Saturday, September 16, 2017

2017 Moscato

Muscato Wine Recipe

108 lb Moscato wine grapes (Top Brass. Earlimart, California)
471 g sugar
7.5 g pectic enzyme
12 g yeast energizer
1 Pack Red Star Premier Classique (formerly Montrachet)

The juice had a density of 1.09 g/ml, and 21 Brix by refractive index which corresponds to 11% alcohol. The density implies the Brix is actually 23. The average of 22 Brix would give 10.5 which is too low. 

The grapes were very juicy and I am estimating 8 gallons of juice. That is 2 5/8 gallons per 36 lb crate. Juicy grapes are often less sweet. Calculations show that 660 g of sugar should bring this to 12.6% alcohol. I heated this amount of sugar in a quart of juice in the microwave, and was able to dissolve almost all the sugar without too much heat. 

The fermentation went vigorously, and had a creamy top by the next morning. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Home Made Mozzarella

I wanted to make some mozzarella that would be more heart healthy, so I started with fat-free milk and intended to add olive oil later. That didn't work out.

½ gallon fat free milk
 45 g vegetable oil
¾ t citric acid (predissolved in ½ c water)
⅛ t rennet (diluted in ⅛ c water)

Use a blender to mix the vegetable oil into the milk
Add citric acid to milk, heat to 90F; add rennet, turn off heat and wait five min
Heat to 110F
Cut into cubes; save a little whey for the storage container
Stretch the cubes a little to work out excess whey; make into small balls
Remove the cubes and heat in the microwave for 1 minute. (This was too long; try 40 sec)
Add salt to the whey and store the balls of cheese.


Next time, I am going to try this  recipe or at least incorporate some techniques:

The second time I used 60 g of olive oil and mixed it in with a hand held blender. It went right in.

1/2 gal FF milk
60 g vegetable oil
1 t citric
1/6 t rennet

The citric and rennet were added directly and homogenized with the hand held blender.

The problem was I continued mixing too much and the coagulated protein came out in grainy balls. The cheese is good after melting, but it is no good to eat cold.

Too much stirring and probably too much citric and rennet.

Maybe next time will reduce with water to try to not shock the milk. I will only use the hand held blender when mixing in the oil.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

2017 Mead

After consideration of past recipes, decided to try this:

2017 Mead Recipe

Honey 24 lb
water 12.5 qt
Yeast energizer                        8 g
pectic enzyme 2.5  t
raisins 55 g
nutmeg 1.5 t
vanilla beans, chopped 3.5  beans
oranges chopped with peels 6 oranges

The honey was Honeydabber on eBay. It is wildflower honey from the everglades region in southern Florida.

The vanilla beans from Simply Organic were purchased in the spice aisle, and I used two bottles, which is 3 and one half beans. I should have weighed them, but I forgot.

I made a table of the last three batches to arrive at try to figure out the best recipe.

2010 2012 2013 2017
Honey 20 lb 18 lb 22 24
water 3.5 gal 4 gal 11 L 12 L
Yeast nutrient 7 grams
Yeast energizer 2 t 2.5 t ?
pectic enzyme 7 grams 1.5 t 7 g 2.5  t
yeast Lavlin EC1118 Red Star Pasteur Champagne Cuvee
raisins 50 g 55 g
cinnamon sticks 4.5 0
cloves 0.25 t 0
nutmeg 0.5 t 0.75 1.5 t 1.5 t
vanilla beans, ground 2 T 3 T 3.3 T
all spice 0.5 t 0
clementine juice 13 16 0
clementine peels 13 0
oranges 5 6


It is off-scale on my refractive index device, meaning the Brix is over 34. It is off-scale on my densitometer too, meaning it floats too high to be able to read the scale. I estimate the density at 1.175 g/ml, which I adjusted to about 1.17 g/ml. This should make 20% alcohol, but in reality it should stop early leaving it sweet.

At 12 hours the must is not bubbling much. I am a little worried.

This is the design for the wine label.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2017 Blackberry Wine

2017 Blackberry Wine

I saw the blackberries on sale after Christmas for just 0.77 for a six ounce pack. Good prices, and they looked OK. When I tasted them, I wasn't impressed, so I dramatically reduced the amount of water trying to concentrate the flavor.

The 2016 wine isn't that flavorful, so that is a factor too. I am going to try to sweeten it.

6 lb water 12.5 lb blackberries from Mexico; Nature’s Partner by Giumarra International, Los Angeles
5 lb sugar
½ lemon - juice only
4 g pectic enzyme
4 g yeast energizer
1 Lalvin K1-V1116 yeast

I adjusted the sugar content to 24.8 which should make a fairly strong 15% wine. I think a wine like this should be strong. 

Below is the photo I took so that I could paint a label. I decided it would be too hard to paint, and I am going to use the photo. I will eventually try to paint it though. Looks hard.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

2016 Cabernet Sauvignon

I find Cabernet Sauvignon a variable wine: sometimes good and sometimes just OK.  The grapes at the grape dealer were tasty, and so here we are.

Cabernet Sauvignon Recipe

108 lb Merlot grapes
Pressed grape skins from 72 lb of Cabernet Sauvignon
4 g pectic enzyme
11 g Yeast Energizer
packets of Red Star Montrachet

The grapes were sweet and I did not add sugar. It should make 13.5% alcohol. 

I squeezed the grapes and let them ferment for 7 days, and then pressed. The fermentation was pretty fast. 

The yield was 34 liters. 

2016 Malbec

The 2016 Melbec needs to begin with a nod to the 2012 Melbec, which being born in disaster and floundering over many years, finally turned out to be excellent. The new 2016 Melbec will be made with quality grapes rather than a weak juice from Chile & supplemented with fruit from the produce department.

I picked the Melbec because it had the best flavor of the grapes in the cooler at my grape distributor. The grapes were both juicy and sweet at 25.2 Brix for 13.2% alcohol which is fine.

The grapes were so juicy that the crates kept leaking juice on the floor.

2016 Melbec recipe

144 lb Melbec grapes (Coliveta, Stockton CA)
12 g yeast energizer
4 g pectic enzyme
2 packs Red Star Montrachet

The fermentation was very fast, and it was ready to press in just 4 days. Once it was in the carboy it hardly bubbled.

I got 38 liters, so pretty good.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

2016 Riesling

I got to the grape dealer early this year, and they had Riesling in stock. Other years they have been sold out.

These grapes were very juicy --so juicy that the crates left a trail of grape juice when I carried them down the basement. As you might expect with juicy grapes the sugar level was low at 18 degrees Brix, which will make 9% alcohol. On the low side for me. Other years I would add sugar to get to 12%, but having been chastised by Grace, my son's girlfriend, for making only over-strong wines, I decided to leave this alone this year. Rieslings are often on the weak side. This Riesling will be finished dry.

I also did not kill the natural yeast with sulfite so that my wife might potentially drink it. Being more natural this year, I hope I don't regret it.

Riesling Grape Recipe

144 lb Riesling wine grapes (Pia; Madera, California)
10 g pectic enzyme
16 g yeast energizer
1 Pack Red Star Premier Cuvee

Other years I have added oranges or orange peel, but not this year. In the past I have added potassium carbonate as well. I will watch the pH, or perhaps taste it after the initial ferment.

I let the grapes warm to room temperature, crushed them (about 90 minutes), then pressed them. I added the additives. The fermentation was rapid with vigorous fermentation within a few hours.