Making Yeast Serve YOU!

This is one of those posts where I fully embrace my cluelessness and am looking to you to fill in the knowledge base….

Recently, I have taken up wine making. Mostly, I took up wine making vs. beer brewing simply because a couple of my friends had gone down the brewing path and are kicking ass at it. Might as well spread the net wide…

I cannot make any claim to expertise. Actually, I can only claim ignorance. But I can suggest a couple of publications that have been very helpful.

The Alaskan Bootlegger’s Bible is a collection of knowledge, recipes, and anecdotes written from the perspective of a supposed frontiersman type character.

I have no idea if the lore part of it is true, but it is amusing and, certainly, based upon reasonable historical situations.

However, the science is sound and the book is full of cheap hacks — real maker’s solutions — to producing alcohol in just about any situation.

Despite the “remote outback hack it up and ferment it” attitude, the book does focuses considerable energy on how and why investing a bit more time or modern technology into the alcohol — this book isn’t just wine and beer, but distillation, too — production process yields a less poisonous and more palatable product.

And it is fun to read.

The second book is Raymond Massaccesi’s Winemaker’s Recipe Handbook. My local fermentation arts shop had a copy, but it seems to be largely out of print or otherwise unavailable.

In any case, it contains a very straightforward handful of paragraphs regarding winemaking and is then followed by over a hundred recipes for making wine from just about every fruit, berry, and/or vegetable you can imagine.

Finally, it contains a bit of text on developing your own recipes. All in all, it provides an excellent foundation for developing wines out of whatever fruits you might have.

Sadly, it does not directly have a recipe for Mango wine, but I believe the book contains enough information to provide a foundation for creating such a wine. (And, yes, I’m terribly jealous of anyone who has such an abundance of mangoes as to explore potential recipes! I look forward to hearing of the results!)

8 Responses to “Making Yeast Serve YOU!”

  1. Duncan says:

    Just off the top of my head I’d pulp 3-4 pounds of mangos, allow to sit for 24 hours like you do for grapes, then add to your five gallons of water and add enough sugar to get up to a reasonable starting gravity; something similar to the initial gravity for a wine. Then ferment as usual, straining out the pulp when you rack to your secondary.

  2. A bit more on red wine | SmarterNights says:

    […] bbum’s weblog-o-mat » Blog Archive » Making Yeast Serve YOU! […]

  3. Scott Thompson says:

    I might suggest Basic Brewing Radio and Video as a resource as well. In particular:

    Dandelion Wine

  4. Wine making in a more simple form? | SmarterNights says:

    […] bbum’s weblog-o-mat » Blog Archive » Making Yeast Serve YOU! […]

  5. convert says:

    Thanks for directly replying to my previous comment. Yes I will let you know, pretty soon, how I go. As soon as the mango wine starts to ferment I’ll take a photo that I can email you; also the box of mangoes (at 10$AUD from local food markets). I’m using two smaller demijohns for the fermentation, 4.5 liters = 1.2 gallon each. That is if these are called demijohns; the type like a large bottle with a ring formed from glass at the top for easy carrying. My plan is to fully fill one of the bottles after the clearing, when the sediment sits at the bottom. In the past my father used to make wine out of soft cherries, or raspberries and other berries that I don’t know what they are called in English (‘ribezle’ … these grow on a bush of up to 3′ = 90cm tall and they come in yellow-whitish, red or black color). The wine was very nice, sweet and strong like a liquor. One time he made wines from white rice, white and red. This was during fruitless months and we kept it ferment closed in a cupboard next to hot water system, which was the only warm enough place for maintaining fermentation on under the house in winter. I remember him using a little piece of bred crust instead of the yeast with the rice wines.

  6. Papa Joe says:

    Bill, Bill, Bill, y make your own when there is a plethora of california wineries 10 minutes from your house???
    Napa is close also.
    we have San Sebastian Winery her in St. Augustine, which is supposed to be the oldest winery in the country…and the wines taste like it too!!!
    It proves u can make wine out of most things but the taste is not always palatable.
    have some Caymus on hand for my visit. Conundrum or 1994- 1995 Caymus Cabernet.

  7. bmacpiper says:

    Hey bbum,
    As an avid homebrewer, I applaud your efforts!!! I keep bees also and have an abundance of honey this year, so some mead may be in the future also… I can heartily second the notion that a little care in process and cleanliness go a long way to a headache-free tomorrow.

    Anyway, if the out-of-print book you’re describing is purple, I have a copy and believe I know where you can get one also.

    As an aside, I just did a huge turkey on the egg, and had to credit you on my blog. So if you need to get some sleep, check it out at

    Take care,

  8. The Bottled Grape says:

    I have yet to make mango wine, but it does sound interesting. What I usually do if I am looking for a new recipe is visit Jack Kellers site at He has an unbelievable collection of recipes.

    I started out at a beer brewer and progressed into wine making, been doing it for over 10 years now. I think you made a good choice if picking just one over the other. Wine is not as easy to mess up as beer is, however, it does take longer before you have a good bottle to drink. If you are interested, take a look at my site for good recipes and even a forum.

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