It's not about the house.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Adventures in Wine-Making, Days Four Through Seven or So

Well, really that title should say "Days three through six or so," but since we forgot day three, we're starting on day four and tacking an extra day on to the end. We don't know if that's necessary or if it's just plain wrong, but it's what we did.

Really, you're supposed to measure the specific gravity of the wine to tell you when it's done, which has something to do with how much heavier or lighter than water your liquid is, which tells you (I think) something about the alcohol content. But you need a special tool to measure it and we say bollocks to that. Dionysus didn't have no specific gravity measuring machine, and he did pretty well for himself, as far as we can tell. Right?

So for days four through seven or so, here's what you do:

Step One: Open the bucket...

See that scudge floating on top? That's yeast poop. Or dead yeast. Or something. Actually, I've no idea what it really is, but it's supposed to be there, so don't worry.

Step Two: Stir it...

You can't see it in this picture, but there's a spoon in Johnny's hand and he is stirring it. Make sure you stir in all the scudge, and get down to the bottom where more yeast poop/dead yeast/whatever has come to rest. Johnny says it doesn't matter if you scrape every last bit off the side of the bucket, but when it was my turn to stir I did anyway. Because I'm good like that. And maybe just the slightest bit obsessive.

Step Three: Squeeze the bag. This is not a euphemism. Use the spoon.

The neat thing is that it will turn itself over for you. As you squeeze the gas out of one side, when you release it the gas that's still in the other side makes it bouyant enough that it flips gently over and presents itself to you for squeezing. Very helpful.

Oh, and that gas, by the way? Definitely yeast farts. Definitely.

It's not necessary for you to taste a little of it every day, and in fact Johnny refused because he's scared of live yeast, but I did. Just, when I was done, I let a drip from the spoon fall on my finger. The first day (which as we know was technically the fourth day) it still tasted like Welch's grape juice, but by the last day it was actually starting to taste like wine.

Not good wine. Not yet. But at least we know it's working.


Muskego Jeff said...

I used to make beer and used a hydrometer. Basically it tells you the alcohol percentage based on measuring before and after fermentation. Not sure if it makes a difference with regards to how much sugar is used in the bottling process anymore, as that was a decade or so ago, but if you plan on making wine (or beer) semi-regularly I'd suggest investing in one. They're pretty cheap, if I remember correctly...

amanda said...

That looks very... erm... appetising?

EGE said...

Jeff -- honestly, I think we used to have one, and honestly, I think Destructo broke it. I think. You're probably right, though: it's not such a big deal for wine but if we are going to make beer again (and Johnny's been making noises lately) we should probably get one. Or, rather, HE should. I'd just break it.

Amanda -- come on, you know you want to taste it!

Jenni said...

I am with Amanda....Maybe I will wait a day or two before I would give it a try, 'cause right now it looks like something from CSI.