on Home Brew Answers. You could say we are well versed in what you can and cannot do with malt extract beers. The thing is there are far too many benefits to brewing with extract to not develop beers using it. If you have ever made one of our extract beer kits you’ll know just how easy it is to use.

First of all utilising malt extract as a base for our beers means you the brewer get a consistent result. All grain brewing has a lot of variables to control which impact the final beer, by removing the mash and using malt extract our beer kits are a lot more consistent when you are starting out, meaning you get a better tasting beer.

Secondly brewing a malt extract beer kit require less equipment and smaller size vessels than brewing an all grain beer. We want anyone to be able to brew and for it to be as accessible as possible meaning the cost to get started brewing is lower

Adding Special Malts To Our Beer Kits Builds Flavour

We use malt extract as a base for our beer kits. On top of this, we select grains for each of our recipes that add layers of flavour, colour and body. These speciality grains are steeped before the malt extract is added, the steeping extracts complex flavours and colours.

It’s these speciality malts that allow us to brew a stout that is almost black in colour and also a very light pale ale, both these beers use the same malt extract but 90% of the malt flavour comes from steeping these special malts.

Using a combination of malt extract and steeping grains gives you the best of both worlds, it makes brewing a lot quicker and simpler but also enables you to create complex and unique flavours and beer styles. Plus this method it so much more adaptable than pretty much every other beer kit on the market.

What’s Next For Home Brew Answers Beer Kits?

The range of beer kits is slowly expanding, there are plans for more beer kits in different styles. Each one we release is brewed multiple times and tweaked to get it just right so this process takes time. Eventually, we want to offer a wide range of beer styles and unique seasonal beer kits too.

All Grain Beer Kits

At the same time as developing more extract kits, we are shortly going to be releasing small batch all grain beer kits. These are going to make the same amount of beer, 8 litres, which will use primarily all the same equipment as the extract beer kits.

This means if you have bought the complete brewing equipment kit here then the only further item you’ll need is a mashing bag which we have sourced and are ready to stock.

 

Small batch German Wheat just hitting the boil #homebrew #wheat #smallbatch #beer #weißen

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All grain beer kits will open up the possibilities of which beer recipes we can create so the possibilities will be almost limitless. We have already developed a German Weissbier and a New England IPA that are ready to go.

Any Suggestions / Feedback

If you have any suggestions on the sort of beer styles, types of beer kits or just anything you would like to see available in the shop please drop a comment below or email. Cheers

 

 

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