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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?

    Continue reading

  • 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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  • Hard-To-Brew Beers For The Home Brew Master

    beer making kitEven for the biggest beer lover, brewing the same simple beer recipes like pale ale, amber, brown ale, and wheat beers can get tedious. That’s why there are many more complicated recipes to push your beer making skills to the next level.

    Any tough recipe used in your beer making kit has a high risk-high reward factor during the process that could ruin the entire batch. However, if you’re ready to test your brewing skills, these five beers are perfect ways to take pride in your developed skills as a brewer. Continue reading

  • Cooking With Beer

    Cooking with Beer

    As craft brews have become more popular, there has been a growing appreciation of the variety of flavors a good beer can offer. People are starting to look at beer much in the same way that they regard wine. For beer lovers, it’s a wonderful thing. There’s a lot of culinary potential in beer, and not just as an accompaniment to your meal; it’s also a great ingredient. Like wine, which has been a staple ingredient in cooking for centuries, beer can also be used to add a distinctive flavor to a variety of dishes. Continue reading

  • A Few Tips For Brewing High Alcohol Beer

    Sometimes you just want to make a beer that has more of a kick than the average brew. Fortunately, you have a beer brewing kit; so you can make literally any kind of beer you could ever want and that includes high alcohol beer. In fact, it’s actually easier to make high alcohol beer than you might think, but you’ll need some basic equipment in order to get started: namely, a beer brewing kit and the usual ingredients, water, hops, malt and yeast. Continue reading

  • A Few Tips For Making High Alcohol Wines

    One of the many reasons that people buy wine making kits and wine making supplies in the first place is that making your own wine gives you so much control over the finished product. You can make any kind of wine you like and make it your way.

    One of the many things you can control about the wine you make yourself is the alcohol content; and if you’re interested in making wine with a higher alcohol content than the usual 10% - 12%, then you’ll need to know a few basics about how wine is made. It’s always a good thing to expand your base of knowledge about wine making, so whether or not making a high alcohol wine is something which appeals to you personally, you may find the subject of interest for the insights it provides into the process of making wine. Continue reading

  • Advanced Home Brewing: Getting Fermentation Off To A Quick Start

    beer brewing tips

    If you’ve already learned a lot about how the process of making beer works, the chemistry of beer and how to get the best results out of your basic beer brewing setup, you’re probably feeling ready to take things further. Continue reading

  • Advice For The Intermediate Home Winemaker

    wine making kits

    You’ve made a few (or more than a few) batches of homemade wine and you’re definitely not a novice anymore. With every batch you make, you learn a little more about how wine is made and the chemical reactions that turn grapes into the wonderful thing we know as wine. You’re ready to start doing things a little differently. You may well want to keep using wine ingredient kits or perhaps you’re ready to move on to using some other wine making supplies like a larger fermentation vessel so that you can start to make your wines in larger quantities. Continue reading

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