Introduction: How to Make Tropical Dessert Wine (in Climates Like Singapore!)

About: Hi! I'm Thaddeus and I'm an undergraduate at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (established in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and this is the bit of the internet wher…

Ever wanted to make your own sweet dessert wine? Here’s the easiest way to get started, for only $6 a standard wine bottle.

Afraid your climate isn't suitable for brewing? Fret not, with the right yeast, you can brew almost anywhere.

Enough of the (supposedly) attention grabbing one-liners, time to get down to business!

Here is the YouTube guide for those who prefer seeing the action right away:

The history bit of the Instructable:

The oldest alcohol archaeological records suggest that humans were brewing alcohol as early as about 9000 years ago! The Chinese fermented rice and honey whereas the Middle East fermented barley and grapes. So, if prehistoric humans could, with their state of the art technology, brew, drink, and be happy, I'm sure anybody today can do so to!

Today, we'll be focusing specifically on mead (honey wine). So, let's get started!

Step 1: Shopping

Unsurprisingly, you can get most of the things that you need from around the house! So, I've included two lists of stuff that you'll need to procure.

Lying around somewhere list:

1. Large plastic container (fermenter)

2. Honey

3. Water

4. Blu-tack

5. Glass bottle/plastic bottle (finished product)

Actually go out and get list:

1. Brewing yeast (Lalvin EC 1118)

This is the commando strain of brewing yeasts. It can withstand high temperatures necessary for brewing in the tropics and brews faster than your average yeast. You can find these on Ebay for about $1 a sachet.

2. Airlock (3 piece preferably)

Reason is that the 3 piece design makes it easier to clean, in the scenario that the brew overflows into your airlock. You can also find these on Ebay for $1 a set.

If you live in Singapore like me, you can get these from iBrew.

Step 2: Preperation

Its power drilling time! You'll need to make a hole in the lid of the large plastic container to put your airlock in. If you don't happen to have one lying around, you can use a readily available kitchen knife or a pair of scissors.

Step 3: Mixing

Before you begin, rinse all your equipment thoroughly and remove any debris.

Now for the fun part!

First, activate your yeast as per packet instructions. A 4 litre or 1 gallon batch requires 1 gram or 0.035 ounces of yeast.

Second, mix the water and honey in the following ratio: 1 litre (1 quart) batch = 400g (0.88lb) of honey + 700ml (23 oz.) of water. Give the mix a quick shake.

Third, add the activated yeast into the mix. Now put on the lid with the hole, and then put on the airlock.

Lastly, seal the base of the airlock with some blu-tack. Now you're all set!

Step 4: Waiting

Leave the fermenter in a cool, dark place. Within 24h, you should be able to see the mixture bubbling! In around a month, the mix should stop bubbling and you'll have your very own dessert wine!

Step 5: Bottling

Now, you'll need to transfer the brew to another bottle. You can use glass bottles or re-used plastic bottles. Personally, I prefer to use glass bottles because it adds a little character to the wine.

If you decide to re-use a plastic bottle, go for bottles that previously contained just water. Also avoid those that once contained flavoured contents because the taste tends to leech over to the wine.

Also remember to leave the yeast behind as it tends to affect the taste.

Step 6: Safety

Although more traditionally associated with poorly sanitised beer rather than wine, it is better to be paranoid than to be blind.

First, keep the bottles in a cool dark place, to prevent light from breaking down the finished brew.

Second, when handling a bottle after some time, wear protective gear.

Lastly, do a weekly check to ensure that there isn’t any significant build-up of gas.

Step 7: What's Next?

The end? I think not! You can go on to explore other recipes that involve adding fruit peels or tea to add exotic or exquisite tastes to the wine!

Another alternative is to carbonate the wine to get your own sparkling dessert wine, instantly!

Enjoy your new found source of alcohol! I hope that you enjoyed reading this instructable!

Homebrew Contest 2016

Runner Up in the
Homebrew Contest 2016