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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1993

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mallet. As the wine draws near to the bottom of the cask, a thick piece of muslin is placed in the strainer, to prevent the viscous grounds from passing into the bottle. Use good corks, which may be known by their elasticity and the absence of large pores. They can be used again if removed without a corkscrew.


Make a lye by boiling equal quantities of soda and quicklime. When cold, put this in the bottles with some small pebbles and shake well. Set the bottles to drain thoroughly, then warm them, and blow inside with a pair of bellows to dry all moisture.


Having carefully counted the bottles, they are stored away in their respective bins, a layer of sand or sawdust being placed under the first tier, and another over it; a second tier is laid over this, protected by a lath, the head of the second being laid to the bottom of the first; over this another bed of sawdust is laid, not too thick, then another lath; and so on till the bin is filled. Wine so laid in will be ready for use according to its quality and age. Port wine, old in the wood, will be ready to drink in 5 or 6 months ; a fruity wine will improve every year. Sherry, if of good quality, will be fit to drink as soon as the "sickness" (as its first condition after bottling is called) ceases, and will also, improve; but the cellar must be kept at a perfectly steady temperature, neither too hot nor too cold, say about 55 or 60, and absolutely free from draughts of cold air.


Dip the heads of the bottles when corked into quicklime slaked into a paste and let it harden on. Petroleum rubbed over the corks and necks will also serve to keep the insects away, but it is not quite so efficacious as the lime.


Leave a quantity of quicklime in the cupboard for a few days, and the moisture will be entirely absorbed.


It is important that casks for wine or ale should be perfectly clean and free from any acid smell or mustiness before they are used. Lactic and acetic acid get absorbed in the wood very often, and do great damage to fermenting liquid. The ordinary way of washing a cask is with boiling water, and when cool examining it with a light inside. If there be any sour or musty smell, however, lime must be used to remove it. Break the lime into lumps and put it in the cask dry (it