Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Homemade Hootch: Grape Wine

Favorite Recipes from Caldwell, IdahoYesterday, we talked about infusing cheap vodka to make more upscale booze, and, boy, did y'all come running. So, today, we'll look at another DIY hootch recipe from Favorite Recipes from Caldwell, Idaho:
Grape Wine

24 oz. frozen grape juice (undiluted)
1/4 cake soft yeast
4 c. sugar

Stir together with water to fill 1 gallon jug. Place a balloon on the mouth of gallon jug. Let mixture stand in a dark place 3-4 weeks.
What, none of the fine Caldwell Jay-C-Ettes wanted to put her name on Grape Wine? Tsk.

The balloon is your fermentation lock; it lets gas build-up out without letting bacteria in. Other sources for more, shall we say, complicated brewing methods, recommend pricking the balloon with a pin a few times. If the balloon starts swelling and you're worried, disinfect a pin and gently poke. Why not?

Let's talk yeast. It's a pretty safe assumption that they're calling for a 2 oz. cake. Fresh yeast can be a bit hard to find. Fret not: you can substitute other yeasts. Use one package of active dry yeast or instant yeast. It's not a perfect substitute, portion-wise, as it's more like 1/3 of a yeast cake, but you'll be okay.

This is not going to be nuanced -- you're using grape juice from the freezer case, after all. That being said, use quality ingredients, and meticulously clean vessels, and you'll have something drinkable, and the method is a lot less scary than making kvass.

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