Mo’ Mead – MelonMel Melon Mead: Done!

Hi all!

Well, it’s finally ready! My birthday melon mead is bottled and ready to be drank!

It has a very pungent smell of melon, way more than I expected and a very subtle taste. Even though you can smell the melon, there is only an aftertaste of melon in the mead, which was quite interesting! This time, I made a lot, 20 bottles worth! If the help of a friend, we managed to clean everything, bottle two different meads (the other will come in a different post) and transfer the wild plum to secondary. It was quite an effort, but it paid off! Now just wait to mature so that it can be better enjoyed!

Local Shop Homebrew – Final Part: Carrot Wine!

Remember the past posts, where I gave a quick tutorial on how to make your own homebrew from scratch? Well, the serioes is finally over! If you are interested to know what I am talking about, please click here, here and here

After three weeks in secondary fermentation and three days stabilizing, The wine was finally bottled! I had a taste and it was quite mild in taste, but so alcoholic! It was a very nice brew, very very cheap indeed! The total cost of the brew was about £5, so £1 per bottle, plus 500ml that were drank just moments ago!

If you are tempted to have a go at homebrewing, this is a very hard to get wrong type of brew! Highly recommended and, really, I hope someone will try it!

Beer Economics Review: DadoBier Ilex

Who doesn’t like beer? And even more, who doesn’t like caffeine? Mix the two together and you should get an amazing beverage, right? Well, not so much. I will try to explain why.

DadoBier is the first brazilian microbrewery. It’s located in the mid-latitude city of Porto Alegre, in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. The state prides itself for having the best wine in Brazil and, well, they have the climate for it! Also for making beer, since the southern region of the country is the largest producers of barley.

The state is the second largest producer and the largest consumer of a commodity called Erva-Mate, or just Mate. It’s a herb which is mainly used for tea and has a high caffeine content. If you walk around the city of Porto Alegre, you will see hundreds of people drinking the stuff wherever they go. Think that the British are big tea drinkers? The Gauchos (natives from the state) would put them to shame. Brazil itself is not a big tea drinking country, but the Gauchos consume a whooping 10kg of Mate per capita per year, which puts them ahead of Turkey, the biggest tea drinking country in the world (at 7.32kg/pc/py).

But I digress. So thinking that having the climate and ingredients for a good beer would give them an edge? Well, not so much. Adding a bit of their favourite drink to the beer? That didn’t work so well. Now add that beer to their custom made Cuia-shaped glass? Well, that’s the recipe to get flat and bland beer. In their novelty glass, I couldn’t pour the beer and take a photo fast enough for the head to hold shape. The beer is ok, but the flavour changes quite a bit very quickly, most likely due to oxidation due to the lack of the protecting head.

I have brewed with tea before and I am not sure the techniques they used to add the mate to the brew, but I can say that they were unsuccessful.

Now for the price. The average citizen of Rio Grande do Sul is better off than the average Brazilian. The beer is slightly expensive, at R$14 (£4) for a pint, it is still quite expensive for the local working man. But as it so happens to microbreweries in Brazil, producers manage to keep the clientele very selected. You can find Dadobier online, if you so choose, but most places are out of stock and, in Porto Alegre, one of the few places where you can find the beer is at their restaurant. This leads to you buying overpriced food with it. So, again, just like with Amazon Beer, if you are not part of the elite or pseudo-rich, this beer can be seen as something you can treat yourself to in a special occasion.

Knowing how much it takes to produce beer and having most of the ingredients locally available, overpricing beer that isn’t all that good seems to be the thing to do nowadays. Microbrewers in Brazil are having a field day with the new middle class!

Birthday Homebrew Label: Hanging Gardens of Nicolau’s Ale

It’s one of my best friend’s birthday today, so a while ago I decided to brew him an Ale. It’s not ready yet, by the way, but the label surely is!

Why the name?? He lives in Iraq and works for a local football team (soccer of you americans). Just trying to be a bit humorous about the daily worry we all go through!

Well, happy birthday Anderson!

Homebrew Labels: Some Photoshop-ing/GIMP-ing

This post contains 8 labels. Click on the label to enlarge.

Some “art” work for my homebrew! A bit of a random post, but I’d like to think that I am very thorough with my brews! From the sanitation to the labelling. I am lagging behind the label making, but I will catch up as soon as I have some time.

  1. Wagerberg Original Lager
  2. Just your ordinary lager, blond and clear! Earlier post!

  1. WillHoneyWeiss Spiced Honey Weiss Beer
  2. Weissbier seasoned with orange peel and coriander Earlier post!

  1. Tobias KinderDoppelBock
  2. High gravity bock-style lager.

  1. StrawberLy GarWeiss Strawberry Banana WeissBier
  2. Wheat beer with fresh strawberries added to secondary fermentation, using yeast which leaves a hint of banana flavour in the beer. That’s technology for ya!

  1. Wagerberg Backyard Plum Wine
  2. Plum wine made with fresh plums from my own backyard! Probably the cheapest brew yet! Less than 50p per bottle.

  1. StrawberLy Mead
  2. Simple dry mead, with strawberry added to secondary and tertiary fermentation.

  1. Feel the Beet Beetroot Mead
  2. Experimental recipe which worked very well! Earlier post!

  1. Ray Teabaggins Tea Ale
  2. Pale Ale with 24-hour cold brew tea added before bottling.


Local Shops Homebrew – Part III: Fermentation Video!

Final post of the series: Just a quick video to illustrate fermentation at nearly full swing. It is quite a violent fermentation process using sourdough and CO2 is produced at a very fast rate. It’s quite cool! The fizz is quite loud and, very soon, I will have a very nice drink to entertain my friends!

Cheers!

Local Shops Homebrew – Part II: Simple Brew

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!

Ingredients:

  1. 5L of water (which came with the fermenting bin);
  2. 1kg of demerara sugar (any sugar will do, but try using the least refined and bleached sugar);
  3. 1kg of grated carrots;
  4. Juice and zest of one lemon;
  5. Sourdough starter.

Make sure all the equipment has been sanitized!


Instructions:

  • Bring the 5L of water to a rolling boil;
  • Why? This will help sterilize the water;


  • 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!