Sunday, 20 May 2012

Brewing up with Bugger all

I now have 3 demijohns of gloopy stuff bubbling away.

The first one started on 11th of May. It took a day to get going and has been bubbling steadily and constantly ever since.

The contents of the demijohn became somewhat stratified. The top layer was a pale orange-yellow colour. Beneath that was a darker band, presumably containing the dissolved marmite. As time has gone by, this bottom band got narrower and narrower until it pretty much disappeared a day or so ago. There is now a thin white layer on the base of the demijohn, presumably of dead yeast. I'm expecting the process to slow then stop over the next few days, as the yeast uses up the last of it's sugar fuel, and dies off.

But I was encouraged by the sheer simplicity of the operation, and also by the lovely smell eminating from the top of the airlock, and so I decided to get some more on the go.

This time, I tried to simplify things even further, as if the original recipe wasn't straightforward enough.

The original recipe had me heating water in a saucepan, and adding the sugar and marmite and stirring it until it had all dissolved before decanting it into the demijohn, adding the yeast, and topping up with water.

This time I did things as follows:


1 big dollop of marmite.
2Kg of granulated sugar
1 packet of yeast
1 packet of yeast nutrient


Pour 2kg sugar into dry demijohn
Add big dollop of marmite (about 100g)
Add about 3 pints of hot water - we have a medway boiler, which heats water from a rising main, so I just used that. It was hot, but not so hot that I couldn't hold my hand in it.
Put lid of demijohn on without the airlock, cover hole with thumb, and shake the bugger vigorously.
Add yeast and nutrient
Top up with more hand hot water.
Cap off demijohn with lid and airlock.

And that's it. No messy decanting. No waiting for optimal temperatures. And I forgot to add the lemon juice this time.

As I mentioned, I now have 3 demijohns instead of 1. I totally topped up the first one, and then added the yeast. The thing was over full, and half of the yeast ended up in the airlock which made it slow to start. I scraped it out and added it to the brew, and it started properly after that. Hence adding the yeast half way though is a better way of doing things. Also, best to leave an inch at the top of the demijohn.

In both of these new ones, I've been left with a layer of undissolved sugar at the bottom. I wonder if more of it will dissolve as existing sugar is turned into alcohol? If not, the solution will be to use a bit less next time. They're both fizzing away like the billy-oh at the moment. Far more vigorously than the first one has ever done.

driving lessons in Wallasey?

No comments: