A Wine Hydrometer Isn’t Going To Bite You!

Wine Hydrometer In HandThe one piece of winemaking equipment most often missing in the beginning winemaker’s arsenal is the wine hydrometer. Yet, it is probably the most valuable piece of equipment they could have. A wine hydrometer can tell you:


  • How much sugar you need to add to your wine, if any
  • How much alcohol your wine will have when it’s done
  • How far along your wine’s fermentation has gotten
  • If your wine’s fermentation is progressing, or if it’s stuck
  • If your fermentation has finished or only looks like it has
  • And above all, a wine hydrometer can give you piece of mind


If you’re not sure what your wine’s doing, take a reading with a wine hydrometer, and you’ll know. To sum it up, the hydrometer is just as important to the winemaker as the compass is to the sea captain. Without it you’re just guessing as to where your fermentation’s at, and more importantly, you’re guessing as to where it’s going.

After helping countless home winemakers, we’ve found that the #1 reason that a beginning winemaker does not use a wine hydrometer is because it either looks too complicated, or it’s too intimidating.


Just like when some people’s eye glaze-over at the mere mentioning
of math, some beginning winemakers shudder at the
thought of using a wine hydrometer.


This is really a shame, and I’ll tell you why. A wine hydrometer is no more complicated to use than an everyday thermometer, and it’s even quicker. Shop Wine HydrometersWith a wine hydrometer, you can take a reading instantly by seeing how high or low it floats in your wine. That’s it! No waiting around for it to react or to come up with a reading. Wherever the surface of the wine crosses the scale on the gravity hydrometer is how you determine your reading. Here more on taking wine hydrometer readings.

I think if more beginning winemakers understood that that’s all there is to using a wine hydrometer, more of them would use one. With so much information to gain about a wine by its use, it almost seems silly not to use it.

If you would like to read a little more about the wine hydrometer there’s a short, straight-forward article on our website titled, “Getting To Know Your Hydrometer.” It covers the use of the wine hydrometer in a little more detail.
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.

Dried Malt Extract vs Liquid: Which is Better?

Dried Malt Extract vs Liquid 2There are a number of “this vs. that” debates in homebrewing: dry vs. liquid yeast, single vs. two-stage fermentation, extract vs. all-grain brewing. On both sides of the argument you will hear supporters of their chosen method insist that theirs is better. But often times the answer depends on the brewer, their equipment, their skill level, their time availability, and a number of other factors. It all boils down to personal preference.

The same can be said for dried malt extract vs liquid malt extract. Neither is necessarily better than the other. Both forms of malt extract have their merit, and both have their drawbacks. Let’s break down the difference between both types of malts to determine when you might prefer dried malt extract or liquid syrup in your homebrew.

Continue reading

Making Muscadine And Scuppernong Wine

Muscadine Grapes For Making WineMy question is related to making both Muscadine and Scuppernong with 100% pure juice. I have an opportunity to obtain 100% pure juice for both products with a Brix range between 22.0-23.0.

I have always utilized real, whole fruit in all my batches and I am not sure if there are recipe differences when using pure juice. Do you have a Muscadine recipe or a Scuppernong recipes that I could follow utilizing 100% grape juice? Are all the wine making ingredients the same? Do I add water or more sugar considering the Brix is in the ideal range?

I really appreciate your assistance.

Best Regards,
John and Cathy H.
Hello John and Cathy,

Most fresh Muscadine or Scuppernong wine recipes you will find typically call for both water and sugar in addition to the juice/grapes:

  • Water: to lower the higher acidity typically found in these grapes. If you use straight Scuppernong or Muscadine juice, you will most likely end up with a wine that is too tart.
  • Sugar: to bring the potential alcohol of the wine back up to a decent range. Because you added water to dilute/lower the acidity of the juice, you will need to add sugar to bring the potential alcohol level up to a descent range: 10% to 13%.

However, these wine recipes can only guess as to what are the optimal amounts of each. My suggestion to you would be to purchase two items to help you bring everything into optimal balance:Shop Wine Making Kits

  • Acid Testing Kit: This kit will allow you to test the acidity level of the Scuppernong or Muscadine juice. The acidity relates to the sourness/sharpness of the wine verses the flatness/lifelessness of the flavor. The acid testing kit also comes with directions that will tell you what the optimal readings are, so you can calculate how much water to add to the juice, if any. I would shoot for an acid reading of around .65%.
  • Wine Hydrometer: This priceless instrument is what tells you what the brix reading is of the juice. Your supplier has already given you a brix range of 22 to 23, but these numbers will change if you have to dilute the grape juice with water to lower the acidity. The wine hydrometer will tell you what the new brix reading is and help guide you back to a brix range of 22-33 when adding sugar back to the wine must.

As for the rest of the wine making ingredients, you can follow the wine recipes on the wine recipes page of our website. There you will find a Muscadine wine recipe and a Scuppernong wine recipe. Basically, add the following for every 5 gallons of wine must:

Shop Wine PressThe wine yeast recommended for the Scuppernong is the Lalvin type: K1V-1116; for the Muscadine the Red Star type: Pasture Blanc is recommended.

What About Fresh Muscadine And Scuppernong Grapes?
I would also like to point out that the above information can be applied to making wine from actual Muscadine a Scuppernong grapes. Just crush the grapes then take a reading with your gravity hydrometer and acid test kit, and take it from there.

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.

Brooklyn Brewery Summer Ale Clone Recipe (Extract & All-Grain)

Brooklyn Brewery Summer AleA classic summer seasonal beer is the Brooklyn Brewery Summer Ale. At 4.8% ABV and 26 IBUs, it’s a lighter ale that will pair well with burgers, outdoor activities, warm sun, and good friends.


Grain Bill 
Harkening back to its English heritage, this clone recipe uses Crisp’s Best Ale Malt as the base. A smaller amount of pilsner malt keeps the color and flavor light. A mid-range mash temperature of 152˚F results in a good balance of body and fermentability. If brewing the partial mash version of this recipe, add the LME at the end of the boil to increase hops utilization and reduce the likelihood of the LME contributing too much color to the beer.


Cascade and Amarillo hops bring a signature American hop profile to this beer. Cascades contribute the classic citrus and spice, while Amarillo dry hops bring a pleasing tropical citrus aroma.


For yeast, Nottingham dry yeast is recommended. It’s a classic English strain with a fairly neutral flavor profile. No yeast starter is necessary for this clone recipe, but you may wish to rehydrate the yeast before pitching.

Ready to give it a try? Here’s an all-grain Brooklyn Brewery Summer Ale recipe, with a partial mash recipe below! Happy brewing!


Brooklyn Brewery Summer Ale Clone Recipe (All-Grain)
(5-gallon batch, all-grain) 

OG: 1.044
FG: 1.007
ABV: 4.8%
IBU: 26
SRM: 5

6 lb. 5 oz. Crip’s Best Ale Malt
2 lb. 11 oz. Pilsner malt
.75 oz. Cascade hops at 60 mins (3.8 AAUs)
.75 oz. Cascade hops at 30 mins (3.8 AAUs)
.75 oz. Cascade hops at flameout (3.8 AAUs)
.88 oz. Amarillo hops (dry hop)
1 pack Nottingham ale yeast

All-Grain Directions
Shop Steam Freak KitsMash crushed grains in about 2.8 gallons of water at 122˚F for 30 minutes. Raise temperature to 152˚F and mash for one hour. Lauter and sparge to collect about six gallons of wort in the boil kettle. Boil for an hour, adding hops according to schedule. Chill wort and transfer to a clean, sanitized fermenter. Pitch yeast and ferment at 68˚F. Dry hop with Amarillo hops in the secondary fermenter. Bottle or keg with a target carbonation of 2.6 vols CO2.


Brooklyn Brewery Summer Ale Clone Recipe (Extract)
(5-gallon batch)

OG: 1.044
FG: 1.007
ABV: 4.8%
IBU: 26
SRM: 5

1 lb. 5 oz. Crip’s Best Ale Malt
11 oz. Pilsner malt
1 lb. 10 oz. light dried malt extract
3 lbs. light liquid malt extract (late boil addition)
.75 oz. Cascade hops at 60 mins (3.8 AAUs)
.75 oz. Cascade hops at 30 mins (3.8 AAUs)
.75 oz. Cascade hops at flameout (3.8 AAUs)
.88 oz. Amarillo hops (dry hop)
1 pack Nottingham ale yeastShop FerMonster

Extract Directions
Mash crushed grains in a small stockpot in about 3 quarts of water for 45 minutes. Strain wort through a colander or strainer into your brew kettle, then rinse grains with about 1.5 quarts of water at 170˚F. Add 2 gallons of water and start to heat. Once the wort is hot (but not boiling), remove the kettle from the heat to stir in your dried malt extract. Bring wort to a boil and boil for 60 minutes. Add hops according to schedule above. Five minutes before the end of the boil, stir in the liquid malt extract. Transfer wort to a clean, sanitized fermenter and top up with clean water to make five gallons. Aerate, pitch yeast, and ferment at 68˚F. Dry hop with Amarillo hops in the secondary fermenter. Bottle or keg with a target carbonation of 2.6 vols CO2.
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.

6 Tips For Using An Acid Test Kit

Sample For Using With An Acid Test KitI have the hardest time with the acid titration kit as far as finding the right color stop (acid level) any suggestions on using an acid testing kit, how to tell when to stop at the right level.

Manuel Q. – NM
Hello Manuel.

For those of you who have never used an acid test kit: basically what you are doing is taking a measured sample of wine and slowly adding sodium hydroxide to it until the wine permanently changes color. By knowing how much sodium hydroxide it took to get the color change, you can determine you wine’s acidity level.

An acid test kit can be a little awkward to use until you get the hang of it. I sometimes suggest to customers that they practice on some finished wine, first, before they actually need to use it. Here are some additional information for using an acid test kit. These are tips that go beyond the instructions you typically find with a titration kit.


  1. Run Through A Quick Test
    When I’m using the acid test kit, the first thing I like to do is go through a test quickly. This is to establish “about” where the color change will occur. Then when doing a second test, I start off by adding enough sodium hydroxide to get close to the point of a color change. Then I add the sodium hydroxide one drop at a time. Adding the bulk of the sodium hydroxide all at once will save you a lot of time and aggravation in the long-run. With each drop you will want to shake the test-tube and see that either a magenta or grey color is dissolving completely away in the sample of wine. Streaks of either color are okay. They just need to be swirled out. It’s when the color stays permanently and alters the color of the entire sample. That’s when you want to take your measurement reading.
  1. Use A White Background 
    This tip for using an acid test kit is the one I think is the one that is most helpful. By holding the test tube up to a white background like a wall or sheet of paper you will be able to discern the color change more easily. You are essentially blocking out colors from the room, giving you a cleaner frame of reference when taking a titration of the wine.Shop Acid Test Kit
  1. Use A Second Wine Sample For Comparison  
    Having a second test tube with another wine sample for comparison may be helpful. Put them side-by-side. Expect the color of the sample being tested to get lighter and lighter as more sodium hydroxide is added. That’s okay. You are not comparing the lightness or the darkness between the two wine samples. You are comparing the color hue of the two wine samples. 
  1. Dilute The Wine’s Color  
    This tip for using an acid test kit does not apply to every wine. If the color of the wine is too opaque to see a color change, you can dilute it. Some red wines are just to dark for performing a titration. You can dilute it with distilled water. You do not want to use tap water or drinking water. Use distilled water, only. Dilute as much as you need to. This will not alter at what point the color change will occur or the math you use to calculate it. 
  1. Make Sure The Wine Is Free Of CO2   
    The wine sample needs to be flat. You do not want CO2 (carbonation) from the fermentation to be in the wine sample. Carbon dioxide will throw off your reading. For this reason, the most opportune times to test your wine is before fermentation and before bottling. The wine must should be free of CO2 at both these times. If you are making your wine from fresh fruit, I would recommend testing at both times. The acidity level can change during a fermentation. The first test is to get the acidity close so that the fermentation can be healthy. Acidity plays a role in how well a yeast ferment. The test before bottling is to adjust for flavor – flat vs. tart flavors.
  1. Make Sure The Acid Test Kit Is Still Good    Shop Acid Reducing Crystals
    Here is the last tip for using an acid test kit. Both the activator and the reagent in your acid test kit will get old with time. This can throw off a titration reading – sometimes significantly. For this reason, it is not a bad idea to store these ingredients in the refrigerator for longer shelf-life. If you are not sure how old your acid test kit is, you can run a test on Welch’s grape juice – not from concentrate, straight Welch’s grape juice off the store shelf. It should have a reading of .67%-tartaric. If you get a reading that is higher than this, it means that your reagent (sodium hydroxide) is old and does not have its full strength.


Using an acid test kit is a great way for controlling your wine’s acidity. Hopefully these tips for using the acid test kit will help to make the process a little easier and an little more accurate.

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.

Get Sweet On Your Beers: Start Brewing Beer With Honey!

Man Brewing Beer With HoneyWe put it in tea, we mix it into our lip balm and of course it’s good for baking, but for many homebrewers, honey is also a pivotal ingredient for brewing.

From the “ealu” of Great Britain’s Anglo-Saxons to President Obama’s White House Honey Ale, brewing beer with honey has been an important part of the craft. What makes honey so great is its flexibility for brewers, whether they simply want to use it as a fermentable sugar in their boil, as a source of sweet flavor or even as a priming ingredient.

Honey is great as a medium to connect all the aspects of your homebrew, from the sweet taste of wort to herbal aromas of hops and even yeast esters.

So how can you start brewing beer with honey? Here are three different ways:


Brewing With Honey In The Boil

For many, the high fermentability of honey provides an easy way to add extra gravity to a beer, since the sugar found in honey is almost entirely fermentable. Unless you’re making mead or braggot, you’ll want to make sure honey isn’t more than about 30 percent of all your fermentable sugars in a brew, depending on the level of honey flavor you seek. For best results, the National Honey Board recommends that when brewing with honey, not using more than 2.5 pounds of honey per five gallons.

A key trick is to know when to add honey. If you want to use it in the boil, consider adding it as a late addition. Due to its high fermentability, using honey early on in the boil can dilute the body of a beer and cause a drier finish when drinking your homebrew. Many beer recipes will call for a honey addition at the very end of a boil (in the last five minutes) or at flameout, which is best for retaining the honey’s aromas and flavors.


Brewing With Honey In The Secondary

If you want to avoid using honey on brew day, adding it during secondary fermentation is a good option. It allows you to keep the characteristics of the honey you’ll want to show up in your beer. To eliminate any wild yeasts and bacteria that may be in the honey, it’s important to pasteurize your honey first:Shop Beer Recipe Kits

  1. Preheat an oven to 176°F.
  2. Pour honey into a sanitized, oven-proof saucepan.
  3. As the oven preheats, heat the honey on the stove top to 176°F., stirring occasionally.
  4. Once the honey is 176°F., cover it and put it in the oven for 2.5 hours.
  5. Place the saucepan in an ice bath to lower the honey’s temperature to match that of your beer and pour it into the secondary.

The reason we heat the honey to 176°F. is that this temperature is hot enough to kill off microorganisms, but not so hot that it drives off the honey’s valuable aromas and flavors.


Brewing Beer With Honey: As A Priming Sugar

While substituting honey for your normal priming sugar may not add a lot of unique flavor, priming with honey does have the potential to add a small layer of complexity to your beer. Just be sure you only adding the honey for priming, as combining it with any other priming sugar can have explosive results.

If priming beer with honey, the honey will need to be diluted with water before adding to your homebrew. Different honeys have different densities, so there’s no uniform amount of water that may be ideal. You may need a small digital scale to weigh out the honey. Most formulas suggest four to five cups of water should be sufficient to mix with the honey.Shop Accurate Scales

As a precaution, you can bring the water-honey mix to a boil to kill any potential bacteria, the same as you would when mixing any other priming sugar.

Now that you’re ready to start brewing beer with honey, what to make? If you’re feeling experimental, check out the available beer kits from E. C. Kraus and see which beers you may enjoy with a touch of honey!
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.

No-Bull Directions For Using One Step No Rinse Cleanser

One Step No Rinse CleanserThe directions on the container of One Step No Rinse Cleanser simply say to rinse your equipment with the solution. Is there a minimum amount of contact time one must allow for the solution to work prior to using the sanitized equipment? The results of an online search stated anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. I know the safe route would be to let it sit for at least 2 minutes, but I’d rather not stand there waiting if I don’t have to.

Name: Paul
State: Missouri
Hello Paul,

The One Step No Rinse Cleanser is actually an oxygenating cleanser. This means that it uses a burst of oxygen from the solution to do the sanitizing. This high oxygen level actually destroys any unwanted microbes.

The great thing about any oxygenating cleanser is that it gives the biggest burst of oxygen while the solution is evaporating off the surface of what is being sanitized. In other words, the contact time with the solution is not what really matters. What matters is that the solution be allowed to evaporate without interruption after being taken out of the solution. The amount of time in the One Step solution is not critical. This is way the directions seem so vague.

The only situation when the length of time would matter is if you are treating a piece of equipment that has a lot of tight spots, or has a surface that is complex and Shop Basic A Cleansernot smooth. A couple examples of this would be a nylon brush or a straining screen. In both cases you would want to give “some” time for the solution to work its way in between and onto the surface of each nylon bristle or into the corner of each square of the screen. This could require a few seconds due to the surface tension of the solution.

The flip-side of this is when sanitizing a surface that is smooth, like glass, no time is required in the solution at all. Just dip or apply with a rag and allow to evaporate. Again, the evaporation from the surface is what’s key, not the time in the solution.

If you want to get the most out of the One Step No Rinse Cleanser you would allow your equipment to dry completely before using. However, I understand that following such directions would not be practical in a lot of situations, since it would make things way too time consuming. So as a matter of practicality, I would follow these directions: dip or or wipe with a rag the equipment with the solution of One Step No Rinse Cleanser, then allow to dry for 5 minutes.

One final not I’d like to make is that the One Step No Rinse Cleanser is not a Shop Sanitizerssoap or detergent in any way. It is not designed for or intended to release grime from your wine making equipment. This is something that needs to be done with a dish soap or similar, beforehand. The One Step No Rinse Cleanser is strictly for sanitizing your wine making equipment. It is designed to kill any molds, bacteria, etc.

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 Test For Diacetyl In Your Beer

Two Men Testing for DiacetylYou’re brewing a beer and it tastes just fine after primary fermentation. You move it to secondary, bottle it, and when you go to taste it…butter bomb! This sounds like a problem with diacetyl.


What is Diacetyl?
Diacetyl is a natural byproduct of fermentation. A small amount of diacetyl is acceptable in certain beer styles, most notably in a variety of ales and a handful of lager styles, but most lagers should not present any diacetyl. Excessive diacetyl in any beer can be a defect.


Causes of Diacetyl in Beer
Diacetyl is produced when beer is fermented. Diacetyl can be produced in excess when yeast is stressed, such as when fermentation temperature is too high or wort isn’t sufficiently aerated. Diacetyl can also be caused by bacterial infection.


Determination of Diacetyl in Beer
Diacetyl is detected as a butter taste in the beer’s flavor and aroma.

The challenge is that there may be a diacetyl precursor in a sample of beer that you can’t taste or smell: acetolactate. So how do you test for diacetyl when it isn’t actually present in your beer? How do you catch the diacetyl before it’s too late?


How to Test for Diacetyl in BeerShop Stir Plate

  1. Using cleaned and sanitized equipment, pull two small (~2 oz.) samples of wort from the primary fermenter and cover them with aluminum foil.
  1. Place one in the refrigerator and the other in a hot water bath. The heated sample should rest at 140-160˚F for 20 minutes.
  1. Place the heated sample in the refrigerator with the other sample (or in an ice bath).
  1. When both samples are chilled, take them out for a taste. If you can taste diacetyl in the unheated sample, there is diacetyl in your beer. If you can taste diacetyl in the heated sample but not the unheated sample, your beer has acetolactate, which was converted into diacetyl by the high temperature. In either case, do a diacetyl rest. For an ale, this may just be a couple extra days in the primary fermenter. For a lager, you should increase the temperature of the beer to about 60˚F, which will help the yeast “clean up” the diacetyl in your beer.


Tips for Preventing Diacetyl in Beer

  • Clean and sanitize equipment thoroughly to prevent infection.
  • Shop for beer yeast depending on diacetyl production – check the manufacturer’s website.
  • If brewing with a high amount of adjuncts, consider using supplemental yeast nutrient.
  • Aerate wort well, using pure oxygen if possible.
  • Pitch an adequate amount of healthy, viable yeast.
  • Keep fermentation temperature within the yeast manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Perform a diacetyl rest after primary fermentation. In the case of lagers, raise the temperature to 60-68˚F for 2-3 days before transferring to secondary and cold conditioning.


Have you ever had issues with diacetyl or a butter taste in your beer? What have you done to remedy the situation?
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.

I Put Too Much Sugar In My Wine!

Sugar In Wine MustTo keep a long story short, while mixing ingredients for the first fermentation, instead of 2 pounds of sugar called for in the wine recipe, 4 pounds made it into the bucket. I let it go for the first fermentation. The hydrometer reading is 1.106. Could I add water to lower sugar concentration for the fermentation?
Thank you.

Name: Jan R
State: Ohio
Hello Jan,

Adding an additional 2 pounds of sugar to the wine must is not as serious as you might think. Assuming this is a 5 gallon batch, the extra sugar will raise the final alcohol level by about 2%, so while you may have put too much sugar in the wine, it is far from being a disaster.


The general rule-of-thumb is for every pound of sugar you add to a 5 gallon
batch of wine, you increase the potential alcohol by 1%.


Based on your beginning Specific Gravity reading of 1.106 you took with your hydrometer, you have a beginning potential alcohol right at 14%. That means you have enough sugar in the wine must for the yeast to ferment 14% worth of alcohol content. If you can live with this, then doing nothing is your best course of action. Just finish the fermentation as you normally would.

If you would like, you can dilute the wine with water, but this will bring up another problem and that is the wine’s acidity or its tartness. Diluting the flavor profile of a wine with water is one thing. You can get away with reducing the intensity of the flavor without having too much noticeable overall affect on the wine. But you are diluting the acidity at the same time. Acidity is something that is very noticeable when it’s diluted. Because of this, an adjustment would need to compensate for the lowering of the acid level. This can be done by adding Acid Blend to the wine must.Shop Hydrometers

Now the question is: how much water and Acid Blend should you add? Again, I am going to assume this is a 5 gallon batch of wine.

You can use something called a Pearson’s square to calculate how much water to add to bring the potential alcohol down to its intended level, but I’ll do that for you, now. You need to add .83 gallons of water to the entire batch to bring the potential alcohol down from 14%  to 12%. This works out to 3 quarts and 8.5 fluid ounces of water.

Now, you need to figure out how much Acid Blend needs to be added to compensate for the addition of .83 gallons of water. This leads me to my second rule-of-thumb:


For every teaspoon of Acid Blend you add to a gallon of liquid,
you will raise the total acidity by .15%.


With a target range of around .65% to .75% TA, this means you would want to add between 4.33 and 5 teaspoons of Acid Blend per gallon of water. You would be adding .83 gallons — not a whole gallon — so this would adjust the range of Acid Blend needed for the batch to somewhere between 3.6 and 4.1 teaspoons. You could also use an our Acid Test Kit to take an acid reading after the water has been added and adjust according.

Shop Acid Test KitYou can add both the water and Acid Blend anytime you like during the winemaking process. The effects of both are immediate on the wine. The only thing you need to know is that if you add the water after the fermentation has completed, it needs to be distilled water. Using tap or bottled drinking water at this time would be introducing free oxygen into the wine and promote oxidation. Distilled water has no free oxygen.

As I’m sure you can start to see, there is a lot to be said for just leaving the wine alone and let is go as is, but if you feel that 14% alcohol is something you can’t live with, there are options. As I mentioned before, while you did put too much sugar in the wine must, the total effect on the resulting will not be disastrous or out ruinous. Either way I’m sure you wine will come out just fine.

Accidentally putting too much sugar in a wine must is something that happens from time to time. I know I’ve added to much sugar to my wine before, and I know lots of others have. Just realize that regardless of how bad the situation, there is usually a solution to remedy the problem.

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.

Torpedo Extra IPA Clone Recipe (All-Grain & Extract)

Seirra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA CloneIf you’re a fan of India Pale Ales, you’ve probably had Torpedo Extra IPA from Sierra Nevada. At 7.2% ABV and 65 IBUs, it’s a fairly aggressive IPA that showcases American ingredients.

When searching for a Torpedo Extra IPA clone recipe, I stumbled upon this thread on HomeBrewTalk.com. The original poster contacted Sierra Nevada and got some details on the beer recipe. (If there’s ever a beer you’d like to clone, many commercial brewers are willing to help you out!)


Grain Bill

The grain bill is straightforward with about 90% American two-row malt as the base. Caramel 60L malt provides some malty sweetness to support the hops and some color. A small amount of Carapils malt will contribute some body. The grains should be mashed around 155-156˚F, which will help make for a full-bodied brew. Err on the lower side for good fermentability.



Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo features three types of American hops: Magnum, Citra, and Crystal. Magnum provides most of the bitterness, while Citra and Crystal join in for flavor and aroma additions.

The key to producing a Torpedo Extra IPA clone recipe is the dry hops. Torpedo is named for a dry-hopping technique developed by Sierra Nevada in which beer is circulated through a “Hop Torpedo,” sometimes called a hopback or Randall. There are many ways to build your own hop torpedo, but for best results you should have a pump to force the beer through the torpedo. If you want to forgo the hop torpedo, traditional dry hopping procedures will work fine.


YeastShop Steam Freak Kits

As for yeast, a standard American ale yeast will do the trick. In fact, Wyeast 1056 and Safale US-05 are often referred to as the “Chico” strain. They’re reportedly the same yeast used by Sierra Nevada in their American ales. If using liquid yeast, I recommend preparing a two-liter yeast starter from two packets of yeast to have enough yeast cells to do the job.

Ready to give it a try? Here’s an all-grain recipe, with an extract option below! Good luck!


Torpedo Extra IPA Clone Recipe (All-Grain)
(5.5-gallon batch)

**recipe assumes a mash efficiency of ~70%

OG: 1.073
FG: 1.018
ABV: 7.2%
IBUs: 65
SRM: 10

14 lbs. American two-row malt
1 lb. Caramel 60L malt
.5 lb. Carapils malt
.75 oz. Magnum hops at :75 (11 AAUs)
.5 oz. Magnum hops at :30 (7.3 AAUs)
.5 oz. Magnum hops at :5 (7.3 AAUs)
1 oz. Crystal hops at :5 (4.3 AAUs)
.5 oz. Crystal hops dry hopped for 7-10 days
.25 oz. Citra hops dry hopped for 7-10 days
.25 oz. Magnum hops dry hopped for 7-10 days
2 packets Wyeast 1056: American Ale Yeast or 1 packet Safale US-05


Directions:Shop Home Brew Starter Kit
Mash the crushed grains in about five gallons of clean water at 156˚F for 60 minutes. Sparge to collect 7.5 gallons of wort. Boil for 90 minutes, adding hops according to schedule above. Whirlpool, chill wort, and transfer to a clean, sanitized fermenter. Pitch yeast at 70˚F or below. Ferment at 65-70˚F. Add dry hops to the secondary fermenter and allow to sit for 7-10 days. Bottle or keg for ~2.3 vols CO2.


Extract Option: Replace the 14 lbs. of two-row malt with 8.4 lbs. light DME. Steep the specialty grains for 30 minutes in clean water at 156˚F. Add half the DME and enough water to make a three-gallon boil. Proceed with the recipe above, adding enough clean, chlorine-free water to the fermenter to make five gallons.

Do you have a Torpedo Extra IPA clone recipe you’d like to share? We’d love to see it. Just post it in the comments 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.