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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?

Antimatter - 29 Jan 2014 01:23:56 (#61 of 663)

Hope you have a great trip! Found an interesting thing in our local co-op, it's a litre of beer, you just have to add the yeast and leave it somewhere warm. Within a couple of weeks, it ferments and produces a bottle of beer for $5. Looks good so far.

Jinkjude - 12 Feb 2014 12:08:52 (#62 of 663)

I've come to my pressure barrel after a couple of months beer conditioning and it's totally flat. Re-primed and once again the barrel has lost all pressure (after new cap/seals). Is the beer finished? It's been in there since before Christmas....

Shabbyman - 12 Feb 2014 12:30:39 (#63 of 663)

You could bottle it. Check the sg and reprime if necessary. It may not have undergone secondary fermentation at all yet.

Jinkjude - 12 Feb 2014 15:10:26 (#64 of 663)

It's got to be worth a try hasn't it. Thanks.

djsuggz - 12 Feb 2014 16:15:20 (#65 of 663)

I owe you all an update or two, I think?

The two-bucket kit turned out a rather sweet red Cab Sauv. Not undrinkable, far from it, but needs to sit for a while in the garage and think about it. Might become the sort of thing you'd roll out with a rich choc dessert at a dinner party.

The Thai Chardonnay is the second best wine I have made so far (the first 'Black Coffee' red was as good as anything you'd buy in a supermarket, and much more interesting). Genuine notes of lemon, lime, lemon grass an ginger running through it. Nice at room temperature, but a blasting mouthful once chilled down. My Mum's up and visiting in a couple of weeks and she'll love it.

Finally my 'Hot Chocolate drop'. Is fine, and not uninteresting because it has a really good hot and just slightly sweet chilli taste, but it didn't really draw up the dark chocolate so much. Another one to leave on the rack for a few weeks, I think.

The big fermenting vessel of House Red Wine has certainly appeared to ferment (layer of bubbles an inch thick at times), but never troubled the airlock for bubbles. Preumably the gas just leaked out over time? Going to siphon off a deep jugful on Friday night and test the strength with the hydrometer. If it's not 'done', I figure it's time to go back next to the radiator, cover it with a blanket or three and pitch in some fresh yeat and nutrient and try and get it to come on a bit more. Then decant into a fresh vessel, fine/stabilise and leave it for a month?

Gotout - 12 Feb 2014 16:18:04 (#66 of 663)

If your pressure barrel goes flat then there's a danger of getting a wild yeast in. That will give you several gallons of poor quality vinegar.

Taste it, if it's not vinegar then restart the fermentation (as shabbyman said).

Jinkjude - 12 Feb 2014 18:50:04 (#67 of 663)

It's not sour but I did think it might have gone off. It tastes a bit 'young' that's all.

Hundredsand - 12 Feb 2014 22:08:02 (#68 of 663)

Really pleased with a batch of wine I started beginning November, made with fruits I had in the freezer and a carton of grape juice. Best batch so far in terms of balance, but still quite different from anything I've ever bought commercially.

Hundredsand - 16 Feb 2014 15:35:39 (#69 of 663)

djsuggz - 16 Feb 2014 17:15:49 (#70 of 663)

Happily, the big 23 litre vat I had been so worried about is fully cooked! Fined and stabilised it on Friday. Decant to second bin next weekend, then into bottles with it!

That and some cider at home finishing off, then a bit of a pause during my two dry months. However next Friday I order my brewing kit, so the intention is to make the first batch during the last three weeks of April to have it ready for my glorious return to the sauce in May.

There's another project that comes to fruition in May, as well. My blackberry whisky will have been rumbling away for six months by then. Time to filter it through some muslin and into a bottle.

djsuggz - 15 Mar 2014 09:42:50 (#71 of 663)

Two weeks into my dry two months of the year, so booze creation is on hold. Start my first batch of beer on April 6th, so it'll be ready in time for hols on 3rd May. Kit all here, quite excited about the prospect.

My missus drank half a bottle of my Hot Chocolate Drop last night. When it came out, three months ago, it was too much chilli and too little chocolate and vanilla, but judging by my nose and her tasting it's smoothed out splendidly. Proof that letting these things stand awhile is the way ahead.

Look forward to getting started again in a few weeks from now. Another project will be cherry brandy (a litre thereof); partly to make miniatures as Christmas gifts for people, and a little bit for my cupboard. Herself's elderly Grandmother has a couple of cherry trees outside her front door, so will raid them in a couple of months or so.

Next wine project will be an elderberry red, I think. Maybe a strawberry one as well; a couple of fake 'Country wines' to be drunk chilled with a bit of soda water on hot evenings in the Summer. Probably go well with salads.

Hundredsand - 15 Mar 2014 10:32:05 (#72 of 663)

Yeah, if the fruit wines are a bit, well, too fruity and strong, there is the option to add some fizzy water. :)

Shabbyman - 15 Mar 2014 11:11:14 (#73 of 663)

Pleased to hear that, dj. Unless you've been reckless these things can be remarkably resilient.

djsuggz - 02 Apr 2014 15:06:40 (#74 of 663)

Time for an update. I like it when this thread trickles along a bit.

Still on the wagon myself, until 2nd May, but decided to start on the three projects, to maximise their quality and clarity in time for a bit of a family visitation in the following week.

We're into phase two with the two 'enhanced' Country Wines - the elderberry got topped up with boiled water, that I allowed to cool all day over a packet of dried elderberries. The same operation with the strawberry, although this time it was strawberries coming from a tin of syrup that went into the boiling, cooling, 'top up' water, so very sweet strawberry taste for a bit more voltage oomph. Fermentation went a bit crazy, initially, gouting out of the top of the demijohn, but they're now bubbling away quite sweetly. Should be into the fining and stabilising stage in another week.

Very excited about my first pale ale. It's in the initial vessel in the kitchen, as it's lovely and warm up there just now. Three days in, and it's come on in leaps and bounds. Popped the lid a couple of times to release some CO2 (the airlock is rubbish), and the smell of it is just divine. Should be able to rack it into the pressure keg with a bit of sugar by the end of the weekend, and then able to give it four whole weeks to cool and to clear before we attack it. Most excited. It's one of the kits from the St. Peters Brewery range; the first on the list here:

Delightful caramel and hoppy aroma. Lovely colour developing. Hope it works out well. For the price I paid for the kit, it'll be 64p per pint.

Bit more turbo cider once the wines are done, I think. Start to up the stocks for a barbecue in August. Might pop a bit of peach juice in one of them, along with the apple?

moto748 - 02 Apr 2014 15:15:02 (#75 of 663)

I've tried pressurised barrels of various types for beer in the past, but I came to the conclusion that you can't beat bottles and crown tops, and the faffing around sterilising bottles and siphoning is worth it. Plus, if you fuck up a bottle, you do just that, fuck up one bottle. If you fuck up a barrel...

djsuggz - 02 Apr 2014 16:03:22 (#76 of 663)

It won't be hanging around that long, moto. Four of us will get through that in 3/4 days, after some labour in the garden in the daytime, plus my pressure barrel is new and will be sterilised inside out and upside down for the cooling and clearing phase. Take your point, though. Certainly when I make pilsner this Spring/Summer and then stout, I shall be bottling them, and getting a capper to do it, too. Keeping the stuff under suitable control (effervescence-wise) sounds to me like the only thing that would make bottling tricky. Although if you attempt to do the filling over a sterilised bucket, you could always then pour the 'drip tray' gathered there into a glass and reward yourself with a pint!

moto748 - 02 Apr 2014 17:17:26 (#77 of 663)

Well after the last time I made beer, I vowed that the next time I did, it would stay in the bottles for a minimum of six months. And, to my mind, it is worth it.

djsuggz - 02 Apr 2014 23:51:20 (#78 of 663)

No doubt. I shall be trying a few different ones, as time goes on, and will bottle a few for keeping each time, I imagine.

Jinkjude - 07 Apr 2014 17:56:39 (#79 of 663)

Both my new pressure barrels didn't hold . I ended up bottling after all so I'm with moto. I'll probably half and half it next time. DJ, the St Peters Ruby kit is knockout. Even after all the arsing about repriming I gave it.

djsuggz - 08 Apr 2014 15:29:39 (#80 of 663)

2.5oz sugar mixed into the pressure kegful of St. Peters Golden Ale (to finish it, or whatever is supposed to happen in the final 3 weeks or so). Left in the house for 36 hours with the lid off and a tea towel over it for any last Co2 to finds its way out, and now has the screw lid on and in the garage for another three weeks or so to cool and clear and whatnot. Excited. Still smells lush.

Stout, next. 23 litres going on tonight. Might add a bit of dark chocolate to the top-up water. This will go from one fermenting bucket to another (after about ten days) with a screw-in airlock in the top (the same thing I used to make the mega vat of House Red Wine). From there it'll be going into the garage to cool and clear and then into bottles. Some priming sugar, or not, do we think?

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