Home brewing

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by bensonby, Sep 23, 2008.

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  1. Not really cookery is it? but best place for it I suppose....

    Has anyone tried their hand at home brewing? Is it an exciting new oppertunity to get pished on the cheap on some unique exeptional personalised ale or is it the preserve of weird saddos who live with their mum drinking dastardly concoctions of pish and vinager?

    I've just bought some kit on the interweb because I like the sound of the former.....but am I going to turn into the latter?

    Does anyone have experience or advice they could impart?
  2. maninblack

    maninblack LE Book Reviewer

    The hobby of a true man.

    How to get dribbly bottom drunk for 3 quid.
  3. I used to do this. Wine is easier to make than beer and for both, larger quantities are easier to do than demijons. Your first few attempts are probably best viewed as training. With practice you can make some real good quality stuff.
  4. I agree with that comment.

    Beer kits vary widely in quality. Haven't used wine kits, but have made a lot of wine from fruit. Elderberry makes a bloody good dark red wine, and its dead easy.
  5. Just make sure all the stuff is squeaky feckin clean before you brew in it
  6. I must admit I'm dead excited about trying it...I know all the principles behind it and I've read up on it. But not being a particularly "handy" sort of chap I'm a bit nervous about having a tub of festering crap at the end of it all rather than anything drinkable.
  7. But the good thing is you can afford to write off a number of tubs of festering crap, because they will cost you next to feck all. Once you've got the hang of it (and its dead easy), you get endless cheap and strong booze. Its worth it.

    I agree about keeping everything you use sterile. Thats essential.
  8. true true....I worked out that if you buy the kits you can get beer for under 50p a pint. No doubt its even cheaper if you buy the ingredients seperately and in bulk....

    I plan to start experimenting once I've got the basics.
  9. I experimented heavily with beer, wine and superyeast rocket fuel.

    Beer = malt extract and real hops produces a better brew than most kits. Worth not putting too much extra sugar into it for extra alcohol because it starts to taste like TCP, but a bag and half of sugar into five gallons and one big tin of extract produces a drinkable 6.5% abv.

    The wine is a piece of p**s and keeps better. Much, much easier to buy a plastic 5 gallon wine fermenter than fanny about with demi-johns. You can make a brilliant wine with thirty cheap tea bags, a load of yeast nutrient and a decent yeast + five bags of sugar.

    Scandinavian super yeast kits allow 17% alcohol in 4 days for a few quid and concentrated frozen orange juice or Ribena allows flavouring without dilution. Messes you up severely.

    Buy CJJ Berry's book for the wine making.

    Oh what fun.

    It's basically a good idea to exclude air from the fermentation to force the yeast to produce alcohol.
  10. B_AND_T

    B_AND_T LE Book Reviewer

    Can anyone tell me if you can get brewing kits in Germany, as I am yet to see one.
  11. In layman's terms how do you go about making home brewed wine from wild fruit/juice? I ask as my last attempt from blackberry juice turned into green, mouldy jam. Hugh Fearnley Longhairedfreak makes it look so easy. Is it?
  12. yeast+sugar+juice?
  13. I used to brew my own stuff on a large scale. Used to store it in Newcastle brown bottles, (had a capper to put tops on) that way, you could put a few in the fridge and when it was time for drinking, you could pour it all in one go avoiding all the sediment. Bottling is the most critical stage - too early and it will blow up and also too much sugar. Invest in an hydrometer to check the SG.

    I once bought a kit called Kwoffit which had the capability to go up to 8.4%. I used to make it around 4% although last time I did make it 8.4% and after 3 pints crawled off to bed :(

    Word of warning it's a lot cheaper, and after a while always available, also more fattening.
  14. I have a stash of books that I have picked up for pennies in second hand bookshops. Its worth a visit if you have access to such a shop. The recipes in them are all broadly similar and are something like this:

    Wash the berries and make sure they are not on stalks (So for elderberries for instance you strip them off the stalks. For blackberries, for instance, that should be how they came off the bush.
    Boil them in a gallon of water, for about 10 minutes.
    Strain the juice from the berries and return the juice to the pan.
    Add sugar and citric acid, then simmer together for about 20 minutes.
    When the mixture is cool, transfer it to a clean plastic bucket, which you cover and leave overnight. Then add yeast.
    Stand the bucket in a warm place for a few days while the initial fermentation takes place (very energetic), stirring daily.
    Then strain the juice into a fermentation vessel and fit an airlock.
    When fermentation is complete, rack into a clean container with one crushed Campden tablet, and close the container with a bung or safety lock.
    Wait till it clears then bottle it.
    Get pissed.

    Quite often you are invited to add other bits - lemon juice, raisins, bruised ginger, yeast nutrient etc. Depends on the recipe.
  15. Sounds easy enough. I added the yeast (dry) as soon as I'd boiled the blackberries to a liquid. Do you think that's why it turned Pete Tong?