Author Topic: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?  (Read 5992 times)

MountainFlower

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Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« on: April 16, 2015, 08:42:39 AM »
That article was from a year ago, and it took me that long to get around to it, but I'm trying it now.  I'm actually using Welch's Concord Juice since I'm not an apple juice fan.  I tried a little last night and it was pretty good. 

Anyone else? 

jenniferannwalsh

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2015, 10:00:10 AM »
I do it all the time. Got 2 gallons going right now. Sometimes just juice. Sometimes after the juice stops fermenting I transfer it to another glass jug leaving the gloop on the bottom behind and topping off with boiled water with extra sugar dissolved. This kicks the fermentation up again and makes a stronger brew. If I don't have juice around, I've done it with a strong tea with sugar and some citrus for a little acid kick. Even if I get fancy and buy the juice for $10 a gallon (SF is expensive-er) that's still only $2.50 per wine-sized bottle. Plus the satisfaction of having made it myself. There is a great book called 'Booze for Free' that has all kinds of neat recipes to try. Maybe your library has it!

MountainFlower

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2015, 10:44:57 AM »
Thanks so much for the book recommendation.  My library doesn't have it, but there are many copies under $6 on amazon, so I think I'll go for it. 


enigmaT120

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2015, 04:23:19 PM »
Tea?  OK, I never thought of that.  I'm trying to imagine the taste and failing.

Basically you are making a tea-flavored sugar wine.  Do you use enough sugar to leave some residual sweetness?

Revelry

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2015, 06:04:06 AM »
Yep, +1!  Do a search for Joe's Quick Grape Mead, I made a gallon and it was quite tasty.  I'm looking forward to another bottle in a couple months when the flavors have melded a bit.

And for the poster above, I've read that tea adds tannins and changes the mouth-feel.  It's in a lot of homemade wine recipes and doesn't change the taste, but I haven't experimented with it yet.  And if you use a low-alcohol tolerant yeast (not champagne yeast) you can dump enough sugar in primary to leave it sweet at the end, but most recipes have you dose the end-product with K-meta and back-sweeten.  It's easier to get the sweetness/flavor you desire.

FrugalToque

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2015, 08:23:46 AM »
Apple juice went on sale (99c/can) at Food Basics.  We bought 24 cans and loaded them up in a carboy on the weekend.  6 extra cups of sugar and some hydrated yeast.

24 hours later: frothing like crazy.  We'll have apple wine in 2 weeks.

Toque.

grantmeaname

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2015, 11:24:12 AM »
Here's a big thread on brewing. I make mead, beer, wine, and cider - I've got a brew day coming up tomorrow!

I really like most of the wine kits I've tried. You get 30 bottles for anywhere from $60-$150, so you're looking at $2-5/per bottle for wine that tastes better than the grocery store's average $15 bottle. They're worth a look if you're thinking of upgrading from Welch's.

Bob W

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2015, 12:43:27 PM »
If you're interested in kicking the alcohol content up a bit consider using Turbo  Yeast.   You can achieve close to 20%.   Perhaps stronger than many would like but there is then the option of water it down to the desired alcohol level.   
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Revelry

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2015, 06:28:24 AM »
Here's a big thread on brewing. I make mead, beer, wine, and cider - I've got a brew day coming up tomorrow!

I really like most of the wine kits I've tried. You get 30 bottles for anywhere from $60-$150, so you're looking at $2-5/per bottle for wine that tastes better than the grocery store's average $15 bottle. They're worth a look if you're thinking of upgrading from Welch's.

I've looked at those wine kits and was annoyed that they all seem to be six gallon batches.  My carboys are five gallon.  :( 

StashthatCash

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2015, 10:48:55 AM »
I can get my juice to ferment nicely but then it gets rid of all of the sweetness and the carbonation is off (too little).  Any suggestions how to kick up the CO2 and sweetness? 

enigmaT120

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2015, 01:35:13 PM »
I can get my juice to ferment nicely but then it gets rid of all of the sweetness and the carbonation is off (too little).  Any suggestions how to kick up the CO2 and sweetness?

Add sugar.  Eventually the yeast will die from excessive alcohol consumption (NOT LITERALLY TRUE BUT FUN TO WRITE) and leave some residual sugar for sweetness.  It's a lot more delicate to get that right if you bottle it and want it to naturally carbonate it.  Get it wrong and either it's flat or your bottles blow up.  Extensive quality control may be required, but how will you remember what worked?

grantmeaname

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2015, 11:09:04 AM »
Here's a big thread on brewing. I make mead, beer, wine, and cider - I've got a brew day coming up tomorrow!

I really like most of the wine kits I've tried. You get 30 bottles for anywhere from $60-$150, so you're looking at $2-5/per bottle for wine that tastes better than the grocery store's average $15 bottle. They're worth a look if you're thinking of upgrading from Welch's.
I've looked at those wine kits and was annoyed that they all seem to be six gallon batches.  My carboys are five gallon.  :(

Sorry, didn't see this post the first time around. That's an irritating difference in convention between beer and wine. You could always throw away a little of it, but that would be sad. I'd keep your eyes on Craigslist for a 6-gallon carboy for secondary fermentation and buy a 7-gallon plastic bucket from an online homebrew store (<$30) for primary. You'll still make your money back inside of your first batch.

grantmeaname

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2015, 11:10:04 AM »
I can get my juice to ferment nicely but then it gets rid of all of the sweetness and the carbonation is off (too little).  Any suggestions how to kick up the CO2 and sweetness?
How are you doing it? Are you eventually bottling the wine or doing it on a really small scale and drinking it out of the fermentation container as it finishes?

forummm

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2015, 11:33:00 AM »
I'm not a big drinker. But I've done this with a bunch of stuff. I significantly prefer it to stuff you can buy. My favorite is using limeade frozen concentrate. I leave it concentrated to yield about a 15% ABV. It tastes like a margarita but cleaner and without as many calories.

skunkfunk

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2015, 02:10:01 PM »
If you're interested in kicking the alcohol content up a bit consider using Turbo  Yeast.   You can achieve close to 20%.   Perhaps stronger than many would like but there is then the option of water it down to the desired alcohol level.

This sounds disgusting. Environment without much yeast nutrient, 20% ABV, fermented room temp, and then watered down? Do you enjoy fusels?

I'm a bit less frugal with brewing than most here, though, so take that FWIW. I have a chest freezer that does nothing but ferment beer year round.

Stache In Training

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2015, 09:35:14 PM »
Any ideas on filtering out the yeast?  I saw someone in the comment section suggest coffee filters, but they are really low.  anything else to use?

skunkfunk

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2015, 07:16:34 AM »
Any ideas on filtering out the yeast?  I saw someone in the comment section suggest coffee filters, but they are really low.  anything else to use?

Chill it (30-32F) and add gelatin. That's the simplest way. Otherwise you need a filtering setup, but the gelatin works great.

Torgo

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2015, 09:55:06 PM »
I've done it with apple juice.  Tried pomegranate juice but it foamed up something fierce and got contaminated through the airlock.

Mrs.LC

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2015, 08:01:09 PM »
We make wine from frozen juices in one, two, and five gallon batches. With trial and error have developed recipes that work well with a variety of flavors. It takes about five weeks to get a decent clear wine that tastes good from day one. Aging does improve the flavor even more so we generally let them rest for six months or so before using. We also use the kits that make six gallons and usually tweak them a little to increase the alcohol content so they are on the level as a true wine. We find wine making to be very enjoyable hobby. Drinking wine is pretty good, too!
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rachael talcott

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2015, 01:50:36 PM »
I've made lots of wine.  My most recent is ginger "beer" for a friend who was missing crabbies.  I bought a CO2 tank and regulator off of ebay, and I've found that I really like sparkling wine, too. 

Threshkin

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Re: Frugal yet Fancy Homebrew: Anyone try it?
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2017, 10:08:46 PM »
Update on an old article:

Back in April 2014 when this article was posted I tried making a batch of hard cider.  It was good so I decided to try again.  I thought the second batch had failed.  It was harsh and tasted sort of like vinegar.  Not wanting to through it out, I put the jug in the basement and scowled at it every time I walked by....for almost two years.

Being stubborn, I tried again about 9 months ago....another failure!  Ugh what a waste of money.  This jug went into the garage where it was much more noticeable.  Over time this jug clarified and started looking like apple juice with a thick layer of sludge in the bottom, rather than the apple cider it started as.

I was cleaning out the garage a couple of weeks ago and decided to get rid of "that dammed bottle of cider.  Rather that just pour it down the drain, I decided to try a little sip first.  It was delicious!  It was smooth with a nice apple flavor, closer to an apple wine than a commercial hard apple cider.  The alcohol level is not strong, just enough to give it a mild kick.  Success! Excited, I went downstairs to check the old bottle.  Sure enough, it was also delicious.

I siphoned both bottles to get rid of the sludge and have been happily drinking my nice aged cider since.  My wife also loves it and it seems to help her sleep.  All of our friends who try it love it as well.  I am hooked!  I started a new batch tonight for consumption in 6-12 months.  I intend to make more every month to build up a pipeline of cider for regular consumption.  Happy, happy, happy!

As a bonus, my ever inventive wife used the left over sludge in some yeast bread.  It is also delicious!  The fresh bread has a nice apple cider smell while the taste is more subtle. We will definitely be doing this again as well.  Score!