Monday, April 4, 2016

Dry or liquid yeasts

In the world of brewing I think there are two ends of the spectrum.  There is the Charlie Papizan, relax, have a home brew end, and on the other side is the more scientific, Dave Miller kind of approach.  I think most of us fall somewhere along the spectrum rather than pinned at one end.  I am always interested in learning more, but I am not a scientist.  I have learned a lot just by doing, and then if I am curious, I will go back and try and find out why things turned out the way they did.  I can write down my brews and copy the recipe if I want to make it again, but I find it better to know why things work the way they do.

With wines things can take longer and thus I forget more about what I did when I brewed if I have not written it down somewhere.  In a lot of brewing beer people use liquid yeasts and starters to ensure there is a strong fermentation.  I have read, and found it to be true, that with dry yeasts it is not good to use a starter.  Most wine is fermented using dry yeast.  If you google around you can read about the different processes of getting the yeasts to you, and as I have learned the process of making dry yeast is not as clean and thus any replication (making starters) can amplify (like a copy machine) any imperfections.  When using dry yeasts I have always seen better results using no starter, but a good dose of yeast nutrient.

I prefer liquid yeasts but for wines, there doesn't seem to be as much variety in the liquid category.  Do you have a favorite yeast, or do you use wild yeasts when fermenting, let me know in the comments.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Coffee Wine

While shoveling snow from a recent storm I piled some on top of the garden bed that grows mint in my yard.  Maybe this will give it an extra cool taste this year.  It's certainly leaving me feeling cool right now.

I'm thinking about this because I have discovered a mint wine recipe:

I definitely want to experiment with this during the Summer.  I am having fun experimenting with different wine recipes, changing the recipe a little as I go until I find that I really like it.  Right now I have this coffee wine brewing.  It's basically a cold brewed iced coffee that should end up around 10 - 12 % abv.  Here you can see me stirring the coffee grounds as it was brewing the coffee:

I have made 1 gallon and it's fermenting now.  I have a friend who has challenged me to make a gluten free beer, so I need to get moving on that.  There is also a bucket of 11 lbs of honey and two sugar pumpkins waiting for me to make some mead with, all while this coffee wine is fermenting.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my brewing projects here; I will be publishing updates as these projects move along.

Check out Pixie's Pocket on Google+ or on the web for some 1 gallon wine and mead recipes: