Preface: I’ve never done this before, and I’m totally inexperienced about brewing. I did a little bit of research online and found this was the easiest and cheapest way to brew wine, which seems like the easiest of all alcoholic drinks to make. Follow these directions at your own risk
Like the title says, this method of brewing is not expensive (cost me roughly $12. This will make me 2-3 gallons of wine. maybe more), but the returns aren’t for connoisseurs. This is for cheap-asses, college kids, and 15 year olds who can’t buy anything themselves. If you do it right, it’s enjoyable, cheap, easy to do, and most importantly, alcoholic. Plus, it only takes a maximum of 2 weeks to fully ferment!!!
Buy ingredients. Get the cheap stuff. It doesn’t matter what quality it is because it’s hobo-wine.
I made a gallon jug of this. The recipe calls for:
- 2 cans of juice concentrate (room temp) I chose welch’s concorde grape. You should be able to use any type of concentrate like strawberry, kiwi-whatever etc. Two juice concentrates makes 1 gallon.
- 2-3 cups of sugar
- water container (I used a water jug that was 60 cents at the store, plus I got to use the water)
- Active Dry yeast
- rubber band
Sterilize everything you’re going to use to keep the fermenting wine in. You don’t want unwanted bacteria growing in your wine, it ruins it. Bleach out your funnel and your jug. Rinse well, and wash with dish soap. Air dry.
Go ahead and bring your water to a near boil. What I did was let the water boil just for a bit to kill anything in it (just in case), and then I took it off the heat and let it cool. I heated mine in separate pots because I didn’t have any large enough to hold it all.
While you’re waiting for your water to heat, go ahead and add your room temperature juice concentrate to the clean, dry jug. Use the funnel if you need it.
As the hot water cools, dissolve 2-3 cups of sugar in the water. Most recipies I’ve read say 2 is fine, but i added 3 so the yeast had enough nutrients and so that the wine would be sweeter. Stir while pouring.
Activate the yeast. Follow the instructions on the back of the packet. For me, I added 1 teaspoon of sugar into a separate bowl along with 1/4 cup of water at 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the yeast to the concoction and stir briefly. Let sit for 10 minutes. The yeast should be very frothy now.
Pour the dissolved sugar-water into the jug that’s holding the juice concentrate. Your juice/sugar-water might be warm. Cool it off a little by placing the jug in the sink and fill the sink with cool water. When you introduce your yeast to their syrupy mix, it can’t be too hot or it will kill the yeast and ruin your project. I waited until the jug was just warm to touch. 80-90 degrees I estimate.
When the mix is cooled enough, add the yeast to the mix.
Cap the jug containing your sugar water, juice concentrate, and yeast and shake violently. Try not to spill. Do it enough just to mix everything up.
Remove the cap, place a balloon over the top to allow for expansion. The yeasties produce CO2, and its got to go somewhere. You cannot introduce air to the mix or it will ruin it/make vinegar. Bad bad bad! Some people use valves, some make tubing that runs from the jug to a glass of water so air cannot get in, but it allows the CO2 to escape. I use a balloon.
Note: when using a balloon, make sure it doesn’t over-inflate and pop. Again, this will ruin your batch.
If you want you can put a rubber band over the ballon to further secure it. If you really want to i suppose you can tape it as well. I didn’t.
Keep your jug in a relatively warm place (room temp). The yeast can handle 60 degrees, but i wouldn’t want to risk it. Also, i wouldn’t expose it to direct sunlight.
There it is! I just brewed it up tonight, now I just wait 10-14 days and then i can…
When you’re done fermenting, you can siphon the good stuff out while leaving the clumpy yeast in the jug. To repeat, just make sure to sterilize again and you’re good to go.
Again, I’m way not a pro at this. I just thought some of you might want to try this with me and we can help each other along. If you know what you’re doing, post in here and give advice. I’d love to hear it.
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Filed under: Tips on August 27th, 2006