It’s a Must!
Okay, so those of you who don’t know the wine/mead brew terms, a Must is the mixture of items in the bucket on their way to becoming a mead or wine. My must is sitting in my bucket… but before I get to that, let me give you the overview of where I’m at.
1st thanks to all the wonderful people online from Ben in England (Hi Ben! *waves*) who actually started me on this journey though he probably doesn’t know it, to Canadian Sasquatch on YouTube who gave simple clear instructions and I Liked that he was willing to share information and had a sense of humor. When we plucked the odd fruit from our fruit trees and found out they were quince, I went looking for recipes for quince and happened upon a blog that referred to Ben’s. I went to his blog which was all about making wine. Fig is one of the many wines he’s made.
Well, since we had a fig tree, I went hmmm, now that sounds fun. So I’ve picked the figs as they grew ripe and either froze them whole or dried them first and then frozen them. (I’ll get to the quince when I start it’s process – stay tuned for that). Over the last month, month and a half, I’ve watched zillions of Youtube videos from home brewers and finally decided to go forward and give it a try.
I ordered a kit that had all the basics I need for a 1 gallon bottle of wine. Most of the recipes I found or saw on YouTube were from people who do this a lot so they made HUGE 6 gallon batches, which turns into like 30-40 bottles of wine. I don’t see myself drinking that much in my lifetime, so I went for the small batch kit.
So, first, here are a few pics of the kit, because why not dot some images through here 😀
Here’s a pic of part of the kit. That’s the primary fermentation bucket, the glass bottle for the hydrometer, the hydrometer, the device to gather the must to test it, the bung stopper for the carboy, some tubing, and a couple of the enzymes to make good wine.
Here’s more of the kit – the enzymes, cleaner (which I won’t use, more on that in a moment) tanin, and the wonderful airlocks to keep the must clean and let the CO2 out of the bucket so there’s no explosions.
And even more of the kit with the yeastie beasties and the auto-siphon, which is actually one of the reasons I got this kit because YAY!
Now, as for why I won’t use the cleaner, I seriously don’t understand how people can use cleaner/sanitizers that clearly state “NO RINSE” which means you’ll be adding the must into the jar with that stuff in it and will make its way into your drink. AND YET, when you read the directions it states in no uncertain terms how toxic the stuff is by stating “Don’t swallow. Never get it in your eyes. Don’t get on your clothes. Wear gloves and don’t let it touch your skin. and if you do, get medical attention immediately.”
And then it says it’s a no-rinse sanitizer for wine.
I’m not going to use Easy Clean. Instead, I’m using a sanitizing solution of cambden tablets and citric acid in water.
Now, on with the fun…
So, I live in a basement and the original owner of the home built a bar in the basement. You can tell it was before there were ‘codes’ as there’s barely room to roam behind it. But hey, that’s just fine. There’s plenty of space to use to make it my brewing area. It’s in the basement which stays cooler year round and it’s out of the way. Win-Win.
So here are a few pics of my bar.
The sink isn’t hooked up so there’s no running water. I’m considering getting something to cover it. But it’s clean and there’s enough space to put my stuff. And yes, that’s a horse statue. He’s one of my few decorative items I kept after ‘the purge’ of stuff. Obviously he must be here for the wine. Sorry, bud, you’re gonna have to wait for a year.
So let’s get to making the Must. There are zillions of fruit wine recipes online and they’re all different. Finding straight fig recipes that I could easily cut down to 1 gallon wasn’t easy so I ended up taking Ben’s recipe and tweaking it using a couple other fig recipes I saw.
3 lbs frozen figs
2 oz dried figs
1 gallon water
2 lbs sugar
Once all the figs were inside, I tied off the bag and let it drop to the bottom of the bucket.
Then I let it cool and poured it over the cut figs.
1 t acid blend
1 t yeast energizer
1/2 t tanin
1/2 t yeast nutrient
1 Cambden Tablet, crushed
Currently it’s sitting covered.
Now I’m waiting 24 hours until the tablet has done it’s job. Then I’ll add some pectic enzyme, wait another hour, and pitch the yeast (that’s brewer talk for adding the yeast). Then it’s months of waiting, racking, waiting, racking, tasting, waiting, racking, and finally somewhere in there bottling and then waiting 6 months to a year to drink.
Yeah. It’s not a fast process 😉 Good thing I have no problem waiting. Though I do plan to start several other recipes in the meantime.
Once I’ve racked the fig wine over to the carboy in 7-10 days, I plan to start the quince mead…but more about that later.