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Started by Hundredsand on Sep 12, 2013 10:09:05 AM
Bung an Airlock in the Demi-john

If you've got stuff brewing in the cupboard, are you doing it because it gets cheap result, or is a tasty little hobby which can cost more than buying a bottle of plonk?

Hundredsand - 23 Apr 2014 12:20:27 (#101 of 663)

Yay! 101 posts!

djsuggz - 23 Apr 2014 12:58:44 (#102 of 663)

Excellent advice there, ax. Thanks very much, I shall go with that plan, as, yes, my keg is indeed one of the plastic jobs (I'm dead tempted to fire some CO2 into that golden ale, now you've said that) so I think I'll be using it for the odd 'drink now' brown beer.

I have two fermentation vessels that ideal for using your method for a bulk prime. I think I might mix some malt in with the initial sugar, too, as I read that tends to get nice results with yellow beer.

Quite excited now. Off to buy the kit shortly!

djsuggz - 23 Apr 2014 15:39:30 (#103 of 663)

Got my stuff, and Ms deej is sterilising the fermenter for me this afternoon. Got a little extra yeast and some malt to go in with the sugar, just to try something new. Pilsner ahoy!

axolotl - 24 Apr 2014 10:09:02 (#104 of 663)

Any time, DJ. I've not used dried malt or dextrose for priming but I guess it's probably better for the flavour than using'll be interesting if it's possible to taste the difference though, in view of the small quantities involved.

djsuggz - 24 Apr 2014 10:32:16 (#105 of 663)

Aha, actually the spray malt's a replacement for the sugar in the first phase of fermentation (with some extra sugar (granulated, ordinary table sugar) and yeast thrown in just to pump it up a bit. Set it off last night and there's a hearty foam on there already, so all going well. I need 85g of sugar for priming the lot in one go before bottling up next weekend. I'm just idly thinking about lobbing something else in there for flavour whilst the main ferment is going on, but I'm a bit low on ideas. I might try a Wilco Cerveza kit another time and pop some lime shavings in.

axolotl - 24 Apr 2014 10:38:00 (#106 of 663)

Ahh, I see. Spray malt is a *vast* improvement on granulated sugar for the main fermentation. I find sugar tends to give a rather sharp taste - not exactly what you want.

As for beer additions, have you tried adding a sprinkling of dried elderflowers? Just the lightest sprinkling though - if you overdo it the beer will not be drinkable....I speak from experience here.

djsuggz - 24 Apr 2014 10:41:56 (#107 of 663)

Might pop into the brewing place on my way home and see what they have, if I can skip out of work early enough. Only 24h in by the time I get home, so I could still screw with the brew a bit, for sure. Elderflowers is a good call.

Antimatter - 04 May 2014 00:34:11 (#108 of 663)

Blueberry beer is made here on The Island, very delicate and lovely flavour, we also have a honey wheat beer which goes down well.

Our local wine kit supplier has been trying to ship some old stock of the expensive wine kits at the same price that we usually pay for the cheap kits. These have about twice the amount of juice and are a 5 week fermentation. The first one has just been bottled and it is very good indeed, it was a red Zinfandel and included in the kit was a sock of grape skins which we had to prod everyday. Will try and keep a couple of bottles back to see how it improves with age.

Regarding the amount of fizz in your Pilsner, it's important to understand the factors that affect carbonation. These are: Change in temperature, change in pressure (it's why a good pint of Guinness is so hard to pour), agitation and the presence of undissolved particles (i.e. sugar, contamination of bottles etc). Bearing this in mind, it's likely best to to do the final fermentation the bottle. The thought occurs to me though that by using sugar you are effectively introducing undissolved particles, so maybe it would be better to use sugar syrup? and use a burette for accurate measuring? MrA did an excellent Irish Cream ale but accidentally put twice the amount of required sugar in it. The only way to pour it was to put the bottle and the glass in the deep freeze 20 minutes before you wanted to pour it.

axolotl - 05 May 2014 21:16:37 (#109 of 663)

"Will try and keep a couple of bottles back to see how it improves with age."

I always seem to struggle with this bit.

"The thought occurs to me though that by using sugar you are effectively introducing undissolved particles, so maybe it would be better to use sugar syrup?"

Experience suggests they don't stay undissolved for very long. In any case, if you bulk prime and dissolve sugar in small amount of beer before stirring it back into the bulk, this would be basically the same as using a sugar syrup.

Antimatter - 07 May 2014 01:11:25 (#110 of 663)

"if you bulk prime and dissolve sugar in small amount of beer before stirring it back into the bulk, this would be basically the same as using a sugar syrup".

Totally agree with that.

"Experience suggests they don't stay undissolved for very long".

True, but it doesn't take long to displace CO2, I have seen glasses of champagne rendered completely flat within moments of pouring because the wrong detergent was being used in the dishwasher.

I did manage to keep two bottles back from the last batch, MrA bottling up posh kit White Zinfandel at the moment, so far it tastes far too sweet, I am expecting full on diabetes by the end of the week.

djsuggz - 07 May 2014 11:15:24 (#111 of 663)


Golden ale stayed perfectly nicely carbonated in the keg, despite my early error. Pressure's dropped a couple of times, but we corrected that by opening the top a smidgen. Drunk about 2/3 of it now, so will leave the rest to my Dad. Smooth, lovely head on it, plenty of depth in the taste. Will try the stronger Pale kit next.

Country wines. Elderberry quite drinkable now, but have put five down in the garage for a few months. Strawberry is harder work. Chilled and mixed with some fizzy water it's nicer. Will haul it out again in the Summer months.

Chocolate and treacle stout is getting its first run out tonight (just a couple of pints, as we are off early to Dublin in the morning, appropriately).

Herself is making some some rose from a Wilco kit. I am making a small bucket of spinach white (well, green), which absolutely stinks to high heaven just now.

Ordinaire turbo cider is on the go, together with a blueberry version.

Pilsner 1.0 was mass-primed and is now working away in plastic 2 litre bottles for a few weeks.

Finally, I am about to start a cerveza kit. 4 cut limes going into the fermenting vessel (20 litres) and at the bottling stage, after mass priming, I shall be putting a double tequila into the bottom of each 2 litre bottle, to make a home-styled Desperado.

All go, here! Loving it.

OneOfOne - 07 May 2014 11:16:47 (#112 of 663)

By Jove, you're industrious!

I managed a couple brews of cider back in the student days.

djsuggz - 07 May 2014 11:33:10 (#113 of 663)

Have a wee tootle up this way with the missus, some time this Summer, Oners? We'll go and watch herself on the stage in something, then attack my cellar.

OneOfOne - 07 May 2014 11:59:42 (#114 of 663)

This would be nice, but herself's annual leave is already pretty depleted, and it's a bit of a road-heavy mission if we only have Saturday and Sunday to do it in.

Yous would be most welcome chez nous, we've upgraded the spare room, real bed and everything!

NZChris - 07 May 2014 13:02:51 (#115 of 663)

I've made cider from apples many times Anchorman. It's relatively easy, but do I just happen to have a heavy duty juicer to do it.

We used it to turn an overgrown crop of carrots into a demi-john of must tonight. We should be sampling our first taste of Carrot Whiskey in a couple of weeks.

OneOfOne - 07 May 2014 13:09:25 (#116 of 663)

Serious? I salute your indefatiguability.

I don't think I've ever heard of someone making hard liquor out of carrots (although not so different from potato vodka now I think of it)

axolotl - 07 May 2014 13:30:18 (#117 of 663)

dj - impressive work - you're an example to us all.

The other day we opened a bottle of cyment that's been laid down for the last three years. (Cyment is a medieval brew made with juice for apples and grapes, plus some honey to boost the fermentable sugar). It wasn't bad but definitely wasn't worth waiting three years for. Dry, quite a light flavour, with a noticeable honey tang. It was and interesting exercise to make it but I don't think I'll bother again. It's not nearly as good as the mead I made.

djsuggz - 07 May 2014 14:12:04 (#118 of 663)

I looked at a mead recipe the other day in my 'Drink Your Garden' book that the in-laws bought me for Christmas. Very tempting.

I didn't mention that my blackberry whisky turned out rather well. Just basic horrid Tesco blended scotch, but six months of blackberries and sugar softened it beautifully well.

I have plans for a cherry brandy, once I get over to Worcestershire to nab some straight off the tree.

djsuggz - 07 May 2014 18:37:19 (#119 of 663)

Sorry to brag, but we just broached the choc and treacle stout. A satisfying hiss from the bottle and out came two beautiful pints. Slick, smoky and full of treacle sweetness. Just cracking.

NZChris - 08 May 2014 03:24:57 (#120 of 663)

Google Joe's Ancient Orange Mead. It is a really easy, no fuss method. I've finished and bottled two Demis already and they are both really nice. Got given some more honey, so there are another five bubbling now.

I'd never heard of carrot whiskey until a few days ago. I had spare carrots and demis, so why not give it a try.

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