Homemade hooch

About 15 years ago, my Dad and I decided to make wine with a bumper crop of raspberries that we had harvested.  We had never tried making wine but we figured if Hank Jr said a country boy could do it, we needed to make sure we were up to snuff.  So we headed to the recycling place to snap up a few gallon jugs in which to ferment our hooch.  We made homemade “bubblers” to vent carbon dioxide from the fermentation and started along our way.  The internet was, of course, young, so online stores hadn’t cropped up.  Finding wine or champagne yeast was not a simple process so we started our fermentation with regular bread yeast.

In case you didn’t know, wine is made by adding fruit/flowers/sweat socks to a mixture of sugar and yeast.  If all goes well, the yeast feeds on the sugars and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide.  To prevent a mess, the carbon dioxide is vented off (without allowing new air or contaminates to enter the mixture) leaving the alcohol.  At some point (usually no more than 15% alcohol), the alcohol kills the yeast and fermentation stops.  Of course, if the yeast runs out of nutrients (i.e. sugar) before that point, fermentation also stops.  Our first batches of wine made from regular bread yeast were not as high in alcohol (and we sweeter than usual wine) since the yeast was not meant to tolerate full wine-level alcohol content.  They also didn’t taste quite as good as regularly fermented wine tasted, I suppose.  Still, they were dang drinkable and well worth our effort.  We eventually branched out and, quite successfully, made apple and grape and dandelion and all sorts of other types of wines as well.

As is typical, I recently got a wild hair and decided that it was time to once again get back into the wine making business.  It is legal for individuals to make homemade wine (thanks to the 21st Amendment).  In fact, one can make several hundred gallons of wine before there begins to be any problem (look it up on your own and with regard to your own local laws).  No one is allowed to sell homemade wine, however, without proper licenses, taxes, etc.  I don’t intend to make much wine, and certainly not hundreds of gallons so this operation will be well within legal limits.  

Anyhow, I ordered some real champagne yeast, nice bubblers and some other additives to make my own wine.  I still recycled my fermentation vessel like I did before as that worked perfectly well.  Later on this week I will tell you the specific sort of wine I am making (it ain’t boring old grape) and show you how I put it all together.  I suppose the wine we are making is one that is in line with what Hank had in mind for a country boy!

10 thoughts on “Homemade hooch

  1. COOOOOL. I was going to try making wine with our Concord grapes last year, but I got discouraged when my MiL told me they weren’t the right grapes and I would need some special additives or something. But I’m thinking that maybe I could still make SOMETHING fermented with them, even though it’s not quite like real wine. Maybe more like a liqueur? Whatever, it would probably be better than boring old grape juice.

  2. Chiot’s run – please tell us how your ginger beer turns out! I tried root beer one time and it was awful.

    Gizmo – sweatsocks give it body! Blackberry wine is fine stuff too!

    ETW – You’re invited to come on over when it is done and we’ll find out!

    Kristin – you can make fine wine out of concord grapes. It won’t be the same as the specific grapes from somewhere in France or wherever, but it will very much be wine and will be very good!

    June – I am not making THAT much wine!

    Christy O – I can’t wait either! It’s been awhile!

    Capri Kel – I get them all the time. Most have been removed as you can see…but now and then another springs up!

    Razor FF – Thanks!

  3. I learned from my Uncle when I was a Lil. kid, and my freinds and I have always stayed good and drunk off of all sorts of fruits and flowers! My Unc’s favorite was dandelion, he used to stay so intoxicated that he knew my face but couldn’t remember my name most of the time. One of my buddies loves for mr to make a mix of pineapple,star fruit and kiwi, and another loves my mellon rhine. Any fruit will work so your conchord grapes should do just fine. Right now I’ve got a batch of persimon, abatch of red and yellow apples and a batch of pear fermenting. I also decided to do a fast batch of musodine,persimon,and plum hooch(jail house wine) just to have something to drink on while I wait for the others to get done. 7 days will make a batch of hooch, but the wine will take a few months.

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