Saturday, 12 May 2012

No such thing as a free beer.

Long term readers of this blog may have noticed something.

I flit from one brief obsession to another. Whether it's kite photography, or google earth flight simming or bike rides or what ever.

Long term readers of this blog may have noticed something else.

I keep on plugging away at certain things, sometimes for months or years. Like finding geoglyphs, or messing about with computer games.

So who knows where this latest thing will take me?

Thanks to someone posting on facebook, I got a book called "Booze for Free", and it's all about home brewing. Not generally from kits. Some things have to be bought of course, especially when you've just started, but things like demijohns and airlocks and swing top bottles can be used over and over. Many of the ingredients in the recipes in this book can be foraged, or harvested from the allotment. I'd still have to buy things like yeast so the booze for free title is a little misleading.

Still, it should be interesting to try it. I've started with almost the simplest recipe in the book - basically just sugar, water and yeast (with a dollop of marmite for a bit of flavour. It's intended to produce a pretty tasteless alcoholic beverage in about a fortnight. I can then either drink it neat, or if it's particularly disgusting, I can add it to something else, like orange juice or dandelion and burdock or something.

So here's how it went:

I went out and bought a demijohn, an airlock, a bung, some general wine yeast, some yeast nutrient and later on, a jif lemon - I should have got some citric acid but forgot about it, and the supermarket didn't sell citric acid, so I thought a jif lemon might work just as well.

I put 4 pints of water into a saucepan, and brought to just under boiling, then I added a big teaspoonful of marmite, and 2 Kg of sugar.

This is according to the recipe, but the recipe was inconsistent. It called for 4kg/2lb of sugar. I assumed it was the wrong way round, but tge 4lbs I put in somehow seems an awful lot. I think it might have been 1kg/2lb

This does matter. If I remember correctly, the yeast will multiply and eat the sugar - it then excretes CO2 and alcohol - but if the alcohol content gets too high, it kills off the yeast.

Anyway, I added the (cane) sugar and marmite, and dissolved it all, minly in the saucepan, but also on the hob, and the work surface, and kitchen floor. Decanted the syrup into the demijohn, allowed it to cool down a bit, then added the yeast, yeast nutrient, and a squirt of fake lemon juice.

It's been bubbling away slowly ever since. I now have to wait for a couple of weeks for it to finish fermenting, assuming I've done it right.

We'll see.

driving lessons in Wallasey?

Update: It's now fizzing along nicely. The must is hissing gently and producing millions of tiny bubbles, which are pushing their way through the airlock every few seconds. The gas escaping from the airlock smells distinctly boozy.

Roll on June. It seems to be going well so far.

1 comment:

Pete said...

I always read your posts in chronological order so I don't know where this going. The suspense!