Raspberry Blonde Ale Recipe (Partial Mash)

Raspberry Blonde AleBrewing a well-balanced fruit beer, such as this raspberry blonde ale recipe, is no easy feat. You want enough fruit flavor to be able to taste it, but not so much that it overpowers the beer. And how do you even get fruit flavor in the beer in the first place?

An easy way to add fruit flavor to your beer is to use a fruit extract, but many homebrewers prefer to work with whole fruit to get a more natural flavor. The fruit is usually added to the secondary fermenter for several days to a couple weeks. For best results, blanch the berries in hot (160˚F) water for a minute or so before adding them to the fermenter. This will sanitize them and reduce the likelihood of introducing foreign microbes to your beer.

Another alternative is to use raspberry fruit concentrate, though this will likely introduce significantly more color and fermentables to the beer than the whole fruit. This will result some some kind of beer-wine hybrid (which may not be a bad thing!).

The recipe below is based on an American blonde ale. When brewing fruit beers, lightly colored and lightly hopped beers work well as a “clean slate” to showcase the characteristics of the fruit. That said, raspberries work well in other styles too, including porter, stout, and lambic.

Ready to give this raspberry blonde ale recipe a try? Happy brewing!


Raspberry Blonde Ale Recipe
(five-gallon recipe, partial mash)

OG: 1.048
FG: 1.012
ABV: 4.7%
IBUs: 15
SRM: 4

3.3 lbs. wheat liquid malt extract
2 lbs. light dry malt extract
1 lb. American two-row malt (milled)
.5 lb. flaked oats
1 oz. Saaz hops at :60
1 oz. Saaz hops at :30Shop Steam Freak Kits
1 packet Safale US-05: American Ale Yeast
2.5 lbs. frozen raspberries


Steep the two-row malt and flaked oats in 1 gallon of clean, chlorine-free water at 148˚F. After 30 minutes, strain the wort into a five-gallon brew pot. Add enough water, along with the malt extracts, to make a three-gallon boil. Boil wort for 60 minutes, adding hops according to schedule above. At the end of the boil, cool wort in an ice bath and/or with an immersion wort chiller. Pour about two gallons of distilled water into a clean, sanitized fermenter. Add the wort to the fermenter, plus enough distilled water to make 5.5 gallons. Stir well to aerate, pitch yeast, and ferment at 68˚F for about 7 days.

After primary fermentation, prepare the raspberries by blanching in hot (160˚F) water for a few minutes, then add them to the secondary fermenter. Rack the beer on top of the raspberries, then wait 2-3 weeks. Rack the beer one more time before bottling or kegging to separate it from the fruit…and enjoy!

Want to learn more about adding fruit to your homebrewed beer? Read: A Simple Guide to Making Fruit Beers!

Do you have a raspberry blonde ale recipe you’d like to share? Just leave it in the comments below.

David Ackley is a writer, brewer, and craft beer marketing consultant. He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

When To Add Oak Chips To Homemade Wine

Toasted Oak ChipsHowdy Ed,
…To balance the tannins, we French oak chipped the must at the start of fermentation [Petite Sirah] and at the half way point applied the Aussie method of Rack and Return to decrease the seeds in the must. Sieving out the seeds also removed the oak chips. My question is, at what stage should we re-oak the juice?

Jamie O. — CA
Hello Jamie,

I would not automatically assume that you will need to add more oak chips to your homemade wine. In fact, I would not consider adding more French toasted oak chips to the wine until it has cleared and maturated to some degree while in bulk. See what tannins and other proteins drop out on their own, first.

There is nothing wrong with adding toasted oak chips during the fermentation, but you want to use a moderate dosage. Don’t go to overboard. It is possible to add to much. If you want to add oak to the wine during the fermentation, you may also want to consider using oak powder instead of oak chips. Oak powder does not strain out like the oak chips. Having said that, I do prefer using toasted oak chips after the fermentation.

If it is only protein stability that you are concerned about, you also have the option of treating the wine with bentonite, instead of more oak chips. Among other things, bentonite will collect and drop out excessive tannins. This will help to make the wine more heat stable while aging in bottles.

If it is the flavor effects of toasted oak chips you are primarily looking for, it would be best to wait until the wine has aged in bulk for a month or so after the fermentation has completed. This is when I would add oak chips to your homemade wine. I don’t know how many gallons you have, but you can store it in carboys or vats. At this point, you want the wine to be off any yeast sediment and the head-space should be eliminated, as well.

Shop Toasted Oak ChipsBuy waiting you are allowing the wine to get to a point where you can start to distinguish its developing flavor profile. Adding oak chips at this point will not only help you to stabilize the wine further, it will allow you to monitor the oak balance of the wine. Since the wine is already maturating, you can do this with a little clearer perception of the final outcome.

Monitor the wine by sampling along the way. Depending on the dosage you will want to sample every 1 to 4 weeks.

I recommend 1/4 pound of toasted oak chips for every 10 gallons of wine. At this dosage a typical amount of time for oaking is about 30 to 90 days. Sample the wine every 2 weeks. Here is some more information on how much and how long to use oak chips.

What you are looking for is balance. You want the reduced harshness of oak aging to be in line with woody character the oak is adding.

Best Wishes,
Customer Service at E. C. 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.

An Evening with Ron Pattinson and British “Mild” Beer

Ron PattinsonOK – forget everything you think you know about British beer styles. Or beer styles in general for that matter. After an informative evening with beer historian Ron Pattinson, I discovered that style guidelines, as defined by groups like the BJCP, don’t always account for the sometimes drastic way beer has changed over the years.

Pattinson, who writes the beer blog Shut up About Barclay Perkins, gave a talk last week to my local homebrew club about mild beer. Specifically, how it has changed over the past 150 years. His remarks were illustrated by liquid examples – historical beer recipes re-created from archival brewing blogs.

As Pattinson explained, mild wasn’t always a term used to describe a specific style of beer, certainly not the low ABV, amber to dark ale as described by the BJCP. “Mild” used to simply refer to beers that were meant to be consumed fresh. These beers didn’t need copious amounts of hops to act as a preservative, so they were generally less hoppy than their “stock ale” counterparts.

Even the terms “beer” and “ale” held different meanings than they do today. Go back far enough, and “ale” simply referred to malt liquor flavored with herbs and spices, while “beer” referred to malt liquor brewed with hops. When looking back in time, the names we give to beer styles aren’t always very consistent.

To illustrate the point, the first beer we sampled that evening was closer to what we think of as an IPA than a mild. Just have a look at these specs:


Mild beer #11860 Truman XXX Strong Mild

This “mild” beer is brewed with almost a pound of hops per five gallons! I found it remarkably smooth for an 8.2% ABV, 120 IBU beer — likely a result of the 1.025 final gravity. It featured a spicy hop flavor, but the main difference between this beer and an IPA was the lack of hardly any hop aroma. Apparently very few British brewers from this time period added hops with less then 30 minutes to go in the boil. And according to Pattinson, this beer wasn’t even considered particularly strong at the time, when even the weakest mild had an original gravity of at least 1.070.

The next sample starts to show a trend towards lower gravities. Due to changes in the way beer was taxed and the legalization of brewing with sugars, we begin to see invert sugar as a common brewing ingredient. And due to the robust brewing economy in Great Britain, hops were at such a shortage that they had to import them from the US. Still, this recipe seems more like a conventional pale ale than a mild:


1890 Whitbread X

In the early half of the 20th century things start taking a drastic turn. Two world wars make barley hard to come by. Gravities and alcohol contents continue to drop year over year and never return to their prewar levels. By this time, sugar is a common ingredient, particularly dark invert sugar syrups and caramel, which in addition to being inexpensive also contribute color and flavor to beer. Pattinson hypothesizes that as gravities declined, brewers made beers darker to essentially fool people into thinking they were stronger.

This mild from 1950 is entirely different from the first two beers we sampled, and much closer to what we consider a mild today. But still a very enjoyable session beer!


Mild beer #31950 Whitbread Best Mild

This lecture was very eye opening, and it challenged many previous notions about beer styles. Maybe we should spend less time categorizing beer and more time simply enjoying it!

Special thanks to Ron for visiting around brew club in Asheville! Be sure to check out his new book, the Home Brewer’s Guide to Vintage Beer, which contains many detailed recipes from over 150 years of brewing records.

David Ackley is a writer, brewer, and craft beer marketing consultant. He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

My Air-Lock Is Going Backwards!

Air-lock that is bubbling backwards.Can you give me any information on how barometric pressure would affect the fluid level in an air lock. Some days they show negative pressure and a day or two later they are making bubbles again. I can’t tell if fermentation is done or not.

Thank you
Hello Jerry,

An air-lock is what seals the outside world from your wine during and after fermentation. It is a barrier that allows gases from the fermentation to escape while keeping little bugs and other intruders out.

You attach an air-lock to a fermenter with a rubber stopper. The stopper has been drilled with a hole into which the air-lock is inserted. These rubber stoppers can be purchased in many sizes, therefor you are able to use the air-lock on anything from a gallon glass carboy to a huge plastic fermenter.

The air-lock is filled half way with water. This is what actually creates the environmental barrier. As the fermentation creates gases inside the fermenter, the pressure rises and the gases escape by bubbling through the water in the air-lock.

Bubbles or air going backwards in an air-lock can be caused by a couple of things:

As you mentioned already, barometric pressure can play some role in this. If the barometric pressure increases you could notice a slight backwards movement or pressure on the water, but this would be nothing significant. It would not be enough to create more, than say, one bubble going backwards.

What is most likely causing the air-lock to bubble backwards is a temperature change of the wine. As a wine cools down it contracts or shrinks – much more so than the glass or plastic of the fermentation vessel.

Shop Wine AirlocksContracting wine sitting in glass jugs or even a plastic fermenter would cause a vacuum to occur in the head-space. This would cause reverse bubbling action within the air-lock, or a sucking in of air. Then as the wine warms back up you would see bubbles going through the air-lock in the right directions. This would make the wine appear as if it were slightly fermenting again, regardless if it was or not.

Your best defense against having an air-lock bubble backwards is to keep the fermentation temperature stable. This will give you a more healthy fermentation, as well. Yeast like to ferment at a steady 70° to 75°F.

Happy Wine Making,
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.

Homebrewing Kit Buyer’s Guide

Home brewing starter kitGetting started in homebrewing should not be intimidating. E. C. Kraus makes the initial leap much easier by including nearly everything you need for your first batch in one homebrewing kit.

Our Steam Freak Beermaking Starter Kit includes:

  • Complete Joy of Homebrewing – This book is the original homebrewer’s guidebook. It will guide you through your first few batches and well beyond into your homebrewing career.
  • 6 Gallon Screw-Top Fermenter – This is what the beer ferments in for a week or so before moving to the secondary fermentation carboy. The fermenter comes with an airlock, stopper, and faucet. It can also be used as a bottling bucket.
  • 5 Gallon Plastic Carboy – After about ten days in primary fermentation, the beer is moved to the carboy for further conditioning and flavor development. The carboy also comes with an airlock, stopper, and faucet.
  • Triple Scale Hydrometer – This tool is used to measure the gravity of your homebrew, and those measurements are used to determine alcohol content. Learn more about working with your hydrometer in this blog post.
  • 21″ Curved Racking Cane – The racking cane, along with a section of vinyl hose, helps you transfer, or rack, the beer from one fermenter to another.
  • 6′ Length of 3/8″ Vinyl Hose – Attach the hose to the racking cane to complete your racking setup.
  • Double Lever Capper – Used to cap bottles.
  • Beer Bottle Brush – Used for cleaning bottles.
  • Racking Cane Clip – This clip secures the racking cane to the bucket to faciliate racking procedures.
  • 8″ Floating Thermometer – A thermometer can be used in the home brewery in a number of ways, in particular, measuring mash temperature.
  • Basic A No Rinse Cleanser – A brewery-grade cleaning agents used to clean all of your homebrewing gear.
  • 24″ Stirring Spoon – Used to stir and aerate the wort before pitching yeast
  • Steam Freak Kit – Unlike other homebrewing starter kits, our kit includes a Steam Freak recipe kit of your choice, including bottle caps. So the tough question is this: What beer style will you make with your first batch?

In addition to the Beermaking Starter Kit, you will also need a brew kettle. The 20-qt. Brew Kettle is ideal for brewing indoors, but many homebrewers will eventually upgrade to a larger kettle (see below).


Suggested Equipment Upgrades

Once you’ve brewed your first batch or two, you might be willing to make a few upgrades to your home brewery. Some of the most popular steps forward on the equipment side include:Shop Carboys

  • Auto-siphon – This nifty device makes siphoning from one fermenter to another a breeze.
  • Temperature controller – After you brew a few batches of beer, you’ll soon discover that fermentation temperature control is a very important part of brewing good beer. If you have a spare freezer or refrigerator, a temperature controller will allow you to control your fermentation temperature to the degree.
  • Additional Fermenters – Once you’re hooked on homebrewing, additional fermentation capacity will definitely come in handy.
  • Mash tun cooler – If you’re interested in making the jump to all-grain brewing, you’re going to need a mash tun. A mash tun cooler is a simple, affordable way to mash the grains before the boil. (On a tight budget? The Brew In a Bag method is a wallet-friendly alternative.)
  • Stir plate – Yeast health is a crucial part of brewing good beer. This includes making sure that you have a healthy colony of yeast large enough to ferment your beer. A stir plate stirs the yeast in your yeast starter, giving it plenty of oxygen in order to grow to the right size.
  • Keg system – Your own homebrew on tap? Now we’re talking! The ultimate upgrade for homebrewers is to move from bottling to kegging their beer. In addition to saving a ton of time and effort, homebrew draft systems just have this “cool” factor that can’t be beat.

What piece of equipment is on your home brewery wish list?

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.

Can I Add Liqueurs To Homemade Wine?

Blueberry Liqueur To Be Added To Homemade WineCan I add liqueur to my wines? I have added brandy to some, blackberry, peach. Will it change the taste?

Tino — NY
Hello Tino,

Absolutely, you can add liqueurs to your homemade wine. I always like to encourage experimentation. Without it, nothing moves forward.

Adding a brandy or liqueur to a homemade wine puts it in the category of a fortified wine. Brandy is added to wines to produce Ports, Sherrys, Maderas and others. They typically will run around 18% to 21% alcohol. This is not uncommon at all. On a commercial level, adding liqueurs is not commonly done, but certainly has some great potential. Why couldn’t you add peach schnapps or peach brandy to a peach wine? It would raise the alcohol and intensify the flavor.

Obviously, you have to use some common sense in your combinations. The flavors needs to be complimentary to one another. For example you wouldn’t want to use orange brandy with a blueberry wine. You want to stay within reason.

I would also suggest that you take baby-steps. Do a bench-testing, first. Add the chosen liqueur to a sample of the wine. This does two things: 1) it allows you to establish a dosage ahead of time that can later be applied to the entire batch; 2) it acts as a safety-net; it you accidentally add too much to the wine sample, you can put the sample back with the rest of the batch and start all over.

Shop Liqueur FlavoringsAs a side note, we sell liqueur flavorings for transforming vodka, brandy and the likes into various liqueurs. They come in tiny bottles for making a quart or two at a time. You just add them to the alcohol base, sometimes with sugar, to create an array of liqueurs.

Home winemakers will use liqueur flavorings to enhance the flavors of their wine. For example, you can use the pear brandy liqueur flavoring directly to a pear wine to increase the wine’s fruitiness. It will not raise the alcohol level of the, but it will add a noticeable amount of flavor.

Also realize, that it is possible to have too much alcohol in a wine. A wine can go out of flavor balance if it becomes too hot or alcoholic. When this happens the wine will start to taste more watery, less flavorful, less fruity. This is because of the numbing effects that alcohol can have on the senses, both taste and smell. This is one good reason to look at liqueur flavorings instead of liqueurs. You get the flavor without the heat.

Regardless, I think adding liqueurs to homemade wines is a fantastic way of playing around with the flavors in your wine. I can be valuable. Not only can you come up with something spectacular, you get to exercise your senses in a way that will only help you with future batches of homemade wine. Just remember to take careful steps, and do sample tests before moving forward with the whole batch of wine.

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.

Easy American Wheat Beer Homebrew Recipe (Extract w/ Grains)

Man Holding Wheat BeerWith summer now officially here, an American wheat beer is something you want to consider brewing. It’s a pale, refreshing beer exhibiting the soft, somewhat sweet, grainy flavor of wheat. A typical American wheat beer recipe will produce a beer with low to moderate alcohol content and a low to moderate hop character. It’s a sessionable, easy-drinking beer that you’ll enjoy in spite of the summer heat. Some popular examples of this style include Bell’s Oberon, Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat, and Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale.

The defining characteristic of American wheat beer is the use of — you guessed it — wheat. Wheat is an adjunct grain often used for flavor, body, and head retention. Extract brewers will find it easiest to use wheat malt extract. All-grain and partial mash brewers mash want to consider adding rice hulls to their mash, as the higher protein in wheat can sometimes lead to a stuck mash. Read Brewing with Wheat for more information on working with this special grain.

Unlike German hefeweizen, American wheat beer does not show the banana/clove combination of flavors from hefeweizen yeast. American yeast is more appropriate, allowing the subtle flavors of hops and grains to come through. The “Chico” strain of yeast is the classic choice for an American wheat bee recipe, but of course you’re welcome to experiment with any style of yeast you like.

The soft, subtle texture of American wheat beer makes it a great candidate as a base for fruit beer. Strawberry, blueberry, raspberry and apricot are all good options. Read A Simple Guide to Making Fruit Beers for some tips on how to add fruit to your homebrew.

Read to brew up a cool, refreshing American wheat beer? Try the recipe below, or consider brewing the Brewer’s Best American Pale Wheat beer kit.

Happy brewing!






shop_liquid_malt_extractAmerican Wheat Beer Recipe
(5-gallon batch, extract with grains)

OG: 1.052
FG: 1.012
ABV: 5.2%
IBUs: 21
SRM: 4.5

6.6 lbs. Steam Freak Wheat LME
1 lb. Briess pilsner malt
.5 lb. flaked wheat
1.5 oz. Willamette hops at :60
shop_hops.5 oz. Cascade hops at :0
1 pack Safale US-05 ale yeast

Heat three gallons of clean, chlorine-free water to 150˚F. Place crushed pilsner malt and flaked wheat in a muslin grain bag and steep for 30 minutes. Remove grains and stir in liquid malt extract. Bring wort to a boil, keeping an eye on the kettle to avoid a boil over. At the start of the 60-minute boil, add the Willamette hops. At the end of the boil, remove kettle from heat, add the Cascade hops, and immediately start to chill the wort using an ice bath or an immersion wort chiller. Bring wort to 80˚F or below and mix in enough cool, chlorine-free water to make five gallons of wort. Stir well to aerate, then pitch yeast. Ferment at 68-70˚F for 2-3 weeks, then bottle or keg.

Are you a fan of wheat beers? Do you have an American wheat beer recipe you’d like to share below?

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.

Does Making Bentonite Additions To A Wine Have A Downside?

Man asking about bentonite additions to wine.I’ve been reading about bentonite fining in my wine and would like to know what is the downside of using this stuff? I understand what it does, but was thinking – if there is no downside then I should use it in every wine I make. What is your response to that, please!

Hello Steven,

Commercial wineries routinely make bentonite fining additions to the wine right after the fermentation. It is used at this time because it is effective in taking out large amounts of solids fairly quickly. It speeds up the clearing process.

Bentonite additions to a wine will not only take the bulk of the yeast out, but it will also take out other protein based particles such as tannin, color pigmentation and other pulp-related materials. So much so, that one might say it is too good.

For this reason one must be careful not to use more bentonite fining than is necessary to get the job done. Using too much bentonite in the wine can result in a decrease in body, color and overall character of the wine. This is the potential downside.

Fortunately, bentonite fining is efficient enough that it will do the job before threatening dosages come into play. Follow recommended dosages and you will have not have a problem. And yes, we recommend using it on any fresh fruit wine.

The bentonite fining we sell comes with detailed directions and a recommended dosage that is considered conservative. If these directions are followed and the recommended dosage is adhered to, your wine will not be negatively affected in any way.

While bentonite is effective in removing a lot of particles quickly, there are times when it will not remove the last little bit that is required to bring a polish to your wine. If you discover that a single bentonite fining addition was unable to add a bright color to the wine, then I would suggest that you go to another fining agent for a second treatment.

Shop BentoniteWineries will turn towards fining agents that have more polishing qualities as a follow-up treatment. These would include fining agents such as Sparkolloid, isinglass and Kitosol 40.

So in short, yes it’s not a bad idea to automatically make bentonite addition to your wines right after fermentation. There is little to no downside in doing so. Just be aware that it is so effective that there are limitations to how much you’ll want to use. Stick to the recommended dosages and your wine will be fine.

Happy Wine Making,
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.

From White Stout to Black IPA: Four Homebrew Mash-Up Recipes

MashUp BeerOne of the most rewarding aspects of homebrewing is creating your own homebew recipes. This creativity has led to a berth of new beer styles, from black IPAs to white stouts.

Sometimes, creating an altogether new beer styles is as easy as switching out a single ingredient in an existing recipe, turning it into a homebrew mash-up recipe of sorts. Here are four recipe ideas to help you brew outside the box.


White Stout Homebrew Recipe

A few craft breweries have released something called a white stout in recent years. A prominent example of this is James Page brewey. But what is a white stout exactly?

There’s still some debate about what defines a white stout, but from what I gather, it’s basically a strong, pale beer. (Back when most beers were dark, strong beers were called stout.) You could try to create the illusion of roasted flavor in the white stout by adding some whole roasted coffee beans to the secondary fermenter. Use this homebrew mash-up recipe as a starting point, optionally adding 8 oz. of whole (not ground) coffee beans to the secondary fermenter.


Belgian IPA Homebrew Recipe

India Pale Ales are an English creation, but I think it’s safe to say that the style has been popularized by American craft brewers and spread throughout the world. It’s not surprising then that we’ve seen a multitude of mash-up variations on the style, including a Belgian spin. A Belgian IPA recipe basically swaps the American or English ale yeast for a Belgian strain, which brings in a range of fruity and spicy characteristics to the beer. Some recipes may also include other throwbacks to traditional Belgian beer styles, like candi sugar, spices, wheat, or oats. For starters, give this Brewers Best Belgian IPA recipe kit a try.


Black Saison Homebrew Recipe

Shop Brew KettlesSeveral craft breweries have jumped on the black saison bandwagon, not the least of which include Stone, Stillwater, and Evil Twin. Their 2012 collaboration, “The Perfect Crime”, wasn’t only dark, it was smoked as well. Their mash-up version contains quite a range of malts in the grain bill: pilsner, red wheat, carafa III, oats, biscuit malt, and smoked wheat. For your first black saison, I’d suggest starting with a Belgian Saison recipe kit and adding up to a pound of carafa III or midnight wheat to get the color you need.


Black IPA Homebrew Recipe

Probably the one homebrew mash-up recipe that has taken off the most, the black IPA features a wonderful combination of roasted malt and spicy hop flavor. I would wager that my Uinta Dubhe Imperial Black IPA clone is one of the best beers I’ve ever brewed. Give that recipe a shot, or try one of the partial mash recipe kits from Steam Freak or Brewcraft.


Do you like to mash together beer recipes into something new? Do you have a favorite homebrew mash-up recipe you’d like to share?

David Ackley is a beer writer, homebrewer, 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.

What’s The Difference Between Muscadine And Scuppernong Grapes?

Muscadine Scuppernong For Wine MakingI was wondering what the difference was between muscadine and scuppernong grapes? I hear people talk about both as if they were the same thing. Are they? Or are they different?

Justin S.,
Hello Justin,

Both Muscadine and Scuppernong grapes are indigenous to the Southeast region of the U.S. They grow both wild and domestically in backyards and on farms from Arkansas to the Carolina’s and everywhere South of there.

Muscadine and Scuppernong are a couple of names that are sometimes used loosely to mean the same grape, but in reality, a Scuppernong is a particular variety of Muscadine. So, technically you could call any Scuppernong grape a Muscadine, but you couldn’t call any Muscadine grape a Scuppernong.

Over the decades Muscadines have been domesticated and grafted into varying sizes and color. Today, there are an endless list of Muscadine varieties. While Scuppernong is a variety of Muscadine it is not considered a hybrid or cultivar. It has been know to be in existence since at least the 1600’s and has been domesticated in its own right. This is how some of the confusion comes about.

Today in spite of the facts, most people refer to the red varieties as Muscadines and to the white varieties as Scuppernongs.

I say, regardless of what you call them, these grapes make wonderful country wines. Using Scuppernongs is even a great way to learn how to make white wines for the first time.Shop Steam Juicer

Preparing these grapes my take some effort though. Because of their incredibly thick skins, running them through a grape crusher may be necessary as opposed to simply crushing them by hand.

An alternative to getting a grape crusher would be to use a steam juicer to extract the juice. The steam juicer bursts the skins with steamed heat. The juice then falls out the colander of steamed grapes and runs out into a collector. Once cooled, the juice is ready to go straight into the fermenter.

I hope this information helps you understand a little better about the difference between Muscadines and Scuppernongs.

Happy Wine Making,
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.