Making Wine or Hard Cider in Canada

I started making fruit wines at home to save money, but it turned out to be a fun hobby as well. You can also customize your wines. I’ve never found a commercial cider that suited my tastes because I find they are too light bodied and sugary for my own tastes. But homemade ciders are […]

A Canadian’s Guide to the Basics of Alcohol Fermentation and Booze Making

My goal here is to lay the groundwork for any basic fruit-based alcohol fermentation that you may want to do at home. I know I was overwhelmed when I first started, and I want to make it as simple and direct for you dear reader. The process is simple. Our species has been fermenting sugars […]

Making Honey Wine (Mead)

Mead glorious mead! One of mankind’s earliest brews. The refreshing sacrament of dead Vikings in Valhalla. This honey wine is a delicious, sweet drink. Yeast doesn’t metabolize honey particularly well so some yeast nutrients from your local brew store can help. Yeast nutrients are the bodies of dead yeast cells (among other trace nutrients), which […]

Fruit Vinegar

Like most commercial food, companies make vinegars for the most easily offended tastes. Basically, the flavour and character is muted and the ingredients are subpar (i.e. vinegar devoid of probiotic nutrients, added refined sugar for sweetness, excess preservatives and stabilizers). Even if you’re not using the vinegars in recipes, you can always deglaze your pans […]

Sauerkraut!

I love sauerkraut. And it’s so easy to make. You just need a mixing bowl, a container that will contain a medium cabbage, a weight, cabbage, salt and water. For a medium cabbage, you want about 2 tbsp of coarse salt (i.e. kosher salt). The size of coarse salt draws moisture out of the cabbage. […]

Yeast energizer vs yeast nutrient

When you first get into making alcoholic beverages, the amount of information can be overwhelming. I want to clarify one group of additives that pop up from time to time, especially when making alternative kinds of wine. Yeast nutrients are a source of nitrogen (from diammonium phosphate and urea) added at the beginning of brewing […]

Sourdough Starter for Beginners

Sourdough is not only delicious, but it’s essential for certain grains like rye that don’t have the right proteins to rise with baker’s yeast. Before the slow, lagering process for beer was developed, bakers would often get their yeast from brewers, who were essentially left with a starter after brewing. This wild brewers yeast would help […]

Kombucha for Beginners

This week, I made my first batch of kombucha thanks to a friend who gave me her homegrown SCOBY. SCOBY stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Basically, it’s a gelatinous mass of bacteria and yeast that produce a palatable sour taste. Essentially, the colony converts ethanol alcohol into acetic acid, the same process and acid we find in natural vinegars. The SCOBY is like the mother of vinegar. Kombucha and other fermented drinks and food are on the rise for a couple of reasons. One, there’s a growth in anecdotal evidence in the new science around gut flora. Considering we have more foreign organisms by weight in our bodies than our own cells, assisting the symbiotic organisms in our own body may help it work better. Studies are ongoing about the benefits of consuming probiotics, but we know that transplants into the gut have helped rodents and people defeat obesity and gut illnesses. We know that people who have an imbalance of brewers yeast in their gut can get drunk just by eating carbs. We know that the gut produces the majority of hormones like seratonin and dopamine that affect mood. We know that there’s some sort of connection between gut health and inflammation. The addition of acid may improve the environment for probiotics to operate in the gut. Of course, I’m no doctor or scientist, so take all of this anecdotal evidence with a large grain of salt. Secondly, fermentation releases a lot of bioavailable nutrients. Yeast are high in vitamin B, for instance. Thirdly, people are looking for flavourful, carbonated drinks that aren’t full of calories and refined sugars that can spike hormones like insulin. I’m very familiar with the smell of kombucha fermenting since I inadvertently made apple cider vinegar once by leaving my cider unsealed for too long, allowing organisms in the environment to convert the alcohol into vinegar. Equipment A pot that holds 3L of water […]

How to Make Wine at Home in 3 Easy Steps

Step 1: Fermentation and Flavouring At the beginning, you can add a clay called bentonite that will bond to positively charged proteins for increased clarity and decreased aromas. The negatively-charged bentonite will ride the CO2 bubbles created by the yeast, collecting proteins along the way. Once the bonded molecule reaches the top and the bubble […]