April 2017 Wine of the Month Club

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Jericurl

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Hello everyone,
This is open for anyone to join at anytime in April by making a 1 gallon experimental batch.

Post your recipe and step by step instructions. We love pictures, so any you take will be greatly appreciated.

We hope that at the end of the month you will give us a breakdown on what you learned, what you could have done better, and what went well.

I will post a summary of who participated and wine type in the beginning post.
Then we move on to the next month's club.

In April 2018, we take our April 2017 bottles out for a taste test and post our final impressions in this thread. Of course, you don't have to wait until April of next year, but it's a good idea to give all of these wines a chance to mature. If yours turns out great, post it in the recipes section.

If not, feel free to open it up for discussion with the group so we can hopefully figure out what happened.

Remember, we are all learning and this is just one way to do it and have a little fun at the same time. Why just one gallon? Because it's an experiment! It may turn out wretched! And pouring one gallon down the sink hurts a lot less than 6 gallons. If you feel adventurous, go ahead and make more than one gallon!
 

Jericurl

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I've got a jump start on this month's experiment.

I just racked my strawberry melomel and in the past, I've thrown the ingredients for Dragon's Blood or Skeeter Pee right on top of the lees and let it go. Yes, I know I run the risk of off flavors, etc, but it has always turned out nice for me.
One of our favorite blends was a hibiscus lemonade, so I'm loosely following that recipe, but of course tweaking it a bit because I just can't help myself.

I probably had about a gallon of lees.

First,
I brought a large pot of water to boil, removed from heat, then added

* 10 oz hibiscus
* 4 oz rosehips
* 1 ceylon cinnamon stick

Let steep for 20 minutes, then strain. Remove the cinnamon stick and toss it in with the must, but discard the other solids.
Let cool, then add to your must.

I added 1 gallon of water, then some white sugar and 8 oz piloncillo.
I overestimated how much I had in the house. Said and done, I only brought the SG up to 1.032.
So tomorrow I'll be making a trip to the grocery store and either getting honey or sugar. Or both.

Then I added 5 oz ginger, roughly chopped, 1 T bentonite, 2.5 tsp of pectic enzyme, 2 tsp nutrients.

Here's everything a little more cleaned up so it's easier to read.

* Lees from strawberry melomel

* 10 oz hibiscus

* 4 oz rose hips

* 1 ceylon cinnamon stick

* 8 oz piloncillo

* 5 oz ginger

* 1 T bentonite

* 2.5 tsp pectic enzyme

* 2 tsp nutrients

* @ 8 cups sugar

* enough sugar and/or honey to bring SG to 1.08

Once fermentation is complete I will add either lemon or lime juice to taste, though I suspect it will be at least half of the large 40 oz bottle.


eta: Ok, just got back from the grocery store and added 9 lbs of honey. SG just below 1.07

I forgot to take a measurement before adding the honey, but it was the most active fermentation I've ever seen so I'm sure quite a bit of the sugar I added last night was consumed.
 
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buckhorn

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Just returning to this hobby, and good ole' mother nature giving us the roulette wheel of late winter/spring recently, I find myself wanting to try many different things. Last month I was looking at Mead (JAOM, but doing my own flavor variations) and have 4 batches going right now. I plan to delve further into trying mead at some point, but want to save money for the honey first.

This month I am working with Cider. All are recipes I have borrowed from other people online, though I have made a couple minor tweaks for one reason or another. I will be posting the recipes in their original form (4-5 gallon batches) - though I did the math on all of them to make them into 1 gallon test batches.

1. Blackstrap Cider -- author's description: It pours a nice amber color, that's much darker than "pure"' cider tends to be. The lactose gives a hint of sweetness that keeps it from being super-dry, but nowhere near as sweet as, say, a Woodchuck Amber or similar. The molasses is present in the aroma and in the finish it accompanies the apple flavor.
Recipes to follow.....

2. Caramel Apple Hard Cider -- this is just a recipe that HAD to be tried - caramel and apple together....mmmmm

3. Drunken Emu Hard Cider -- author's description: Maintains Apple Cider flavor, crisp, but smooth with no hint of alcohol. Goes down very smooth, and is sweet like the original cider with a hint of cinnamon and an almost chocolate-apple aroma.

I started these all today (along with a 6 gal batch of Dragon's Blood -- gotta fill the celler for summer). I will be pitching yeast tomorrow.

-Brian
 

buckhorn

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BlackStrap Cider
Yield: 5 gal

Ingredients:
4 gallons "bottom shelf" 100% pure apple juice (no preservatives, except Vitamin C)
1 gal water
12 oz blackstrap molasses
8 oz lactose
0.7 oz black tea
2 oz vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme (not sure this will do anything or help, but can’t really hurt)
White Labs WLP775 English Cider Yeast

Process:
Pour the 4 gallons of juice directly into your sanitized fermenter.
Add the Pectic Enzyme.

Put 1 gallon of water into a pot on your burner and bring to a boil.
Turn off the burner and add the tea and let it steep for 5 minutes.
Add the lactose, molasses and vanilla extract to the tea.
Let the tea mixture cool a little and then add it to the cider.

Wait 12-24 hours.
Take Temp and SG (OG) readings
Pitch the yeast. Put on lid and airlock and ferment until done.
Rack to Carboy and let age.
 

buckhorn

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Caramel Apple Hard Cider
Yield: 5 Gal.

Ingredients, Part 1:
7 x 96 ounce bottles (5.25 gallons) 100% Apple Juice, pasteurized, only vitamin C added
2 lbs. Dextrose
(Note, I miscalculated the Dextrose I had on hand. Instead I substituted 1/2 white sugar and 1/2 light brown sugar)
1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme (not sure needed or will help any, but won’t hurt)
Nottingham Yeast

Ingredients, Part 2
12 oz. cans of Frozen Apple Juice Concentrate, thawed to room temperature
12 oz. Caramel Syrup

Recipe for Caramel Syrup:
2 cups of water
2 cups of light brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Combine in a saucepan and bring to a boil. At boil, reduce heat and simmer for about
5 minutes (until volume is reduced to half). Let cool & bottle for future use.

Part 1:
In a Fermenting Bucket, pour in bottles 1 and 2 of apple juice.

Open bottles 3 and 4 of apple juice. Pour half of each bottle into carboy. Add 1 pound dextrose per bottle to the remaining amount of apple juice in bottles 3 and 4. Shake bottles to mix sugar and apple juice. Pour bottles 3 and 4 into carboy.

Pour bottles 4, 5, 6 and 7 of apple juice into carboy.
Add Pectic Enzyme to fermenter.
Wait 12-24 hours before pitching yeast

Take OG reading, (expecting a reading of 1.064).
Open Nottingham yeast, pour into carboy. Agitate carboy to mix in yeast.

Part 2 (In about 14 days):
Check for target FG of 1.010 to 1.015

Rack cider into a 5 gallon carboy.
Make the Caramel Syrup and wait 24 hours before proceeding.

After 24 hours, siphon cider into your bottling bucket. Add the Caramel Syrup and the 5 cans of apple juice concentrate while siphoning to aid in mixing. Bottle the cider and enjoy.
 

buckhorn

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Drunken Emu Hard Cider
Yield: 4 Gal

Ingredients:
- 4 gallons of Apple Juice, 100% No Preservatives
- 4 Cinnamon Sticks
- 2 Lbs DARK Brown Sugar
- 1 Lbs White Regular Sugar
- 6 Packets of Nestle Hot Chocolate (No Marshmallow's)
(Trust me here, we are going on an adventure together)
- 4 tsp Nutmeg
- 1 packet of Nottingham (Nottingham was STRONGLY suggested for this)
- 1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme (not sure is needed, but shouldn’t hurt)

Dirty Work:
1) Pour 3 Gallons of Apple Cider into your primary. Add Pectic Enzyme.
2) Pour your last 1 gallon of Apple Cider into the large pot. Add in the cinnamon sticks, brown sugar, white sugar, nutmeg and hot chocolate. Bring to a boil.
3) Boil for about 10 minutes, or as long as you need to properly dissolve all the ingredients. Remove from heat, allow to cool COMPLETELY.
4) Remove cinnamon sticks, discard.
5) Pour your glorious pot mixture into the primary
** Let sit 12-24 hrs before pitching yeast
** take temp and SG
6) Pour your entire packet of yeast directly into the primary.

DO NOT.....DO NOT.....TOP OFF!!!! if you do, bad things may happen.
Get the airlock on there. Ferment at around 70F.
 

Bodenski

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Today I started a cherry Melomel. I had asked some questions about it on a seperate thread, but I will put it here for all it's glory. (I hope it ends up better than last month's recipe. That one might be a dud.)

Cherry Vanilla Melomel (One Gallon)

64 ozs 100% tart cherry juice (Trader Joes)
32 ozs Cherry juice (Trader Joes, from concentrate)
3 lbs wildflower honey (from, you guessed it, Trader Joes.)
12oz frozen sweet cherries
1 ripe banana (frozen, thawed, diced)
(Pectic enzyme, yeast nutrient, yeast energizer)

Yeast: 71B

Starting SG is 1.044. I'll check again tomorrow before pitching the yeast. Plan is for a vanilla bean (I'm not sure yet half vs full bean) in secondary. Last time I used 71B with a high starting SG it made it to 15.5%. I'm not looking for it to be as high here, but it's not out of the range of expectation. I wasn't sure initially if I should have fermented dry then back sweetened, but I decided to go big and we'll see how it ends up.

I also tend to rack to secondary a little too soon, so I plan on going a little longer in primary so that I can have some stuff settle out. I'm tired of getting so much settling on the bottom of the secondary when I first transfer it over. It's making it tough to get to a full 5 bottles when I bottle it after racking losses. I'm also going to start doing more 3 gallon batches I think because I'm tired of the amount of work I do for 4 bottles!
 

pip

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Today I started a cherry Melomel. I had asked some questions about it on a seperate thread, but I will put it here for all it's glory. (I hope it ends up better than last month's recipe. That one might be a dud.)

Cherry Vanilla Melomel (One Gallon)

64 ozs 100% tart cherry juice (Trader Joes)
32 ozs Cherry juice (Trader Joes, from concentrate)
3 lbs wildflower honey (from, you guessed it, Trader Joes.)
12oz frozen sweet cherries
1 ripe banana (frozen, thawed, diced)
(Pectic enzyme, yeast nutrient, yeast energizer)

Yeast: 71B

Starting SG is 1.044. I'll check again tomorrow before pitching the yeast. Plan is for a vanilla bean (I'm not sure yet half vs full bean) in secondary. Last time I used 71B with a high starting SG it made it to 15.5%. I'm not looking for it to be as high here, but it's not out of the range of expectation. I wasn't sure initially if I should have fermented dry then back sweetened, but I decided to go big and we'll see how it ends up.

I also tend to rack to secondary a little too soon, so I plan on going a little longer in primary so that I can have some stuff settle out. I'm tired of getting so much settling on the bottom of the secondary when I first transfer it over. It's making it tough to get to a full 5 bottles when I bottle it after racking losses. I'm also going to start doing more 3 gallon batches I think because I'm tired of the amount of work I do for 4 bottles!
Sorry, starting SG you mean 1.44? 1.044 is pretty low, right?

That sounds like a crazy cherry experience. Yum! Please keep updating i'd love to know how this goes.

I hear you about the size of batches. I'm off to purchase 3 X 23L (6 gallon) carboys tomorrow. But i guess the small batches are good for testing.
 

Arne

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[
I also tend to rack to secondary a little too soon, so I plan on going a little longer in primary so that I can have some stuff settle out. I'm tired of getting so much settling on the bottom of the secondary when I first transfer it over. It's making it tough to get to a full 5 bottles when I bottle it after racking losses. I'm also going to start doing more 3 gallon batches I think because I'm tired of the amount of work I do for 4 bottles![/QUOTE]

If your primary is full, get a little bigger primary. Make a gal. and a half or so. Rack into a gal. from primary, rack the leftover into a half gal. or a couple of small bottles. Next racking you will have some leftover to top off the gal. You can either airlock the smaller bottles or put them in the reefer. Having some to top off with is nice, keeps your batches all yours instead of having to top off with something else. Arne.
 

Bodenski

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Yesterday I transferred the Cherry Mead into secondary. I had to leave town for a bit, so the bucket (with fruit) sat in the fridge for a week before I pitched the yeast. When I rechecked the SG right before pitching, it was 1.140. Last night it was at 1.030, and the bubbling was way down, so I went ahead and moved it over. Using the 71B, you'd expect 14% alcohol, but this is at 14.5% right now, and after getting it into the carboy the bubbling picked up again quite a bit. (This was after degassing). I think this one is going to go to at least 15%, which again is higher than I wanted. Since right now there is no water, I imagine I'll dilute it somewhat when I rack off of the junk sitting at the bottom of the carboy. I think I want the finished product at 12-13%.

I think next time I might use less honey, take it dry and then back-sweeten. I've read some people think you get a different flavor profile by taking it to the yeast limit, but I'm not sure I could tell that difference yet. And since my last two both seemed to blow right past 14%, I'm getting stuff a little too strong for my tastes right now. No picture today, but when I rack it off the rest of the lees in a month I'll post a pick. When I rack it in a month I'll also determine if I want to add the vanilla bean or not. I'm leaning towards "yes to vanilla" right now.
 
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Jericurl

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I racked mine to secondary a bit ago and so far, I'm pretty happy with it.

I'm toying with the idea of doing a 2nd mead this month....carrot.

I'm off to the grocery store, so we'll see what happens!
 

Stressbaby

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I'm going with my passion fruit wine for April.

QA23 of course!

IMG_0261.JPG
 

Stressbaby

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Passion Fruit Wine

Last year's passion fruit wine had a bit of a fusel alcohol issue. Looking at my notes, that wine went from 1.082 to secondary in 3 days. So this time, in addition to more fruit, I'm going to experiment with keeping the must chilled down to near the limits of the yeast.

5# fresh frozen passion fruit pulp
1 can white grape concentrate
456g sugar to OG 1.085
1/4t tannin
1g Booster Blanc
1g Opti White
1t pectic enzyme
0.1g Lallzyme EX
2g Bentonite (planned) for day 3
3t calcium carbonate

The initial pH was 2.68. Increased to 3.03 with 3t calcium carbonate. The inital SG was 1.042, up to 1.085 with the sugar addition. I've mixed this up with the Kmeta, and we'll wait a few hours before adding pectic and Lallzyme. Then cool to near 60F, pitch yeast, and sit on my hands.

The pic is the passion fruit pulp. I bagged the pulp because the seeds get all caught up in the racking cane. You can see how much juice strains through however. Altogether about 2/3 gallon but when you pull the bag it is around 1/3 gallon of straight juice.

IMG_0262.JPG
 

Stressbaby

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Passion fruit wine is being fermented in a water bath with ice packs. Once I forgot to swap the ice packs and it got to 17.8C, but for the most part the bath is in the 16.0C-17.0C range. I'm also fermenting under airlock, opening twice for step feeding. So that is another experimental element. The ferment is definitely slower than last time, when it ripped through in 3 days. I've gone from 1.085 to 1.038 in 5 days.
 

Stressbaby

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Passion fruit wine update

I tried to keep the temps cool, but in reality it was probably not quite as steady as I would have liked. In any event, at 7 days I'm at 1.008 so I racked to secondary. Compared to last time there is far more passion fruit smell than last time so I hope that persists.

Passion fruit DOES stain however.

IMG_0287.JPG

IMG_0288.JPG
 

Bodenski

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Transferred, added a vanilla bean. SG is too high. I should have added sorbate at the first transfer. Even though I used 71B, it went to 16.3%. I had to top it off with water, which took it back down to 15%. I didn't check the SG after dilution, but before I did the SG was 1.016.

I hope the taste is better once I sweeten it a little bit more.
 

Stressbaby

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Racked the passion fruit wine yesterday. The passion fruit aroma has been preserved much better this time. No off odors.
 

Bodenski

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So someone asked me on the other thread how this was coming along. I think the final SG (after adding some water) is 15%, and the SG is 1.014. It’s definitely still hotter than I want, and I can’t tell much of the vanilla. I left it on the bean for a month, and in retrospect should have gone longer. The cherry isn’t coming through much, but I can tell it’s there. As opposed to some other country wines I’ve made, no bitterness at all that needs to mellow. I think this will be really good when we get to the one year point. I plan on tasting again at the 6 month point and potentially adding a little more honey to bring it up a tad. It isn’t too sweet right now, and I think it will help balance the ABV a bit more.

(I”m looking at my notes. On 6/1 I said I wasn’t a fan. I didn’t describe why, but I certainly don’t feel that way tasting it today. Apparently it just needs age!)

I will say next time I plan on using less honey and just going dry with backsweetening. My couple of attempts at using 71B have both gone well past the 14% it’s supposed to hit. Before I added water to this one it was at 16.3%!
 
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