Chemistry and math have always been a big part of my life. I am an avid baker, who has modified and perfected recipes using my math and chemistry knowledge. I tried my hand a turning baking into a business for a short time. If a box shows up at the office with a pink label from “Jocey’s Kitchen” you should try whatever is inside. I promise you will not be disappointed.
During the past few months, I have been brewing “wine” in my home. Using a product from a little company in Louisiana, and the information gathered from a Facebook group of other people who are brewing like me, I have successfully made multiple batches of what I call “wine”, but is hard juice, iced tea, lemonade, and the list keeps growing. Being that our department is Born to Inform, I’m here to inform you of how you can try it yourself!
How I Make Wine
Pick the juice (iced tea, powered drink mix, soda (flat), water, etc.). My favorite juice to use so far is pink cranberry. Calculate how much sugar to add. This depends on the amount of sugar in the juice you are using as well as how sweet you would like your product and how high of an ABV you are trying to achieve. Add the sugar and fully dissolve, which I do by shaking it up a bunch of times until the juice is clear again. Bring temperature of juice up to 86 degrees. I use a seed germination mat to heat it up. Add packet with yeast/yeast nutrients and shake to incorporate. Put the airlock on and settle the container into an insulated grocery bag to keep it warm and without sunlight. I give it a little towel cape around the air lock, so I reduce heat escape. The germination mat also goes in the bag, just in case my temperature drops too low, and I need to heat the brew back up. Now it is time to wait.
I test the batch every 24 hours by checking smell, taste, and yeast activity. I determine when the brew is done by the sweetness. Typically, I go about 5 days for fermentation. Once I am happy with the sweetness it is time to crash the brew. I pour off the wine into another container to remove the first layer of yeast settling to the bottom of the container. I then add gelatin fining for quicker/increased clarity, leave top open to air, prop my container so the sediment will settle to the back of the container and refrigerate for 24-48 hours. After 24-48 hours, you start to the racking processing which is where you siphon off the wine from above the layer of sediment. Then I continue to refrigerate and rack if I keep getting sediment settling to the bottom. After the first racking, the “wine” is good to drink, however it still tending to be slightly cloudy.
I have started measuring the sugar content pre- and post- fermentation so that I can calculate the ABV of each batch within the past month and I am experimenting with other clearing agents other than gelatin finings.
There are some pictures here of my brews. Pink cranberry, iced tea, and country time lemonade that I added fresh crushed raspberries for 24 hours during the last crash and then strained out.
Jocelyn Weber, Accounts Receivable