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How to Brew Champagne or Sparkling Wine With Home Brewing Caps

March 12, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 139

Home brewing Champagne / Sparkling wine

Here are some instructions for Home brewing "champagne" via two methods. The first brewing method is quite simple to master and it gives excellent results but the only downside is that you do end up with some sediment in the bottles. The second set of instructions is actually the traditional method that is used in brewing 'real' champagne. This second method is a little bit more arduous and slightly more challenging but the final result is well worth it.

How to Home brew Country Champagne (easy) with Home brewing Caps

Home brewing your own sparkling wine can be a very complicated process if you decide to do it by the traditional "Methode Champenoise". But there is an alternative method that gives wonderful results with a bare minimum of effort. Although sparkling wine can be made from a variety of materials, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Riesling are the preferred grape varieties. It is best to use a good quality all-grape product for making champagne.

You're going to need a hydrometer before you start home brewing your champagne. These can be purchased quite cheaply online or from your local home brew shop.

It is essential that the starting gravity be between 1.070 and 1.080 no higher.

In addition you will need a basic home brew starter kit for the initial brewing stages. I suggest using home brewing caps (special pressure valve caps used for the home brewing fermentation process not to be confused with crown caps and bottling caps) as they act as a preliminary pressurizer, they take up a minimum of space and they are easy to use. You will also need a bottle capper and some crown caps for the secondary brewing phase (unlike brewing other drinks making champagne requires multiple phases).

1) First, make your base wine. Follow the standard procedures for making white wine up through to the end of fermentation.

2) As soon as fermentation has ceased, siphon the wine into an open bucket. The wine should be a little cloudy, if not add a bit of yeast sediment to the bucket from the bottom of the fermentation bottles.

3) Make a simple sugar syrup using 100 grams of cane sugar per gallon of wine. To make this syrup, heat a mixture of one part water and two parts sugar (by volume). Heat to boiling point. The mixture will turn to syrup by the time the boiling point is reached.

4) Stir the sugar syrup, gently but thoroughly, into the wine.

5) Siphon the wine immediately into champagne bottles and cap them with crown caps.

6) Stand the bottles upright in a cool place for 3 months. The wine should be clear now with some sediment on the bottom, if not let stand for another month or until crystal clear. After this period, refrigerate the bottles at 0C. to precipitate tartrate crystals over the yeast. This will help hold it down when pouring.

The Methode Champenoise of Home Brewing (difficult)

The basic rules are the same in the methode champenoise as in the preceding 'easy' home brewing method. The wine must be fermented and ready for maturing, however the base wine should not have an alcohol content higher than 11.5% (23 proof). To encourage refermentation in the bottles, no stabilizer should be used. Add metatartric acid, or refrigerate your home brew to facilitate the elimination of tartrate deposits before bottling. If the wine is not perfectly clear, then it may be necessary to filter it. Then stir either one cup of sugar or 1 and 1/4 cups of dextrose into each 20 litres of wine. Stir in yeast to restart fermentation.

The next step is bottling, only use bottles made for sparkling wines, other glass bottles may not be able to handle the pressure that builds up. In the methode champenoise, you have to use caps made for beer bottles, and a Capper. When all the bottles are capped, let them stand for 6 - 12 weeks at a temperature of 15C - 20C (60 F - 70 F) Then, remove the cap of one bottle to verify if enough gas is present; if so, proceed with disgorging.

Disgorging is a delicate operation, done after all the yeast sediment formed during the refermentation process has gradually settled in the neck of the bottle. This is achieved by placing the bottles upside-down in cardboard cartons, and giving each bottle a half-turn every day for two or three weeks.

Thus, when all the sediment is lodged in the neck, against the stopper, it is time for disgorging. Unless you are a past master at this skill, we do not recommend that you carry it out at room temperature, or you may lose two-thirds of your production, and probably your patience as well. Our suggestion is to freeze part of the sparkling wine so that you can extract only the small frozen portion next to the stopper.

There are two ways to do this. The first is to prepare a brine, by mixing one part of coarse salt with 4 parts of crushed ice, in a large tub. The bottles are stuck upside-down in the ice and salt, deep enough so that the contents will be allowed to freeze up to a level of about 1.25 cm. (1/2 in.) above the sediment layer in the neck.

When this level has frozen, you can begin disgorging. Speed is of the essence in this operation if you want to keep most of your sparkling wine. Place an empty recipient (the primary fermenter will do) on a slant in front of you (between your legs, or propped against something solid) and remove the cap of the bottle. Hold the frozen part of the neck firmly, pointing it towards the pail (or other recipient) and wait until the pressure expels the frozen sediment into the recipient (with any luck). Then, stop up the neck immediately with your thumb. After about fifteen seconds, take a sterilized plastic stopper with your free hand and forcefully insert it into the neck of the bottle.

Tie down the cap with a wire hood (Champagne wire) so that it cannot shoot out. Repeat this procedure with each of the bottles.

It takes considerable dexterity to accomplish the disgorging of sparkling wine without waste or mess.

*Simpler additional recipes can be found at along with other important homebrewing information*

Source: EzineArticles
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