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2021 Batch 6 - Mandarin Orange Wine 1.0

While watching an episode of Moonshiners recently, I saw Mark Ramsey and Digger Manes create a moonshine mash using nothing more than cans of Mandarin Oranges, sugar, and yeast.  Mark and Digger had a problem with their mash, however, in that they did not account for the acidic content of the oranges.  This acidity caused the yeast to go dormant or die out.  To counteract that, they added baking soda (and maybe some fresh yeast) to jump-start the fermentation.  When a nearby grocery chain had a deal on Mandarin Oranges, I decided to try making a mandarin orange wine myself. Ingredients 5 cans (15 oz. each) of Mandarin Oranges in light syrup 1/2 tsp. Gypsum 1/2 tsp. Yeast nutrient 8 pounds of table sugar (cane sugar) 2 gallons of RO water heated to 150F 2.5 tsp. baking soda (see Post-Brew Notes and Observations) 1 Tbsp. DADY (distiller's yeast) Enough additional RO water to reach 5 gallons in the fermenter Brewing process: Clean and sanitize the fermenter Begin heating the RO water
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2021 Batch 5 - Rice Wine 5.0

I'm doing yet another batch of Rice Wine since I still have plenty of rice and Angel Yeast on hand.  I had some issues with the last batch that I want to be sure I've sorted out. Ingredients 15 pounds of Kroger-brand long-grain White Rice 40 grams of yellow-label Angel Yeast 1/2 tsp. Gypsum 1/2 tsp. yeast nutrient (Fermaid O) 3 gallons of RO water, heated to 177F Additional RO water to get to 5 gallons of fermenter volume As with previous batches, the process for this one is: Heat 3 gallons of RO water to 177F Place 15 pounds of rice in a sanitized fermenter Pour the heated water over the rice and let it sit for at least one hour (I did overnight) Add cold water to the 5-5.5 gallon mark in the fermenter When the temp is 90F, add the Angel yeast and stir well Clean and sanitize your stirrer, you'll need it later Seal the fermenter and hold temp at 90F For days 1-3, stir the contents of the fermenter twice daily with the cleaned and sanitized spoon.  After day 3, leave the fe

2021 Batch 4 - Rice Wine 4.0

Since I've still got plenty of rice on-hand and plenty of yellow-label Angel Yeast, I decided to do a few more batches of rice wine.  I'll look for something fun to do with it later.  I've about got this down to a science.  Sanitize a fermenter, load it with 15 pounds of rice, add 178F water, wait until the temperature drops down to around 90F, and pitch the Angel Yeast. Ingredients 15 pounds Nishiki rice 3 gallons of water at 178F 1/2 tsp. Gypsum 1/2 tsp. Fermaid O yeast nutrient 1 tsp. Alpha Amylase 1.5 gallons cold water 40 grams Angel Yeast Note:  Gypsum is added for water conditioning.  Fermaid O and Alpha Amylase are not strictly necessary, but I've been adding them because I have a good supply of both.  I add the Amylase when I add the hot water, to help break down the rice some before I pitch the yeast mix. Brewing process: Begin heating 3 gallons of water to 178F Sanitize 7 gallon fermenter Dump 15 pounds of rice into fermenter Add Gypsum, yeast nutrient, and a

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 Happy Belly (Amazon) 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 ferment

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 Aliexpress.com 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