About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

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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