Transforming the Mundane into the Sublime – Part One – The Basics

**Warning** It is illegal for persons under the age of 21 to make/possess alcohol in the United States and laws are different in other countries so: This is being posted for informational purposes only. If it is illegal for you to make or possess alcohol wherever you are, don't do it! I will not be held responsible for your lack of judgment. **Warning**

As promised, I'll outline how to make wine. I'll use the recipe I am currently making ( Joe Mattioli's Ancient Orange and Spice Mead) as I guide you through the process. I'm not going to get in depth and talk about things like peptic enzyme, acid blend, or anything more advanced than putting the ingredients together and waiting for the finished product, so if that is exactly what you are looking for, there are many good books available that will tell you more than you want to know, or you could head on over to the Winepress.US Forums and there are plenty of wonderful people there who can answer your questions.

Let's start with equipment. There is a lot of equipment out there for making wine. I suggest, that as a basic setup, you have at least the following:
Primary Fermenter (can be glass or plastic, your choice)
Secondary Fermenter (Preferably a Glass Carboy or Jug)
Plastic Funnel
Wooden or Plastic Spoon
Measuring Spoons
Two Water Airlocks
Rubber Stoppers (must be drilled to accept the Airlocks and fit the opening of your Primary and Secondary Fermenters)
No Rinse Food Grade Sanitizer
Hydrometer/Thermometer combo
Glass or Pyrex 2 Quart Measuring Cup (I use it as a mixing bowl)
Siphon and Tubing ( for transferring from primary to secondary)

You won't need all of this for the recipe we are working with now, but the above list is just the basics...and only for getting you through fermentation. There are a few other things you need for bottling and labeling and I will mention them when they are needed.

Now onto the meat of this ramble. The only equipment you will need for making Joe Mattioli's Ancient Orange and Spice Mead is:
Glass One Gallon Jug
Stopper and Water Airlock
Plastic Funnel
No Rinse Food Grade Sanitizer
Wooden or Plastic Spoon
1 Quart Measuring Cup (can be glass or plastic)
Glass or Pyrex 2 Quart Mixing Bowl

Additionally, you will want a sharp knife and a cutting board but, basically that's it. Nothing else is needed. The spoon, measuring cup and mixing bowl can easily be gotten from your local wallyworld. The other items will require a homebrew shop. If you don't have one near you, there are plenty that offer mail order on the web. My local hombrew shop is Maryland Hombrew and is located in Columbia, Maryland (for those of you local to the area. Nice shop and great people!). I should point out that I have no affiliation with the shop, they don't even know I have put this link up, they just have been good to me, so I see no reason not to mention them and throw a little business their way.

That was the hardware. Now for the software. Since we are making a mead (fermented honey) we will need honey, and lots of it. This is designed to come out as a sweet mead, meaning not all of the sugar will be fermented into alcohol(about 2% is left), leaving the wine with a sweet taste at the finish. If you don't like sweet wines, you probably won't like this, but I urge you to try it anyway as it is quite good!

For this recipe you will need the following ingredients:
3 ½ pounds of Honey (your choice of variety, but clover or orange blossom are really good)
1 Large or 2 Small Oranges
1 small Box of Sunmaid Raisins (Brand not so important, Golden or Dark, your choice, I use the dark red ones)
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 or 2 Whole Cloves
A very small Pinch each of Nutmeg and Allspice
1 package Fleishmann's Bread Yeast (regular, not rapid rise unless you like honey volcanoes and sticky ceilings!)
1 Gallon Spring Water (I use water from my well, but if you are on city water, I recommend you get the bottled spring water, it has less undesirable stuff in it)

Now, go forth and gather these items! In the next installment on this topic, whenever that comes, we will cover mixing the ingredients and getting it all set up for fermentation. Until then, keep safe and warm, and above all, enjoy life as much as you can.


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