Tips, tricks, techniques - everything you’ve wanted to know about beer, wine, and cidermaking are covered in our top 10 most viewed blog articles! Were we a little surprised that only 3 of these are about winemaking? Yes. Were we surprised that the #1 article is not about winemaking or homebrewing? Also yes. Below we count down our 10 most popular blog articles, knowing there’s definitely something covered for everyone.
Even if you think you love a dry wine, there can be such a thing as too dry and knowing how to sweeten your wine (without fermenting the added sugars) is essential. Using a wine conditioner can be an all-in-one solution for your wine, but we also cover using grape concentrate, ordinary table sugar, and fruit juice for making your wine a little less dry. You may choose a different route depending on if you’re making a traditional grape wine vs a fruit wine, but all of the solutions laid out in our article will do the trick.
You can dry hop (add hops in secondary) with pellets or leaf hops to bring more hop aroma to your beer. A lot of brewing is up to your own taste preference, but we give our recommendations, tips, and tricks on when and how to dry hop for the freshest hop aroma in your homebrew without adding so much that it’s overpowering.
Okay first, what do they do? How do you know you need to use them? Gotta read the article for that (sorry). In your winemaking, you’ll add campden tablets to your 1st, 3rd, and 5th racking - up until the last racking before bottling. It’s an easy step of crushing and dissolving, and we’ll also go over why it’s necessary.
Stuck fermentations are pretty rare, but they do happen! We’ll cover a few things to check first (like an airtight seal at the airlock) and then go into how you can fix your stuck fermentation in just a few steps, with just a few added ingredients, including yeast energizer and pitching a highly active strain of fresh yeast.
NA beer has become very popular, with lots of breweries offering non-alcoholic options that actually taste good. And yes, you can make it at home too! Most of the steps are the same as making alcoholic beer, with the unique step of boiling and evaporating out the alcohol. We cover the basic steps and give tips on how to keep the boiled down beer from being too bitter.
Adding calcium carbonate to raise the pH of your mash (when it’s too low/too acidic) and adding calcium sulfate/calcium chloride to lower pH (for a mash that’s too basic/alkaline) are both very easy steps to take! It comes down to adding in half a teaspoon at a time, mixing, and rechecking the pH after each addition. Our article also covers what to do if you’re brewing with soft water, when you may want to consider using mash stabilizer, and the “acid rest” technique.
This mostly breaks down into what you’re adding hops for: bittering, flavor, and aroma. Even if you don’t want a bitter beer, you’ll have at least one bittering hop addition to balance the sweetness of the malt - then the rest (including which hop variety) is up to you! If you’re not following a recipe, our blog article will help you figure out a hop schedule for your next brew.
Bottle conditioning is great for bringing beers on the go, but not waiting 2 weeks for beer to carbonate is also great. Which is why many homebrewers eventually switch to kegging and our guide lays out the handful of simple steps toward carbonating your beer in just 24 hours.
New brewers might want to build up their patience with a lighter ale before diving in with a heavier ABV beer or a lager that takes more time to age. Not as long of a wait as winemaking, but dark lagers and higher alcohol beers can be in secondary for over a year - and that’s after a 2-3 month primary for lagers. We outline why some are just a quick couple of weeks vs over a year, and include a chart with primary and secondary fermentation guidelines.
Were we shocked that a blog article on hard cider was our most popular? Yes and no. Sure we thought the #1 slot would be wine, but hard cider is pretty awesome so it makes sense. It’s a simple process, you can easily adjust how sweet or dry you make your hard cider, and if you’re already brewing or winemaking, you have all the equipment you’ll need!
To learn everything there is to know about Winemaking, Homebrewing, Cider Making and more, check out our Bottled Knowledge blog.