I've just finished all my course work for my degree in horticulture and viticulture! I'm now in the process of bringing my education to you. Starting this weekend I will be posting a series of lessons on making high quality alcohol from start to finish. It really isn't hard to do at all and I can show you how to get started for cheap. Once you have a few batches underway, you'll find opportunities to improve your equipment, operation, and eventually start to explore more exotic paths. I've got cross over projects running in quite a few fields of interest unfolding and starting to bring back positive results.
And I want you to be able to do the same. There is no reason for anyone who can spend three to four hours a week in the kitchen with a few friends, and maybe some time outside. We're not talking prison hooch, but fine ciders, wines, meads, beers, spirits, and potions. A bit of practice and you'll never drink mass market swill again.
So I got a call yesterday from a friend who has a severe need to brew cider RIGHT NOW, and is going to get my prohibition era wine press rebuilt so he can get apples this weekend. I'm so excited, he's covering the whole thing! My wine teacher gave me a gorgeus fruit mill, so I'm well under way to my own cider line. This also means I can document how we are taking a ruined press I got from a basement for free and make it useable.
Going over picking appropriate projects for your climate, getting supplies together, what is really important and what's not, how to fix flaws, preparing to serve. Yeasts and acids and how to analyze juice and pick the yeasts and admixtures. Aging, oak and other flavoring agents.
I've also got a whole LOT of slideshows on wines, I mean like an entire wine and viticulture curriculum worth from school. At the end of the month I'm attending an organic hops proeduction workshop too. Growing grain is easy, it doesn't take a more then 10-20 feet of row and a single hops plant to grow a 5 gallon batch of beer and lots of tasty hops. With luck I can talk my brewing friend to document his stuff. Come spring I will hopefully be working at a vineyard and doing other fruit care. We have an expanding urban hops production project going on and will show you how to handle them.
In the mean time, get some wine jugs with caps, say garbage night in recycling bins, get them cleaned out, and fitted with well sealed, water air-locks*. If you feel ambitions, water cooler jugs are good too, but I prefer people start with 2-3 separate gallon batches, less investment lost if it goes bad and more practice with the higher turn over rate. Also cuts out bottling and storage. Pick up a few pounds of sugar and when we get started, a jug of unfiltered apple juice (cider in the US). Come down to the Alcohol forum this weekend and I'll be posting as we go. Then after that I'll need to do some uploading and compilation of the next lessons.
You'll be celebrating the Equinox with a home-made cider you'll proudly share with your friends. And if not, hopefully I can help you make some fine cooking vinegar you could sell to a restaurant, because I'm headed off to the library to learn that right now, got 5 gallons each of apple and pear vinegar that I'm going to oak and age for a while, sell it in a few years ;-)
See y'all this weekend!
*look in the cheap booze thread for a description, NO balloons or cellophane, unless you are in prison, they are not worth it. poke around on youtube for film canister airlock until I get to that.