What’s The Difference Between Shiraz And Syrah?

Picture showing difference between Shiraz and Syrah.This is a story of two wines, Syrah and Shiraz, and how they both are the same, yet different. On the surface it seems to be somewhat of an exercise in semantics, with their names being the only difference, but after taking a closer look, it starts to become clear that there is much more to the story than just names.

The difference between Syrah and Shiraz teaches us a lesson, one that illustrates how a grape’s environment and the way in which it is processed can influence the outcome of a resulting wine.

Any wine expert will tell you that Syrah and Shiraz are two varietal wines that are made from the exact same grape. If you analyze the DNA of each grape used to make these wines you will find that there is no difference between them.

 

Then Why The Two Names?

The French refer to the grape and the varietal wine they make from it as Syrah. In other notable regions such as: South America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, the grape and the wine is referred to as Shiraz.

But there is something more than just a difference in name. There is a difference in style and character as well. While both wines are very assertive red wines, a Syrah tends to be a little more elegant and complex. It usually has more of a smokey, earthy character with flavors of plum and spicy pepper. Shop Wine KitsA Shiraz on the other hand is more crisp and fruity, less layered with slight, jammy flavors of berry as compared to a Syrah. This is a very wide generalization of each wine, but even so, it would be safe to say that if you tasted both wines side-by-side you would notice more differences than similarities between the two.

 

So, Why Is There A Difference Between Shiraz And Syrah?

Difference Between Shiraz And Syrah VineyardWhile the grape remains the same, in each wine there is so much else that is different. The soil, the climate, the cultivation, and the fermentation all vary to make a Syrah, a Syrah, and a Shiraz, a Shiraz.

While different soils can not assert their own character onto a grape, they can guide the way in which a grape develops its own flavor. This is referred to as the terroir of the wine. The French vineyards are heavy in limestone which can hold moisture better and deeper than most soils. Shop Wine PressThis forces the vines to get more of their nutrients from deeper soils. The result is a wine with more layered, complex flavors.

The French are not allowed to use irrigation or fertilization on their vines, either. This stems from governmental laws designed to keep the grape production limited. This leads to stressed vines with fewer berries, but with each berry packing more flavor.

This is all in contrast to places like Australia, South Africa and New Zealand where Shiraz grapes are produced in sandy soils with plenty of fertilization and irrigation. The cultivation is abundant. This creates a wine with a more even character than a Syrah and with the ability to mature more quickly.

The Syrah is also grown in France’s cooler climate. This lends to the plum-like, smokey character of this wine. This is in comparison to Shiraz which is grown in warmer climates which makes the wine more jammy and berry-like.

Even the rate of fermentation plays some role in the flavor development of the wine. A Syrah is fermented more slowly so as to increase the time the pulp can stay on the fermentation. A Shiraz is fermented at a faster, more-normal rate which helps to make the wine, in general, more fruity.

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In Summary:

So as you can see there is much more than just the grape when it comes to bringing a wine to fruition. While a wine’s character always begins with the grape, it ends upon many other factors, including the human touch. There are many other examples of how this is true, but most not quite as clear as the difference between the Shiraz and Syrah.
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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.

Darn It! My Wine Smells Like Rotten Eggs

Homemade WineFor the first time ever I ordered juice concentrate, your merlot and blackberry, to try making a large batch of my favorite flavors. Well, I followed the directions to the letter and it all fermented nicely in the primary. After 5 days racked it to the secondary, 6 gallon glass carboy but for the first time left a little head space of a couple inches figuring that it would be ok since it it was still bubbling a little. It has been two weeks and I racked it again to get it off the sediment and OMG it smells of sulfur, or rotten eggs! Once the wine was in my plastic bucket the smell dissipated and the wine tasted ok but today I checked it and there is still a smell. What did I do wrong? I’ve heard of adding egg white to try to take away the smell…. what can I do? I really hope I don’t have to dump it. HELP!

Name: JoAnn S.
State: WI
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Hello JoAnn,

All fermentations put off some sulfur or rotten egg smells. Some much more than others. When a wine smells like rotten eggs, what you are actually smelling is hydrogen sulfide. There are many of reasons why one fermentation might produce more hydrogen sulfite than others, but here are the big four:

 

  1. Fermenting With Wild Yeast: Shop Wine Yeast
    In your case, we can rule this out because you are using a wine ingredient kit that comes with a domesticated wine yeast. But if you were relying on wild yeast to do your bidding, this would most likely be the reason why your wine smells like rotten eggs. Some wild yeast can produce tremendous amounts of hydrogen sulfide.
  1. Lack Of Nutrients:
    Not having enough nutrients in the fermentation is another cause of high hydrogen sulfide output. But again, you are using a wine ingredient kit that has been nutritionally balanced. The yeast nutrient is at its ideal level in the wine concentrate, so we can also rule this out for your particular situation.
  1. Fermenting At Too Warm Of Temperature:
    Fermenting your wine too warm is another common reason for a fermentation to produce and abundance of hydrogen sulfide. Temperatures that are above 75°F. are suspect, and anything over 80°F. are likely to be problematic to some degree.
  1. Overworked Yeast: Shop Yeast Nutrients
    This happens when there is too little wine yeast to do too much job. There have been many times when a winemaker will accidentally kill a significant portion of the wine yeast when rehydrating it in warm water. If the wine yeast is put in rehydrating water that is too hot, or the yeast is left in the water for too long, more yeast cells will be killed than anticipated by the wine yeast producer. This sets the stage for a fermentation with too little yeast, and in turn, produces too much hydrogen sulfide.

 

The Overall Theme:
It is important to point out that all the above reasons relate to allowing the yeast to ferment under stress. When a wine smells like rotten eggs, start look at thing that might be putting fermentation in a stressful situation.

Having a wild yeast that is fermenting out of its normal element is stressful; having any yeast ferment with a shortage of nutrients, or ferment in a temperature range that is uncomfortable to it is stressful; and having a little bit of wine yeastShop Potassium Bisulfite doing a lot of work are all stressful things that will lead to high hydrogen sulfide production. Having said this, the whole idea is to keep the wine yeast happy and you will keep the hydrogen sulfide production down.

 

What To Do Now:

— Give It Time: A lot of the hydrogen sulfide will release and dissipate on its own. It sounds like this may be the case with your wine currently. And, more will dissipate when you bottle the wine.

— Add Sufites: Also, adding a dose of sulfite to the wine will help to drive out the hydrogen sulfide. You can add the sulfite in the form of Campden tablets, sodium metabisulfite or potassium metabisulfite. Just following the directions that are on the package and let the wine sit for a few days.Shop Wine Kits

— Use Copper: If the wine still smells like rotten eggs, you can pour the wine through a copper scouring pad. When the wine comes into contact with copper a reaction will occur the encourages the hydrogen sulfide to release as fumes. The reaction will cause the copper to corrode, so your may need to use more than on copper pad.

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.

How Long Does It Take To Make Wine?

Woman Wondering How Long Does It Take To Make WineOne of the more common questions we get asked by beginning winemakers is, how long does it take to make wine? And most often they begin to show signs of excitement after we explain to them that it does not take nearly as long to make as they think to make a good batch of wine. In fact, it is very possible to have a wine bottled within a month from the time you begin the wine making process.

Once the wine has been bottled there are some benefits to aging, but a remarkable amount of the improvement can be obtained within the first 30 to 60 days of bottle aging, so it is possible for you to have a very delectable wine within 2 to 3 months from the time you start making wine.

How long it actually takes to make wine depends on what you are using to make the wine. Are you making your wine from grapes? Are you making you wine from fruits? Are you making your wine from wine ingredient kits?

Packaged wine making juices tend to make wines faster than making wine Shop Wine Ingredient Kitsusing fresh fruits. This is primarily because there is no pulp or skins involved. The concentrated juices clear up much faster, allowing the wine to be bottled much sooner. Wine ingredient kit have there own wine making recipes included with them, so it makes it a good option for the first-time winemaker.

 

So, How Long Does It Take To Make Wine?
Here is an overview of what to expect based on what is being used to make the wine:

  • Winemaking Ingredient Kits:
    Shop Wine PressIf you are making a wine from one of our winemaking ingredient kits you will be bottling your wine in about 4 to 6 weeks, depending on which brand of wine making kit you are using.
  • Winemaking Caon Concentrates:
    When using winemaking can concentrates such as SunCal, Alexander or Country Fair,  you will be bottling your wine in 6 to 10 weeks.
  • Fresh Fruits:
    Because of the pulp involved, it takes longer to make wine using fresh fruits or grapes than it does using packaged juices. Aging can take a little more time as well because of the higher level of tannins and other proteins that are typically in the wine must from the fresh fruit. You can expect to be bottling your wine in about 8 to 12 weeks from the time you started the batch, and also anticipate needing to bottle age the wine at least 3 to 4 months, and sometimes up to a year, depending on the fruit.Shop Wine Making Kits

 

The amount of time it takes to make a batch of wine can vary somewhat based on the scenario, but all in all, the time needed is usually less than expected. Start off with one our California Connoisseur ingredient kits, and you’ll be drinking wine in 28 days. Or, maybe you have some fresh fruit growing out back. In that case you may want to get our Your Fruit! Necessities Box. Wine making recipes are included.
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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.

My Wine’s Starting Specific Gravity Is Too High

Starting Specific Gravity Is Too HighHi, I followed a recipe for blueberry wine that called for 15 pounds of sugar and 20 pounds of frozen blueberries for a 6 gallon batch. I just measured it with my wine hydrometer and got a reading of 1.148 ! I know this starting specific gravity is too high. Is there anything I can do other than hope for the best ? I am new to wine making and have no idea ?

Marshall S. – IA
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Hello Marshall,

Well, that’s an interesting wine recipe. The starting specific gravity reading you got on your hydrometer, does make since with that much fruit and sugar being added. The bad news is that the odds of a fermentation even starting at that high of a specific gravity reading is very low. When the concentration of sugar gets too high, it starts to act as a preservative, keeping the yeast from fermenting.

The good news is that I think we can fix it. Simply put, your wine’s starting specific gravity is too high, and we need to think about how we can lower it.

Shop Hydrometer JarsIn reality, there are two concerns. The first one is the most obvious: too much sugar for the yeast to start fermenting. That’s what the specific gravity reading is telling – how much sugar. But there is also a concern that there may be too much blueberry – enough to make the wine overly tart and astringent. With that being said, here’s what you can do:

 

  • Dilute the wine must with water until you get a reading of 1.100. If you like, you can use a Pearson square to calculate how much water to add to get from 1.148 to 1.100. (Water has a S.G. of 1.000) There will still be plenty of blueberry flavor to go around. Our blueberry wine recipe only calls for 13 lbs. to 5 gallons, so don’t worry about weakening the wine’s flavor too much. And besides, you really don’t have much choice when your wine’s starting specific gravity is too high. The yeast aren’t even beginning to think about fermenting with that much sugar.
  • Take an acid reading with an acid test kit. This will tell you if the blueberries are still providing enough tartness to make the resulting wine taste right. The directions in the acid test kit will tell you what range you are shooting for. My guess if that you will need to add a little Acid Blend after diluting with water to bring the acidity up a bit. But, if the acid level is still too high, Shop Acid Test Kityou will want to dilute the wine must with even more water. Just try to keep your wine’s starting specific gravity above 1.075.
  • Once you have the sugar level and acidity in a decent range, it’s all smooth sailing. If you haven’t added add yeast nutrient at this point, I most certainly would, now. The same goes for pectic enzyme, and wine tannin. If you got the ingredients from us, you will find recommend dosages on the side of each container.

 

If you have already added the wine yeast you can still do all of the above. The yeast will be fine. If you have not, be sure to use and actual wine yeast. Don’t add a bread yeast.

Once you’ve got the specific gravity and acidity level ironed out, you will continue on like you normally would with any winemaking process. Here’s an wine making infographic that lays out the basic steps for you.

Hope this information helps you out. I urge you to do the above steps. Don’t dump it out. Nothing you have done or will do in the above steps will compromisedShop Wine Making Kits this wine in any way, so it will be well worth the effort. Believe me, you are not that only one that’s ran into this problem. Many home winemaker’s have gotten their wine’s starting specific gravity too high. Just take things a step at a time and your wine will be out of the woods.

I would like to welcome you to take a look at our wine recipes that are free for anyone to use. These a solid, time-tested wine recipes that will keep you out of trouble in your future wine making adventures.

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.

My Top 10 Favorite Winemaking Posts…

Top 10Another year has passed, and the rear-view mirror is full! I always use this time as an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened. In doing so I have come up with a list of my top 10 favorite wine making posts.

These are wine making post that I feel have been helpful, entertaining and interesting. They are listed in no particular order. You might want to give them a once-over and see if there’s anything that piques your interest:

  1. Keeping Fruit Wines In Fruity Balance
    Learn how: sugar, fruit and alcohol level all come together to create balance in a homemade wine.
  1. 7 Random Winemaking Facts…
    A listing of winemaking trivia that my surprise you. Take a look and see how many of the 7 you already know.
  1. In Plain English: The Difference Between pH And Titratable Acidity In Wine
    Understanding pH and titratable acid is the key to having a wine that tastes great and is stable. This post takes a complicated topic and distilled it down to something that’s easy to understand.
  1. A Simple Guide To Metabisulfites
    Covers the differences among Sodium Metabisulfite, Potassium Metabisulfite and Campden Tablets and how much this difference really matters.
  1. What’s The Difference Between Crushing And Pressing Grapes?
    The blog post clears up some of the confusion surround crushing and pressing. How are they different, and what are their purposes.
  1. How To Handle That Last Bit Of Sediment
    A handy little article the gives some quick pointers about racking your wine — how to do it more efficiently so as to lose less wine with less work.
  1. Is Oxygen Good Or Bad For Wine?Shop Wine Making Kits
    Knowing how to leverage air exposure to your advantage can go a long ways in producing a healthy, stable wine. See how easy it is.
  1. Picking When To Pick
    This is actually a 4 part series of posts that contain some solid information on how to determine the optimal time to harvest your grapes.
  1. What On Earth Is Bottle Shock?
    Learn how bottle shock affect both commercial and homemade wines, particularly after bottling, and how manage this phenomenon.
  1. 5 Myths About Homemade Wine
    Here are the top 5 myths that many non-home-winemakers believe. These are misconceptions that keep many from enjoying this rewarding hobby.

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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.

Try This Trick When You Back Sweeten Wine

Funny Way To Back Sweeten WineI am making European Select Chardonnay. I will be ready to bottle in a week or so. I have not done the stabilization & clarification step yet, which is when I would normally back sweeten wine. Can I complete all the steps, bottle half of it, and THEN sweeten the other half? Will the potassium sorbate added at step 4 or adding some potassium metabisulfite hinder refermentation from adding wine conditioner for sweetness? Or is the your wine sweetener non-fermentable?

Betsy L.
Wisconsin (Go Pack, Go)
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Hello Betsy,

Thank you for your questions about how to back sweeten wine.

Your idea of – bottling half; then sweetening half; then bottling – is a great one.Shop Wine Conditioner I have done this more than once. I’ve even divided one of my homemade wines into dry/semi-dry/medium. I think this is a great way to back sweeten wine because if gives you so many more options.

And it’s simple to do. You should have no problems pulling it off. With your 30 wine bottles in play, there’s nothing wrong with giving them some variety by way of sweetness. As you have suggested you are bottling some of the wine, sweetening what’s in bulk than bottling that.

This method of back sweetening a wine works particularly well when you plan on gifting it or sharing it with friends. It gives you a way to tailor the gift to the person you are giving it to. Quite often we want to share our wine with family and friends who are not wine drinkers. Giving them a bottle of wine that is not bone-dry makes good sense.

As for your second question on the potassium sorbate: as long as theShop Potassium Sorbate fermentation has completed and the wine has completely cleared, the potassium sorbate or potassium bisulfite will stop a re-fermentation from occurring in your wine bottles when back sweetening wine, but it is important that the wine be clear first, regardless of what day in the steps you are on. Wait an extra day or two if necessary. It won’t compromise your homemade wine in any way.

I would also suggest using our Wine Conditioner for the purpose of back sweetening the wine, just as you were planning. Wine conditioner is easy to use and has additional sorbate to help stabilize the wine. It will not adversely affect the wine in any way and will help to assure that your homemade wine does not experience a re-fermentation.

You can also back sweeten wine just by adding plain ole sugar. But if Shop Wine Bottle Corkersyou decide to do this, I would highly recommend that you also add another 1/2 dose of potassium sorbate to the wine (1/4 teaspoon per gallon) in addition to what was with your wine ingredient kit. For others reading this, if you have not added any potassium sorbate from a kit or what-have-you, then add a full dose of potassium sorbate (1/2 teaspoon per gallon) when you back sweeten wine.

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.

 

My Homemade Wine Has A Sour-Bitter Taste

Wine Is Sour BitterI have made two batches of wine from wild grapes here in WI. The first one was harsh at first but aged about a year and it turned out very good and smooth. The second batch has been bottled now for about a year and is still sour, bitter and hard to drink. Wondering what I could do with it besides just sweetening it – don’t care much for sweet wine. I am about ready to pick some for the next vintage and am trying to figure out what I can do ahead of time to get it to turn out better. I read some in the blogs about adding acid blend before you bottle if it is too blah but what can be done if I sample before I bottle and it is way too harsh?

Name: Mike S.
State: Wisconsin
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Hello Mike,

There are two major reasons a homemade wine will have a sour or bitter taste:

 

  • There is too much acid in the wine Shop Potassium Bisulfite
    If your homemade wine has a sour taste it could simply be from the fact that the fruit used to make the wine was too tart. In other words, the wine has too much fruit acid from the fruit, itself. Also, a homemade wine can have a sour taste if too much fruit acid was added to the wine must by way of acid blend. Regardless, if your wine has a sour taste for this reason there are corrective steps you can take to make sure that this does not happen with the batch of wine your are getting ready to make.  I would suggest taking a look at the article on our website, Getting A Handle On Wine Acidity. This will fill you in on what to do. As for your current batch of wine, there are some things your can do to lower the acidity level.
  • The wine is turning to vinegar
    If your homemade wine has a sour taste it could also be caused by vinegar bacteria (acetobacter). The bacteria infects the wine an slowly begins to turn it to vinegar. There are two ways to distinguish vinegar sour from just plain too tart. The first being, the wine will become more sour as time goes buy. Shop Acid Reducing CrystalsThe second way is by smell. Having a homemade wine with a sour taste from fruit acid will have no smell from this, but a wine with a bacterial infection will also have a sour smell. The number one reason for a wine to be infected with acetobacter is sanitation. If you are not using sanitizers to clean your wine making equipment and wine bottles, then this could definitely be the cause. If you are not using sulfites such as either: sodium metabisulfite, potassium metabisulfite or Campden tablets directly in the wine, then this could be the cause. An article on our web site that will put you on the right track is The Many Uses Of Sodium Bisulfite.

 

Bitter is caused by having too much tannin in the wine. Tannin is the dry, woody tasting stuff that can be experience when chewing on a grape skin. If the grapes are over processed or chopped, such as using a blender, etc., too much tannin may be coming out of the grapes and into the wine must. This will give your homemade wine a bitter taste. It is important that you only crush the grapes. All you are looking to do is burst the grape skins. Anything more than this is overkill.

It is possible to reduce the bitterness of a wine. Treating the wineShop Bentonite with bentonite will help to drop out some of the tannin as a sediment.

How long you keep the skins in the fermentation can make a difference in bitterness, also. A reasonable amount of time would be 3 to 5 days. If you left the skins in the fermentation longer than this, than you may want to adjust what you do this season.

Mike, I hope this info helps you out for this year.

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.

There’s A White Scum On Top Of My Homemade Wine

White Scum On Top Of Homemade WineBill has made a few small batches of home wine, and all went well. This year we did a strawberry-rhubarb and on the third racking in a 5 gal jug, it developed a thin white scum over the center of top. We could get past the film to re-rack, but Bill is concerned it is ruined…is it? Has this white scum on top of his homemade wine ruined it?

Name: Gidget M.
State: PA
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Hello Gidget,

What this sounds like is something called flowers or flowers of wine. It starts off as patches of white scum or a white film. If left uncheck it can grow to cover the entire surface of the wine. It is actually a small bacterial growth on the wines surface.

Just because the wine has this white scum or film on top does not mean it is ruined by any means, but some actions should be taken to see that it does not get any worse.

Just as you have suggested, you need to rack the wine away from the bacterial growth. Draw the wine from the center of the fermenter, passed the white film on top, but not from the vary bottom, either. Once you get it racked, dose it with either Campden tablets, potassium metabisulfite or sodium metabisulfite. Any of these will easily destroy any bacteria cells that may still be in the wine.Shop Potassium Bisulfite

What allowed the white scum on top of your homemade wine to occur in the first place was having too much head-space in with the fermenter with the wine. This is okay during a fermentation, when CO2 gas is coming off the liquid, but after the fermentation the head-space needs to be eliminated.

It is the air in contact with the wine that can promote a bacterial growth such as the one you are experiencing. In the future, after the fermentation has completed, I would suggest that you keep whatever fermenter the wine is in topped-up. There are many ways you can top-up a fermenter. You can read more about this in the follow article: Topping Up Your Homemade Wines.

I would also recommend that you automatically add one of the three forms of sulfite mention earlier after the fermentation. This will dramatically help keep your homemade wines from getting this white scum or film.

Shop SanitizersGoing back to your strawberry/rhubarb wine, it is fine. Based on your description, it does not sound like the white scum or film advanced enough to affect the wine’s flavor in any significant way. If sulfites are added to the wine, flavor and aroma would be the only concern to take into consideration. Rack the wine, and add sulfites.

Once the wine has cleared and is ready to bottle, sample it and see what you think. The wine will be perfectly safe to drink. You are only noting the flavor and aroma.

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.

What Are Noble Hops?

Noble HopsPerhaps the most celebrated ingredient in American craft beer is the hop. It’s what gives beer its bitter quality, and it also contributes to flavor and aroma. The hop makes classic American Pale Ales citrusy, floral, or piney.

Many homebrewers have heard the term noble hops. But what are noble hops, and what makes them so noble?

 

NOBLE HOPS
There definition has become somewhat vague and diluted throughout time, but in general, noble hops are traditional European hop varieties. They are generally characterized as having low alpha acids and subtle aromatic qualities. As such, noble hop varieties are most suitable in low IBU beers and traditional European styles, especially lagers. Though there is some debate about exactly which varieties are noble hops, it’s generally agreed that there are four that fit solidly into the category. Here is a the noble hop list along with their basic characteristics:

 

  • Hallertauer – Hallertauer hops are grown in the Hallertau region of Germany, north of Munich. Germany produces a significant portion of the world’s crop and most of these are grown in Hallertau.Shop Hops Hallertauer hops are noted for their floral and spicy flavor and aroma characteristics and are popular in European lagers, especially German Pilsners. (Alpha acids: 3.0-6.0%)
  • Tettnanger – Tettnanger hops are grown in Tettnang, Germany (see a trend here?). They are a good aroma hop and noted for their spicy and fruity character. (Alpha acids: 3.5-5.5%)
  • Spalt – Also grown in Germany, Spalt hops are known for their complex aromatic qualities with floral and spicy notes, similar to Tettnanger. (Alpha acids: 4.0-7.0%)
  • Saaz – Authentic Saaz hops are grown in Czech Bohemia, near the town of Žatec. They have a distinct floral aroma with a slightly spicy flavor and are traditionally used in Pilsners. Pilsner Urquell is a classic example of a Bohemian Pilsner brewed with Saaz hops. (Alpha acids: 3.0-6.0%)

 

These noble hop varieties are grown in the US, but much like grapes, hops have distinct characteristics based on their local terroir. As a result, those hop varieties grown in the US are not usually considered noble hops.

Shop Hop Bags

NOBLE HOP SUBSTITUTES
A number of hop varieties are considered to be acceptable substitutes for noble hops, and some are even related to them genetically:

 

  • English Fuggles – Fuggles is a low alpha acid, earthy hop, typical of traditional English ales. It works fairly well in place of Tettnanger. (Alpha acid: 3.0-5.0%)
  • Liberty – Derived from Hallertauer, Liberty is a fruity and floral hop. It’s a possible substitute for both Tettnanger and Hallertauer. (Alpha acids: 3.0-6.0%)
  • Mt. Hood – Also a descendant of Hallertauer, this clean and herbal hop is typically grown in Oregon. It’s similar to Hallertauer and Liberty. (Alpha acids: 4.0-6.5%)
  • Vanguard – Vanguard is a slightly spicy hop, similar to Saaz and Hallertauer. (Alpha acids: 5.0-7.0%) Shop Steam Freak Kits
  • Willamette – Derived from Fuggles, Willamette is also grown in Oregon. It is an earthy and spicy hop and can often be used in place of Tettnanger. (Alpha acids: 4.5-7.0%)

 

Want to experiment with some different hop varieties?

Homebrew ingredient kits include all the hops required for a 5 gallon batch, but you can also order individual kinds of hops on E.C. Kraus. Simply go to the product Pelletized Hops, then select the type of hop you need.
—–
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.

Increasing Your Wine’s Fruity Flavors

Increasing Wine FlavoringJust wondering if your liqueur flavorings could be added to a fruit wine as a wine flavoring additive… for a little stronger flavor… Our blackberry wine, from last year, is not real fruity…. and wondered if this would give it a flavor boost…

Thank you,
Sandy M.
—–
Hi Sandy,

To answer your question, yes, you can use these liqueur flavorings as wine flavoring additives to increase the flavor your wine. It is recommended that you do not add more than one bottle of flavoring to each five gallons. These extract flavorings are very strong, and should be used with care. Adding more than one or two bottles can bring a bitter aftertaste to the wine.

One of the wine making tips I tell people when using any kind of wine flavoring extract or additive, is that the full flavor impression does not usually take effect immediately. It takes a little time for the extracts flavoring to come together with the wine. Letting the wine sit a day to let the flavors mingle is recommended before making any decisions to add more flavoring.

Shop Liqueur FlavoringsBefore you decide to add liqueur flavorings to your wine, there is a point I’d like to bring up. One of the things that can throw you off as a home winemaker, particularly if you’re just beginning to learn how to make your own wine, is experiencing the flavors of a dry fruit wine. Dry means the wine has no taste-able sweetness to it, which is normally the case after fermentation, if the fermentation has completed successfully.

One of the effects that dryness has on a wine is that it reduces the fruity impression. When all the sugars have been fermented out of the fruit juice it takes on an entirely different character.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because, increasing the fruity flavors of the wine may be just a matter of adding some sweetness back to it, and bringing the wine back into better balance. This is simply done by adding a sugar/water syrup mixture to the wine until the desired effect has been achieved.

A wine stabilizer such as potassium sorbate will need to be added, as well, to keep the fermentation from starting up again. This is something that should be done at bottling time.Shop Grape Concentrate

Even if you like your wines dry, adding some sugar to the wine to make it a little less puckering can bring out a substantial amount of fruitiness, so never rule out back sweetening a wine, regardless of your personal tastes.

Learning how to make adjustments to a wine before bottling is a big part of home winemaking. By utilizing tools such as wine flavoring additives you can increase the flavor and pleasure of your homemade wines.

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.