This posts contains 10 instructional photos.
In Part I, I showed how to make your little homebrew apparatus with equipment you can find at your local supermarket and hardware store for less than £5 (€6.30/US$8.50).
Now, I will show how to make a simple wine recipe using ingredients (yes, all the ingredients) from your local shop. Let’s just hope you will find it delicious when it’s done! I know I do!
But which recipe to try? The options are endless, so why not brew something more alternative? The recipe I chose is a low alcohol, sweet carrot wine. Yes, carrot! It has sugar in it, so let’s brew it!
- 5L of water (which came with the fermenting bin);
- 1kg of demerara sugar (any sugar will do, but try using the least refined and bleached sugar);
- 1kg of grated carrots;
- Juice and zest of one lemon;
- Sourdough starter.
Make sure all the equipment has been sanitized!
- Prepare the yeast by adding a tablespoon full of sourdough starter (), a tea spoon of sugar and a bit of luke warm water;
Why? The sugar solution will feed the yeast and allow it to reproduce and reach full activity. Using wild yeast for brewing? Hey, if it is good enough for the ancient egyptians to brew with it, it’s good enough for me!
- Add the sugar to the water;
Why? To dissolve it. Once added, the water boil will stop for a little bit, but soon will come back to boiling;
- Grate the zest of the lemon and juice of one lemon;
Why? Citric acid is very important in wine making, which will influence the colour, balance of the wine, aid vitality of the yeast and protecting the wine from bacteria. Lemon zest is rich in pectinase. Pectinase is an enzyme that breaks down pectin (a complex carbohydrate) into simple fermentable sugar and, thus, aiding against pectin haze and helping the brew clarity;
- Grate the carrots;
Why? Grated carrots will have a greater surface area which will be in contact with the boiling water, thus optimizing the extraction of sugars necessary for fermentation;
- Add the zest, juice and carrots to the boiling water for 45 minutes;
Why? This will extract all the sugar and, during the boil, the must (brew juice!) will be sterilized and break down any complex sugars present;
- Prepare a funnel and filtering device of your choice;
Why? Remove all solids from the must prior to fermentation. Note: Wait for the must to cool down before adding to the fermenting bin;
- After adding the must to the fermenting bin, close it and wait for it to cool down to about 20C;
Why? Temperatures between 18 and 21C are the optimum temperatures for the yeast to ferment the sugars. At lower temperatures, fermentation will slow down and the process will take much longer, maybe even come to a halt. At higher temperatures, different strain of yeast may be produce and aid the infection of the must or the yeast may die.
- At around 18C, add the yeast solution to the must and close the system, with airlock. Leave it undisturbed in a dark room. Fermentation should last around 10 days.
Why? Moving the fermenting bin around may add oxygen to the must and bacteria may thrive and contaminate your brew. Another reason for leaving the brew undisturbed is clearing. Any solids in it will precipitate down to the bottom of the fermenting bin.
Yeast produces CO2 and oxygen is the enemy! The airlock made with the water in the bottle allows the CO2 to be released without oxygen being allowed to enter and ruin the brew.
Phew! That’s it! Sorry for being a bit pedantic and explaining each step. In short, take the ingredients, boil, cool it, add yeast and wait… ok!