Total ignoramus - needs advice on equipment

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Snoop

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Total ignoramus - needs advice on equipment
« on: April 03, 2015, 17:57 »
Hi guys, a friend has offered to bring some winemaking equipment over from the UK for me. I've found someone who has elderflower trees here and there are lots of bramble about the place, so I'm keen to give elderflower champagne and a blackberry wine/liqueur recipe a go. But I have to make a decision quickly as to equipment and don't have much time to do a lot of research. I've had a look at a couple of online shops and see that a lot of kits come with two plastic bins, whereas I recall my dad always used to use glass demijohns. Does it make a difference if the wine is still or sparkling?

Could anyone give me some advice on what equipment, chemicals and yeast I'd need to buy to make elderflower champagne and fruit wine? Recommendations for a useful book for beginners would also be helpful.

Plus, could the same equipment be used for making ginger beer?

Thanks for any help.

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New shoot

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Re: Total ignoramus - needs advice on equipment
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2015, 08:19 »
Hi Snoop

A plastic bin is usefull if you want to make wine from raw materials like elderflower and blackberries.  It gives you room to start off and its easier to clean out.

The basic method I have used is this :

Put the raw materials in the bin and add boiling water,
Add yeast and ferment on the pulp for a few days,
Strain and put the liquid into a demijohn with an air lock,
Once fermented, rack off (ie siphon off) into a clean demijohn leaving the gunk at the bottom behind,
Store with a solid cork in the demijohn, then bottle.

Basic kit would be a bin, demijohns, corks for the demijohns (ones with holes for airlocks and solid ones - you can also get rubber reusable ones), air locks, a siphon kit, a corking machine and bottle corks.  A hydrometer is useful and if you want to make sparkling wines, you will need wire tops for the bottles.

You can forage funnels, straining materials and wine bottles from home. 

Then the basic kit for additives would be a steriliser for your fermenting equipment, yeast, pectolase, citric acid, campden tablets and tartaric acid.

I buy supplies mail order from here.  A nose round the website should give a good idea of all the stuff available.  It may well be worth checking if they can post stuff to you as you can then get regular supplies of the smaller stuff like yeast.

https://www.hopshopuk.com/

I have a very old book I bought in an Oxfam shop so can't help with that.  If you can find it on fleabay, its a good one though - Ben Turner Home Made Wines and Beers.  It gives a month by month guide to recipies using in season materials  :)


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Snoop

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Re: Total ignoramus - needs advice on equipment
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2015, 08:24 »
Brilliant, New shoot. That's just the advice I needed. Thanks. I'll have a look at the link you give and on ebay and possibly even Amazon for the book.

Happy brewing and even happier drinking!  :D

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Snoop

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Re: Total ignoramus - needs advice on equipment
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2015, 09:07 »
I've come across this on a different site to New Shoot's link:

http://www.home-brew-online.com/starter-kits-c47/wine-c68/starter-equipment-pack-wine-30-bottle-kit-p833

Does anyone have any views? I'd need demijohns for storage once racked. I've seen lots of plastic demijohns. Are these acceptable for storing wine? If so, I could just use 5-litre water bottles? These cost anything from 75 p upwards here depending on how 'fancy' the water inside them is.

And a really stupid question: is there any reason why it's not a good idea to make less than a bucket's worth? Would that leave too much air space in the bucket for the wine/beer to do properly?

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Baldy

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Re: Total ignoramus - needs advice on equipment
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2015, 18:24 »
Hi Snoop - there are myriad ways of doing this - some are very observant of all the sterilisation  /  additives / syphoning etc and some are not. I think kevin on this forum doesn't bother with sterilisation for example - just cleans and goes. If you think about it humans have been brewing and bottling long before sterilisation was understood. I do sterilise but don't bother with too much other faffing about...

The items in your link seem a reasonable price to me - and should meet your needs to get started.

So, some would say that plastic water bottles were no good for storage, but I've used them a couple of time and found them to be ok - (though bear in mind that the longest I've ever stored a wine was about 6 months - we don't really get the idea of ha;f finished wine bottles in this house if you see what I mean).  ;)

Air space and wine / beer don't really get on - opens up the brew to attack by bacteria / wild yeast etc. When I'm a little short on filling a demijohn I find it best to add water to the mix rather than have to much space at the top of the demijohn.

Hic hic,
Balders

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Snoop

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Re: Total ignoramus - needs advice on equipment
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2015, 10:32 »
Thanks, Baldy. All very helpful advice. I live in quite primitive conditions and we don't have a dishwasher for taking the easy cleaning route either, so I'll definitely be sterilising things before use.

Especially useful to hear about the plastic bottles. I can get 5-litre water bottles here very easily, so might try and give them a go after all.

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Dave NE

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Re: Total ignoramus - needs advice on equipment
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2015, 16:35 »
Hi Snoop, 5ltr water bottles are fine for brewing and last for ages if careful, as above with boiling water but wait until the temp has dropped to 70deg F before pitching the yeast, weak bleach is a good steriliser but make sure to rinse well, for topping up you can use supermarket grape juice or for a cheap recipe use 1ltr white grape juice (wgj) and 1ltr of orange juice, see Worjels orange wine, pectolase is a good thing to have at all times and is cheap to buy, cheers Dave
Today i will be mainly wearing no trousers

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Snoop

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Re: Total ignoramus - needs advice on equipment
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2015, 10:33 »
Thanks Dave. In the end, my friend was unable to come over so I still haven't bought anything. Will add pectolase to the list and consider the water bottles after all. Maybe that's the way to do it - brew in plastic and store in glass.

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Baldy

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Re: Total ignoramus - needs advice on equipment
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2015, 19:54 »
Hey Snoop

Don't  know the ins and outs of amazon.es nor their tax evading status in Spain - but the English version has marketplace people who supply home brew / wine gear. Might be worth looking at.
Did a bit of research on the water bottle thing and the consensus seems to be that using them instead of glass demijohns is fine - its probably ascetics that put people off.

Hic hic,
Balders

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grinling

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Re: Total ignoramus - needs advice on equipment
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2015, 18:42 »
see if carboys are available...think garden in a bottle



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