Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Beet Wine

My wife and I have a CSA from a local farm.  It's a system of buying "Shares" of the farm.  We have 1/2 share.  It stands for community supported agriculture.  This allows the farmer to make money early in the season, and it allows me to get fresh vegetables all season.  This includes beets.  Every week we get fresh beets.  I love them, but after a while my wife has had enough.  We still have beets from last Summer that we canned.  Eventually we give some away to friends.

This year I used the "purple book" as winemakers call it, and I am currently brewing some beet wine in the kitchen.  I was considering the idea of combining it with a potato wine recipe to make it more of a root-vegetable wine, but I decided to start with just beets this year.

The purple book if you've heard of it, or if  you have a copy is a book that contains wine recipes for almost every fruit and vegetable you can imagine.  Each recipe is a 1 gallon recipe so you can multiply it out as you feel the need.  I find that with wine there is usually more yeast sediment at the bottom of the fermenter than with beer so I don't like 1 gallon batches.  I never end up with a full gallon.  I feel like if you want to rack 1 gallon into the secondary you should start with 1.5 gallons in the primary to be safe.  If anything you may end up with a small glass to test for yourself and then the whole gallon in the secondary and some trub in the fermenter.

So this is what I have so far, 1 gallon of water, and 1 mesh bag full of skinned, chopped beets, that I boiled for about 20 - 30 minutes.  It should be a gentile boile that you continue until the beets are soft.  I poured that into the primary on top of 2 lbs of sugar, stirred well, and then added about 2 more lbs of sugar.  Then I added enough cold water to bring it up to 3 gallons.  This is really 2.5 gallons when I take the beet bag out.  The bag has about 4 lbs of beets in it.  It should have been 5, but I found that weighing the beets should be done after you skin and chop off the greens.

Next I added 4 tsp of acid blend and 1/2 tsp of tannin.  The recipe asked for yeast nutrient at this point also but I don't like to add that unless it is necessary.  I find the yeast usually does just fine on its own.  I've got the dry yeast packet in the refrigerator waiting.  Finally I crushed and added 1 campden tablet and when 24 hours are up I will be pitching the yeast.