This past weekend was a very productive one here in Delaware. I’ve gotten a new batch of beer started, racked a batch of wine, and started another one. So ten gallons of wine and 5 gallons of beer. Most excellent!
The current batches of wine are both strawberry country wines. One is a bit lighter and less alcoholic, the other is going to (hopefully!) turn out a bit stronger and sweeter. Both are going to be backsweetened, at least a little bit. The last batch of this that I made was very strong, very dry, and slightly sparkling. These next two are going to be a bit more completely degassed. The other issue that I have at the moment is that I might have accidentally killed the yeast in the newest batch…
How did I do that? Quite easily, in fact! Since I used fresh strawberries to start the wine, I had to kill off the wild yeasts that are naturally present on all fruit. I did that by adding a tiny amount of sodium metabisulfite to the batch and letting it sit overnight. Theoretically I should have been able to drop in the yeast that I wanted to use after that time had passed and the sulfur dioxide gas that was there should have diffused out.
I still have no signs of fermentation.
I’m hoping fervently that I didn’t kill my yeast off before fermentation began…I’ll have to go to the brew store and get more yeast. And that will suck. I’m going to check the specific gravity tonight after I get home. If it’s fermenting it should have dropped below the ~1.095-1.100 that it was at the start. If not…that will make me very sad. Regardless, I will keep the world apprised of the fate of my yeasty friends!
In the meantime…Keep on brewing!
I didn’t tell you about the beer! How terrible of me. The beer is an Irish Red Ale with a touch of honey malt. I used about 11 lbs of plain 2-row barley, 1 lb of honey malt, and 4 oz. of roasted barley. Mashed it for an hour at 155°F, sparged to get 7 gallons of wort, then boiled for an hour. Added an ounce of hops at 60 minutes, a half ounce at 15 minutes, and a half ounce at 5 minutes. Added Whirlfloc and bentonite at 10 minutes. Let it settle overnight, racked to the fermenter (already cleaned and sanitized, of course!), and pitched 2 packs of SafAle S-04 (British Ale Yeast). It’s bubbling away happily. I’ll keep everyone apprised of that, too! Happy brewing!