I finally did it. I have gone out and started a new hobby rather than simply talking about it. I am making wine.
On Friday after work I bought some basic supplies. Fortunately there is a store not far from me that specializes in beer brewing and winemaking supplies. So I bought my primary fermenter, my secondary fermenter, an airlock, a bung with a hole for the airlock, a hydrometer and a chimney jar for the hydrometer, six feet of siphon hose, a straining bag, various chemicals, and wine yeast.
I also went to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for my first wine. Many of you will find this weird, but those of you who know me well will know it is natural that my first wine be a jalapeño wine.
Jalapeño wine??? Hey, given my predilection for spicy food, what did you expect? ;) Besides, jalapeños are supposed to make a kickass cooking wine and a pleasant sipping wine.
The recipe I got off of a winemaking website calls for the jalapeños to be chopped in a blender with two cups of water. But I don't own a blender. Luckily, I was able to borrow one from Bitty on Saturday, so I started my work on Sunday. First I sliced the the stems off the jalapeños.
Then I put the jalapeños in the blender and started chopping.
This is the beautiful juice that resulted.
The recipe calls for a pound of golden raisins to be used. I'm sure this helps balance the flavor and gives the resulting wine a nice touch. I had to chop the raisins, which can be a sticky proposition.
Once the raisins were chopped, I threw them into the nylon straining bag. I placed this over the primary fermentation container (which had previously been sanitized with crushed campden tablets in water) and poured the jalapeño juice into the bag. To this I added a gallon of water, a pound of sugar, a teaspoon and a half of acid blend, and a crushed campden tablet, to kill off any unwanted moulds or bacteria. The resulting must doesn't look very appetizing, but hopefully it will turn into a savory wine.
After letting this concoction sit for twelve hours I added half a teaspoon of pectic enzyme. In a few hours I will add my yeast. I will let the must ferment in the primary for seven days, testing the potential alcohol levels with my hydrometer. When the appropriate level has been reached (ideally, a specific gravity of 1.090), I will strain the juice out of the nylon bag and siphon the liquor to a secondary fermentation container (a 5-gallon glass carboy) and allow the slow process of turning this murky green liquor into an exquisite clear pale yellow wine over several weeks to proceed.