Making Wine and Weaving


Checkout this new Bubble Logger tutorial using a data logger to capture the rate at which CO2 is given off:

I’ve been making wine with my family ever since I can remember. It’s a fairly straight forward process that is nearly impossible to master. The wine my family made always started a grape varietal (such as Merlot or Sangiovese). We would crush the grapes and throw the slurry into primary fermentors where we would add a specially cultured wine yeast. After a few days of this harsh smelling fermentation, we would then press the grapes and put the liquid into glass carboys where you would then add chemicals, sugar, and put the liquid under a water lock to keep natural-air yeasts from infecting the brew and turning it to vinegar. This goes on and on for months, until you might end up with something that tastes pretty good.

Now let’s say you’re a poor college student. How to brew cheap wine? You can combine grapes (or cheap Welch’s grape juice), some water, and some yeast (I even sunk so low at one point where I used bread yeast) and you will undoubtedly end up with something that resembles wine. It won’t taste good! But it should get you snake-eyed. Either approach uses a very straight forward biological process of yeast, eating sugar, and giving off CO2 and alcohol. Wouldn’t it be fun to see how this biological process acts over time?

I decided to return to my roots and whip up a batch of world (in)famous homemade wine. And while I was at it, why not log the bubbles that are given off during fermentation?

http://www.sparkfun.com/tutorial/BubbleCounter/BubbleCounter-2-M.jpg

We’d also like to point out a weaving workshop for locals:

http://www.sparkfun.com/tutorial/news/Weaving-M.jpg

Lynne Bruning will be teaching a course on ‘Weaving Conductive Cloth’ on May 15th at a local weaving shop (Shuttles Spindles and Skeins). If you ever needed information about working with weaving and working with conductive thread, Lynne is the person to talk to! You can find out more information on her blog.


Comments 10 comments

  • Instead of counting CO2 bubbles you could put some black stripes on a hydrometer and use some photodiodes to measure the changing specific gravity of the brew.

  • for charts use visifire.com/

  • In Excel and OpenOffice use XY Scatter plot if your x axis data isn’t at regular intervals.

  • my idiot platoon bunkmate in iraq (named robert) would make this horrible gatoraid blue freeze flavored moonshine.
    hed get a 5 gallon waterjug. add yeast. fruit. sugar. water.
    put a tube in it that goes to a bottle of water for the gas.
    then let it rot.
    and boy did it rot!!
    i didnt know if it was him or the stinky jug but that room rotted.
    (we had a room that time….becuase we got mortared alot… so its nice to have a room when u get mortared… cuase getting mortared in a tent sucks a$@).
    anywhoo…..
    he lost his vision for several days from his moonshine.

  • With enough time and enough experimentation with several kinds of yeast, I got Coca Cola to ferment. It did not, in fact, come out tasting like a “dry rum and Coke” like I thought. It had alcohol in it and wasn’t entirely intolerable.

  • Can those weaving skills be used to build some old-fashioned core memory?

  • As a close cousin, a beer brewer, I also had the same sorta questions. I hacked together a simple temp sensor along with a mic on a SunSpot to monitor the temp and update me via email if it got too hot. The mic would listen for an explosion (sometimes the yeast goes nuts when its in a sealed bottle) and alert me in class when my floor would be covered with glass shards and ½ ready beer.

  • Nice, technology always makes thing more fun! (or bearable)
    Let me know how you wine turns out!

    • Be sure to checkout the tutorial! The wine turned out, technically speaking. It’s purple, and has alcohol in it, but as the saying goes, “Life’s too short to drink bad ____.” (Fill in with beer, wine, etc) The wine ended up being sacrificed to the drain gods.

      • Still would it not just be cheaper, easier, and higher quality to just buy some 2 buck chuck? Not that it’s not fun making it but some times is fun to have some thing that is not going to kill you after you drink it. :)


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