FAQ

Ask the Wine & Beer Maker

Can I clean my bottles when I come in to bottle?
October 25, 2017

No, your bottles should already be clean as we provide time and equipment for sanitizing already clean bottles. Thoroughly rinsing a wine bottle very soon after it is empty, soaking it for a few minutes to remove the label and draining it completely eliminates the need to spend much more time cleaning bottles that are left to the last minute. HINT! Store the clean bottles upside down to avoid contamination by foreign objects, dust, insects etc.

Wine
How long will it take?

We offer you the choice of 5-week, 7-week and 8-week wine kits. Our 5-week wines are made from the finest blend of grape juice and concentrate. They are usually ready to drink in a few weeks after bottling. Our 7-week wines are made from premium quality grape juice blends. They are fuller bodied and require a longer aging time (at least 2 to 3 months). Our 8-week wine kits, with 100% varietal grape juice from country-specific vineyards,  the Eclipse Series has re-defined the quality expectations of the advanced winemaker and the wine kit industry alike.

Wine
How long does it take?

Your first brew day will take a little bit longer as you sort your way through equipment and ingredients, but when you’ve got that under your belt you can make a fresh batch of Brewer’s Best beer in less than two hours, from start to finish.

Beer
Is craft beer making popular?

It’s no exaggeration to say that craft beer making has exploded in the last decade: tens of thousands of people now brew their own beer, with more starting every day, and interest in new styles and brewing techniques, beer festivals and beer clubs continues to grow. In fact it is so popular even US President Obama does it in the White House.

Beer
Are there commercial craft beer’s that are similar?

All of the Brewer’s Best styles are based on commercial equivalents, many of which you’ll already be familiar with. On the other hand, some are very specialized styles— while they are available in some areas, many people might not have not tried smoked beers or beers made with Rye!

Beer
As a vegan I don’t like to drink wine that has been fined or clarified with animal products. What product(s) do you use in your wine? – from Terry Griffiths

Terry,

Great question! Traditionally wines and for that matter most fermented beverages or fruit juice are fined/cleared with Chitosan, Gelatin, Isinglass, Kieselsol and/or Bentonite.

The Bentonite needs to be used in tandem with one of the other products for the best clearing effects. Bentonite is an absorbent aluminium phyllosilicate, essentially impure clay consisting mostly of montmorillonite. The absorbent clay was given the name bentonite by Wilbur C. Knight in 1898, after the Cretaceous Benton Shale near Rock River, Wyoming. Bentonite has the property of adsorbing relatively large amounts of protein molecules from aqueous solutions. Consequently bentonite is uniquely useful in the process of winemaking, where it is used to remove excessive amounts of protein from white wines. Were it not for this use of bentonite, many or most white wines would precipitate undesirable flocculent clouds or hazes upon exposure to warmer temperatures, as these proteins denature. It also has the incidental use of inducing more rapid clarification of both red and white wines.

Chitosan /?ka?t?sæn/ is a linear polysaccharide composed of randomly distributed β-(1-4)-linked D-glucosamine (deacetylated unit) and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (acetylated unit). It is made by treating shrimp and other crustacean shells with the alkali sodium hydroxide. Chitosan has a long history for use as a fining agent in winemaking.[47][48] Fungal source chitosan has shown an increase in settling activity, reduction of oxidized polyphenolics in juice and wine, chelation and removal of copper (post-racking) and control of the spoilage yeast Brettanomyces.

Isinglass (/?a?z???læs/ or /?a?z???l??s/) is a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish. It is a form of collagen used mainly for the clarification of wine and beer. Isinglass binds with excess tannins, pulling them from overly harsh wines. Not usually recommended for clearing out heavy haze in wine, Isinglass is best known for its extremely gentle nature. It does not strip flavor or character from wine, and creates a final high quality polish to wine (especially whites and blush) that have already been cleared by other agents. It will produce a thin layer of fine sediment, as the last of the suspended solids precipitate to the bottom. Thus, Isinglass works best as a final touch, applied just before bottling. Isinglass is available in both liquid and powder.

Gelatine is an animal protein. Like Bentonite, gelatine can be applied as a clearing agent pre- and post-fermentation. Gelatine is recommended for red wines since its positive charge helps reduce excessive tannins (tannin carries a negative charge). It can also be used on white wine to remove the bitter taste of excessive tannins. But in white wine excess gelatine can create a protein instability and develop a haze of its own. To prevent over stripping of white wine, gelatine can be used with Kieselsol. Kieselsol’s negative charge works as a tannin substitute to neutralize excess gelatine in the wine. The two agents with different charges working together also have the potential to both reduce astringency, and collect a greater number of charged solids. Gelatine is available in powder, but some manufacturers offer it in liquid form. However, being an animal protein, it has a limited shelf life and the size of the liquid batch you purchase should be considered if you can’t use it all in one application. If gelatine is used to reduce astringency in wine, it is easier to regulate the required dosage if you use the powdered form of this fining agent.

Kieselsol (negative charge): Also known as silicon dioxide. Kieselsol works well with gelatine as a clearing agent, since it acts as a tannin substitute and works well to remove bitterness from white wines. When used with gelatine, the gelatine is added to the wine first, and then 24 to 48 hours later, a very small amount of Kieselsol is added, and should be racked off within 2 weeks. Kieselsol also works with chitosan (see the section on chitosan earlier).

While the base of most of these products is from some form of animal because of the them being fining agents very little if any of the agent remains in the wine itself. Understanding that as a vegan you still may wish to avoid some of these fining agents, time can be used instead for partial but acceptable results. The wine would need to sit a longer period of time for the particles to naturally fall out suspension. This will work with most particles but not with any proteins that may still be in the wine.

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