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Kiwi Wine

Posted in Wine on March 28th, 2011 by Chris

So, I was thinking this evening about what to try next …

The goal here is to try to make beer and wine from things that can be locally grown. One of the more interesting fruit that you may not know can be grown in Ohio is Kiwi. So, what’s more natural than to make some kiwi wine!

Growing kiwi in Ohio will require a cold hardy variety, which aren’t exactly like what you would get in the store. Seems like a good idea to try the wine (even with grocery Kiwis) before investing time in growing them, don’t you think? So, I’ll grab a bag full from the grocery and try it out.

Thinking about kiwi’s makes me think about strawberry-kiwi Snapple … not sure why, but it’s the first thing that comes to mind. Which brings me to my next fruit of choice … strawberries. We’ve grown strawberries for the past two years with some decent success last year. They tasted awesome … unfortunately, none ever made it into the house as we were eating them faster they they could grow. Something about a fresh ripe home-grown strawberry is completely irresistible. So, while it’s not likely I’ll have enough to make wine into … it’s worth adding some strawberries (even if we have to buy some from a local farm stand) to the kiwi wine.

What says spring better than some strawberry kiwi wine … to bad it’s 10 degrees below freezing tonight. Guess I have some time to plan still.

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How to make Maple Wine

Posted in Wine on March 23rd, 2011 by Chris

Finally, I finished putting together the video on how to make maple wine. The video speaks for itself, if you need recipes I have my current and past recipes listed here:

Maple Wine Recipe 2011

Maple Wine Recipe 2010


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Maple wine racked to secondary

Posted in Wine on March 22nd, 2011 by Chris

Today I racked the 2011 batch of maple wine into the secondary fermenter. The SG at this point is 1.042 … so it’s slightly more than halfway done fermenting. Which means … when you take a glass out to check it’s flavor, be prepared to be knocked over by what tastes like a super sweet mixed drink (not my cup of tea). But if you’re looking for a sugared up Sangria …. go for it.

I did notice a few things that surprised me:

1) The color is a solid yellow … not red, or brown like I was going after this year. I’m not sure I can pinpoint what give it the color because I would of expected the more concentrated maple sap and rooibos tea to give it a darker color. I guess it’s time to do more research.

2) The maple flavor is going away quickly. Even with it only halfway fermented the maple flavor is drowned out by the alcohol. I know with age this will change but didn’t expect it to go away some completely. Only time will tell how the final product will taste. Other than the sweetness, the taste is very good. So, either way … I have no doubt it will taste good.

3) The clarity is that of orange juice. I believe last year it was cloudy but this seems more intense. I’m guessing it will also clear up with enough time racked back and forth. I guess it’s a sign of activity because without the yeast, it started completely clear.

Here are some pictures.

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Maple Wine is Started

Posted in Wine on March 15th, 2011 by Chris

The maple wine for this year is bubbling away now. I boiled it down and put all the ingredients together this weekend. The fermentation picked up today and it’s now well on it’s way to becoming some more awesome wine! The how-to video should be coming as soon as I find time to finish it up … I’m still hoping that will be within the next couple days.

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How to label bottles

Posted in Beer, Wine on March 12th, 2011 by Chris

I documented the labeling process better this time, so sorry to repeat if you’ve already seen this but it’s for the how-to section.

For labeling, I’ve been using some printable pre-glued label paper I found on-line. I’ve had fairly good luck with it and only 1 or 2 times it tried to take up more than one page. I got the label paper here.

To layout the label I’ve been using GIMP, a free photo editor software.

Here are the labels printed up and ready to go.

The next step is to cut them apart. The paper doesn’t have specific perforations so you can layout the labels however you want. I chose to make them a little smaller this time to save paper.

The labels have a dry glue on the back (like stamps used to). So, to stick them to the paper you need to wet them. To do that I have a sponge on a plate soaked with water.

Simply press the label down on the wet sponge. The apply to the bottle and viola, labeled beer.


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Maple Wine Day

Posted in Wine on March 11th, 2011 by Chris

Well, I’m making my 2011 batch of maple wine today.

I collected the sap (over 60 gallons in total, though I’ll only use 20 for wine). Don’t forget to check out the video I did about collecting sap here:

Also, I considered what I changes I wanted to make in the recipe from last year. You can see the recipe for 2011 here:

Today I’m boiling down the sap and starting the wine making process. I’ll be documenting it so don’t forget to check back in a few days for a video on how to make maple wine!

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Lager is done

Posted in Beer on March 5th, 2011 by Chris

I cracked open the first lager today.

The taste is very clean and crisp with a hint of hops and a very slight hint of malt. The color is a beautiful amber. It’s very drinkable and tastes great cold. The only down side is a slight hint of a fruity aftertaste that’s out of place in a lager.  It’s certainly not enough to make it taste bad … just not exactly what I was after. I’ll have to do some research to see what might have caused it and try to correct next time. Regardless, it should be a good clear drinkable beer for the summer (if any lasts that long).


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Maple Wine recipe 2011

Posted in Wine on March 4th, 2011 by Chris

Results: Pending … tasted good as I racked it to the secondary but it still has a long time to go before it’s mature enough to say for sure.

Update: I posted a video on how to make maple wine. You can see it here.

To start, if you need instructions on collecting sap from maple trees, feel free to check out the how-to section. I’ll be making a few changes from last year so I wanted to document them. Here’s the plan for this year.

2011 Maple Wine Recipe

- 20 gallons maple sap (boiled down to 2 gallons) (1.07 SG target)

- ?? cups granulated sugar (to get OG to 1.09)

- 1 lemon, sliced up thin

- 1 cup strong roibos tea

- 1 campden tablet

- 1 packet yeast (K1-V1116)

- Yeast Nutrient


The process:

1. Boil the sap

2. Check specific gravity, and add sugar to adjust to target

3. Add tea, lemon, and campden tablet and let rest overnight

4. Add yeast … AND yeast nutrient

5. Rack into secondary at one weeks, re-rack at one month, and again at three months

6. Bottle at 3 months or bulk age for remainder of 1 year

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Trial Run

Posted in Wine on March 3rd, 2011 by Chris

Looks like we’re in for a few rainy days, so I decided to give our new setup a trial run. The burner was very easy to get set up. The legs fold out and secure with wingnuts. The shelves flip out and clip into wire supports. After that, it’s just a matter of hooking up a propane tank and lighting it up.

There is certainly a lot more heat than the grill I used last year. Looks like it should go much quicker once I have a full day to boil. For tonight, it was enough to boil down a couple gallons so we have some syrup for this weekend’s pancakes. This weekend I’ll hope to boil all day Sunday and with any luck I’ll end up with 2 gallons ready for wine and 1 gallon of syrup.

So far, so good …

On a side note, both trash cans in the background are full of sap. That’s 60 gallons.

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