Beer & Wine Hobby Blog

  • Using Your Hydrometer

    A hydrometer consists of a hollow cylindrical glass tube weighted at the bottom with steel shot, and attached to a long narrow stem containing a tube of white paper marked with a graduated scale. The hydrometer will sink into a liquid until the weight of the displaced liquid equals the weight of the hydrometer. This means that it will sink deeper into a liquid of low density than it will sink into a liquid of high density. This density is described as the liquids' Specific Gravity. Pure water at 15°C (60°F) has a S.G. of 1.000. Sugar solutions are denser (meaning they have a greater S.G.) and alcohol solutions are less dense (meaning they have a lower S.G.). Continue reading

  • Hop Variety Descriptions

    Hop Varieties 
    Most Popular Hop Varieties

    Bullion: Average alpha: 8-11%. Coarse flavor and aroma. Spicy and pungent. Used as a bittering hop only. Recommended for stouts.

    Cascade: Average alpha: 5-7%. Good aroma, coarser flavor than more traditional hops. Recommended for light lagers, dark beers and American ales. Continue reading

  • Basic Winemaking from Grapes or Fresh Fruit

    - Prepare and clean all equipment, inspect for cracks or damage. Sterilize with sulfite solution. Drain well. Sulfite solution: 1 oz dissolved in ½ gallon water.

    - Prepare fruit, grapes or concentrates according to recipe.

    Check specific gravity: average starting gravity should be 1.080-1.095 (increase with sugar, decrease with water) Continue reading

  • Basic Beer Making Recipe

    Basic Beer Making Recipe 

    2 – 3.3 lb. cans Malt Extract (Light, Dark or Amber)
    1 lb. Crystal Malt (grain)
    1 ½ oz hop pellets
    1 pkt. Burton Water Salts
    1 muslin straining bag
    2 pkgs. yeast
    ¾ cup priming sugar Continue reading

  • The AHA Learn to Brew Celebration

    Hi everyone!

    The American Homebrewer's Association holds lots of great events each year which we celebrate right along with its members. With National Learn to Brew Day approaching this Saturday, we decided to make this year's event a fun week of savings and learning.

    Here’s how it works:  Every day leading up to November 2nd, we're going to offer something different and share some info along the way.  Continue reading

  • Hop Gardening

    The hop (Humulus lupulus) is a hardy, perennial plant that produces annual vines from a permanent rootstock (crown). Vines may grow up to 25 feet in a single season, but will die back to the crown each fall. In addition to the true roots and aerial vine, the crown also produces underground stems called rhizomes. Rhizomes resemble roots but possess numerous buds and are used for vegetative propagation. Thus propagated, all plants of a given variety are genetically identical. Continue reading

  • Mololactic Fermentation Can Dramatically Improve Your Wine

    Malolactic Fermentation – dramatically improve your wine

    With the completion of the Fall Harvest, your freshly crushed must or Mosti Mondiale pure grape juice is now turning into wine.  The alcoholic fermentation should be nearly complete, and it’s almost time to rack and prepare your wine for aging.  Now is the time to consider malolactic fermentation – the process that converts wine’s bitter malic acid into softer, more palatable lactic acid.  Continue reading

  • Low Carb Beer Brewing Information

    Low Carb Beer Information

    With the increased popularity of low-carb diets, we’ve been getting many inquiries regarding low-carb beer-making. So we’ve taken a stab at putting together some of the pertinent facts brewers of low-carb beers ought to keep in mind. Here’s just about all we know…

    According to opinion research published by Ipsos Public Affairs on the web, over one-half of American adults believe that the carbohydrate count in vodka is “high” or “medium” and 55% believe this about tequila, even though neither vodka nor tequila contains any carbohydrates, nor does gin, rum or whiskey. The survey also found over two-thirds of adults falsely believing that fruit juice and regular soda are lower in carbohydrates than distilled spirits. Continue reading

  • Wine Making Frequently Asked Questions

    What do I need to make wine?

    Basic equipment for a 5 gallon batch (2 cases): a plastic bucket, a 5 gallon glass carboy, siphon hose, hydrometer, sterilizer, stopper and fermentation lock. The ingredients can be as simple as a wine kit (all ingredients except water), or a more detailed recipe. At the time of bottling, you will need 2 cases of bottles (regular 750 ml wine bottles), corks and a corker. Continue reading

  • New Winery and Craft Brewing Products

    I know, it is still Summer and we all want to enjoy the warmth and sun while we can.
    While we have been having fun, our California growers are reporting an INCREDIBLE growing
    season thus far!  It is still a bit soon to target exactly when the Southern California grapes
    will arrive, however the vintners believe our grapes will be ready to harvest early this
    year...we may even see some varietals arrive the first or second week of September.
    So plan ahead - get your wine out of the carboys, demijohns, tanks and barrels and be
    ready for an early harvest! Keep an eye on our emails for the opening of our grape and juice
    website, Continue reading

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