Homebrews - Wine, Beer, Kombucha, Kimchi, Etc..

  • We have some friends who are all about fermentation, and have awesome recipes and had great results.

    I occasionally have access to excess quantities of fruit and have been experimenting with fruit wines and ciders.

    Some are absolutely great!

    Some, not so much

    Does anyone here homebrew?

    Interesting recipes, experiments, experiences?

  • We do have a craft beer thread:

    Craft Beer Spoken Here

    @David-Harris is the sole home brewer to post up their goods there thus far. I don't have the time at present. I may have to visit Powder River someday to sample those wares.. 🍻

    In the interest of thread drift maybe we can keep the craft beer brewing related discussion there? On the other hand, there's a lot of cross pollination in the fermentation crafts, as most eventually become bored and start to explore various alternative venues of fermented expression of the art.

  • Speaking of fermentation, but not beer! At our 2016 City of Rocks social gathering Walla Walla based geologist,author, & climber Kevin Pogue, brought a case of his home-made wine along. It was a hit!

    My "old" climbing buddy Gordon, who dropped dead this summer, had long been not only fermenting, but distilling fruits on a small scale. As an artist & photographer, he enjoyed creating fun labels too.




    Many of his friends worried that he was a little too-open with letting folks know he was distilling liquor. The county sheriff's deputies searched his house after he dropped dead there, & left the obvious small still alone.

  • @J-Fengel said in Homebrews - Wine, Beer, Kombucha, Kimchi, Etc..:

    Does anyone here homebrew?

    As Toby said, I do. In fact, I just shut off the burner under the brew kettle a few minutes ago.

    Whether this post should go here, in this thread, or in the craft beer thread is debatable, because what I started today is going to end up quite bent. It begins as my usual IPA, but in addition to the usual Saccharomyces I'll also pitch a big load of Brettanomyces.

    In a couple of weeks, it'll taste like my standard IPA, but in a few months (Brett is a slow worker, but eats things that Saccharomyces can't) it'll be something else.

  • @David-Harris @J-Fengel

    This thread title is more specific to home brewing, whilst the other specific to beer but also more general to include commercially available craft beers. When I started that thread I had expected more home brewers to chime in but seems not too many RPU members are engaged in such pursuits?

    I'm unsure whether sufficient interest exist in home brewing to sustain a dedicated home brew thread but am otherwise fine with the craft of brewing being collated here. I was just thinking ahead that it would be preferable for craft beer discussion to be collated in one thread, rather than scattered between two or more, particularly for new users a year or three down the road.

    On the flip side, other than you and I, not too many folks were into the commercial side, as that thread has not seen much action as of late either. Must be a climber thing: too many feakin' calories!

    @David-Harris I can merge your craft brew posts into this thread if y'all decide that is preferable.

    Maybe a six of one, half dozen of the other situation but with these considerations in mind, I'll leave up to the home brew crew. 🐕

    P.S.; Of course in a dedicated Home Brew thread you'll need to share yer' secrets, recipes and such 😉

  • @toby Given that there aren't hundreds of active users on this forum, particularly ones interested in craft beer, maybe moving my homebrewing posts into this thread makes sense.

    I don't mind either way -- you decide.

  • Made some cider a couple weeks back.

    This fall, we were gifted a couple boxes of Arkansas Black apples .. when juiced, these yielded about 6.5 gallons. We fermented just under five gallons using the wild yeast from the apple skins. Using a food-grade bucket, this bubbles for a couple weeks, set outside in the sun and covered/tied-down with a clean towel. I'll stir it whenever I think about it, in the morning and early evening. When the bubbling slows, I funnel the whole concoction into an air-locked carboy to cold-ferment in the shed, until late-spring or early next summer.. depending on upcoming events : ) During winter, every once in a while.. I'll spin the cider in the carboy like a lush snow-globe and stare, and wait.. and wait some more. Eventually, I'll siphon the clarified cider into one-gallons and smaller bottles and start giving it away. I don't use store-bought yeast, sterile stir-spoons, rack periodically, yeast nutrients, keep the temperature up, etc.. or any new-school BS.. I figure, good cider and wine has been made simply for a long.. long time, using simple techniques, and it still works well






  • I used to make my own kombucha. Pretty simple, the key is what to add to it for taste.

    Longer ago I used to do my own sourdough. I should do those things again.

  • I set aside about 1/2 gallon for a spiced cider just in time for Christmas.. a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and a bit of maple syrup. It's great!.. this' off to the folks who gave us the apples


  • @Jaybro - some friends of mine are just starting back a vintage sourdough yeast they've had for a long time.. mentioned making soft pretzels. Hopefully I can see how it's done and try it out..

  • @Jaybro said in Homebrews - Wine, Beer, Kombucha, Kimchi, Etc..:

    Longer ago I used to do my own sourdough. I should do those things again.

    I've been making all our bread for... well, longer than I can remember. Close to 20 years. All from the same original sourdough starter. I'm sure it has evolved as we've moved from place to place, with different yeasts and bacteria in the air (and on my hands), but the result is invariably good.

    Also use it to make pizza dough -- although that gets better if it ages in the fridge for a few weeks.

    Pigeon Point sourdough.jpg

  • Here's a primary batch of wine I'd mentioned in post #50 - Tasty Eats. This should yield about four gallons. I went a little light on the fruit as an experiment, so we'll see how goes. Simple recipe.. went with about five pounds of nectarines, two pounds of grapes, 6+ pounds of white sugar and four gallons of water. The grapes/skins will be great for their yeast, and later, I can use some must as a starter for the next batch. Thanks to our friends, Ken (BooDawg) and Lisa for the homegrown grapes!IMG_20200727_091336.jpg

  • @J-Fengel Interesting mix. Keep us posted on progress.

    Did you use any commercial wine yeast? Or just rely on the grapes?

    We moved to a fairly remote spot on the BC coast 18 months ago, so for a couple more years -- until my transplanted vines are producing enough grapes -- I'll be making my wine from commercial kits.

  • @David-Harris - just wild yeast from the fruit skins and whatever's in the air. It's nice, with wild yeast, I didn't need to initially sterilize the must or add campden, which is several less steps. Just gently rinsed the dirt from the fruit before quartering. I do 'sterilize' the fermenters, stir-spoon and bottles with a bit of baking soda, water and a brush to remove storage dust and whatever. Outdoor shade temps now are just about right at 75+ degrees.. bubbling away after a just a couple days

  • Four days in, bubbling away nicely.. tastes and smells good already! Rinse the spoon with water, give a stir a couple times a day, and cover it back up with the towel. Probably won't be much change for the next couple weeks. When the bubbling begins to subside, we'll move to a secondary fermenter with an airlock

  • @J-Fengel Time for an update. Have you moved it to secondary? Taste?

    As I mentioned upthread, it will be two or three years -- maybe four or five -- until I can harvest enough grapes to work from scratch, but in the meantime there are commercial "kit" wines available. I have had mixed results in the past (some staggeringly good pinot grigio and some eminently forgettable reds), but I took a chance this year and went for a red. Mostly because the guy that runs the local U-Brew/U-Vin shop actually knows what he's doing.

    Mostly what he does is make "your" wine or beer in his shop, but he also sells a really good selection of homebrewing supplies, and offers winemaking kits from a good supplier.

    So I bought a huge heavy box with a big bag of Nebbiolo juice plus a separate bag of skins, plus all the usual yada yada yada (forty-seven different packages of shit no one in the Piedmont would ever put into their wine) that comes in wine kits.

    That was a couple of months ago, and tomorrow is bottling day. In celebration of which I thieved a sample tonight.

    Oh, shit! I'm gonna die of cirrhosis.

    Okay, it may never approach the heights achieved by some of the decades-old Barolos and Barbarescos in my cellar, but Holy Shit!!!!!


  • My favorite wine meme

    Wine tasting.jpg

  • We'll.. the good news..
    The cider we made last fall turned out pretty good. It's a bit on the sweet side, and too strong but mixed with juice or watered down, it's pretty ok.
    Now for the bad news.
    I broke three phones in the last couple weeks.. and I procured some free food-grade buckets, sourced from our local taco truck.
    SOUR CREAM is printed on the side.
    Washed them with out with water and baking soda and set out in the sun to dry for a couple of days.
    Time to make wine!
    I picked a few lbs. of fruit and got to work. Things were looking good, as evidenced by the earlier photos. I noticed after a while, before stirring in the morning, a whitish film on the surface. Didn't think too much about it.. until it started smelling and tasting like..
    Instead of continuing the experiment, and fermenting gallons of dairy flavored frankenwine, I freed up the awaiting carboy for fall apples, or hopefully, pears.
    I'll get some cool photos of the cider we just racked next time it's on the table..

  • @J-Fengel Ahhh, shit. Sorry to hear that. I was looking forward to seeing photos of you enjoying your nectarine wine.

    FWIW, I don't let my beer or wine anywhere near anything plastic. Stainless steel or glass only, and with serious sanitization. As my wife (the molecular biologist) likes to remind me, one can never achieve a true sterile environment in the brewery, but I try to get as close as I can. And plastic is just too hard to keep sanitary.

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