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Wales, United Kingdom
You know those diagrams in science textbooks that show the water cycle? Water evaporates from the sea and cools as it rises over the land until it condenses into clouds. Well that's where I live - where the clouds are born. It's very beautiful here, and it's also very damp. I don't yet know what I'll be writing about here. I had a blog a few years ago called, "Growing Things and Making Things," and there will be some continuity with that, but my life has moved on since then. I'm at a stage of reflection and re-evaluation - you could call it a mid life crisis - and this blog will reflect that. There'll be posts about things I'm doing - foraging, cooking, crafts, daft experiments (which may overlap with any or all of the other three) - posts about my thoughts on life, photos of beautiful Welsh scenery, maybe some Welsh language, and probably a bit of politics. Because it's important.

Monday, 23 December 2013

How to de-fizz homebrew

Some drinks are meant to be fizzy - beer, or elderflower champagne, for example - but if I make red wine, I don't usually want it fizzy. You'd think not-fizzy wine would be easy enough to achieve, but I find that mine often ends up with a slight sparkle. This is because some of the carbon dioxide produced during fermentation remains dissolved in the wine.

Happily, I've found a solution to this problem. I have a simple vacuum pump that is used for preserving half-bottles of wine. It came with a couple of rubber stoppers that include valves, so air can be pumped out of the bottle and won't get back in. Reducing the air pressure inside the bottle reduces how much oxygen will react with the wine and so reduces souring. However, if you use this on a fizzy drink, it also has another effect.

With reduced air pressure on the surface, the carbon dioxide comes out of solution and evaporates, effectively de-fizzing the wine. I've shown less than thirty seconds of this in the video, but it takes a lot longer than that to remove all the fizz. It's more effective if the bottle's less full, so there's a greater surface area to work on, and swirling the wine around helps bring more fizzy wine to the surface. I do this repeatedly until... I get fed up. The wine is generally a good deal smoother by this stage.

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