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Student Brew – Follow Up

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just a quick post to follow up on the student brew.

I ended up making a few batches of this, playing around with flavours. It’s worth a try because it’s easy, but don’t expect to turn water in to a fine wine.

The batches I made were:

  • Lemon and Lime – this was the nicest of the batches, it worked reasonably well, and tasted like a smirnoff Ice type drink.
  • Tropical Squash – this retained quite a lot of flavour from the squash which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it had something that hit the back of the mouth that wasn’t that nice
  • Summer fruits squash – fermentation kept stopping on this, eventual brew tasted and smelt foul

 

These drinks don’t seem to keep well… once bottled up drink reasonably quickly.

Student Brew – Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 1 tsp yeast
  • Sugar
  • yeast nutrient – optional

Lemon and Lime

  • 800ml lime cordial
  • 2 litre lemonade
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 litre water

Tropical

  • 800ml tropical squash
  • 3 litres water

Instructions

  • Activate your yeast in warm water
  • Bring any of the juices/squashes/pops you are using to a boil in a pan and allow to boil for 5-10 minutes
  • Let your liquid cool to room temperature
  • Add this liquid to a clean vessel (this could be an empty 5l bottle, I used a demijohn).
  • Add any additional water
  • If you have a hydromoter to hand,Take an S.G. reading of your liquid and add sugar until you get this reading to 1050, if not add between 200-500g.
  • If you have any add a suitable amount of nutrient to the liquid (usually 1 tablet to every gallon if using tablets, though check the packaging for specific amounts).
  • Add yeast to your fermentation vessel.
  • Put a suitable air-lock on your vessel.
Leave space in the vessel for fermentation and to add more juice/flavouring to the liquid every 2 weeks until fermentation is complete (whether that be naturally or by your decision).
The beauty of this recipe is that it’s designed to be quick, in a month you can bottle, a further few weeks down the line you can drink. I plan to get some secondary fermentation to occur in the bottles to produce fizzy drinks. I wanted to make my drink a little stronger so my S.G. on the lemon and lime variety is 1090, which should produce an “Animal Strength” alcopop  – as described by YoBrew.
The yeast I used is a basic wine yeast but as this is supposed to be an easily accessible recipe you can use bread yeast if that’s all you can find but a champagne yeast may be better. The recipes above used sugar-free versions of drinks (except the lime), I’ve read around that using the full sugar version of juices to make wine is better, the same probably applies here.

Student Brew – Cheap and Easy Drinks

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I’ve read a few articles that discuss making alcohol with minimal to no kit from ingredients you can buy at your local shop. The end result being an alco-pop like drink. None more interesting than the post over at YoBrew.

The idea behind this is that for very little money you can produce an alcoholic drink that’s quick, easy and dare I say it, enjoyable. This really appealed to me, and whilst I understand that it’s unlikely anything made with this mindset will be award winning, I thought it could be a good way i could introduce my girlfriend to homebrewing.

All that said, the fact is the recipe on YoBrew effectively produces an alcoholic water, to which you add squash. This, I wasn’t to keen on, definitely something worth trying, but not for me; not yet any way.

I decided to take a different approach to this cheap brew utilising some of the equipment I have. We have 2 demijohns of student brew going at the moment, lemon and lime and a tropical drink. Rather than making alcoholic water I started with a base liquid “of flavours” made from pops and squash and throughout the process of these brewing I have been adding additional juice to try and incorporate the flavours better but not lose them completely during fermentation. The lemon and lime uses lemonade, fresh lemon juice and lime cordial as the base where the tropical uses water and a tropical squash.

Student Brew - Alcopops

Student Brew - Alcopops

I’ve also read many warnings about using juices and other shop bought drinks that contain Potassium Sorbate, a preservative that prohibits the “growth” of yeast. Generally this preservative is found in every single squash or pop you pick off the shelf. Apparently you can break down the Potassium Sorbate by subjecting the “juice” to a rolling boil for 5-10 minutes. I’m not sure how great the results will be, but it’s worth a try.

You can take a look at the recipe here.

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