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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?

axolotl - 19 Jan 2015 13:53:20 (#281 of 663)

Thanks! Mine has stopped now but I'm going to leave it a bit longer to clear a bit (it's still very cloudy).

djsuggz - 19 Jan 2015 14:18:43 (#282 of 663)

Teensy drop of finings, to hurry matters along?

axolotl - 19 Jan 2015 14:54:27 (#283 of 663)

I did wonder about that, but whenever I've used finings in wine, the instructions have made it clear that you're supposed to degas the brew first and/or add stabiliser. I don't really want to do that as I intend to carbonate in-bottle. Are there any finings that work in gassy brews?

djsuggz - 19 Jan 2015 16:11:24 (#284 of 663)

Well, I popped some into my elderflower booze, and am carbonating that in the bottles, and the finings seem to be clearing it somewhat.

That said, I reckon you can fine the cider then bottle it with sugar and it'll still fizz up.

axolotl - 07 Feb 2015 16:59:09 (#285 of 663)

As it's only slightly cloudy now, I decided to just bottle it as it is and call it scrumpy.

Also today, I started off 12l of raspberry beer and a gallon of elderflower wine, based on 250ml of grape concentrate, dried elderflowers, mixed acid and a little bit of grape tannin.

Hundredsand - 09 Feb 2015 22:17:50 (#286 of 663)

One of the offspring has had a second glass of my homemade stuff and declared that it was more drinkable than what her friend have offered, which made me feel quite good.

djsuggz - 19 Feb 2015 11:36:07 (#287 of 663)

Time for a bit of an update, I think, as the late Winter/early Spring labours are shortly to commence. I go dry for forty days after my birthday (annual health kick, including lots of running and a low carb diet to ensure trimness in the Summer), during which time I shall bubble and boil a load of new stuff.

So, I made 5 x 1 litre plastic bottles of my fake elderflower fizz. They smell great. Had to be burped a couple of times, but the bottles are stiff with gas and the liquid has cleared really well, with not too much must to worry about. Pale (very pale) brownish colour. Will chill them down and drink them when my parents visit at the end of March, just before we go on holiday.

Tonight sees the bottling of the cherry cider. Going to fizz two of them and leave the other three flat.

Then, the following projects get underway:

Another 20 litres of my chocolate and treacle stout, which is a popular staple now, and will go down well at the Summer BBQ in early August

20 litres of good quality kit pale ale (will take some birthday money to the brewing shop on Saturday to pick something out)

20 litres of lager (unmolested - just want to get it properly clear this time - Wilco Pilsner tends to get too 'fuzzy' will hit them with Kwik Clear finings)

6 bottles of Elderflower white

6 bottles of 'Thai Chardonnay'

6 bottles of 'Black Coffee' red (my signature artisan success, so far)

6 bottles of experimental 'Black Tea' red (going to try popping some strong, strong Earl Grey in a Cab Sauv kit with some sugary blackberries and some vanilla)

As yet to be decided high-volume cider. Missus' department, really. Probably pomegranate and apple, but we'll see.

With other supplies still on the racks, that ought to see us through the big day and give us some other stuff to drink in the interim.

axolotl - 19 Feb 2015 12:23:46 (#288 of 663)

Wow - what an epic brewfest, dj!

djsuggz - 19 Feb 2015 14:28:49 (#289 of 663)


There were 40-50 visitors last year, and we'll no doubt see similar this year, so I am thinking ahead.

Actually I shan't be bothering with the Thai Chardonnay; we'll have some more of the nice Young's Gooseberry kit, instead. That makes a lovely, sharp and crystal clear wine.

djsuggz - 20 Feb 2015 10:22:06 (#290 of 663)

Cherry cider bottled-up, now.

Very clear, and really quite sharp tasting, which is nice.

Other boozular accoutrements to come will include the bedding-in of a gooseberry bush, this Spring, the sowing of the sloe-bush seeds, hopefully our first few grapes on the grape vine, and a wee crop from the apple tree. Nice to feel that the year is slowly starting to turn. Snowdrops and daffodil bulbs are just starting to poke through in our borders.

axolotl - 20 Feb 2015 13:06:13 (#291 of 663)

I've just recently bottled some of our brews, namely the homemade cider and the raspberry mead. The latter is surprisingly good (but terrifyingly alcoholic, about 17-18% I reckon). The former is somewhat more variable. The cider made from supermarket apple juice is rather good but the cider I made from found apples is much less pleasant - it's so sour it'd make your gums recede. Not quite sure what to do with it.

djsuggz - 20 Feb 2015 13:20:01 (#292 of 663)

One of my colleagues cut a similar brew with some vinegar and gave it away as cider vinegar. And, I have to say, it's excellent. I used some of our bottle only this week in a salad dressing.

axolotl - 21 Feb 2015 11:38:30 (#293 of 663)

What an excellent idea! I love cider vinegar for cooking purposes.

djsuggz - 25 Feb 2015 18:49:44 (#294 of 663)

All kits now on the premises! The Big Cider will be done from cartons of juice after Easter.

Opted for a Festival kit, called Razorback, a strong pale ale (40 pints at 5.7% ABV). Paid a bit more for it, so am hopeful of a good one. Comes with hop pellets and everything!

djsuggz - 25 Feb 2015 21:50:04 (#295 of 663)

Both my reds (blackberry and coffee, blackberry and earl grey tea) are tapping along nicely already. Amazing how, given they are the same kits (Wilco Cab Sauv - dull on its own but quite agreeable if you monkey with it) one of them (with tea) goes berserk and bubbles fermenting foam up through and out of the airlock, and the other (with coffee) just ticks over nice and neatly contained. Strange, eh? Mirror ingredients and quantities.

djsuggz - 25 Feb 2015 21:53:39 (#296 of 663)

Elderflower is slower to start, but makes a nice clean wine, as does the gooseberry (Young's) that I picked up earlier.

Pilsner filling the tub with foam; smells okay. Stout with a tin of Black Treacle and a whole tin of drinking chocolate already smells a million dollars. Amazing amounts of CO2; makes the lid dome outwards inside a couple of hours!

djsuggz - 25 Feb 2015 21:59:37 (#297 of 663)

Full of brewing thoughts tonight. No doubt a result of being off the sauce myself for 40 days. Personal tradition this time of year.

As I do like a fruit juice cider, I was just wondering about getting hold of some sort of Poundshop 'Um Bongo' and making a demijohn's worth of that.

Anyone else got any new projects underway? Or some new ideas?

axolotl - 25 Feb 2015 22:19:18 (#298 of 663)

"I was just wondering about getting hold of some sort of Poundshop 'Um Bongo' and making a demijohn's worth of that."

I had similar ideas the last time I was in Aldi but I was disappointed to discover that the juices I looked at were mostly water, plus some juice, acid and flavourings. I will check out Lidl at some point and report back.

Our elderflower wine still bubbling away at a healthy rate. Not sure whether to leave it as a wine or bottle carbonate it when it's finished. The current batch of raspberry beer seems to have done its thing so that'll be a bottling session coming up soon.

Your treacle and chocolate stout sounds very promising. Liking the "throw the whole tin in" approach.

djsuggz - 26 Feb 2015 09:19:10 (#299 of 663)

Yeah, I am not really one of life's measuring folk. I figure these things are mostly sugar, which the yeast will eat, and so up the voltage of booze (the basic kit behind it is only 4% ABV); the rest is lots and lots of flavour, which is all good.

One of the things I like about this is that one doesn't tend to make exactly the same product twice. It's sort of ever-evolving, if you will?

axolotl - 26 Feb 2015 18:35:02 (#300 of 663)

Yeah, I like that about homebrew. It also means that, from time to time, you brew something really awesome (and then can't quite remember what you put in it....!)

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