Spring has sprung, the birds are starting to chirp again, and we may not be ready for “sun’s out, guns out” yet, but we are all ready for more light, refreshing brews! As usual, we have our staff picks for you to consider, and we would love to hear which of your favorite spring brews you feel should make the list next time around!
Quality Wine and Ale Supply Blog
Wine making and beer making instructions, hints and tips.
People are freaked out by chemicals. We picture slimey billionaires, scheming behind a desk, counting their vast sums of money that have been made by poisoning innocent people with their chemical laden products. I understand your concern. There are enough class action lawsuits pending out there to make anyone leary of the word “chemical”.
However, not all chemicals are necessarily bad, just as not everything labeled “all natural” is good - arsenic comes to mind - it’s naturally occurring in the world, but would you eat it?
7 Herbs & Spices to Try in Your Next Homebrew
A Few Ideas to Ban the Dreaded “Brewer’s Block”
While talking with a fellow homebrewer recently, we both agreed how easy it is to get into the rut of making the same old recipes, over and over. When you first start brewing, you feel adventurous and excited to try anything and everything you can get your hands on. Well, after a few years, and a couple batches that weren’t up to standard, you begin making your tried and true recipes only - rarely deviating from the handful of favorites that your friends ask for time and time again. You know the crowd pleasers, and it’s a risk to spend a lot of time and money experimenting with new flavors.
5 Reasons for Stuck Fermentation
(and How to Fix Them!)
A lot of work goes into the fermentation process. The process of taking hours to pick fruit, crush berries, squeeze juice, check Ph and Acid levels takes a lot of time and effort. A slow or stuck fermentation can be frustrating and disappointing. However, most of the issues causing a stuck fermentation are easily remedied. Here are a few of the most common reasons for a slow or stuck fermentation process, and the steps you can take to fix them and get back to wine making!
In Principio: Before Wine, There Was Mead
Mead is thought to be one of, if not the oldest alcoholic beverage on earth. It was most likely discovered by accident, when thirsty hunter-gatherers happened upon an upturned beehive filled with rainwater. They drank the sweet water and experienced the first intoxication. Thus, the quest to recreate that glorious feeling began, and early humans began seeking out the secrets of fermentation.
Staff Picks: Our Top 5 Winter Brews
A lot of folks equate beer with summer. It’s easy to do - I imagine being poolside with a citrusy IPA, or barbequing with friends, sweat beading in the sun on a bottle of crisp, refreshing lager. While summer time is truly an excellent time for drinking and brewing (but really, when isn’t a good time?), it’s quite possible that the best brews are made in the winter months. A good winter warmer is generally thought to be dark, rich, and malty, but since the craft beer boom, there are many breweries making the case for light, crisp, spicy brews in the winter months. Since there are only a few weeks left this winter, we decided to put together a list of the best winter brews that you need to try before the snow melts.
The Easiest Wine Recipe Ever
Here in the Midwest, we’re not exactly known for our mild, pleasant winters. Don’t get me wrong, in the summer we have fantastic fruit - cherries, peaches, blueberries, strawberries - all of which make fantastic wine. But, in the winter, however:
Barrels and Staves and Cubes, Oh My!
You’ve done it! You’ve made your very first batch of wine. You crushed the grapes yourself, taken countless hydrometer readings, checked the acid levels, waited what has seemed like forever.
It’s time to bottle – but before you do, you give it a taste and something is missing. You can’t put your finger on it. This is good, sure, but it’s not as smooth as you’d like, or not as complex. It doesn’t finish on your palate quite right.
What could it be? Did you miss an important step? Did the fermentation not go as well as you thought? What is this je ne sais quoi that is missing?
Could it be oak?
The Question I Hear at Least Once Per Day: Glass or Plastic?
For years, homebrewers and wine makers have fiercely debated on whether to use plastic or glass carboys during fermentation. I’m going to warn you now: if you are looking for a definitive answer, you are going to be disappointed. There are pros and cons to both. I will lay them all out, and you, mighty homebrewer, will have to decide the best choice for yourself.