This past weekend (March 9, 2012) I started a new brew. I'm using Ram's Head Weizenbock from eBrew.com (Alternative Beverage). My yeast is Safbrew T-58 (10 grams). This isn't the yeast that Alternative Beverage specifically recommends but I have something in mind. I was looking for a yeast than can tolerate a high alcoholic content. I'll explain why later.
The first thing to do when preparing a brew session is to start your yeast. It needs to be active and ready to go to work when you pitch into the wort. I typically use the dry packs. Check the direction on the package to see if there are any temperature restrictions. I usually use 1-2 cups of water at ~80 F with 1 tbsp of powdered sugar. You can see here, after 45 minutes of brewing the yeast is alive and kicking.
I purchased some hop rhizomes from my local brewing shop. I got Cascade and Magnum. Which are supposed to be two varieties that are both hardy and popular for beer recipes. For once the layout of my yard is really working to my advantage. I have a side of the house that faces south without anything else going on over there. I followed their instructions for planting and they should be ready to grow up some twine to my roof line.
This time I took pictures along the way. You can view it here at my flickr page.
October 4, 2008
Started Scuppernong #2. Used 15 lbs fresh picked grapes, very ripe & 21 lbs frozen grapes (picked this season.) Cleaned with vinegar water mixture. Next time, should clean grapes before freezing, very cold on the fingers.
October 6, 2008
Racked, SG = 1.086
January 6, 2009
Racked, SG = 0.996
April 28, 2009
Racked, SG = 0.992 @ 75ºF, Which gives roughly a 12.7% alcohol
There was not too much sediment on this racking. This wine is probably ready to bottle. We'll give it 2 months to see how much sediment drops out.
We added about 1 Tbsp of sugar to possibly allow the yeast culture to grow once more.