Parsley Wine

When I started making wine I read a lot about it. And I found recipes which I thought were really weird. People make wine from almost everything. I once even saw a recipe that contains chocolate! Since I was just trying to make a normal good wine I did not pay much attention to these crazy ideas.

However, one of them stuck and I wanted to try it for a long time: Parsley wine. Especially when I found out that parsley is apparently very healthy.

So I looked for a recipe and I found that there are 2 kinds. The first is very simple: Buy a bottle of white wine and add some parsley. If you want your wine to be healthier and tastier I think that this is a good option. If you are a wine maker you would choose for the second option: Create your own parsley wine!

There are plenty of recipes on the internet but I found that I did not have enough parsley in my garden so I made my own version. Here is my very simple recipe for 5 liters:

 

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Ingredients:

  • 310 gm Parsley
  • 2 bananas
  • 30 gm citric acid
  • 1 kg sugar
  • Wine yeast
  • Yeast nutrition 1 tsp

Method:

  • Mash the banana and put all the ingredients (except the yeast) in a fermentation bucket
  • Add boiling water up to 5 liters
  • Stir to dissolve the sugar and let it cool down
  • Add yeast
  • After 3 days, rack into another bucket or demijohn.

The recipe was completely new to me but I had some ideas about it. It should be a light, fresh wine that perhaps could be drunk rather quick.

Some remarks:

It is rather safe to assume that there is not too much sugar in parsly. (Let’s say none.) 1 kg sugar in 5L gives you approximately 11 % alcohol. In the bananas is some sugar but that probably would not even produce 1% alcohol. Since some alcohol would evaporate in the demijohn I did not include the bananas in the calculation.

I assumed that there also would not be much acid (close to none) in parsly so I added 6 gm/L citric acid. Citric acid is stronger than tartaric acid so the acidity would be around 7.

The bananas serve 2 goals:

  • Yeast need food and probably they will not be able to get this from parsley.
  • A wine made only from herbs or flowers will not have much body. Bananas are great for body. No idea why, but bananas in wine is never a bad idea.

The result

After 6 months I tried a bottle and I was not sure about it. It looked great but it was a bit harsh and the aroma was a bit green, flowery. It was not ready and could be better in the future. At least that was what I hoped.

peterseliewijn-LevenindeBrouwerij

 

And luckily I was right. After 1 year it has become very nice. Of course it is not like a regular wine from the supermarket but it is not too weird. It is a very pale wine that has become very clear. It looks very good. The combination of parsley and citric acid makes it very fresh. Maybe some people will find it too acidic.

The parsley creates an aroma of flowers and has a great impact on the taste. Recipes that I found on the web mention a lot more parsley but I think that you can also make this wine with only 250 gm for 5 liters.

In conclusion I would say that this was a very nice first attempt and I will definitely try it again. However I would change some details. I would use less parsley. I think that 250 gm would be enough for 5 liters wine. It tastes nice but it is not very subtle. I would also use a little less citric acid. Citric acid is the right choice but the combination with parsley gives the impression of a more acidic wine. Next time I will try 24 gm.

Parsley wine may be too strange for a lot of people but parsley can be a nice addition to a “normal” white wine. The taste fits nicely with white wine.

Cheers

Hans

 

P.S. Visit our shop: Leven in de Brouwerij.

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The Second Pils Experiment

With a great result I must add.

Some time ago I tried to make a pilsner without the proper equipment. I do not have a location to ferment at the proper low temperature and therefore it does not make sense to use a lager yeast. It would produce too many esters which does not fit a pilsner.

So I tried something else. I tried champagne yeast because it ferments very well in wines. The result was a nice beer but obviously not a pilsner.

So this time I decided to use a more normal yeast. In this case Fermentis US 05 because it does not produce a lot of esters and it ferments to a dry beer.

The result is great. The champagne pilsner was a funny experiment but this is much better. It has a nice light hoppy aroma. The bitterness suits the type of beer very well. Not too bitter but definitely there. There are no aroma’s from the yeast or esters. It is very neutral. Since the alcohol level is not too high it is a very drinkable beer. The head is very good and the head retention is better than all my previous beers. I am sure that I will make this beer again.

 

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The drying foam is hanging on to the glass forever

The recipe is exactly the same as the previous experiment. The only difference is the yeast. And it is obvious that the yeast is of great importance.

So here is the recipe:

Amount 15L
Efficiency 68%
IBU 24
EBC 8
Starting SG 1047
End SG Oops. Forgot to measure
ABV 5,3%?

Ingredients

3,5kg Pils malt 3 EBC
11 g Brewers gold from Turkey 9,5% for 75 min
4 g Aroma from Turkey 8 % just after boiling
11 g Fermentis US 05
2 g CaCl
2 g Citric acid

Mashing

62 C for 45 min, 72 C for 15 min, 78 C for 5 min.

Boiling time

75 min

Priming sugar

8 g/L

Remarks

No chilling after boiling.
Fermentation at room temperature

Probably this beer is somewhere in between a blond and pilsner. The bitterness is there, the hop aroma is there but not very outspoken. It is a nice simple very drinkable beer. The head retention is very good. I think that it is the best beer I made so far.

Cheers

Hans

 

P.S. Visit our shop: Leven in de Brouwerij.

Leven-in-de-brouwerij

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Beer Kits

Who could have thought that making beer at home could be so simple? It is as easy as making lemonade. After my disappointing experiences with wine kits I was reluctant to try a beer kit but the beers are really surprisingly nice.

 

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Since I was making wine already I did not need to buy any equipment. The only thing I needed were empty beer bottles. The ones that I have are from Grolsch which have so called “flip top closures” so I don’t even need crown caps.

There are instructions in the package but I don’t need them anymore. Actually my eyes are not able to read the small letters anymore.

This is my personalized manual

  • Open the can and place it in hot water. This way the syrup becomes more fluent.
  • Start boiling water. This is not strictly necessary but apparently boiling the water results in better foam on your beer.
  • Sterilize the fermenter and put in the syrup.
  • Rinse the can with hot water to get all the syrup out. Watch out, the can gets hot.
  • Add the sugar in the can and dissolve it in boiling water before adding it to the fermenter.
  • Sterilize a spoon (And your hands).
  • Add the proper amount of boiling water and stir. When a kit is meant for 9 liter I fill the fermenter up to maximum 9,5 liter. (During racking you will lose some beer.)
  • Close the fermenter and wait until the wort has cooled to room temperature.
  • Add the yeast. After a few hours you will see that the yeast starts working. Keep the fermenter in a room where the temperature does not fluctuate too much. Yeast doesn’t like that.
  • One day later you will see why you need a big fermenter. Lots of foam!

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You can’t put hot water in a demijohn but this is the nice thing of a demijohn. You can see what happens! This was an abbey kit with wyeast abbey yeast. I discovered later that the yeast was too expensive to use for one kit but look at that foam!

  • When the fermentation slows down I transfer the beer to a demijohn. This is not really necessary but I need the fermenter more often and it looks nicer in a demijohn.
  • After 2 weeks the fermentation is usually finished. You can check it with a hydrometer but I don’t do that anymore. When in doubt just wait a week longer.
  • Then it is bottling time.
  • Rinse the bottles with a sulphite and citric acid solution.
  • Put the bottling sugar in another demijohn and rack the beer in it. Do not disturb the lees. Make sure that the sugar is dissolved before bottling!
  • Rack the beer in the bottles with the bottle filler.
  • Store the beer in a room with constant room temperature and wait 6 to 8 weeks. Some beers will improve when you age them longer.

At the moment I do not make the kits anymore. Nowadays I am brewing beer the hard way. But at the time I was already thinking about some experiments with the kits. For example; using another yeast, adding some hops, substituting part of the sugar for honey, using another kind of sugar, add some extra sugar for more alcohol, etc. etc.. There are many things that you can do to create “your own beer” with a kit as a start point.

Cheers!

Hans

 

P.S. Visit our shop: Leven in de Brouwerij.

Leven-in-de-brouwerij

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Black Currant Wine

When I started making wine my goal was to make a good red wine. I have no problem with white wine or rose, but I prefer drinking red wine. I bought a few wine kits because I had no idea what I was doing. I did not like the results. It was wine, it was red, but in my opinion tasteless.

Since I have no grapes or other fresh fruit I started experimenting with juices that I bought from the supermarket. I was very happy with the resulting white wines but making red wines continued to be problematic.

I used many different red juices but in general they all have the same problems:

  • During the fermentation the color becomes lighter. In many cases it becomes a dark rose, but definitely not red.
  • The acidity of the juices is too high. This does not suit red wine.
  • The resulting wines have no body.

So usually what you end up with is something that is more or less a rose with too much alcohol, and a taste that resembles lemonade. Not bad as a rose most of the times but nothing like red wine.

Then I started experimenting with additional ingredients. I used for example oak chips, bananas, vanilla, dried elderberries, and tannin. Again the results were not good because I used too much. Vanilla is a great addition but it is very overpowering and red vanilla wine is not nice.

One juice became the exception: Black currant juice. I made red wine from it several times and it is pretty good. It can compete with the better supermarket wines.

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So here is my recipe for 10 liter:

Ingredients:

  • 10,5 liter black currant juice (This contains total 1260 g sugar according to the label)
  • 1 banana
  • 3 g red tannin
  • 4 g oak chips
  • 4 g dried elderberries
  • 1200 g cane sugar (Total 246 g/l which makes approximately 13% alcohol)
  • Yeast

Method:

  • Boil the sugar, oak chips, tannin, elderberries and mashed banana for a minute in some black currant juice.
  • Rehydrate the yeast in a little water.
  • Put the black currant juice in a fermentation bucket and add the boiled mixture. This way it cools down fast.
  • Add the yeast.

As you can see I did not measure anything. The amount of sugar in the juice is written on the package and I trust this. The acidity is probably a bit high so I will not add any. I am confident enough so I will not make a measurement.

The amounts of additions are very small. This is mainly because they all give a lot of flavor and the oak chips and elderberries also contain tannin. You want them in your wine, but not too much.

The banana is there to give the wine body.

I have made this wine before but I always try to experiment a little with additions. This is also the reason that I use cane sugar. I have not tried this before and we will see if this is an improvement or not. I do not think it will make a big difference.

Cheers

Hans

 

P.S. Visit our shop: Leven in de Brouwerij.

Leven-in-de-brouwerij

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Vacuming a smooth bag

Bags suitable for a vacuum machine have a structure inside that keeps them open so the air can be sucked out.

A professional machine does not need that. It simply presses the air out from the outside. They can also be used with bags that are smooth on the inside. The simple equipment for normal people cannot do this.

So I bought very nice air and light resistant bags that should be suitable for every machine. So I also bought a “semi professional” apparatus.

No way Jose. The machine sucks and closes the bag before the air is removed.

So what can I do? Of course the internet had plenty solutions. Just google.

I was not covincend and did some experimentation. The best option (Not found on the web) was mentioned in the manual of my vacuum machine. Who reads these things?

This is what you do:

  • Hold the bag between thumbs and index fingers at the sides near the opening.
  • Roll the bag slightly to create a wrinkle. The side is not really the side anymore.
  • Place the bag in the machine and watch it as it sucks out the air.
  • Seal the bag a little longer or hotter as you would normally do.

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The user manual picture.

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A bit difficult to see but this is the wrinkle on the left side.

 

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Not a very smart move for a smoker but as you can see it works also for different smooth bags.

Does it work for every machine? I am not sure. In case you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Hans

 

P.S. Visit our shop: Leven in de Brouwerij.

Leven-in-de-brouwerij

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