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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2007 * Archive through October 20, 2007 * How to make Tawny Port < Previous Next >

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Andrew Bales
Advanced Member
Username: Bales

Post Number: 509
Registered: 10-2002
Posted From: 65.28.44.253
Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - 02:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think this is the last alcohol based homemade product that I want to drink that I can make.

I am thinking some mead&wine based vodka fortified drink aging in a bucket for a year or two with wood chips? What about heat...I see heat and cold improve it...should I stick this stuff in the attic? I don't know anything about port but want to give it a shot.

Anyone got any good ideas or links for this stuff?
 

Miker
Advanced Member
Username: Miker

Post Number: 676
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 69.15.183.207
Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - 02:58 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Check out rec.crafts.winemaking and search for port.

You can get a port kit, or start from grapes (not sure exactly what you mean by mead&wine based drink) then fortify with everclear or high proof brandy if you can get it.

I've made a couple of ports from grapes but never heard of the heat or cold thing. After fermenting at normal wine temps, aging takes place at cellar temps. Tawny port results from many years in oak (or with oak chips) with slow oxidation taking place. I suppose you could speed that up with heat, but I think the results would be like anything you try to take shortcuts with.
 

Andrew Bales
Advanced Member
Username: Bales

Post Number: 510
Registered: 10-2002
Posted From: 65.28.44.253
Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - 03:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I heard this on some website describing Manderia
http://www.pfv.org/html/symington-making-madeira.htm

Don't have any idea what a Manderia is. I don't get out much.

I'll take a look.

Miker - did you like what you made? Got a recipe? Got a recipe not to follow?
 

Paul Erbe
Advanced Member
Username: Perbe

Post Number: 942
Registered: 05-2001
Posted From: 64.233.251.195
Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - 04:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Port is a sweet fortified wine.

The traditional way to do this is to stop the fermentation while there is still some residual sweetness left in the must. As Miker points out this is done by adding enough alcohol to the fermenting wine to kill off the yeast. Port is normally about 20% alcohol so you will need to know the brix of your starting must and add the appropriate amount of brandy, everclear or grape sprirts(raw brandy) to get to the 20 % area. You will probably need to adjust the sweetness by adding sugar after the yeast is knocked out cause it is pretty difficult to hit it at the right time.

By using brandy that has been aged in oak you take advantage of having some of the aging flavors that are part of the port profile.
 

Paul Erbe
Advanced Member
Username: Perbe

Post Number: 943
Registered: 05-2001
Posted From: 64.233.251.195
Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - 04:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I concur with miker that the best you can hope for is a California style port wine unless you have the patience to age etc...
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 7637
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.225.170
Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - 04:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've been to Madeira. It's a Portuguese volcanic island in the Atlantic with a mild climate (only very occasional frosts). They have been making strong, sweet, well-aged wines there since the 1500s. As the others have said, it's the aging and blending (with brandy and even older wine) that make the difference. I can't say Madeira is my favorite wine, but I did enjoy sampling some very rare ones when I was there. It's the kind of thing that evokes images of old Victorians wearing tweed and smoking cigars.

What everyone says about making your own Madeira or port is true. It would be a serious challenge (it could take 20 years) to create a truly great one.
 

Miker
Advanced Member
Username: Miker

Post Number: 677
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 69.15.183.207
Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - 06:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't have the exact recipes with me, but the two times I made port I started with very high brix (= late harvest) Merlot grapes and then followed the traditional method as outlined by Paul. I was out to make ruby port, but one batch got quite a bit of oxidation at some point and we call it our tawny port. I didn't find it too hard to hit the sweetness I wanted but you do have to measure gravity and taste often when it gets close. If you miss your target you can ferment to dry (or until fermentation stops if you have super high brix grapes), then resweeten to taste. I then fortified with high proof brandy that I got from a pro winemaker friend (you really can't buy it without the proper permits in the US) to about 19% abv. You want to use the highest proof stuff you can get so you don't lend too much of the flavor from say a low proof brandy to your port.

To answer your question about how it turned out, it is extraordinary imho, esp. the non-oxidized version. One has been in the bottle since 2002, the other 2003 and they just get better and better each year.

Like any great wine, you need to get really good grapes and have some time involved to make great port, but I think you can definitely make some drinkable stuff with decent grapes and a little aging. Afterall, it is pretty high alcohol, so that will cover a lot of off-flavors. I've read that some of the kits make pretty good port as well.

If you want to try some different ports to see what to shoot for, go to the liquor store and get most anything that's from the Duoro Valley in Portugal and it will usu. be outstanding. Compare with stuff from California, Australia or South Africa and if you like those ok, you can probably match them with anything you make at home. They just aren't as good as the more expensive Portugal ports.
 

bierslayer
Junior Member
Username: Bierslayer

Post Number: 92
Registered: 04-2004
Posted From: 128.104.92.246
Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - 08:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Andrew,

I would urge you to check out the Black Harbor Dessert Mead from White Winter in Iron River, WI. If I didn't know it was a mead you could have fooled me into believing it was a port.

http://www.whitewinter.com/?202002002009

At a minimum, you might get an idea for making something similar given the description they give for the Black Harbor.
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 2878
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 74.7.7.66
Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - 09:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I got to try some of the ABC that Steve Jones made and the first thing I though was this is like a 20 year tawney port. A friend that was with me that is majorly into port (along with his dad) thought the same thing. We're going to be making up a batch in a week or so now.

Kinda fits in with bierslayer's post on the mead.
 

Sand
Intermediate Member
Username: Sand

Post Number: 333
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 209.173.170.10
Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - 10:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

http://www.chiff.com/wine/port-sherry.htm
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 7639
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.225.170
Posted on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - 12:23 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ports, madeiras (and ABC) acquire certain sherry-like oxidative notes as they age. For that matter, so do some barley wines and old ales such as Thomas Hardy. These are generally considered positive attributes, although they can become excessive and eventually out of balance.
 

Andrew Bales
Advanced Member
Username: Bales

Post Number: 512
Registered: 10-2002
Posted From: 65.28.44.253
Posted on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - 03:01 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Great stuff people.

That is why I was thinking wine kits and honey - kick it up to the point that 1116 or 1118 just die and then pour in the vodka/brandy/oak chips and let it go. Dump in some ground up raisins as well in primary.

Makes me glad I have done 2 abcs this year. I need to get working on that cider press!

Had some 8 year old mead (15# on dry yeast) that was amazing. It just smoked the cheap ports you can buy. I got ABC coming out my ears but its all this year. I really love aged mead - so much so my 3 & 5 year old batches are gone. I have done 4 meads this year to make up for that and was going do to a blackberry "port" mead and let that one age as well.

White Winters was pretty good. Not as good as that 8 year old mead that day, or my 3 & 5 year old lime melomels. We (the mead class) sampled all of their stuff that afternoon. Not bad. Mendovina from Boulder is pretty good as well. Black current (white winter?) was the best, but I can really sense that with some good age and a tad more sweetness. I am not sure if I bought that mead, will have to check records. We sampled about 20 meads that day. I bought every mead on http://www.honeywine.com that was available.

I will just put it in carboys and let it go. I was going to use buckets and get some oxygen, but really I got to wonder on that one.

However I did see a few posts from some guy that did put it in buckets for 02 aging.

If you have not found some Vikings Blod, go get some (20% mead Polish style). A very port mead as well.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 7642
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.225.170
Posted on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - 10:51 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Polish meads are very interesting: http://www.apis.pl/?en

I've had Jadwiga, which is 25 years old, 18 percent ABV and supposedly flavored with raspberries and wild roses. It also has many complex sherry and oxidative notes. I prefer it to most old ports.
 

Andrew Bales
Advanced Member
Username: Bales

Post Number: 524
Registered: 10-2002
Posted From: 208.74.88.49
Posted on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 - 02:42 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For those of you that want to try Polish style meads make sure and buy one that is not too dusty. Like British beers, alot of them have suffered greatly on the way and are not better for it.

I have decided on my last two meads that were too sweet I am going to dose them up with some Vodka (after removing the oak chips) and rebottle them in the same bottles + add "port" on the labels. Have not decided if I should put them back in carboys for greater 02 presense or just bottle some in usual beer caps (those are much more leaky than 02 barrier caps). Oh its time for another science experiment.
 

mikel
Member
Username: Mikel

Post Number: 138
Registered: 02-2001
Posted From: 4.246.250.153
Posted on Saturday, October 13, 2007 - 09:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have two experiences with homemade port, one that I made and one a friend used to make. For mine I used a ruby port kit and fermented it via the instructions. Racked it to a 3 gallon carboy with oak chips and enough cheap brandy to get it up to the required alcohol percent, this was all explained in the instructions. It didn't seem sweet enough for me so I added (1) 46oz. can of Alexanders grape concentrate. aged it for 6 months and bottled. People seemed to really enjoy it.

A friend used to make one regularly. He would use a wine concentrate kit for some full bodied red, the concentrate volume of the brand of kit he used was around 3 gallons or so. Ferment it at full strength till finished and add brandy to get it up to proper alcohol %. Then he would rack it into a 3 gallon oak barrel with a spigot for serving. He kept the barrel on the kitchen counter. Great thing was as the barrel was emptied the port oxidized and concentrated from evaporation. It just seemed to get better and better.