|Name:||BLUE FLAME -Brewing||Contributor:||Martin Golding|
|Description:||The Blue Flame, basic brewing theory||Posted:||1999-03-22|
|Key words:||alcohol, brewing||Category:||Beverages|
|Ingredients:||Links to recipes related to this information:
White Currant Wine
GENERAL CONDITIONS OF ALCOHOLIC FERMENTATION
RATE OF FERMENTATION
ALCOHOLIC YIELD AND BY-PRODUCTS OF FERMENTATION
THE BASIC BATCH
CLEANING THE STILL
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS IN DISTILLATION
COMMON POT STILL
RUNNING THE STILL
REFLUX COLUMN DISTILLATION UNITS
GENERAL BREWING INFORMATION (BEER, WINES, BOURBON, ETC)
THE BLUE FLAME
It is well-known that the making of intoxicating beverages is as old as recorded history and probably a great deal older. In this treatise we wish to present the easiest method to make a "product" that is both safe and pleasant to consume. The goal, naturally, is ethyl alcohol, or C2H5OH; the onoy base or stock from which good drinking whiskey and other liquor is made. In fact, ethyl alcohol is rapidly oxidized in the body to carbon dioxide and water, and no cumulative effect occurs. We will attempt in this article to combine the most useful chemical and technological information with "homespun" procedures, as well as trying to keep the data simple and understandable. The text, by the way, is "Chemistry and Technology of Wines and Liquors" by Herstein and Jacobs. (Excerpts from this book are within quotation marks).
GENERAL CONDITIONS OF ALCOHOLIC FERMENTATION
Fermentable sugar, water, the presence of a ferment (yeast), and a favorable temperature, usually between 75-80 and NEVER over 90 F, are inescapable requirements. Concentration of sugar (2 lbs. per gallon) and yeast and the acidity or pH of the fermentation mash are of great importance. The pH range is usually 4. to 4.5. (Note: The parentheses are ours).
"RATE OF FERMENTATION"
The rate of fermentation depends chiefly on the temperature and the concentration of yeast. The rate of fermentation is twice as fast at 95 F as at 77 F. "However, the autolysis (decomposition) of the yeast is favored by higher temperatures, and the rate of undesirable by-processes increased; hence, it is usual to set 90 F as the upper limit." (In other words, it is definite that the higher we go above 90 F, the less alcohol we produce. If your ferment temperatures are from 5 to 15 degrees higher than 90 F, your probable loss of yield of alcohol will be from about 25% to 50% because yeast cells die, as well as undesirable products increase, at higher temperatures).
"ALCOHOLIC YIELD AND BY-PRODUCTS OF FERMENTATION"
(1) The overall chemical equation of the conversion of sugar to alcohol
C6H12O6 = 2 C2H5OH plus 2 CO2
(Hexose) (Ethyl Alcohol) (Carbon Dioxide)
(2) The weight of products from fermentation of one hundred pounds of sugar is as follows:
The extra 0.2 lbs. is due to the fixation of water in the formation of some of the by-products.
(3) In general, the chief products of vinous fermentation are alcohol and carbon dioxide (94-95% of the sugar), glycerol (2.5-3.6%), acids (0.4-0.7%), an appreciable quantity of fusel oils (higher alcohols), acetaldehyde and other aldehydes, and esters. The minor products of fermentation are:
Formic Acid Acetic Acid Propionic Acid Butyric Acid
(4) Very little methyl alcohol is found in grape wine, about 0.15%. Methyl alcohol is NOT produced by fermentation of pure sugar, its sole source appears to be in the hydrolysis of pectins. Pectins are found in grapes, commercial orange juice, and other fruits. The addistion of several cans of orange juice is not necessary and may, in fact, increase methyl alcohol content. It is far safer to use a chemical "booster" such as ammonium phospate-dibasic; or a close substitute containing nitrogen and phosphate. Calgon water softener is also a fair substitute. Perhaps we should explain that the reason for adding an ingredient to the sugar, water, and yeast mix is solely for the yeast to have "food" in order to "work" properly. It has been established that yeast needs nitrogen, phosphate, and pootassium for "food", but only in very small proportions. In other words, the ammonium phosphate-dibasic has the nitrogen
and phosphate, and the raw water the potassium.
THE BASIC BATCH (5 GALLONS OF MASH):
There are a great many ferments or batches and trying to catalog them in all varieties would be a tremendous task. Therefore, we will discuss only a "basic" ferment that proves itself reliable and gives optimum results time after time. Keep in mind that it is only possible to produce a dcertain percent of alcohol, 9% to 10% by volume, depending on what type of yeast you use (at the right temperatures), regardless of "pet" additions such as molasses, coren sugar, corn meal, wheat, large quantities of juices, etc. Therefore, the "basic" ferment saves money.
(1) Ten pounds refined sugar (always 2 lbs. per gallon) dissolved in lukewarm (80 F) RAW WATER before pouring into your container.
(2) One cup of Baker's yeast. If this large amount causes raised eyebrows, read over "Rate of Fermentation," page 1 again. Also, according to the text, yeasts multiply most rapidly in the presence of a supply of air. However, by using a large amount of yeast at the start (one cup per 5-gallon mix) it is not necessary to start a culture of sugar-water-yeast and later add this mixture to the batch.
(3) One teaspoon of ammonium phosphate-dibasic, or as explained "Alcoholic Yield and By-Product5s of Fermentation," a close substitute. The addition of this chemical booster will shorten the time the batch works.
(4) After the above items have been put into the mash container, fill the container to the 5-gallon mark. The best method of eliminating unwanted oxygen, after the reaction has started, is to stopper the container and lead a hose or tube from the container to a can or bottle filled with water. This allwos the carbon dioxide gas to bubble off through the owater, thereby preventing oxygen from entering the container, otherwise, if the ferment stands too long without an adequate "check valve," a vinegar process could start turning the mix sour.
(5) As stated under "General Conditions of Alcoholic Fermentation" and "Rate of Fermentation," page 1, temperature control of the ferment is very important. Keep your batch within the 75-85 F range and never over 90 F.
(6) Up to now, if the steps have been faithfully followed, your mix will stop working in about 6 to 9 days. Although the ferment might stop working in this time estimate, it takes several days more for the batch to settle. The best practice is to keep two or three batches in the various working stages so that you can allow the ferment to clear up or settle before running. Apparently, although this point is not covered in the text, the longer a stoppered batch "sits," up to a certain time limit, the better the yield. The reason the mix stops working is that the higher the percentage of alcohol in you batch, the more yeast cells die until the alcoholic content is so high that all yeast cells die, and your mix stops working. Baker's yeast yields around 9 to 10% alcohol; wine yeast, on the other hand, yields 14 to 16% because wine yeast has a greater tolerance for alcohol. Therefore, a cup of Baker's yeast (dry) for each 10 lbs. of refined sugar is about the right concentration of yeast ofor our purpose. We are also reasonably sure that the distilled product from a sugar- water- yeast- chemical booster ferment will contain only ethyl alcohol, carbon dioxide and distilled water at the end of a four run process as described in this article. We make this statement even though it is contrary to the facts as set forth in "Alcoholic Yield and By-Products of Fermentation," but keep in mind that we said, "reasonably sure," and it only deals with the fermentation process, whereas our statement concerns the product after the four-run distillation process.
A simple definition of distillation is: the separation of the components of a mixture by partial vaporization of the mixture and separate recovery of the vapor and the residue; i.e., distillation is a method of separation and concentration based on differences in volatility.
The apparatus in which this process is carried on is called a still, of which the essential parts are:
(1) the kettle in which vaporization is effected,
(2) the connecting tube which conveys the vapor to
(3) the condenser where the vapors are re-liquified, and
(4) the receiver in which the distillate is collected.
Modifications involving the addition of other parts to the still are introduced for various purposes such as conservation of heat and to effect rectification. The condensed vapors, returning to accomplish rectification, are called reflux. In other words, a simple distillation is a means of separating a volatile liquid from a non-volatile residue. A fractional distillation is a means of separating liquids of different volatility. Fractional distillation rests on the fact that no two liquids of different chemical composition have the same vapor pressure at all temperatures, nor very often the same boiling point. However, every liquid has a definite vapor pressure at any given temperature. ["]The various types of stills may be classified as: pot stills, Coffey, or patent stills, vat stills, and continuous stills."
CLEANING THE STILL:
There are too many variations of the four types of stills in our interesting hobby to attempt an explanation of each "cooker," but our chief worry, regardless of type, is cleanliness and the prevention of accidents and fires.
Keeping a clean still is only common sense and is greatly simplified if your cleaning begins immediately after the last run while the metal is still warm. Use water to wash out all parts and keep the kettle well-scrubbed. Do NOT use soap as it might impart a diagreeable taste to your product. It is necessary to supplement the plain water rinse by establishing the following cleaning practice at least once a month:
Dissolve 1/2 cup of salt in about 16 ounces of vinegar and pour this solution
back and forth through the tubing several times, then rinse thoroughly with
This procedure is all that is necessary for the pot stills, but the reflux types need special attention to the cleaning of the reflux chamber and the "marbles," helices, etc.
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS IN DISTILLATION
The home ditillation of alcohol can be either very hazardous or reasonably safe depending upon the degree of care taken. Unfortunately, accidents have occurred resulting in burns to people and destruction of property. These accidents can be well summed-up in General "Hap" Arnold's message in which we have substituted the word "distilling" for "flying". "Distilling is not inherently dangerous. But like the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of carelessness, incapacity or neglect."
In this discussion the unsafe practices which produce the majority of all distilling accidents are described and the proper method of operation to eliminate the hazards is set forth for your safety.
First, we must recognize and accept the fact that for all practical purposes, when distilling alcohol we might just as well be distilling gasoline. Take a look at the comparable properties.
(Although there is a tendency for rich alcohol vapors to settle, it should be noted that alcohol/air mixtures in the flammable range have a specific gravity only very little greater than that of air (1.02-1.11). Therefore air currents will distributre such mixtures widely).
It should be obvious from the above data that, from the fire point of view, alcohol is almost as hazardous as gasoline.
(1) If you use glass bottles for mash be sure that the bottles are taped with masking tape to avoid the hazard of cuts from broken glass. Should the bottle break, there is no fire hazard from mash because the alcohol content of mash is too low to create a flammable mixture at ordinary room temperatures. Never attempt to carry heavy 10 gallon bottles. Their structural strength may be insufficient and they have been known to fail upon the slightest impact. Also the strengtth of your back is inadequate in an awkward position. Use a dolly to transport the bottle or, better yet, siphon into the still. The best bet is to get metal or plastic containers.
(2) NEVER FILL A STILL ON THE STOVE. Of all the dangerous things to do, the second most hazardous is to fill a still with second or subsequent runs when the still is on the stove. Even though the fire is out, the pilot light or oven may be lit. Any spillage of alcohol at this time can get you into serious trouble. If the vapor flashes, youu will probably drop the dispensing container, with the likelihood of splashing flaming alcohol on yourself or others, as well as starting a large fire.
Alway charge the still on the floor away from the oven and, if it is too heavy for one man to lift, get help. Any of your friends will help in this important endeavor. To form correct habits, this practice should be followed even to charge the still with mash.
(3) NEVER LEAVE A STILL UNATTENDED. THIS IS THE MOST HAZARDOUS ACTION OF ANY AND IS ABSOLUTELY INEXCUSABLE.
First Condenser water can fail due to:
a) failure of hose lines
b) Low water pressure
c) Shutdown of utilities
d) Failure of condenser shell.
Without adequate condensing means, alcohol vapors will rapidly spread within the room until a source of ignition is reached. The degree of flash fire will depend upon the accumulation of vapors, but in most cases the fire is mmediately beyond control. If the concentration of vapors is sufficiently widespread, an explosion can occur.
Second The receiver can overflow. This will create a large area from which the alcohol can vaporize. Usually, under these conditions the flash point is reached. Flash point is defined as the lowest temperature at which a liquid will give off flammable vapor at or near its surface. This vapor forms an intimate mixture with air, and it is this mixture which ignites -- VIOLENTLY!!
(4) LOCATE THE DISTILLED ALCOHOL RECEIVER AT AS LOW A LEVEL AS POSSIBLE and extend the run-down tube fromn the condenser to the bottom of the receiver.
First Placing the receiver at a low level will tend to keep any alcohol vapor away from the flames at the top of the stove. Note that any flames (main burners or pilots) in the oven or broiler units are usually lower and tend to
draw the air for combustion from a low level. Therefore, all flames, including the pilots, in ovens or broilers, should be turned off. In a few of our stoves (older Wedgewood models) all pilots are controlled from a single safety shutoff valve that shuts down the entire stove if an oven pilot goes out. On these stoves it is impossible ot cut off the oven pilot and keep the top burners operating. Therefore, for such cases the receiver should be located at least three feet away from the bottom of the stoveand the recommendation in "Place the receiver in an auxiliary container" must be followed.
Second When the run down tube extends to the bottom of the receiver and becomes submerged in the liquid, there are several safety features created.
(1) The alcohol liquid that contacts air is reduced to only the stilled surface in the receiver.
(2) If any alcohol vapor remains uncondensed it will bubble in the liquied of the receiver and serve as a warning of insufficient condensing capacity.
(3) If therte is abundant condensing capacity, the condenser will establish a partial vacuum in the system and draw up a liquid head that will stand in the run down tube. This will be proof of adequate condensing capacity. Note: When the still is first started, it contains air above the liquid. This air must be displaced. Therefore, the end of the run down tube may bubble at first.
(4) [Point 4 was missing from the original post. Hope it wasn't critical... ;-) -Dean]
(5) Use a receiver with a small filling opening. A small opening cuts down on the quantity of vapors escaping into the room and it also saves you alcohol. If a fire does occur at the receiver, it will burn at the small opening and be easily controlled. With a large opening, the fire will be much larger, a lot more heat will be rapidly given off, and the fire will be more difficult to control. If such should occur, extinguish all sources of flame and follow the suggestions in paragraph (10) "In case of accident, immediately call the Fire Department."
COMMON POT STILL:
This section deals with the 3 or 4 run system, using a basic sugar- water- yeast- chemical booster ferment, and the common pot still apparatus. Incidentally, the reflux chamber stills are excellent (one run equals four runs in pot stills) but the majority of us use a pot still over a gas flame. Therefore, in this section, we will concern ourselves with this method. Be sure your thermometer is mounted in the vapor space chamber so that temperatures will be vapor temperatures. Do not mount your theremometer in the liquid, keep it at least 3 inches above the liquid level.
RUNNING THE STILL:
Use the ferment described in "The Basic Batch,"
NOTE: TURN ON EXHAUST FAN FOR ALL RUNS
First Run - Run to 207 F* (see note)
Pour your ferment into the kettle up to the 5-gallon mark and set up the apparatus. Adjust your condenser and turn on the flame or flames. (Warm-up period can be full blast). This section is based on a one-buner heat source. If you can use two burners, your time will be considerably shorter. Depending on the alcohol and water proportions, as well as the temperature of the mix before heating, the run should start in about one hour betweeen 170 F and 196 F. Approximately two hours later, when 207 F is reached, you will have a good working stock of about one or one and a fifth gallons. BUT, if your ferment temperatures were too high, you might be unlucky and ge only 1/2 gallon! (See "Rate of Fermentation"). Your first run distillate should amount to about 40% ethyl alcohol and 60% water and by-products. Disconnect the kettle and pour out the residue. Be careful while pouring out the hot residue as splashes might cause you to drop the container resulting in painful burns. A good way to empty a large still is to use a piece of garden hose as a siphon. Put one end in the liquid and fill the hose by turning on the water faucet. As soon as all the air is removed, disconnect the hose from the faucet and let the liquid siphon down the drain. At this point it is a good idea to rinse out the tubing so that any lurking "solids" are flushed away.
We might also add that sometimes one gets anxious and runs before his mix stops working. The green or unsettled batch bubbles inside the pot. Consquently if there's not enough space above the level of the liquid in the kettle, solids will come over and cause the condensate to turn milky in the receiver. This is also caused by running "full blast" or, in other words, there is too much heat applied to the pot. If this should be the case, keep on running at a reduced heat and when you finish, be sure to rinse out the entire apparatus thoroughly before starting the second run. Incidentally, unless you have had lots of experience, it is not a good idea to run at "full blast" for the entire run. Most of us use the hight heat only to cut down the warm-up period of the batch.
Second Run - Run to 204 F (see note)
Pour your first run into the kettle as is. Do NOT add water. Set up the apparatus again and turn on the heat. CAUTION: NEVER TURN ON THE FLAME UNTIL THE KETTLE IS BUTTONED UP. This time results come faster, at about 160 F - 180 F it starts, and in about one hour the 204 F mark is reached. If you are lucky you should have about 3/4 gallon of about 70% ethyl alcohol, and the remainder water and by-products. Once again, pour out the waste, and if you wish, rinse out the tubing. We now have a pretty good stock, but yeast taste and other by-product traces are definitely there, although in very small proportions. At this point, remember, 70% alcohol is 140 proof and has a flash point of 70 F. You now have a very flammable product.
Note: Multiply % Alcohol x two to get "proof," e.g. 90 Proof whiskey is 45% alcohol.
Third Run - Save everything between 170 F to 184 F (see note)
This is the run that counts; the first two runs seved to get us a good working stock, now we start to refine it. Pour in your second run without adding water, button up the apparatus, and turn on the heat. Stand by to watch your thermometer. At about 150 F-160 F the needle or coulumn really moves fast to the 170 F-172 F mark. This jump is normal. Don't let it worry you. Throw away whatever comes off before 170 F (or that which comes off before the trickle steadies into a solid stream), and save the rest up to 184 F. Time for this third run is about 3/4 hour, and the distillate will amount to about 1/2 gallon, which will be around 82% to 87 % ethyl alcohol and the remainder water and very, very ssmall traces of by-products. Some of us stop here and call it quits. The elapsed time from start to this point is about 4-3/4 hours.
Fourth run - Save Everything Between 170 F to 180 F(see note)
Now we are on the home stretch. Pour in your third run without adding water. Button up and turn on the heat. As before, the needle will jump to the 170 F - 172 F mark. Throw away whatever comes off before 170 F-172 F and keep the rest up to 180 F. This time the run will last only about 1/2 hour and will amount to about 1/2 gallon, consisting of 90% to 95% ethyl alcohol and the remainder distilled water. We are betting our first drink on the fact that the by-products will be negligible. Now you have an excellent base for any type liquor that you care to concoct. Notice that we have not once run according to proof. Now bring out your hydormeter and let's cut the fourth run back to about 90 proof. Be sure that you use your hydrometer at the correct temperature, usually 60 F. Otherwise, if the product is warmer than prescribed, there will be an error in proof. After cutback, you should now have about 7/8 to 1-1/5 gallons of the finest raw whiskey this side of California. Here's a thought: don't worry if your ferment didn't start running at the temperatures we've indicated. It is rare that two batches are exactly alike in alcoholic content. Therefore, there will be differences in initial boiling temperatures as explained in the note.
REFLUX COLUMN DISTILLAIONT UNITS:
(1) Apparatus: Essentially there will be a pot (5 to 20 gal.), a packed column (1-1/2 to 3 feet), and a condensing system.
The pot requires little comment except to state that operators of gas heated units should be careful because the product is nearly pure ethyl alcohol and thus extrememly combustible. The top and sides of the pot should be insulated.
The packed column is the most imnportant aspect of this type of still. The usual packing materials are: stainless steel mesh or turnings; glass beads or rings, and porcelain saddles. When packed normally, one can expect 6 inches (1/2 foot) of packed column height to be equivalent to one plate. Thus the pot and 1-1/2 feet of packed column will be equivalent to the 4-run pot still. The outside of the column will need insulation, otherwise too much internal condensation will occur due to heat loss to atmosphere. ther are two schools of thought on the need of an internal reflux condenser. Certainly if one is used, then careful control must be exercised, otherwise the column may become flooded and thus impair efficienccy of separation. There should be a separate needle valve for controlling internal reflux water. Do not allow the complete condenser water stream to pass through the internal reflux condenser. One way to decide on the need of internal reflux is the adequateness of the column insulation. If the column is not well insulated, then the need for internal reflux is lessened.
(2) Operations: As in any distillation, the faster the rate of distilling the lower the efficiency of separation. If oa 3-foot column is used, the process can be forced, and still yield a good product with one run. If a short column (1-1/2 feet of packing) is used, a lower rate is desirable in order to get by with one run.
(3) Cleaning: The cleaning operations of a reflux column depend on one's techniques of distilling. After every batch one should backwash the column. And after 4 or 5 batches the column packing should be removed and cleaned thoroughly -- hot soapy water, vinegar rinse, raw water and sweet water.
"It was supposed for a long time that, by aging straight whiskey in the charred wood, a chemical change took place which rid the liquor of fusel oils and this destroyed the unpleasant taste and odor. It now appears by chemical analysis that this is untrue -- that the effect of aging is only to dissipate the odor and modify the raw, unpleasant flavor, but to leave the fusel oil still in the straight whiskey. It is known that wood absorbs some of the undesirable components while some of the materials in the wood are, in turn, dissolved by the whiskey. At the same time, some of the secondary products are changed into acids and esters, so that in matured whiskey many of the secondary components are actually present in higher content than in green liquor. The esters increase in matured whiskey, but to a lesser extent, furfural and higher alcohols, i.e., fusel oil, remain practically unchanged.
There is also the change in proof in whiskey stored in wooden barrels since water difuses more rapidly through the pores of the wood than does alcohol.
The above paragraph throws a new light on th subject. Apperantly it's not true that aging in charred wood gets rid of the undesirable by-products, but still some of us like the taste of the esters because that's what gives the "whiskey taste" to our Stateside liquor. It follows then, that running according to temperatures is one of the best ways of getting rid of unwanted by-products.
In the past some people have used the technique of accelerated aging by double-boiler heating of 90 proof alcohol and wood chips. WE DEFINITELY DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS METHOD BECAUSE, FIRST, ALCOHOL VAPORS ARE RELEASED ABOVE THE FLAME OF THE STOVE WHICH IS HAZARDOUS, AND SECOND, THE METHOD REQUIRES A LOOSE-FITTING CAP ON THE ALCOHOL CONTAINER. It is difficult to specify what is loose and what is not. If the cap should accidentally be fastened too tightly, it is possible that pressure can build up inside the container, and it might explode. This is a double hazard because of the shrapnel-like articles of the container and the sudden release of the flammable alcohol vapors.
I. General Brewing Information
There are four types of simple beverage; wine, cider, mead, and beer. The first is made of fruit or vegetable juices, water, and sugar, either mixed naturally as in the grape, or by adding water to make an infusion. The second is the juice of the apple, pressed out and left to its natural ferment without any addition. Cherry, or pear cider, is made in this way. The third is made by the fermentation of honey diluted with water; thus is produced one of the finest known wines but it must be matured for many years to be at its best. The fourth is a complex brew that has no keeping quality - malt beer.
After careful cleaning and sterilizing of all bottles and jugs has eliminated the possibility of moulds, the greatest worry is "vinegaring." Turning to vinegar occurs by the introduction to the fermenting batch (called must) of a microorganism called mycoderma acetii, which lives a sort of suspended life in the atmosphere, waiting until it can find a ferment of sugar and fruit into which it can insert itself. All fermenting vessels must be covered form the open air; not merely with thin material such as muslin, but with thick layers of blanket cloth. A water trap or bubbler may be used; this calls for a closed fermenting vessel except for a hose leading to a glass of water. All decantation, filtering of sediment, or racking must be done quickly and the vessel immediately covered once the work is finished.
All fermenting wines throw a heavy deposit which is unpleasant in both smell and taste, wines are much improve if, when the first violent ferment is finished, they are racked (siphoned) off into a clean vessel.
Fining (the clarifying of wine) is not always essential. Some wines are bright and clear by nature, and if the must is carefully made or filtered through a cloth bag it will often need no further clearing. But some types will always need it. In extracting the juices from fruits excessive boiling might contribute to a cloudy wine. They should be boiled only until they are soft, never until they begin to break up and cloud the water. It is incorrect to think that long and fierce boiling will give a stronger infusion.
Fining is done in several ways. Isinglass (a gelatin-like material) being insoluble in the wine is safe and effective. The isinglass is put into a basin and soaked for about 20 minutes in cold water. Then a little of the wine is brought to the boil and poured onto the isinglass until it is liquid. This solution is poured and stirred into one's cask or jug. As it solidifies it will fall carrying with it any particles suspened in the wine. An ounce of isinglass will fine as much as 10 gallons. (It is also possible to use the isinglass dry. Just drop in a big pinch for each gallon in your cask. Another system is to use eggshells, 2 or 3 to the gallon. Also used is the method of clearing by beating the white of eggs into it). If a wine obstinately refuses to clear it may be deficient in tannin. (Fermenting in wood barrels is excellent because tannin is extracted as needed by the wine itself. Metal containers are not to be used in any of the wine making steps).
Filtering is another matter. Unless a pressure filter is used it is a long and
tedious process. Moreover, filtered wines lose some quality and can be detected from the non-filtered sort. When all has been said of fining by various means, the best fining of all is time. Long storage not only matures wine, it clears and brightens it. Wine drawn from a cask that has been standing undistubed a year or more will seldom need any fining.
After fermentation has stopped and fining is completed, wine should be bottled and corked loosely. (Never cork tightly until you are sure that all fermentation has stopped. Never use screw caps). Laying bottles on their sides to keep the corks wet is only necessary if wines are to be stored for several years.
The simplest of all brews to make is grape wine. Grapes are pressed, the must
put into clean casks and allowed to ferment to make the best of all wines. Often home made grape wines are better than the commercial product because more care can be exercised in pressing the juice from the grapes. Bare feet are better than mechanical presses that crush pips, stalks, and skins. Grape wine should be allowed to clear itself if possible. Red wine is fermented upon the skins of the grapes, and stored in the dark in brown bottles. To make white wine from grapes, either obtain white grapes and proceed as usual or take black grapes and carefully express the juice so as not to bruise the color cells in the skin. White wines also may be made from apples and other fruits
|Notes:||NOTE: These temperatures are approximate. It is very difficult to run
exactly according to the prescribed degree because:
a. Your thermometer might be off.
b. Percentage of alcohol vcs water may vary considerably even
though you have followed correct instructions.
Therefore, as you gain experience, you'll learn to judge both temperatures and the "strength" of the first trickle during the 3rd and 4th runs. Usually you
throw away that which comes off before the trickle steadies.