Home made hooch

And so we turn our attention again to the subject of booze.

With nature’s bounty all around us, the bushes heavy with soft fruits, it seems an approproate time to dust off the brewer’s log from 1990’s, A period which saw extensive brewing of wine and beer. It’s really very simple to make some quite drinkable concoctions so i strongly urge you to try. We’ll start with wine, and when i get round to finishing the beer section on here i’ll add some recipes there.

1: Getting your shit together.

To make wine you will need some basic equipment.

A bucket

A demijohn with airlock

A mesh bag

pvc tubing

Bottles and corks.

2: The ingredients

Water,

fruit

sugar

yeast

adjuncts.

All you need to do is use yeast to ferment the sugar in the fruit to produce alcohol. So to make simple wine, mash fruit in a bucket. Add yeast, wait, drink.

O.k, the stuff you have produced is horrible, it probably contains wild yeasts which could have caused the production of methanol, (quite nasty, makes you blind) you will have bacterial infection (quite nasty, gives a very sour taste) You will also have noticed that your wine was quite lumpy and rather opaque. (not good for mouth feel or aesthetic value). It was also probably rather weak so you didn’t even get drunk.

let’s start again in a rather more controlled way.

First clean your bucket!. Clean everything, use a good steriliser and rinse well. Mash the fruit. Hard fruits will benefit from a boil as well. Strain the fruit into the bucket. Add sugar. Add any adjuncts,(see below) Add yeast. Seal the jar, wait. remove from the sediment. Wait. drink.

There, that’s better.

Adjuncts.

Home made wine is often a bit thin and lacks body. It’s worth adding a small amount of grape tannin to help here. Mind you this is the stuff that will help give you the hangover, so maybe miss it out.

Most fruits, particulary stone fruits contain pectin in large amounts. Pectin helps give structure to the cell walls of plants, it’s used in large quantities to set jam. It will give a haze to wine. So pectinase is added to break down the pectin.

Citric acid is often added to home made wine to balance the flavour.

Fermentation

Get a good brewers yeast, One which can take a high alcohol content. Fermentation is often carried out in two steps. The aerobic fermentation allows air to mix with the fruit, this will encourage the yeast to reproduce. Once the jar is sealed anearobic fermentation occurs, this is when you really start to produce the alcohol. You will also produce CO2 so an airtrap is required to let the gas escape. Once bubbles stop appearing, you have used up the available sugar and the wine is ready.

The recipes.

Hooray you made it this far. Here are some great tried and tested recipes. All for one gallon.

Blackberry wine

2.5 Lb Blackberries

1 lemon chopped and squeezed

3lb sugar

pectinase, citric acid, grape tannin (add as directed on the pots!)

Mash the fruit and add sugar, yeast and adjuncts. Allow 3 days aerobic fermentation, then decant into a sealed demijohn.

ferment for around 2 months, then take off the sediment into a clean jar. Once clear, rack into bottles.

Lemon wine

1/2 pint lemon juice

the boiled skins of the lemons

3lb sugar

Pectinase, citric acid

Allow 1 day aerobic fermentation, and around 2 months anaerobic. Rack and bottle. Unlike most home made wines this ages rather well. Producing a very dry, sharp drink.

Tea wine  (yes that’s tea wine)

4 tablesppon dry tea

2.5 lb sugar

citric acid

Make the sweet tea, then strain into a demijohn. Add the yeast and acid. There is no aerobic fermentation for this wine, seal it and leave for 4-5 weeks.

Quite a palatable drink, but the caffeine will keep you up all night!

As you can see the recipes are very similar. You can make wine out of just about anything, plum and elderberry are good. Try using fruit cordials, but don’t make the mistake a friend once did. Low calorie ribena does not good wine make!

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