When To Move Your Wine To A Secondary Fermenter

Showing When To Move Wine To Secondary FermenterI have a couple of questions about using the hydrometer and when I should remove the wine from the primary fermentation to the secondary fermentation and also after the wine fermenting is done. As I take readings I am a little confused about when to move wine to secondary fermenter. How long? Is it a certain number of days or are we measuring for a specific reading on the wine hydrometer? On the secondary fermentation I know you are looking for a reading a specific of 0.995. Is that true?

Terry
_____

Hello Terry,

These are great questions. I’m glad you brought this issue up. It seems like the more you read about when to move wine to a secondary fermenter, the more answers you will find. Everyone seems to have an opinion on how long the fermentation time should be in the primary fermenter and the secondary fermenter, so let’s see if I can solidify an answer to your question. What you are essentially asking is:

 

How do I know when it’s time to move my fermentation into a secondary fermenter, and how do I know when the wine’s done fermenting?

 

A short answer to your question is: you should be following the number of days that are called for in any wine making instructions that you have. Simple as that! If your wine making instructions say to move the fermentation into a secondary fermenter like a wine carboy, etc., then do that. This is your best course of action.Shop Wine Carboys

 

But what if I don’t have instructions to tell me when to move wine to secondary?

Typically, the fermentation will need to be transferred into the secondary fermenter around the 5th day of fermentation. But, not all fermentations are the same. Some ferment so hard and fast, that by the fifth day, the fermentation is completely done. On occasion, others will take much, much longer.

What you are basically doing is transferring the fermentation into secondary when it has slowed down enough so that it won’t foam up and out of the secondary fermenter. This is usually around day 5, or when the wine hydrometer reads 1.030 to 1.020 on the specific gravity scale. This is when to move wine to a secondary fermenter when everything runs normal.

However, there are times when the fermentation is still foaming too much to go into a secondary fermenter, such as a carboy. In these instances you should wait until the foaming lowers enough that it can safely go into the carboy without making a big foamy mess through the air-lock.

Conversely, there are also times when the fermentation is going so slow that it might be 2 or more weeks before the fermentation will reach 1.030 on the hydrometer. In these instances, you must figure out why the fermentation is going so slow. The article,Shop Auto Siphon Top 10 Reasons For Fermentation Failure, that is listed on our website should give you some insight into this.

If after a couple of days you’re attempts to re-invigorating the fermentation are unsuccessful, go ahead and put the fermentation in the secondary fermenter anyway, and let it finish out it’s long, slow journey to becoming wine.

 

To answer the second half of your question…

The only real way to know if a fermentation is complete is to take a reading with wine hydrometer. You are looking for a reading of .998 or less on the specific gravity scale. I’ve seen fermentations end as low as .988, but this is rare.

Most importantly remember, just because the fermentation has stopped bubbling does not necessarily mean the fermentation has completed. All you know for sure is it has stopped, so be sure to have a hydrometer reading to depend on for verification of a complete fermentation.

Shop Transfer PumpsWith all this said, knowing when to move wine into a secondary fermenter is not super-critical to the process. Wine will be made, regardless. The only thing you don’t want to do is to completely forget to move the wine into a secondary at all. You want to keep the wine off of excessive amounts of sediment for extended periods of time. That is the most important aspect of when to move wine to secondary fermentation.

Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

10 Home Brewing Tips For Beginners

Home Brewing Tips For Beginners Like Him!Are you getting ready to brew your first batch of beer? While the idea of home brewing may be intimidating, don’t let it keep you from making taking that first step. Here are 10 home brewing tips for beginners to help get you through that first brew:

 

  1. Relax, don’t worry have a homebrew – Charlie Papazian’s mantra is a good place to start. Always remember that you’re doing this for fun. Don’t let little mishaps get you down – they will happen – but it’s all part of the experience. Be prepared to laugh it off when things don’t go right and don’t let it throw you off your game.
  1. Focus on the cleanGood sanitation is critical to brewing good beer. If there’s anything you should put a little extra time and effort into, it’s making sure you have a clean, sanitary environment for your beer.
  1. Don’t cut corners – With the demands of modern life, sometimes it’s hard to find a block of time for home brewing. That said, don’t try to save a few minutes by cutting corners, especially on the cleaning and sanitation front. It’s worth repeating the importance of cleaning and sanitation – the last thing you want to do is dump a batch of infected beer. That will be a waste of time… and money!Buy Basic A
  1. Brew with a friend – Of all the home brewing tips for beginners I’ve seen, this one is my favorite. An extra pair of hands can make some tasks much easier, especially bottling. Plus it’s more fun! Crack open a beer with a friend or two and learn how to make beer together. That’s how the home brewing revolution began in the first place… one friend at a time.
  1. Avoid multitasking – Once you get a few brews under your belt, you might be able to handle multiple tasks at once. Of all the home brewing tips for beginners, this one is the most subtle, but focus on one task at a time. When you’re cleaning, just clean. This will help keep you from getting distracted and avoid potential mishaps like boil-overs.
  1. Begin with the basic styles – You’re welcome to brew whatever you want, but for your first batch, you might want to brew something straightforward. Unless you have a temperature controlled fermentation chamber, stick with ales. Stouts and porters make good starting points for a first homebrew.
  1. Shop Steam Freak KitsSave beer recipe formulation for later – While it’s tempting to build your own beer recipes early on, consider brewing a few established beer recipes first. There are plenty of homebrewing books out there with solid beer recipes. Once you get your process down, you can branch out and start to develop a sense of what different ingredients bring to different beer styles.
  1. Pay attention to fermentation temperature – Don’t stress out too much over fermentation temperature for your first batch, but do keep in mind that it can make a big difference in the flavor of your homebrew. Take a look at the recommended fermentation temperature for whatever yeast strain you’re using and aim for keeping your fermenter smack in the middle of the range for the duration of the fermentation process.
  1. Take good notes – In the long run this is probably the most valuable home brewing tip for a beginner. If you see yourself brewing long term, make a habit early on of taking good notes for each of your brews. This will make it much easier to remember good recipes and to identify possible problems that might occur in your process.
  1. Shop Home Brew Starter KitShare your beer with friends – One of the best ways to get feedback on your homebrew is to share it with friends, especially if they’re homebrewers or craft beer geeks. Take their advice with a grain of salt and don’t be offended if they don’t like what you brewed – everyone has different tastes!

 

There you have it, 10 home brewing tips for beginners. What other advice would you offer the first time homebrewer?
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David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

Seriously! My Homemade Wine Has No Alcohol!

My Homemade Wine Has No AlcoholWhen I check the alcohol level of my wine before bottling, it is less than 1%. What am I doing wrong? Is there a reason why my homemade wine has no alcohol?…

Name: Larry J.
State: Iowa
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Hello Larry,

I am assuming that you are coming up with this info by taking a reading with your wine hydrometer.

The 1% you are seeing on the wine hydrometer is not telling you how much alcohol is in the wine. It is telling you how much more alcohol can be made with the sugars that are still left in the wine. It is a potential alcohol scale, not an alcohol scale. In other words, there is still enough sugar left in your wine to ferment one more percent of alcohol.

So when you say my homemade wine has no alcohol, this is not so much an issue of no alcohol being in the wine as it is knowing how to use the wine hydrometer or following any wine hydrometer instructions that might have came with it.Shop Hydrometers

To tell how much alcohol is currently in the wine, you have to know what the potential alcohol reading was on the hydrometer at the beginning of fermentation – how much potential for alcohol was there at the beginning… 10%, 11%, 12%? By knowing how much potential alcohol could be made at the beginning of fermentation, and knowing how much alcohol can potentially be made now, currently, you can determine how much alcohol is in the wine.

Here’s an example. Let’s assume your wine started with a hydrometer reading of 13%, and you now have a reading of 1% on the potential alcohol scale. This would mean that your wine currently has an alcohol percentage of 12%. This is the 13% less the 1%.

There is no way that any wine hydrometer can tell you how much alcohol you have with a single reading. You have to know what the wine hydrometer reading was before the wine started fermenting and compare that to an ending reading.Shop Hydrometer Jars If you did not take a beginning reading with your wine hydrometer, there is no way for you to determine the alcohol level of that wine with any hydrometer.

I hope this information helps you out. You are not the first person to say, my homemade wine has no alcohol, because of misinterpretations with the hydrometer. For that reason I’m glad you brought it up so I can share some clarity with other home winemakers.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

8 Reasons Your Homebrew Tastes Too Sweet!

Homebrew That Tastes Too SweetSugar is an essential component of beer. Without fermentable sugar in the wort, there would be no alcohol. Most of the sugar in a beer ferments out, with a little being left behind for body and flavor. But balance is critical, and there are several reasons that a beer might come across as being too sweet. If your homebrew tastes too sweet you may want to take a look at these tips so that you can avoid ending up with home brew beers that finishes too sweet.

 

  1. Use more hops. Hops provide bitterness, which helps balance out a beer’s sweetness. Maybe your homebrew recipe just needs a little more hops added early in the boil?
  1. Mash low. When brewing all-grain, starch conversion takes place between about 148° and 160° Fahrenheit. At the higher end of the scale, fewer fermentable sugars are produced than at the low end. If your homebrew tastes to sweet, try mashing in the 148-150˚F range to create a more fermentable wort and ultimately a drier beer.
  1. Use less crystal/caramel malt. Crystal and caramel malts contribute significant sweetness to your homebrew, including unfermentable dextrins that simply won’t convert into alcohol. A reduction in the percentage of crystal malts will help if your homebrew tastes too sweet.
  1. Shop Conical FermenterReplace pale malt with pilsner. Similar to crystal malts, pale malt has more sweetness than pilsner malt, so when selecting a base malt for all-grain brewing you may want to go with pilsner over pale. Certain styles of beer, such as dry lagers and Belgian ales, may benefit from using pilsner malt as the base malt.
  1. Use simple sugar. Adjunct sugars like corn sugar and cane sugar ferment out almost 100%. Though contrary to what your might expect, using sugar to reach your original gravity will increase the overall attenuation of your beer. If your homebrew tastes too sweet this will help. Exception: lactose sugar is unfermentable and will make your beer more sweet.
  1. Check your fermentation. Residual sweetness may be caused by an incomplete or stuck fermentation. Use your hydrometer to determine whether you have reached your target final gravity. If your gravity ends up too high, try using a yeast starter, yeast nutrient, or a different yeast strain.
  1. Check your yeast strain. Some strains of brewer’s yeast are more attenuative than others, meaning that they ferment a larger percentage of available sugars. If your homebrew tastes too sweet, maybe a different type of yeast is in order.Shop Barley Grains
  1. Reduce your boil time. An extended boil may result in reactions that increase sweetness in your brew. Similarly, an intense boil may cause caramelization or Maillard reactions. Take it down a notch to see if that reduces residual sweetness.

 

Have you ever made a home brew beer that finished too sweet? What did you do to correct the problem?
—–
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder and editor of the Local Beer Blog.

 

 

 

My Homemade Wine Is Too Sweet!

Homemade Wine Is Too SweetI need some help. My homemade wine is too sweet. I made 2 batches of wine one of Blackberry/Raspberry and the other Blueberry/Raspberry/Cranberry. Although they have a great flavor they are way to sweet, can I add some more yeast to get them to ferment some more of the sugar out?

Karey C. – OR
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Hello Karey,

Both of your wines sound like great fruit combinations. So sorry to hear they are causing you a little problem.

 

There are 2 possible reasons why a homemade wine is too sweet:

  1. Too Much Sugar Was Added To The Wine Recipe
    There is a limit to how much alcohol a yeast can tolerate. Once a fermentation produces alcohol to this level, the yeast will simply slow to a stop. If you know that your fermentation has already produced 13-14% alcohol, but the wine is still too sweet, then you’ve added too much sugar to the wine must. You can determine the wine’s alcohol level by taking beginning and current alcohol readings with a wine hydrometer and comparing the two. If this is the reason your homemade wine is too sweet, there is not a whole lot you can do to reduce the sweetness, or make it more dry, other than blend it with a dry wine. Shop HydrometersFor example, you can make blackberry/raspberry wine next year that comes out dry, and then blend this years wine with that. This year’s wine will store just fine in bulk. Just remember to add sulfite to the wine and to eliminate any head-space that may be in with the wine. Hopefully, this will help make your sweet wine taste better.
  1. The Fermentation Did Not Complete
    It very well could be that you added an appropriate amount of sugar to produce a reasonable amount of alcohol. It’s just that the fermentation did not fully ferment the sugar into alcohol as it should have. This is known as a stuck fermentation. This could happen for a number of reason. The most common one is temperature. The fermentation got to cool. Yeast are very sensitive to temperature. There are many other reasons as to why your fermentation may have stopped short of its full potential – too many to go over here. I would suggest going through the Top 10 Reasons For Fermentation Failure. This will help you to ferret out the exact cause of such a predicament. Once you know the reason, you can take corrective action to get the fermentation active, again.

 

Again, the key to knowing why your homemade wine is too sweet is the wine hydrometer. If you did not take a beginning hydrometer reading, you will not be able to tell whether you have 7% alcohol and a fermentation that needs fixing, or if you have 15% alcohol and have simply added too much sugar to your wine.

Shop Grape ConcentrateAs to your suggestion of adding more wine yeast, this is rarely a solution to a problem. This is because there is still yeast in the wine. It’s just that it has gone dormant. It is more likely to be an issue of getting the wine yeast in a situation to where it will start fermenting again.

Best Wishes,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

How to Make Mead Like a Viking!

Viking Who's Learned How To Make MeadThough mead making has been covered on the E. C. Kraus Winemaking Blog, mead also falls into the homebrewing side of the equation. It is often judged in BJCP competitions and as it turns out, the mead making process is fairly simple and generally less time-consuming than making beer – at least on brew day itself.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a presentation called “How To Make Mead Like a Viking”, presented by Jereme Zimmerman. Here’s some of what I gathered from the class about how to make mead from honey.

Mead is quite possibly the oldest alcoholic beverage known to man. It’s simply a fermented combination of honey and water. Though mead can be made using commercial wine or beer yeast, to make mead “like a Viking”, it should be spontaneously fermented… without yeast added. In other words, the yeast comes from the air or from fruits and/or spices.

The ancient Vikings would often use all parts of the bee hive in their mead, including the honeycomb, the raw honey, and even the bees. If you have access to raw honey or a honeycomb, by all means use them, but also feel free to just use plain honey. Jereme recommended sourwood honey, clover honey, and buckwheat honey.

 

Ingredients

The only ingredients you absolutely need starting out learning how to make mead is honey and water:

  • Shop FermentersDo your best to find raw unpasteurized honey for your mead recipe. Your local farmers market is a good place to look. Just try to avoid the store-bought stuff that’s made with corn syrup and artificial flavors. It will ferment, but the results will be less satisfying.
  • As for water, use distilled, spring, or purified water. If you must use tap water, either boil it or let it sit out overnight in order to evaporate any chlorine that may be in the water. Use about 1 gallon of water per quart of honey for a semi-sweet mead, less water if you like your mead sweeter, more water if you like it drier.

You may also wish to include flavoring ingredients, including fruit, herbs, spices, etc. Zimmerman recommends also throwing in 10 to 12 organic raisins, a bit of tree bark, such as oak, chestnut, or cherry, or black tea for flavor and nutrients for the yeast. Another optional ingredient when learning how to make mead is some sort of acid added to the mead recipe for flavor and mouthfeel.

 

Equipment

If you are a homebrewer or winemaker, you probably already have the basic idea of how to make mead. You probably already have everything you need equipment-wise, as well. This includes:

  • A ceramic, glass, or food-grade plastic fermenter
  • A stirring spoon – Vikings would use a totem, or “magic” stick. They didn’t understand the science of fermentation, however the yeast that would reside on their stirring stick would carry from batch to batch.
  • Cheesecloth or other cloth material to wrap around the mouth of the fermentation vessel, plus a string or rubber band to secure it in place.

 

How to Make Mead Like a VikingShop Beer Growlers

This is how to make mead using a spontaneous fermentation. Your mead brew day should take about an hour from start to finish.

  1. Clean and sanitize your equipment – Again if you’re a homebrewer or winemaker, you know how to do this.
  2. Mix the water and the honey – There’s no need to boil or even heat the mixture. However, you may wish to warm the honey just enough to make it easier to pour out of its bottle. Mix about 3/4 gallons of water per quart of honey.
  3. Add flavorings and yeast nutrient – Though flavorings aren’t required, they can add an interesting dimension to your mead. You might also consider adding yeast nutrient to support the fermentation (though that’s not how the Vikings did it!).
  4. Add yeast – Yeast naturally lives on many different fruits, so this may be just throwing in a few (10-12) organic raisins. Alternatively, add a commercial wine yeast such as Lalvin ICV D-47. Fix your cheesecloth over the top of the fermenter.
  5. Ferment – This is probably the most critical part of the mead making process. About an hour after pitching your yeast, give the mixture a vigorous stir to aerate. Repeat this a few times a day for the first three days or so. You’ll know when fermentation takes off by the froth that forms on the top of the mead. Once the froth settles down, get ready to rack.
  6. Rack to a secondary fermenter – Vikings typically drink their meads young, but modern tastes may appreciate some aging. Some of today’s meads are aged for a year or longer. Feel free to take a sample of the mead to see how it tastes. If you decide to age the mead go ahead and rack it into a carboy and seal with a bung and an airlock. Minimize headspace in the carboy by topping it off with enough water, fruit juice, or honey and water mixture to bring the level of the mead up to within an inch or so of the airlock’s bung.
  7. Shop Wine Bottle CorkersAge – Allow the mead to age for at least 3-4 months. It should continue to improve over the course of a year. This may be hard for someone just learning how to make mead, but it’s well worth the wait.
  8. Bottle – When the mead has completely finished fermenting and it tastes to your liking, bottle the mead. You can bottle with wine bottles and a corker or beer bottles and a capper. Either way is fine. Use a bit of honey or priming sugar if you want a carbonated mead, but only do this if putting in beer bottles. Wine bottles are not designed to hold any kind of pressure.
  9. Drink – You can continue to age your mead, or go ahead and drink it. Either way – skål!

 

And that’s how to make mead like a Viking. Now it’s your turn. Sounds easy enough, right? I’ll give the process a try and let you know how it goes!
—–
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the IBD and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

Restarting A Stuck Malolactic Fermentation

Stuck Malolactic FermentationI have a Chilean Pinot Noir from fresh juice. I have a stuck malolactic fermentation. I’ve added malolactic culture when I inoculated my wine… Yesterdays MLF test read 75, pH 3.4, Free SO2 18-28, but my acid was .90%, too High?. Temp is 73 degrees. I’ve added malolactic culture twice. Should I try lowering the acid? Can I add sulfite and move on? Suggestions ? Thanks in advance

Name: John F.
State: Mass.
—–
Hello John,

I am assuming that the yeast fermentation has completed and you have an SG in the neighborhood of .996 on your hydrometer.

Going through the numbers, the only thing that concerns me is the SO2 (sulfite) level of the wine must. I would rather see it at around 10 to 15 ppm. I’m not saying this is what’s causing the stuck malolactic fermentation, but it very well could be contributing to it. Some experimentation may need to be done with aeration to lower the SO2. This could be as simple as racking the wine in a splashing manner. This alone could be all that is required for restarting your stuck malolactic fermentation.

Dropping some acid out may be helpful, as well, but I do not believe this is the root cause, either. At a total acidity of .90% you need to drop some acid for flavors sake, anyway, so go ahead and start this process to get it down to .80% for now. More readjusting may be needed after the MLF has completely run its course. Lowering the TA could also help with restarting a stuck malolactic fermentation.Shop Malolactic Culture

The temperature and pH of the wine are fine. I would not be concerned with them at all.

Realize, that an MLF can take months in some cases to finish. It is a function of how much malic acid there is to ferment. Each situation is different. Your malic is currently at 75 ppm, but this does not reflect how much has already been converted into lactic. Is this number lowering over time. That’s what’s important.

If you have not tasted the wine, I would do so now to see if too much lactic acid is starting to form. This will be noted as a sour-tang. If it is too noticeable or forward, then I would add sulfites such as potassium metabisulfite to the wine and move on. The rest of the excess acid can be reduced with neutralizers such as potassium bicarbonate.

If the wine does not have a forward sour-tang, then wait 3 weeks and take another malic reading. If it has dropped some, then you do not have a stuck malolactic fermentation. Just be patient. The wine will need to age anyway. What’s wrong with it aging while it’s doing its MLF?

As for the malolactic culture, I would not add any more. Too much, could set of an autolysis reaction that can add a bitter-nut to metallic flavor to the wine. This is something that is irreversible.Shop Wine Barrels

Restarting a stuck malolactic fermentation is something that very rarely needs to be done. It’s just that sometimes it can progress very slowly with time and patience being the only remedy. I you do have a stuck malolactic fermentation, just remember it is usually because of the environment the fermentation and not the lack of malolactic culture.

You can find more information on our website in the article: Malolactic Fermentation.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

How to Make a Full-Bodied Beer

Example Of How To Make A Full-Bodied BeerAnyone who’s had a Guinness knows the unique texture that beer provides – a creaminess that flows over your tongue thanks to the use of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. But how can you get a similar characteristic in your homebrew beer without going that extra gas-based step?

Here’s how to make a full-bodied beer. It’s easier than you think.

What making a full-bodied homebrew beer comes down to is mouthfeel. You can brew a stout black as midnight in the dead of winter, but sometimes it’s best to complement that with a little more heft in the body of the beer – and that doesn’t mean it has to be a high-ABV brew, either.

To achieve a full-bodied homebrew beer with a more substantial mouthfeel, all it takes is a little modification on brew day. Here’s how to make a full-bodied beer:

 

1. Use specialty malts
Once you dump your yeast into the cooled wort, they’ll start chewing up fermentable sugars that allows them to produce carbon dioxide and alcohol. But with unfermentable sugars in your wort, yeast will stay away from those and allow your beer to become thicker.

These unfermentable sugars are called dextrins and can be infused into your homebrew beer through the use of malt. “Cara” malts like Carapils are excellent for adding extra body with lots of unfermentable sugars during mashing. Dark and roasted malts like Crystal, Roasted Barley or Special B also offer high levels of unfermentable sugars. As a bonus, the use of specialty malts can also add color and flavor to your beer.Shop Barley Grains

 

2. Increase mash temperature  
While steeping malts like Carapils in an extract brew can help add some body, it’s more noticeable when doing a partial or all-grain mash. In this case, adjusting the temperature of your mash can greatly influence the body of your homebrew beer. By keeping your water temperature at a high level, say 158° to 165° degrees Fahrenheit, the reaction of malt with the water will produce more unfermentable sugars, giving your beer potential for lower ABV and a fuller body, thanks to sugars your yeast won’t eat up and convert to alcohol.

 

3. Add oats or wheat
One of the most popular ingredients used in stouts to add extra thickness are flaked oats. By using flaked oats as up to 10 percent of your malt bill, you can add greater viscosity.

Shop Steam Freak KitsFor ease of using oats, choose rolled or flaked oats. To convert starches from the oats into unfermentable sugars, you’ll need to mash the oats with barley malt, which allows for the chemical conversion necessary.

Usually a ratio of one pound oats to one pound barley will do the trick. All this makes the use of oats more ideal for partial or all-grain brewers, but not impossible for extract brewers who steep malt for their beer recipe. Extract brewers just may not get the same kind of body other brewers may find.

 

4. Use lactose sugar 
All is not lost for extract brewers, however. One easy way to add creaminess to mouthfeel and some extra body to a homebrew is with lactose sugar, which will also provide some sweetness to your beer. It’s a common ingredient in sweet stouts. Lactose isn’t fermentable and can be added during the boiling process – usually with 10 to 15 minutes to go.

Shop Home Brew Starter KitSome homebrewers also add it at bottling to increase its flavor. About a pound per five gallons will do just fine.

 

That’s the basics of how to make a full-bodied beer, but adding increased body to all your homebrews isn’t ideal – you wouldn’t want a thick, heavy Pilsner – but knowing how to make a full-bodied homebrew beer anytime you like is a great thing to have in your arsenal of homebrewing knowledge.
—–
Bryan Roth is a beer nerd and homebrewer living in Durham, North Carolina. You can read his thoughts on beer and the beer industry on his blog, This Is Why I’m Drunk, and send him suggestions on how to get his wife to drink craft beer via Twitter at @bryandroth.

Having Fun Using Honey In Your Wine Making

Using Honey In Wine MakingI want to start using honey instead of sugar in my wine making so I have a few questions: do i put the honey in the must to start with, or, to sweeten after the wine is done fermenting? Also one pound of sugar equals how much honey?

Tom – NC
—-
Hello Tom,

Using honey in wine making is something you can have a lot of fun with. One of the favorite wines I made was a Raspberry Honey Zinfandel. Nobody could keep their hands off of it, and it was soon gone.

There are different ways honey can be used in wine making. You can add it to the wine must, before fermentation, and have its sugars ferment into alcohol, or you can add the honey after the fermentation and have its sugars contribute to the sweetness of the wine.

 

Using Honey Instead Of Sugar Before The Fermentation

When you add honey before a fermentation, what will be left when the fermentation is complete is the herbal character of the honey. No sweetness will remain. For example, if the honey was spun off of wild flowers then a wild flower character will be added to the wine during the wine making process. If the honey was spun off of strawberry blossoms then you will have a note of herbal-strawberry character in the wine, and so forth.Shop Hydrometers

What this means is you can alter any fruit wine making recipe you find by replacing some or all of the sugar called for with honey. Using honey in your wine making in this way will add a layer of depth to the wine’s over all character. You can compliment the wine’s character, such as adding raspberry-blossom honey to a raspberry wine recipe, or you can contrast the wine’s character, such as adding apple-blossom honey to a cherry wine recipe.

When using honey in wine making before the fermentation, you want to use it in-place-of or instead-of the sugar called for in the wine recipe you are using. As a general rule-of-thumb you can replace 1 pound of sugar with 1.2 to 1.3 pounds of honey. You can also use a wine hydrometer to determine how much honey to add. Keep adding the honey until you get to the appropriate reading on the wine hydrometer’s specific gravity scale – usually between 1.070 and 1.090.

 

Using Honey Instead Of Sugar After The Fermentation

If you add the honey at bottling time or anytime after the fermentation, you are contributing to the sweetness of the wine instead of the alcohol. Shop Potassium SorbateThe herbal characters of the honey are still being added but along with its sweetness. It is important to note that any time you add a sugar to a wine at bottling time – whether it be honey, cane sugar or grape concentrate – you must also add potassium sorbate (wine stabilizer) to eliminate any chance of re-fermentation later on in the wine bottle. The is in addition to the Campden tablets that we recommend at bottling time for any wine. Here’s more information on sweetening a wine with honey.

 

Should I Use Raw Or Pasteurized Honey?

I recommend using pasteurized, filtered honey – the kind you typically find on the grocery shelf. This type of honey has been cleared of wild microbes and various solids that you do not want in your wine. If you do plan on using raw honey in your wine recipe, you will need to heat it up to 170°F. for a full 30 minutes along with some water. During this time you will also want to skim off the top whatever rises.

 

More Information On Using Honey In Wine MakingShop Campden Tablets

You can find more information on our website in the article, Wine Making With Honey. It gives a basic run-down of how honey has been used in wine over the years along with some basic honey recipes.

Using honey instead of sugar in your wine making is a fun way to add more interest depth, not only to your wines, but your wine making. It’s one more way to be creative in the enjoyable and rewarding hobby.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Yummy Chocolate Milk Stout Recipe (All-Grain & Partial Mash)

Chocolate Milk Stout RecipeIf you’re searching for a thick, luscious dessert beer, then look no further.

Milk stout (a.k.a. sweet stout) is a sub-style of stout noted for its creamy texture and residual sweetness. It’s not actually made with milk. Instead, many brewers choose to use unfermentable lactose sugar in order to achieve that creamy, sweet character.

This chocolate milk stout recipe starts with a basic sweet stout recipe and adds a pound of unfermentable lactose sugar to increase sweetness and body. A generous dose of chocolate malt, plus four ounces of cacoa nibs make for a big chocolate flavor that will remind you (and all your friends) of chocolate milk.

 

Chocolate Milk Stout Recipe
(5 Gallon Recipe, All-Grain & Partial Mash)

Specs
OG: 1.060
FG: 1.022
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 27
SRM: 36

Ingredients
8 lbs. 2-Row Brewer’s Malt Shop Steam Freak Kits
1 lb. Caramel 80L Malt
1 lb. Chocolate Malt
.25 lb. Roasted Barley
1 lb. Lactose Sugar
1.5 oz. Willamette hops (First Wort Hops)
.5 oz. Willamette hops at :60
1 tsp. Irish Moss at :15
Wyeast 1084: Irish Ale Yeast
4 oz. Cacao nibs (added in secondary)
5 oz. priming sugar (if bottling)

Directions for All-Grain: Prepare a 2L yeast starter. Single infusion mash at 150°F for 60 minutes. Add first wort hops when sparging into the brew kettle. Collect seven gallons of wort. Bring to a boil. Add .5 oz. of Willamette hops at beginning of 60-minute boil. Add 1 tsp. of Irish moss with 15 minutes left in the boil. At the end of the boil, mix in the lactose sugar. Chill wort and transfer to a clean, sanitized fermenter. Ferment at 68°F for seven days, then transfer to a secondary fermenter holding the cacao nibs. Ferment for ten days at 68°F. Bottle or keg as normal.

Directions for Partial Mash: Prepare a 2L yeast starter. Replace the 6 of the 8 lbs. of 2-Row malt with 4 lbs. Light DME. Mash the crushed grains with 1.5 gallons of water at 150°F for 60 minutes. Strain wort into brew kettle and rinse grains with one gallon of water at 170°F. Mix in the DME and top off with enough water to make four gallons. Add the first wort hops and bring wort to a boil. Shop Home Brew Starter KitProceed with recipe as above, topping off with enough clean, sanitized water to make five gallons in the fermenter. Primary fermentation for seven days at 68°F. Rack beer onto cacao nibs in a secondary fermenter and ferment for ten days at 68°F. Bottle or keg as normal.

 

This is a very easy chocolate milk stout recipe that make a tremendous brew. And, I can’t think of a better time to brew it up then right now! It’s very tasty after big meals making it an excellent choice to serve during the Holidays.
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David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder and editor of the Local Beer Blog.