Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: Wine!

  1. #1
    Member DanC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Haines
    Posts
    158

    Default Wine!

    Well, maybe not real wine strictly speaking; it's probably more like naturally flavored kilju. Nevertheless, it has been a very good year for Alaska fermentables. After many years of experimenting and tweaking I have finally racked a spruce tip wine that is very delectable. I also ended up with twelve gallons of drinkable rhubarb wine that I did mostly for a friend who provided the rhubarb.

    Over the years I have worked with dandelion, fireweed, high bush cranberry, blueberry, and others, and they all result in some good and interesting flavors. My favorite, by far, is the result I got by adding the essence of fresh spring spruce tips.

    After more than a quarter century messing about with naturally fermented products I have learned that it is very easy to make wine. It is, however, not so easy to make good wine. Not-so-good wine is not a complete failure and does not need to be tossed. It can be allowed to spoil and it makes some very interesting vinegar. By far, the best thing to do with inferior wine is to heat it to about 185F and collect and condense the vapor that rises from the heated wine. That, however, is an activity that is best undertaken quietly and discreetly in the moonlight and not openly in the light of day, lest you attract attention and get in trouble with The Man.

    I know I am not the only winemaker on the forum. Does anybody want to share stories, tips, and recipes?

  2. #2
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
    Posts
    9,750

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    I know I am not the only winemaker on the forum. Does anybody want to share stories, tips, and recipes?
    You're the first I've ever heard about that's for sure. Sounds like an interesting hobby....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  3. #3

    Default

    I prefer making mead and saki to most wines but I've made some amazing blueberry wine up here. Rasberry, Red Currant, and high brush cranberry wine turned out really good too.

  4. #4
    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    1,482

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    I know I am not the only winemaker on the forum. Does anybody want to share stories, tips, and recipes?
    years ago my wife and a friend tried to make some wine. I think they were using raspberries. None-the-less
    their experiment was a flop. In my best, all knowing, masculine voice I announced "I can do better than that".. and was
    thusly challanged to prove it. I went in to AK mill & Feed and bought a book. Then I went back and bought some supplies. My first
    attempt was made with a big can of blueberry concentrate. It was not a good wine, but it was a wine.. because of something I had read/heard about a Great Grandfather, I began experimenting with Rhubarb. and raspberries. Then we had a great year for wild blueberries and I made a nice blueberry wine. I've been playing at it ever since.

  5. #5
    Member SockeyeOne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Adirondack Mountains
    Posts
    172

    Default

    I dunno about Spruce wine, but we make Spruce beer. Its kinda like root beer with a punch, and pine. My buddy Chad calls it "pinecone juice". Thats is a name I am not so happy with.

    My brother makes birch beer soda. He uses all natural ingrediants when he does. His Malamute (which he got from me) figured out how to smash bottles and lick up the soda.

  6. #6
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Beaver Creek
    Posts
    2,267

    Default

    I've made a bit. Just bottled 10 gallons. I only run five 5 gallon carboys and four 1 gallon jugs for mead.

    I make moscato, Welches Grape juice, and Joe's Ancient Orange Mead.
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

  7. #7
    Member DanC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Haines
    Posts
    158

    Default

    Thanks for coming out of the closet guys. I was sure there would be some interest in this topic. I guess the guys who work on the north slope or who live in some villages in the bush will have some experience but they will have to be more circumspect than to comment on an open forum.

    Kimunist, would you mind sharing your saki recipe? What kind of yeast do you use?

    Sockeye, I'd like to learn more about making sodas. I never got into the soda habit so I can do without it but my wife does like it and we have been making root beer with the commercial extracts. I've never tried it with natural ingredients but would like to learn more.

    Dirt, if my math is correct, that is 29 gallons of mead you have going there. It must be good and you must like it a lot, or you have friends that like it too. I have never made mead, although I have been wanting to try it. I looked up the recipe for Joe's Ancient Orange (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f80/joes...ge-mead-49106/) and it looks like an easy recipe to try. I think I will try a batch this winter while I am at my winter quarters and have fermentable temperatures. What kind of yeast do you use and what is your final ABV?

    I have some wine left over from last year that did not get consumed (too sweet), so I am going to run it through the (ahem) "vapor condenser" and collect 70-80 proof neutral spirits. I will then infuse some of last spring's spruce tips (frozen) and see what turns out. An Austrian friend brought along a similar product on one of our Greenland expeditions and I thought it was quite good. He didn't know the details but thought it was made similar to the way gin is produced.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtofak View Post
    I've made a bit. Just bottled 10 gallons. I only run five 5 gallon carboys and four 1 gallon jugs for mead.

    I make moscato, Welches Grape juice, and Joe's Ancient Orange Mead.
    what kind of jugs do you use??? I have homebrewed some but my father made some paw-paw wine back when I was younger. seemed everyone that had it liked it but I'm not even sure you have paw paw's up there

    Sent from my LG-LG855 using Tapatalk 2

  9. #9
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Beaver Creek
    Posts
    2,267

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BigDale View Post
    what kind of jugs do you use??? I have homebrewed some but my father made some paw-paw wine back when I was younger. seemed everyone that had it liked it but I'm not even sure you have paw paw's up there

    Sent from my LG-LG855 using Tapatalk 2
    2 choices. You can go pay $13 for a nice jug at the brewers supply or you can go to Brown Jug and pay $15 for one with wine in it. $2 for a gallon of wine is a pretty good deal. Airlock stoppers are available but they are smaller adapters than for a full size carboy.
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

  10. #10
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Beaver Creek
    Posts
    2,267

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    Dirt, if my math is correct, that is 29 gallons of mead you have going there. It must be good and you must like it a lot, or you have friends that like it too. I have never made mead, although I have been wanting to try it. I looked up the recipe for Joe's Ancient Orange (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f80/joes...ge-mead-49106/) and it looks like an easy recipe to try. I think I will try a batch this winter while I am at my winter quarters and have fermentable temperatures. What kind of yeast do you use and what is your final ABV?
    Leave some headspace on the mead. I had an orange chunk plug the airlock and boom. It shot clear to the ceiling. Follow the recipe and you should be fine. I used bread yeast. It is a bit strong. I can't imagine using a better yeast.

    I rarely have more than 4 carboys going as I like to rack it a couple times to clear it up.

    I get bottles from the bar down the street.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    I have some wine left over from last year that did not get consumed (too sweet), so I am going to run it through the (ahem) "vapor condenser" and collect 70-80 proof neutral spirits. I will then infuse some of last spring's spruce tips (frozen) and see what turns out. An Austrian friend brought along a similar product on one of our Greenland expeditions and I thought it was quite good. He didn't know the details but thought it was made similar to the way gin is produced.
    I have heard that you can put wine out at -20 and then screen off the ice. I dunno.
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

  11. #11
    Member DanC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Haines
    Posts
    158

    Default

    Yeah, you can let it freeze and then collect the higher proof stuff that doesn't freeze. When it's done with hard cider it's called "Apple Jack."


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  12. #12

    Default

    I make a red currant/raspberry mead every year that's a big hit. This year I had enough honey from my hives to make an "All-Alaskan" mead entirely from my own honey and berries. Some late-night super-secret "taste tests" seem to suggest that this year's batch will be very, very good.

    I'd be interested in hearing other folk's spruce tip and rhubarb recipes. I have 3 gallons of rhubarb wine fermenting right now, but I've never exactly fallen in love with my results...

    Erik's Red Current/Raspberry Mead (5 gallons)
    10 lbs red currants, cleaned and de-stemmed
    5 lbs raspberries
    15 lbs honey
    Bordeaux yeast
    yeast nutrient, energizer, and pectin enzyme.

  13. #13
    Member DanC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Haines
    Posts
    158

    Default

    Dan's Spruce Tip Wine Recipe:

    For six gallons Spruce Tip Wine (I use 6-gal carboy; adjust sugar mixture if using 5-gal carboy):
    3 lb fresh spring spruce tips
    10 - 12 lb sugar (for semi-dry wine). I normally check and record SG but do not have my notebook at hand.
    Lalvin EC-1118 or D-47 yeast (or both in combination)
    Add spruce tips to about two gallons water, heat to almost boiling, steep until cool, and strain into carboy.
    Dissolve sugar in about three gallons hot water, allow to cool before pouring into glass carboy.
    Be sure the dense sugar mixture and light spruce tip decoction are thoroughly mixed.
    q.s. to shoulder of carboy
    Activate yeast before pitching to cooled mixture.
    A pound of raisins and yeast energizer will keep the yeast happy during the five-month fermentation period.
    Let it ferment to deadness and give it sufficient time to clarify before racking or bottling (usually about five months).
    I leave it in the same carboy without racking. It does develop a bit of krausen. If you are fastidious you may want to rack and clean.
    This recipe usually yields 16% ABV and has enough residual sweetness to give it a bit of body.

    It took me four years to develop this recipe. I am not yet 100% satisfied but at least have a drinkable wine that I'll be sharing with friends this year. Everybody's taste is different so you should adjust the recipe for your own taste.

    My rhubarb recipe is the standard recipe for fruit wines:
    2 1/2 to 3 lb fruit per gallon
    2 to 2 1/2 lb sugar per gallon (per personal taste for sweetness)
    I prefer to steep a decoction rather than add a pile of must to a primary fermenter which is then racked to a secondary.
    I like EC-1118 yeast because it is very adaptable and tolerant to fermentation conditions. Use energizer if you want to ferment to dryness.
    It will eventually clear if you are patient, or you can add clarifiers and enzymes.

  14. #14
    Member SockeyeOne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Adirondack Mountains
    Posts
    172

    Default

    Dan I will be seeing the rest of my family at the end of this month. I will try to pick my brothers brain for all natural soda recipies for you. He makes a few different ones, orange, vanilla, and birch beer I know of. Probably by now some more that I haven't heard about yet. Last we spoke about it it was trying to perfect a cola formula in the style of Coke.

    My last effort was a medium amber ale which finished out just under 7%. Its probably time to get something else going.

  15. #15

    Default

    Thanks for the recipes, Dan! Some good inspiration for next spring and summer!

  16. #16

    Default

    Dan,

    I may want to try your spruce tip recipe, I will cut your recipe in half. I will use my smaller 3 gallon carboy. Question on the spruce tips - when is the best time to pick them? Fall, winter, spring or summer?

  17. #17
    Member DanC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Haines
    Posts
    158

    Default

    MTfisher,

    Spruce tips are only available in the spring. Look for the new growth buds that appear at the ends of the branches. At first, they will be covered by a brownish woody film. You want to pick them just about the time the film is ready to fall off, or right after the covering falls off. Pick them while the individual needles are still clustered together. It is at this time that they are most tender and filled with essence. After a while, they will get fluffy and woody and can still be used but they are not as good as the tender shoots.

    We have a lot of little trees in our property and I have been harvesting the tips for years with no apparent harm to the tree. One tree, in particular, is particularly easy and convenient for me to pick from. I have noticed that picking the first tips of the season only encourages the tree to produce more tips. Over the years, that tree has grown fuller and bushier branches, so I would say that picking the tips does no apparent harm to the tree.

    Finally, the tips can be frozen and they will retain most of their essence as long as you keep them in your freezer.

    Best wishes and good luck.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •