Saturday, November 27, 2010

Moonshine - homemade grappa!

I've taken the next obvious step in the evolution of a home-brewer; homemade hooch! A buddy of mine made a still recently and let me use it to make grappa. Grappa is a spirit made by fermenting and distilling the pomace left over form the wine making process. Typically making white wine involves squeezing the juice from the grapes and leaving the pomace behind as a waste product. This pomace has residual sugar that can be fermented. I was able to get 10 gallons of Riesling pomace from a local winery. The fermentation process was ridiculously easy with little to no sanitary precautions taken. I simply watered back the pomace until the skins were fully submerged and added 2.5 lbs of honey. The honey was some cheap crap I had bought at the store but didn't care for the taste of, so as an afterthought I through it in the mash. I then pitched a champagne yeast and let it go. The next morning it was fermenting away like crazy and the skins were rising well above the tops of the containers. For the next couple of days I punched the pomace down as often as I could, sometimes every half hour. The whole downstairs smelled pleasantly like a winery. From this I ended up with 5 gallons of "wine" that I took down to my friends house. From the 5 gallons I ended up with 1L of a 122 proof spirit. Not a lot to show for the effort but I have to say the results are fricking fantastic. It is very soft and fruity with a nose that is both fruity and floral.