Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fun (?) With Grape Juice

Remember those 4 wine kits I bought at Homebrew Heaven? Yesterday I finally found the time to get the first one going. My plan was to get up early enough to sanitize everything and start the primary ferment. The morning started well. I got the equipment washed and sanitized. I had the directions and all the ingredients assembled.

The first step was to mix the bentonite with warm water and stir it well. No problems there. Next step, add the ginormous bag of grape juice.

I managed to wrangle the bag out of the box and into the fermenting room. But I had a hard time figuring out how to remove the cap. I was twisting and turning it every which way. Finally called the husbeast for help and he popped it right off. I'd still be trying to unscrew the damn thing. I thanked him for his assistance and then commenced to hefting the big, squishy bag up so I could pour it into the bucket. All went well, for a bit. Then the bag slipped and I managed to splash grape juice all over me....and a good portion of the room. Hearing me utter mass quantities of bad words, the husbeast peaked in. "Don't even look," I told him, and he knew enough to back away. It was ugly. And I was right in the middle of getting the batch going. Time for some speedy damage control. I stripped, changed, and tossed my clothes into the wash. Then I mixed up some soapy water and cleaned all the juice from my sheepskin slippers, the rug, the desk, various boxes, and anywhere else I noticed it. Once done, I turned my attention back to making my wine. The juice was now (mostly) in the fermenter. Next step was to rinse that accursed bag out with hot water and add that to the bucket, along with the oak saw dust. Then stir it like mad and add some cooler water to reach 6 gallons. Making sure it ended up at a temperature between 70 and 80 degrees. Finally the yeast was sprinkled over the top and the lid and bubbler put in place. Whew. Mission accomplished. We're making chianti. And with hardly any casualties. I did have to toss out one of my beer mirrors because some juice had seeped under the glass. But it was a yard sale find and I'm sure I'll run across another. Oh, and I did manage to stain this towel up nicely. Could of been lots worse.

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