February 9, 2010

Since I knew I was getting some free brewing equipment from dad’s cousin, I decided to take them a bottle of my first wine as a thank you. We opened it and drank it. It is a low alcohol apple wine that is only three months old. Last month, it tasted very much like a butter chardonnay, but this month has mellowed it out a bit more. My mother, who develops a rash if she drinks too much, really liked it.

When I got home, I looked over my brewing closet to see how my batches are coming along. After I made the beginner’s apple wine, I made a cloudy apple cider, another apple wine, and an apple cranberry cinnamon style cider, all of which I bottled and have yet to taste. Since then, I have been on Home Brew Talk where a woman with the handle YooperBrew encouraged me to allow things to bulk age more rather than to bottle age, so my batches have been staying in the closet longer before I bottle. Currently, I have a bell pepper and peach wine, strawberry wine, blackberry melomel, and another apple cider. Only the apple cider needed attention, and that was to be racked into a new jug.

I had some cherry juice out in the garage for awhile, and decided it was time to do something with it. I had asked the people on home brew talk what they would do, and there was a strong consensus to add honey to it. When I pulled out the juice, I realized that I only had 3 quarts, and not a full gallon. I didn’t want to add more water and dilute the juice, which I realized was mostly apple juice, so I went to the grocery store and picked up two cans of cherries. One was Oregon Bing Cherries, which contained cherries, water, and sugar, and the other was the store brand red tart cherries, containing only cherries and water. Then I realized from Terry Geary’s The Joy of Home Winemaking that I had enough canned fruit to make 1 gallon, and enough juice to make ¾ of a gallon, for 1.75 gallons total. I mixed both together along with about a pound of honey and tasted it before I had all the water in, and decided to leave it at 1.5 gallons instead. I then added about another ¾ of a pound of sugar to bring the potential alcohol to around 11%. I decided to try a new yeast this time, so we will see how it turns out.

Where to go from here? I am registered to attend the Washington State University week long cider class this summer, and I’m trying to become more active in the wine clubs in the area when I can without investing too much money, such as the NW Cider Society, Home Brew Talk, and I have been eying the Columbia Willamette Enological Society and Wine Maker Magazine.


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