Thursday, April 10, 2014

Episode 17: Wine all you want

This band helps keep the bucket at an even 75 degrees, helping
the wine ferment properly, completely, and in a timely manner.
Because it is spring and because there's a class coming up and (mostly) because we know you want to have something else to get involved in, this week Doug and I discussed wine making basics. If, like me, you've never had good homemade wine, it is likely for one of two reasons. The first is impatience, the second is aesthetics, the third (kind of) is a combination of the two.
Wine takes awhile just to reach the point where it isn't too bad. I takes at least a month to be drinkable but really nine months to a year before it starts to get good, and many wanes that can be made from home kits improve for the first three years. Lots of times people don't want to wait that long and crack open wine that isn't as good as it should be.

Which brings us to potential problem #2: most wines require a little sugar be added to help balance out the dryness that occurs after the yeast eats all the sugars during the fermentation process. Unlike beer, wine is supposed to be fermented completely, which takes longer and can leave those who prefer sweeter wines adding more sugar that the rest of us want. Which brings us to the (kind of) combined reason which is people add the sugar they would have added if the wine had fermented a year, but they add and drink it in less than a year.
The solution, of course, is to have patience and do things right. Which is one of the reasons it might be worth trying out a class. Xtreme Brewing in Laurel, Del. is having one next week, if you want to sign up. If not, no biggie, just make sure you ask plenty of questions and, most of all, exercise patience.
In this week's show we also give a shout out to our friend (and one of our earliest guests) +Jimmy Sharp of what was to be Atomic Donkey Brewing. He got a gig this week at +Tall Tales Brewery and we wish him all the best as he gets organized. Whenever a new brewer comes on, or a new brewery opens, I feel like it's fair to give them awhile to find their feet. Some breweries take a few months to a year to really find out what works for them. Jimmy was making fantastic beers in small batches, it's not too much to hope that once he scales them up they'll be great. Hopefully, after the season, we'll have him back on to talk about whatever tweaks he ends up making.
If you're interested in being the next call-in guest on the show or you'd like to come in and share a beer with us, email me here, or message me on +State of the Beer. The show's Facebook page is Beer with Strangers and we're "@beerwstrangers" on Twitter.
Finally, and please, consider subscribing on iTunes'cause that way Apple will remind you to listen (your iTunes window will open, don't be afraid).
If you are or know anyone who is interested in taking a brewing basics class (the class is free and lots of fun) have them reserve a space here. Taking a class is the best way to figure out whether homebrewing is for you. Many people take several before trying on their own at home.