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Quality Wine and Ale Supply Blog

Wine making and beer making instructions, hints and tips.

  • Nectar of the Gods: Making Your Own Mead in 5 Easy Steps

    In Principio: Before Wine, There Was Mead
    Honey for 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.

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  • Staff Picks: Our Top 5 Winter Brews

    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.

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  • The Easiest Wine Recipe Ever

    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:

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  • Oak Barrels and Oak Alternatives in Home Winemaking

    Barrels and Staves and Cubes, Oh My!

    Oak Barrels Picture of rack of oak barrels

     

    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?

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  • Comparing Glass and Plastic Carboys: Expert Advice

    Comparison of glass and plastic carboys

    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.

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  • 2016 Limited Edition Wine Kits

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  • 7 Flavors to Try in Your Next Homebrew

    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.

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  • Concord Grape Wine Recipe

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    Concord Grapes - Not Just for Jelly!

    Most Americans eat Concord grapes all the time! They are tasty and versatile, and basically anything you buy from the store that is grape flavored is made with Concord grapes: jams, jellies, juices, spreads, preserves, fillings, baked goods, candies, and much more. However, take a walk down the wine aisle at your local grocery store and you would be hard pressed to find any wine at all made from Concord grapes.

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  • Anheuser-Busch / InBev Acquires Northern Brewer & Midwest Supplies

    ab inbev bought northern brewer

    The Justice Department approved the acquisition, gives conglomerate 70% market share of beer sales in the United States

    After nearly a week of speculation, it has been announced by the founder of Northern Brewer, Chris Farley, that the homebrew supply store, along with its sister company Midwest Supplies, has been acquired by the world’s largest beer company. The 107 billion dollar deal received the go ahead from the Justice Department, after the merger caught the attention of antitrust and DOJ officials last fall.

    The announcement comes on the heels of several Anheuser-Busch acquisitions, including the purchase of many craft breweries around the country.

    The company will keep its existing leadership and employees, Todd Jackson of Northern Brewer has confirmed, however, it has many in the homebrew industry, both craft breweries and homebrewers alike, asking how this take over of the country’s largest homebrew shop will affect the homebrew community.

    There is much speculation and worry within the homebrewing community that Anheuser-Busch’s deep capital could allow them to pivot into the wholesale market in an attempt to gain massive control of the homebrew industry in a vertical growth move.

    What are the possible implications of one of the world’s largest conglomerates taking control over a small, tight-knit community? Only time will tell.

  • 5 Reasons for Stuck Fermentation (and How to Fix Them!)

    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!

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