bière rousse image by Richard villalon from

Making your own alcohol may sound like a lofty task, but this step by step guide will help you make some delicious homemade wine.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before getting started:

--You can use baker's or Vintner's yeast to brew wine, however a few additional ingredients and steps are needed when using baker's yeast.

--Baker’s yeast will always have a lower attenuation, or alcohol level, than Vintner's yeast simply because of its contents; however its still suitable for making a decent wine.

--A fruit juice is needed to make alcohol with baker's yeast because it contains the necessary nutrients that feed the yeast. Vintner's yeast already contains the needed nutrients.

--Sucrose, or table sugar, is an excellent food source yeast to feed on to produce alcohol and will also add a sweet flavor to your finished product.

First, sanitize your tools. Place 1 tbsp. baking soda into the gallon jug and fill the jug with water. Put 1 tbsp. of baking soda and 2 qt. of water into the plastic tub and place the measuring cup, small bowl and funnel into the tub. Allow the jug and the tub to sit overnight.

Thaw the grape juice overnight in the refrigerator.

Empty the jug containing the baking soda and rinse well with water. Place the funnel into the top of the gallon jug and pour the thawed grape juice concentrate into the jug.

Fill an empty grape juice container with water and pour it into the gallon jug. Repeat this until you have added six juice containers of water.

Put the top on the jug and shake the juice and water well. Bubbles should form on top. This is called "aerating the must," in alcohol making.

Place the funnel into the top of the jug and pour in a 1/2 cup of sugar that has been measured with the sanitized measuring cup. Put the lid on the jug and shake it vigorously until the sugar is mixed in and does not settle to the bottom when left sitting.

Measure 1/4 cup of water into the small bowl and place it in the microwave for about 45 seconds on high to heat up. Add the yeast packet to the heated water and allow it to sit for 15 minutes.

Add 2 tbsp. of sugar to the yeast mixture and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes or until the foam that it forms has doubled the volume of the mixture.

Put the funnel back into the jug, pour the foaming yeast mixture into the jug and shake the jug vigorously for one minute. Quickly put the balloon over the mouth of the jug pulling the excess around the mouth of the jug so that the balloon creates a flat surface over the mouth opening.

Poke five holes into the top of the balloon with the needle to allow gasses to escape. Put the rubber band around the mouth of the jug and balloon to keep the balloon in place.

Allow the jug to sit in a cool dark place for two weeks or until the balloon is no longer releasing gasses. You will know when fermentation has started when gasses begin to release from the balloon and inflate it slightly. You will see this stop when fermentation has complete.


Although you will not need it during the fermentation of the alcohol, it’s a good idea to keep the top of the jug so that it can be used to seal the alcohol once the fermentation is complete. It’s also a good idea to put the funnel, measuring cups and spoons back into the sanitizing tub between uses to minimize contamination. Contamination will cause the alcohol to sour and taste bad. It is important to use tap water rather than distilled or bottled water, which may have been treated with chemicals that will not allow yeast growth. It is important to use frozen grape juice because it does not contain preservatives. Preservatives will keep any alcohol from forming. To improve the flavor of the alcohol allow it to sit for an additional two weeks. If you plan on letting the finished alcohol sit for more than two months, transfer it to a clean, sealed container. Leave the sediment and solids in the bottom of the fermenting jug to be discarded.


Skipping the sanitation steps could result in illness from contamination.