Our Brew Blog & News


California Grapes- Our Primitivo! 0

So.... this has been a really fun project so far, involving Asheville Brewers Supply, Asheville Bacchus, and Eagles Nest Winery & Vineyard. Our friend, Tom Mincarelli, is an award-winning winemaker (both locally and internationally) as well as the man behind Eagles Nest. Through Mincarelli's networks, we were able to line up delivery of several lugs of various varietals for a few lucky folks. Varietals included Barbera, Primitivo, Cab Sauv, and Merlot. We are hoping to expand upon this next year and bring in a larger supply for more of our customers.

Anyway, on a somewhat dreary drizzly Sunday---Sept. 27, 2015---we all convened at Eagles Nest in Black Mountain, NC for a good old fashioned grape crush. Actually, Eagles Nest has a high-end Italian crusher-destemmer, so the work was quick.
I (Tedd) purchased 3 lugs of Primitivo, a grape related to Zinfandel. Each lug was 36 pounds. The stats on the grapes were as such:  Brix/26.5   Sp. Gravity/1.114  pH/3.58  TA/.60%

After the crush, we all socialized a bit with some tasty hors d'oeuvres and vino. It was marvelous, even though this author was spectacularly hungover after the French Broad River Festival the evening before. Post-crush and social, I took the buckets of primitivo down to our friends at Whistle Hop Brewing in Fairview, where they let me store them for a 5-day cold maceration period (this was to extract full flavor and color). Each day, we punched down the skins.

After the maceration period, I took the buckets home and placed them in my basement, where they sit at a steady 65F. For the yeast, I opted for the Lalvin RC-212, a great choice for full bodied reds. Zinfandel is sometimes a bit thin on its own and needs to be blended with something for additional depth. Because the lug of petit syrah I had ordered burned up on the vine, I'm doing this as straight Primitivo; therefore, I think I can use the yeast to achieve the characteristics I'm looking for. The yeast accentuates fruit and berry, also providing some spice and pepper notes- perfect for Primitivo. It also gets great color and flavor extraction and helps stabilize the tannins. 

After 9 days of relatively cool fermentation, my Brix was at 7.5 (1.030 SG), giving an approximate abv of 10.5%. I decided to press so that subsequent fermentation would use up and scrub out the oxygen that would be introduced. It was an immaculate day with nice temperate weather and no rain! I apologize in advance that this website automatically rotates these pics. Very annoying.

It took two pressings to do all of the grapes. When finished, I combined the two pomace cakes in the press and did a final pressing.


All in all, I ended up with 9 gallons of delicious (yes, I drank some!) Primitivo that is again happily fermenting away. Tonight, I will check the gravity and tomorrow I will likely be adding malolactic bacteria to the fermenters. We'll keep you posted as this progresses. Frankly, we're fired up for next grape season. Also, we do rent out the press you see pictured.

End of Sept. News 0

We are moving our Brewers Socials to Tuesdays. As such, our next social is tomorrow night, the 29th. Bring some labelled brew to share and enjoy some Asheville Pizza on us. We'll have some Dark English Old Ale soured on Wicked Weed Oblivion barrel staves. We'll be sipping suds from 6-8:30ish, so bring a friend and join us!

The next free all-grain class is going to be October 3rd from 1:30-4:30ish. We'll be drinking a German Altbier and brewing something up with some Swaen malt, a new maltster we just picked up! But before that, we are going to do a free kegging workshop on Friday from 6-7pm. This is also free of charge, though we won't have any beer to serve. We will, however, discuss all kinds of fun things, such as PSI, CO2 volumes, equilibriums, and carb charts! It's more fun than it sounds.

Any cidermakers interested in attending NC Ciderfest in November should email us. We would love to have you join us and share some of your cider with attendees and enjoy the festival.

Busy Weekend- A coupla classes. 0

We'd just like to remind you that we have our Free All-grain brewing class this Saturday from 1:30-4:30ish. This is brewing the commercial way, without extracts. Fee free to bring anyone, and maybe a chair too!

Also, this Sunday (the 13th) is our first winemaking class. This is a fundamentals class that will show you how easy---I mean REALLY easy---it is to make quality wine at home with minimal time and equipment using one of our many kits. Whether you like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cab Sauv., or a wonderful blend, we've got you covered; and you can make it year-round!

The wine class only costs ten bucks and we are offering it at two different times: noon to 2pm and 3 to 5pm. Reserve your space in advance either via phone or swing by the shop. You'll also get a free goodie to take home.

In other news, kegged up a Sour Old Ale earlier today. We brewed this with our friend, Brett Rudolph, back in February on his Blichmann BrewEasy (which he acquired at a right reasonable price from yours truly). We brewed ten gallons of a Dark English Old Ale and split it into two different fermenters, one for the each of us. We fermented it with WLP007 Dry English Ale yeast and then racked to secondary, where we tossed some chunks of barrel staves from a retired Wicked Weed Oblivion barrel.

This beer is already incredibly complex and delicious, with a firm clean acidity and delicious notes of toffee and molasses. Can't wait to get this carbed up and pouring! We'll definitely bring some to share at this month's Brewers Social.

  • Theodore Clevenger