Friday, January 8, 2016

Homebrewing By the Gallon: Raisin Wine

So Dave, what is this gallon jug of raw sewage you are presenting us with all about? Well, that is actually raisin (or straw) wine happily fermenting away. Looks sort of nasty, I know. But it is actually a very simple recipe.

You take two pounds of raisins and run them through your meat grinder. Ever wanted to know what that looks like? Here you go…
To the two pounds of ground raisins you add 12 ounce of sugar and cover in sufficient enough boiling water to allow the mess to fit in a gallon jug. Let everything cool overnight and then pitch your yeast. I used Red Star champagne yeast because it tolerates high alcohol concentrations and it is what I had on hand in my junk drawer.

This whole mess should ferment a month or so and then I will strain out the solids, re-rack, let it clarify, and then bottle and cellar for a while. Should be good.

My main point is not to give you my (probably bad) improvised recipe for raisin wine, but to encourage you to embrace 1 gallon brewing. Do you homebrew? If you do you probably have the same 5 gallon carboys and buckets rattling around your basement.

The thing is, brewing 5 gallons of something is a commitment. It is like having a child. A heavy, effervescent, stinky child. You have to care for it and if it starts going bad you can’t feel very good about just pitching it out in the yard. You have just wasted a significant amount of your valuable time and effort.

Would I ever have brewed 5 gallons of raisin wine? No way. Firstly, that is a butt-ton of raisin wine (well not actually a ‘butt’ as that is 108 imperial gallons). Eventually I would be confronted with the reality that I actually have to drink 5 gallons of raisin wine… 1 gallon is a much less frightening prospect. Secondly, what if it does go bad? I just wasted 10 pounds of raisins and all the effort I put into grinding them into a disgusting looking paste…

Yes, yes. Better to do 1 gallon of experimental brews. It encourages daring. If I am brewing 5 gallons it will be a tried and true recipe that I know is going to turn out good. 1 Gallon brewing is freeing. I much more likely to do that gallon of unhopped gruit ale or heather beer I have been thinking about.
Go buy yourself a jug, a stopper, and an airlock and brew away. Hobbies help pass the time and turn the mind away from inevitable thoughts of the void.

1 comment:

  1. Great to have you back! Another great gallon brew is a BOMM. It's one month mead that is pretty fantastic.


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