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Liqueur Making

 
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I found this years ago when I and the public internet were young and it's still awesome. It's how I got into liqueur making.

"In this site, I try to present some of the lessons I've learned about this art (it's difficult to call it a science), discuss what liqueurs are and aren't, offer some recipes, and generally make an introductory reference for anyone who wants to try their hand."

http://www.guntheranderson.com/liqueurs.htm
 
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Very cool, I've been making my own since 1977, I also make my own Port and Sherry.
Glad to see you are sharing the knowledge Amit.
I think all parts of alcohol making are both art and science, the art gives the unique flavor profiles and the science determines the actual process.

 
Amit Enventres
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Yes! So much of dealing with the garden is a mixture of right and left brain stuff! We were told by the engineering students that our soils classes were their hardest classes because of that. I never met this Gunther Anderson guy,  but I'm glad he's around and sharing that art/science. I'll be passing the knowledge on a little today with a liqueur starting party, and then in a week with a straining of fast steepers and then in a month for slow steepers and the sugar and tasting. Come if your close by.
 
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Thanks for sharing, this looks like a great resource. I thoroughly enjoy making and drinking liqueurs. Just started some cherry brandy (one of my all time favorites) as well as currants in gin. That one is new to me; I've done currants in vodka in the past, but it was suggested to me here at permies that in the Netherlands, they soak the currants in gin; it's called bessenjenever (jenever being plain gin).
https://permies.com/t/87884/kitchen/Red-Currants
Of course I have to try that! Started one jar with sugar and one without. The traditional way is with sugar but I don't like to consume much sugar (close to zero right now). That is probably why I like the cherry or blackberry brandy so much since it has it's own natural sweetness.
I also had a batch of currants in vodka with sugar go foamy and weird (not drinkable) on me a couple years ago. I've never had that happen before or since, not sure what happened there.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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If you are the distiller, any sugars you add to the mash end up as alcohol content of the finished product.

If you are using the steep it in already made alcohol, please do leave out as much sugar as your taste buds will allow.
 
Sally Munoz
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:If you are the distiller, any sugars you add to the mash end up as alcohol content of the finished product.

If you are using the steep it in already made alcohol, please do leave out as much sugar as your taste buds will allow.



I wish I was the distiller!
So far I am just the steeper/concocter.
Totally agree about the sugar; I'd rather taste all the different flavors than just drink syrup. A friend gave me her Gernan recipe for a quince liqueur that had added sugar. I left it out completely and added cinnamon sticks. It was made with Everclear (190 proof) and holy cow, was that too much to drink neat. I added it to a cup of hot water and was hooked. Yummy stuff. I didn't think it needed any sugar.
 
Amit Enventres
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I think the guy who made the site uses honey a lot as simple syrup.  I taste test and then sugar accordingly,  but as little as we drink of this stuff (it took me about 3 years to empty 4 small bottles, with gifting some and guests) that it's not a major concern of mine. Corn syrup is something I don't do,  but sugar I think of as a seasoning,  just like salt and basil.
 
Sally Munoz
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Amit Enventres wrote:I think the guy who made the site uses honey a lot as simple syrup.  I taste test and then sugar accordingly,  but as little as we drink of this stuff (it took me about 3 years to empty 4 small bottles, with gifting some and guests) that it's not a major concern of mine. Corn syrup is something I don't do,  but sugar I think of as a seasoning,  just like salt and basil.



Oh definitely! Sugar totally changes things, that's why I started one batch of the currants with and one without. ;) It's fun to experiment. Now honey...that is going to be interesting in liqueurs,  can't believe I haven't tried that yet. One of our favorite wines we've made is melomel/pymet,  with our wild grapes and honey, mmm delish.
 
Amit Enventres
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Sally Munoz wrote:
Oh definitely! Sugar totally changes things, that's why I started one batch of the currants with and one without. ;) It's fun to experiment. Now honey...that is going to be interesting in liqueurs,  can't believe I haven't tried that yet. One of our favorite wines we've made is melomel/pymet,  with our wild grapes and honey, mmm delish.



If all goes well this will be our first major grape harvest! I suspect we'll make a lot of juice, I'd love to make wine, but I'm scared. I don't want it to go bad in a dangerous way or just be super nasty any hints for a first timer?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Wine making is really pretty easy, I like to use the same carboys that beer brewers use with the airlock, that keeps stray yeast out.
The real first trick is to get the grapes crushed properly (the foot stomp method is stomp and twist to get a complete crush of the grape) this is so you get the flavonoids from the skin and release all the juice from the grape pulp.
You can then either remove the skins or leave them in (skins make for more flavor profile but add two extra steps at the back end of the fermentation).
The best way to remove skins is by filtering (large funnel and coffee filter works great for this) then you add the wine yeast for a "wort" type ferment.

I make both styles of wine, and I like to use an 18% tolerance yeast.

Wine, like beer, requires you look at your brewing process daily so you don't let the ferment go too long but also you don't want to stop the process too early.
If you want a sparkling wine, you will first make the wine, filter it and then add a tea spoon to a table spoon of sugar and new yeast just before corking and you need to wire the cork on.
You then want to rack the bottles cork down and you will turn (twist) the bottles weekly as the new yeast uses the sugar to make the bubbles (and more alcohol content).

Wine can be distilled which makes brandy (cognac is a brandy).

True, distilled liqueurs (Old world style) are usually fruit based ferments on the fruit then they are distilled and aged in new barrels for up to 25 years (smaller barrels speed up the aging process for small batch distillers).
 
Sally Munoz
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Amit Enventres wrote:

If all goes well this will be our first major grape harvest! I suspect we'll make a lot of juice, I'd love to make wine, but I'm scared. I don't want it to go bad in a dangerous way or just be super nasty any hints for a first timer?



Excellent on the grapes!
Follow a good recipe and you'll do fine!
I made my first wine 4 years ago and have only done 6 batches total so I'm no expert (although I ferment a LOT), but I would say that while you're learning, follow recipes pretty closely and be super clean. All equipment should be sanitized as best as you can. You could use different fruits mixed together, but use the same weight called for and I would certainly follow the amounts given for all additives.
My main wine book is called The Joy of Home Winemaking by Terry Garey and I have found her writing style easy to follow and all the wines have turned out very well.
I did find the Pyment (left out the "n" in my last post) recipe in The Backyard Homestead edited by Carleen Madigan. Apparently,  melomel is any fruit wine made with honey,  pyment is the one made with wild Concord-like grapes. It was our first wine and I keep meaning to make it again every year. This thread is definitely inspiring me!
If you do make pyment, I would suggest a mild flavored honey,  at least the first time you make it so it's more balanced.
 
Sally Munoz
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Got my cherry brandy started!
20180701_184350.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20180701_184350.jpg]
 
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I've had "Cherry Bounce" before.  It did have a fair amount of sugar, but was nice to sip on .....and of course, the cherries are fun to eat loaded with spirits!

Peace
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Amit, this site might be of interest to you.  

Northern Brewer

Redhawk
 
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