Thursday, February 24, 2005

Want to join a Amateur winemaking/ beermaking club?

Googol Grapes and Barley Bytes
There seems to be a lack of homebrewing and winemaking clubs on the San Francisco peninsula. Am I wrong? Do you know of one? Want join?


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

4 Cases of splits and 10 stained fingers later . . .

Googol Grapes and Barley Bytes

Once I got in my groove, things moved well. 5 gallons of Cabernet Sauvignon have moved from the carboy to 4 cases of 375ml splits.

Here are some notes.

Corker used: Floor type.
Comments: Sweet. I am never using a hand held corker again.
Things I would do different next time: Have a table next to the corker. I had the uncorked bottles on the ground to one side of the corker and would put the corked bottles on the ground to the other. Lots of bending over and standing up. Not efficient at all.

Bottle Filler used: Gravity feed Automatic bottle filler fromBuon Vino
Comments: Worked pretty well. Dripped a bit from the connection where the incoming hose connected to the filler. But over all it worked like a charm. Filled the bottles to the perfect level and shut right off. Almost no waste at all.
Things I would do different next time: Well, like the corker, I was working off the ground. The wine source was on the workbench and I was filling on a towel on the ground. A better set-up would have been to raise the wine to an more elevated position above the work bench and filled while standing.

Number of Participants: Just poor, lonesome me.
Comments: Not tiring or even tedious work, but not very efficient with just one person.
I did not want the bottles to be sitting around filled and uncorked so I would work in batches of about 6 at a time. Filling, then corking, then filling, then corking. Both activities seemed to take about the same amount of time so probably two people, one doing filling and one doing corking could have worked well.
Things I would do different next time: Definitely, two people.

Over all. It went well.

"Why use all splits?", you ask. For a few reasons. First, because I want to sample it as it ages and not go though a full 750ml bottle every couple months before it is ready. Second, I want it to last. Since this is my first vintage, I want to protect it and make it last. Finally, I expect to give some to friends and family, and like I said, this is my first vintage. It is not beyond the realm of possibilities that it will develop a taste not unlike old German potato salad and this way, the benifactors of my gifts won't feel bad about disposing of 3/4 liter into the bay.

Next year's vintage will probably be bottled into predominately full size bottles.

Final notes on this batch: 100 lbs of grapes made almost 6 gallons of wine and involved probably 20 hours of labor when all is tallied, including travel, cleaning, and misc. I would bet that starting with 200 lbs of grapes would probably add maybe 15 minutes to that. And, since next year I will know more about what I am doing, over all time will probably be much less.
So, I think you can expect next year to involve starting with between 200-400 lbs of grapes.

And the year after that, I expect the 20 vines I planted last year will start producing and we will see what happens then.

For now, Cheers!

Tim Beauchamp

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Cab heads into the bottle.

Googol Grapes and Barley Bytes

It's Show time. Bottles are here. Corker is rented and in the back of my truck. Tonight after the kids are down and things quiet down, the wine moves from the carboy to the bottles.

I decided to do 3 cases of splits and the balance (7 bottles) in full size 750 ml bottles. That way I can sample it regulary as it ages and not finish it off before it is ready.

Stay tuned.


Welcome to Googol Grapes and Barley Bytes

This will start off as a repository or such for things related to brewing and winemaking. It will start off a bit without direction, but direction may evolve.

My first batch of Cabernet Sauvignon is aging in glass right now. It has been Crushed, fermented, modified with a MaloLactic bacteria, completed secondary fermentation, oaked, racked a few times and within few days, it will be bottled.

At the same time, I have 5 gallons of a California Pale Ale finishing up and will be racked to it's keg this next weekend. It has been designed with the goal of an IPA similar to the original or early Sierra Nevada. Unfortunately, Sierra Nevada has changed over the years, away from it's original taste and aroma.

The early Sierra was very floral, with a pronounced Cascade Hops nose from dry hopping. In the past, I have used pelletized hops which does not give the aroma. This time, the full 8 days of primary fermentation was done with a full cap of 4 oz Cascade hops floating on top..

I will keep you posted.