Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hot Chile Wine Experiment

Chile wine didn't sound good to me until someone on the WinePress forum mentioned using it to marinate mushrooms. Then another WinePress friend, Wade, surprised me with a couple little bottles of his chile wines. His Hot Spot was a little hard to drink straight up but a splash in the cheap jug wine was fantastic. Plus, it did lovely things to pork and mushrooms.

I was going to wait until I could get fresh, ripe chiles this summer but Wade suggested making some with dried chiles. I didn't locate a recipe for dried chiles but a couple recipes for fresh jalapeno provided the start.

I suspect my small, plastic primary once used for hot pepper wine would have to be forever used for hot pepper wine so good thing I drink those jug wines and save the jugs! Later I  might need a dedicated primary but 4 liters is enough for now.

So, here's what I did:

5 good sized, dark red HOT Hatch chiles - seeded and broken up to fit through the neck of the 4 liter jug. John would like to actually drink the stuff so I didn't want to go too hot.
2 lbs (5 cups) white sugar
5 ounces whole dark raisins - an arbitrary amount. I elected to not chop them this time. Also arbitrary.
1 teaspoon of ground coriander - just seemed like a good idea.
1 1/2 teaspoons acid blend.
1/4 teaspoon tannin.
3/4 teaspoon yeast nutrient.
No K-meta yet but I'll probably add some later.

I got all that in the jug and poured in a quart of hot water, screwed the cap on and shook it until the sugar was dissolved. Then I added cold tap water until it was about 3 inches from the neck. I am leaving some room for foaming but I'll top it off with water later.

I pitched in a dry packet of Pasteur Champagne yeast, swirled it in slightly and then remembered I hadn't checked specific gravity. Well, even though I snagged some with a turkey baster right away, avoiding solids, I suspect (hope) my reading wasn't accurate. It came in at 1.120. That 15.8% potential alcohol, according to a chart I have . I'm not sure that's really possible with only 2 pounds of sugar in just under a gallon of water. If it is right,  that's going to be one strong brew! Wonder if it's too late to use my schmancy refractometer? Nope. It says 33 brix. That's even worse! Oh well. We'll see what happens.

Anyway, the chiles are already tinting it a nice reddish color and I can smell the coriander. Whatever it ends up being, it's already fun.

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