Being French, Madhouse Daddy Mike looked a bit bemused at the big wine homebrew kit that arrived from ibrew recently. When I explained that it contained everything we'd need to make our own wine just in time for Christmas and New Year, he was dubious but enthusiastic and started unpacking everything to see what was in the kit.
There's a big bucket, a paddle stirrer, some sterilising powder, sachets of yeast and yeast nutrients, four big cans of wine concentrate and various siphons and sachets and bits that we haven't used yet because they'll come in for stage two.
I had no idea of what to expect when we opened the wine concentrate cans but it looks like slightly foamy Ribena and smells of blackcurrant.
The instructions are dead easy to follow, even for complete wine-making novices like me and Madhouse Daddy Mike. The first thing to do is get the kit totally clean using the sterilising powder and cold tap water and leave it to stand for 15 minutes.
After rinsing out the bucket, you need to empty two of the big cans of wine concentrate into the bucket, add half a kettle full of boiled water then top it up with cold water to the 12 litre mark ... except there isn't one ! There's 10 litres and 15 litres marked on the side of the bucket but not 12 - hmmmm. Slight bit of guesswork then ! (As this was a review kit, provided for free, we may have old stock or something.)
Next comes the scientific bit - you need to add a sachet of wine yeast and another one of yeast nutrient, stir it all up and loosely put the lid back on.
Sophie glanced into the kitchen and said that Madhouse Daddy Mike looked like a witch stirring a potion in a big cauldron !
This is as far as we've got for now - our wine-to-be now needs to be left for several days to ferment, before the fun really begins and we can siphon it into a closed fermenter, leave it for a while longer then transfer it to wine dispenser boxes, ready to serve and (hopefully !) enjoy. I can't wait to unleash our homebrewed wine on the French in laws over Christmas to see what they make of it ! Hopefully it'll be nice because we have enough to make 30 bottles in total (2 x 15 bottles) !
The kit is designed to be reused and you can buy refill kits on the ibrew website. You also have a choice of wines - they propose a spicy, rich, full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, a light, delicate, floral Pinot Grigio, a golden, fresh, zingy Soave, a ruby red, soft on the palate, Merlot or a Shiraz Blush - a medium bodied rosé with floral overtones. There is also a kit for homebrewing beer.
The complete ibrew micro winery is available from www.ibrew.co.uk and www.wilkinsonplus.com and each kit costs from £70.00 per variety for two batches of 15 bottles. Refill kits cost from £24.99 to make a further 15 bottles of wine – less than £1.70 per bottle!
I've been very impressed at how simple it all is so far - the proof of the pudding will be in the
eating drinking though, so I'll let you know when it's ready to sample !
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £79.99 for the complete starter kit with enough to make 30 bottles
for more information : www.ibrew.co.uk
Disclosure : We received an ibrew wine making starter kit in order to write an honest review.
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