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2021 Batch 3 Rice Wine 3.0

Decided to do a few more batches of rice wine with the Angel Yeast to see how well it continues to work. This will be the strongest batch yet (or at least the one with the biggest grain bill). Ingredients 15 pounds Calrose Rice (uncooked, fresh from the package) 3 gallons of water at 177F 1.25 tsp. Alpha Amylase powder (not needed, really) 1/2 tsp. Gypsum 0.50 tsp. Fermaid O yeast nutrient (also probably not needed) 1 gallon cold water 40 grams yellow-label Angel Yeast "Brewing" Process: Heat 3 gallons of water to 177F using The Grainfather (or your preferred method) Place 15 pounds of rice, alpha amylase, gypsum, and yeast nutrient in sanitized fermenter Put 177F water into fermenter, which should mellow out to about 155F depending on ambient temperature and rice temperature Stir rice and water well to ensure all rice gets in contact with water Let sit for 1 hour to hydrate the rice a bit Add cold water to the 5.5 gallon mark Wait for temp inside fermenter to drop to 90F Onc
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Yellow Label Angel Yeast vs. Typical Brewing Yeast

I currently have my second batch of rice wine fermenting with the "magical" yellow-label Angel Yeast from China, and wanted to share some of the more unusual aspects of using it.  If you've never seen or used this yeast, I suspect you're not alone.  It ships in a 500 gram package that looks like this: What makes it "yellow label" is that yellow box you see in the upper left corner of the package.  This implies that it's yeast for distilling (though you do not need to have a still or distill the output to use it).  As I understand it, inside the package is a mix of yeast and other materials which will convert starch into sugar and directly ferment it, without the need for a traditional mash step.  This can radically shorten your brewing time.  For my most-recent batch of rice wine, I heated 3 gallons of water to 155F, poured it over 13+ pounds of uncooked rice straight out of the bag, let that soak for an hour, rehydrated some of this yeast in warm water,

2021 Batch 2 - Rice Wine 2.0

The last batch of rice wine turned out OK.  It was very thin-bodied and fairly low in alcohol (an estimated 7% ABV). The flavor was fairly non-descript with a slight tartness.  I decided to do another, stronger batch to put the yellow-label Angel Yeast through a bigger challenge. Ingredients 13.4 pounds (uncooked) medium grain rice 3 gallons of water at 155F 36 grams yellow-label Angel Yeast 1 tsp. Gypsum Additional cold tap water, about 1 gallon The entire "Mashing and Brewing" process: Heat water to 155F.  While the water is heating, sanitize a fermenter and dump the rice into it. When the rice hits 155F, pour it over the rice in the fermenter and stir to ensure the rice gets wet. Cover the fermenter and leave to sit for an hour or more. Add cold water to the 5.5 gallon mark and stir well. Add the Angel Yeast to about 5-6 ounces of 90F water and stir well to rehydrate. Add the rehydrated yeast to the fermenter and stir well again. Seal the fermenter Fermentation plan: Days

2021 Batch 1 - Rice Wine made with Yellow Label Angel Yeast

I've become a big fan of the Still It channel on YouTube.  About a month ago, Jesse posted a video about how he made rice wine using nothing more than water, rice, and a purported "magic" yeast from China called Yellow Label Angel Yeast. Perhaps even more amazing was the fact that he was able to make the rice wine without gelatinizing or mashing the rice.  He shows three batches in the video.  One was made by cooking the rice before adding the yeast mixture. Another was made by adding uncooked rice to boiling water.  The last was made by adding uncooked rice to room temperature water.  All three fermented out to roughly the same amount of alcohol in about two weeks. He was amazed by this, as was I. I resolved to buy some of this magical yeast from and try it out. In the Still It video, the rice is ground up in the grain mill into smaller chunks to make it easier for the enzymes in the yellow label yeast to convert and ferment.  I'm changing this up s

Joe's Ancient Orange Mead 1.0

For some time now, I've read about Joe's Ancient Orange Mead, but I've never taken the time to actually create a batch of it.  This year, I had the time and the ingredients on hand. Ingredients 3.5 pounds of honey (mostly orange blossom, some clover) 1 large orange 1 cinnamon stick 1 clove A small pinch of freshly grated nutmeg 25 raisins Enough water to make 1 gallon 1 package of Fleischmann's bread yeast Making the must: Wash the orange and remove the zest.  Peel the orange, throw away the pith, then thinly slice the orange across the segments, Collect one gallon of reverse osmosis water Add the honey and about half of the water to a sanitized fermenter Shake to aerate the must and mix in the honey Add the orange, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and raisins Add water to the one gallon mark Shake the fermenter again to mix in the yeast and aerate further Add an airlock and allow it to ferment until the liquid is clear Strain out the solid ingredients and bottle Post-Brew Note

Blackberry Wine 1.0

Adventures in Homebrewing had 96-ounce cans of Blackberry Wine base on sale for $10, because they were past the sell-by date.  I decided to chance it and buy two of the cans to turn into blackberry wine.  When opened, the cans smelled perfectly fine, so I think the wine is going to turn out well.  We'll see. Ingredients (per 5-gallon batch) 1 can of Vintner's Harvest Blackberry Wine Base 8 pounds of cane sugar 3 tsp. Citric Acid 4 tsp. Yeast Nutrient (DAP + Fermaid O) 2.5 tsp. Pectic Enzyme 1/2 tsp. Wine Tannin 1 packet CR51 Vintner's Harvest wine yeast Enough RO water to reach 5 gallons in the fermenter Original Gravity: 1.086 SG for one batch, 1.077 SG for the other Final Gravity:   0.988 SG estimated Batch Size:   5 gallons per batch ABV:   13.5% estimated Fermenters Used:   Two 7.5 gallon SS Brewtech Brewmaster Buckets Preparing the must was pretty straightforward.  I heated three gallons of the RO water to about 120F and began dissolving the sugar in it.  When the sug

Christmas Ale 2020

 A few months back, I saw one of David Heath's YouTube videos where he brewed a "Fast Christmas Beer" using a couple of methods to reduce brewing and fermentation time.  The recipe sounded interesting, so I decided to brew it for Christmas 2020.  Thanks to COVID-19, I won't have many opportunities to share it with others, but my wife and I will get to check it out. I deviated from the recipe in the video in that I elected to go for a 60-minute boil rather than boil the hops, orange peel, and cinnamon separately on the kitchen stove.  I also deviated slightly in using a mix of base malts that I needed to use up, rather than the straight up pale malt he used.  Otherwise, this is basically David Heath's recipe. I also decided to use Lutra Kveik yeast for half the wort and SafAle S-04 for the other half, just to see how the beer would differ with a different yeast.  Heath recommended Tormodgarden Kveik yeast, but also noted S-04 and US-05 as options if you didn't