The Second Version


More Homebrewing Adventures

After the fiasco of last year's fermentation experiments, I am at it again. Because only wussies give up at the first failure.

This time, being a hot summer and me being working quite a lot, I decided for a simple and inexpensive approach, following the truism that in a simple system there are less variables to control and complexity can be added later.

And what is more simple than the fermentation of sucrose - common sugar?

But sugar alone will have no taste to speak of, and I keep reading that yeast likes tannin and an acidic environment. Thus, two more ingredients were added to the concoction.

I prepared an infusion of two bags of ceylon tea and a chopped half-lime in one liter of water, then dissolved around 275 grams of sugar in it and brought the syrup to the boil before adding the juice of the half-lime.

I allowed the wort to cool down to room temperature and, using sanitized* funnel and tools I transferred most of it to a sanitized 1.5 liter glass bottle which worked as fermentation tank.

One quarter of bread yeast was dissolved in the remaining wort, and that also transferred to the fermentation tank. I gave it a good shake and capped the bottle with a piece of aluminium foil.

That was around midnight. By next evening, fermentation was vigorous but smooth. I kept the process going for eight days, keeping the bottle as cool as possible - not so easy to do when temperature indoors is around 30 °C; at night I placed my experiment on a windowsill to enjoy cooler air.

Finally, using a sanitized colander and funnel I filtered the mixture into two sanitized plastic bottles of half a liter, for the final fermentation at low temperature (in and out the fridge, in fact).

I tasted some of the liquid and it wasn't so bad. Not as sour as vinegar for sure; it has a strong but not overwhelming sweet aftertaste and some more complex notes from the lime and tea. And quite a strong taste of live yeast, of course.

Alcohol content? I was not able to feel any buzz, but I had a small amount of hooch on a full stomach. Anyway, it is known that wine takes quite some time to develop a respectable strength: I am not despairing.

Developments will be available in no less than a couple of weeks.

*For sanitization I used the easiest way: a dash of bleach in a big bowl of water. Let it act for half a hour and then rinse well all items immediately before use.

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