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This is the small print where I deny everything and refuse to take any responsibility for anything. Any opinions given should not be taken as facts & any facts given should not be taken as opinions. As an extra precaution all the really small print is in white text, this is copyrighted .


E. & O. E.


Copyright www.petespintpot.co.uk  2008. First published 17 October 2008, last updated  20 Feb. 2017.


Pete’s Pint Pot is dedicated to the home production & sensible drinking of beer, wine, cider & meads plus a little bit of china painting & a few bits of photograph tampering.


If you are affected by any of the articles on this site or any of the issues raised in them, I truly feel very sorry for you.


Finally the sanity clause: As Chico Marx

famously said to brother Groucho,


  “Everybody knows there ain't no

     Sanity Clause!”



WARNING:-

Some pages may contain music!

Do not enter this site if you are allergic to nuts!

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À votre santé,

Je via sano,

Slainte Mhath!

تك, За вас, Na zdravje! לחיים,

Problem Page #Home #hint Non-alcoholic #YEASTS #HYGIENE #Links
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            on this page I will look at general (hence the page name) brewing topics that are hopefully relevant to more than one aspect of home beer & wine making.


HYGIENE

Once, when corresponding with a complete novice, I eventually mentioned sterilizer, he was taken aback saying that I never mentioned it before & it had obviously never crossed his mind. Looking at various books & web sites it seems that many people had omitted this basic requirement for good home brewing, just like me, & so I will now correct my omissions. I must also point out that, unlike the vast majority of TV “cooks”, I am very conscious of the importance of hygiene, in fact I often get told off for getting the kitchen towels sodden with my almost constant hand-washing.


When handling any foodstuffs & cooking equipment basic rules of personal hygiene such as proper hand washing must be observed. All the gear we use must also be spotlessly cleaned & sterilized prior to use. Whilst bleach is an excellent sterilizer it is designed to cling to (porcelain) surfaces, a property we do not desire, it would probably leave undesirable tastes & smells. Luckily there are several proprietary sterilizers available to us, they mostly consist of sodium metabisulphite & work very well when used as instructed. After use, all equipment should be washed properly before storage, sterilization is not required at this stage. Old, scratched items such as fermentation bins can harbour all sorts of germs so check these items regularly & replace them when they get too bad.


When using fruits they should be washed & soaked in a solution of sterilizer to prevent any bacterial infection


Siphoning can easily be a source of contamination, cleaning your teeth before siphoning is a good idea as is having some sterilizing liquid handy to rinse the end of the siphon tube after sucking the liquid halfway through. To me, the best way is to have a tap placed 40mm or so from the end, suck the liquid till it almost reaches the tap, then replace the last piece of tube with another sterilized piece oh tube.


Auto-siphons are available but may be too wide for some demijohns.

#sug

♫ A spoon full of sugar weighs 3.15 grams,

..... 3.15 grams ..... ♫

#ESTERS

A “Quatermass” yeast head, complete with tendrils - Woodeforde’s Great Eastern Ale.

The bit of green wire enables me to find my brewing paddle & the clean, unused carpet under-felt wrapper helps to keep an even temperature & reduce heat losses. You can just see the top of my hydrometer. Note that the beer is covered during fermentation.

#FOOD #It’s

It’s all a matter of taste!

Fruit & Veg.

Fruit

&

e

g

V

YEASTS

All beers wines & ciders etc., as indeed do most breads, rely on the unicellular fungi known as yeasts in their production. Nowadays we generally use yeasts that have been carefully selected/bred for specific purposes, trying to eliminate all the unwanted or wild yeasts from our brews (the Belgian Lambic/Gueze beer types are notable exceptions). From our point of view there are three main yeasts, beer, wine & bread, under normal circumstances, we will only use them for their original intended purpose.


Beer yeasts have two main types, the “top-fermenting” Saccharomyces cerevisiae which we use for ales, stouts wheat beers, porters etc. & the “bottom-fermenting” Saccharomyces uvarum yeast, used for lagers, Pilsners, Bocks, Märzens/Oktoberfests, American hybrids etc. This yeast is often referred to by it’s original name Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis in honour of the brewery where the first cells were isolated by the Copenhagen brewery’s chemist Emil Christian Hansen during 1883. Both types can be subdivided into numerous different strains, suitable for the many different beers & cover different ranges of working temperatures & efficiencies (high efficiency

yeasts give higher alcohol beers with a dryer taste from the same wort). Different yeasts can give different tastes to a brew, they also have different flocculation characteristics, those at the higher end clump together better at the end of fermentation, sinking to the bottom of the fermenter thus leaving a clearer beer. Some high alcohol brews may also use a wine yeast as the latter are more tolerable to high alcohol.


I have known at least one manufacturer (John Bull) use the same yeast for lager & ale kits. That is very naughty,  these generally superior, cheap kits have been re-introduced.


Wine yeasts also come in many differing forms, some for red, some for white, some for specific grapes such as Burgundy & some are ideal for sparkling wines/Champagne as they are highly flocculent & settle out nicely.


Cider yeasts are available but I have seen cider recipes using beer yeasts, personally I always use wine yeasts.


Fermentation is the process in which fermentable sugars are normally turned to alcohol by the action of yeast cells & takes place in two stages:-


Stage 1 - Aerobic fermentation is the dividing of the yeast cells using the available oxygen (hence the name aerobic) in the liquid & of course the nutrients available. The number of cells doubles approximately every 4 hours, thus halving the available oxygen per cell, eventually, after one or two days or so, depending on the amount of absorbed oxygen, the available oxygen is insufficient to support further splitting, this leads on to the second stage.


Stage 2 - Anaerobic fermentation is a slower process that gathers pace as the aerobic fermentation slows down. The yeast now converts the fermentable sugars into approximately equal quantities of (ethyl) alcohol (chemical formula C2H5OH or CH3CH2OH - both the same, just written differently, the latter describes the molecule structure) & carbon dioxide (CO2) rather than multiplying.


The process whole process can take from a few days to weeks & is dependant on many variables such as the type of yeast, the pitching rate, the absorbed oxygen, the temperature & the recipes ingredients & quantities.

For high gravity beers some brewers say it could be advantageous to aerate the wort after about 12 hours, thus enabling good cell growth. The “Yorkshire square” & the “Burton Union system” brewing methods both keep the yeast aerated but specific yeasts are used for this purpose as aeration during fermentation can easily spoil brews. Danstar suggest 36 hours is the optimum time for aerating wines. Again, many authors view further aeration as a bad thing.


Using Yeast

The excellent BYO magazine & its web site, along with many others, advocate using about 3-4.5 millions yeast cells per millilitre per degree of beer wort. So for example, for 23 litres of ale wort, O. G. 1040 the No. yeast cells required would be approx. 276 billion. Typically (within about 50%) White Labs liquid yeast & Wyeast packs contain about 100 billion active yeast cells, Lallemand Danstar dried yeasts contain a minimum of 5 billion viable cells per gram & their web-site hints at a maximum of 10 billion cells per gram so we can expect 55-110 billion live cells per packet. The number of live yeast cells increases many-fold during fermentation.


At this stage you are probably thinking, just like me, that this is very complicated & far too much trouble, so, what do we do?

One answer is to add half a packet of yeast to a small brew (around 5 litres say), a full packet to a medium (10 litre) brew & two packets to a large (23 litre) batch. Another solution would be to make a yeast starter for the bigger brews. I think most of us would say “Sod it!” & just empty a single packet of yeast to the wort. An easy improvement on this method is to add the yeast to around 50ml of water at 35-40°C (may be cooler but no warmer ), cover to keep any nasty stuff out & wait 15 mins before adding to the fermenter. This re-hydrates the yeast & so it is hungry & ready for action when pitched. My variation on this second method is to re-hydrate the yeast at the start of my brewing/wine/cider making session. After 10-15 mins, for my beers, I literally add a couple of drops of wort from my stirrer into the glass. I repeat this several times until my brew is ready for the yeast, I then just slop it all in. For wines & ciders I double the contents of the glass with pure apple juice or similar, at about the same temperature. This method re-hydrates the yeast & then starts a gentle feeding session for it. Some people advocate adding a very small amount of fermentable material (i.e. a 5% sugar or must solution) to the water before adding the yeast, this is believed to reduce the possibility of damage to the yeast cells & giving a better yeast viability, too much fermentable material inhibits yeast re-hydration because of osmotic pressure.


Note: Do not add any nutrient to the yeast at this point as it is not needed (most beers do not need it either), also be sure the temperature difference between the yeast & the wort is less than 10°C as the shock could harm the yeast. Most yeasts like to work at around room temp. I wrap my fermenter with a clean, unused piece of carpet/under-felt as this helps reduce the temperature fluctuations that yeasts do not like.


A matter of perspective

The world’s population is believed to have been over 6.7 billion (6,700 million), at the end of June 2009.


Yeasts in the UK

There are numerous commercial wine & beer yeasts available in the USA, especially the latter where the yeast “flavour profile”, attenuation (yeast efficiency) & alcoholic tolerance can be chosen to suit every particular beer style. Things are somewhat different here in the UK, our yeast choices for wines are largely red, white or Champagne & for beers it is usually a simple choice between ale & lager yeasts, bizarrely yeast parameters are never revealed. Don’t get me started on the malts/grains available to the British home brewer!


Yeast nutrients

Most of the time our worts & musts will contain sufficient nutrients, allowing the yeast to do its’ job correctly. High gravity beers with a high sugar content (say 30% or more by weight) may benefit from about ½ a tsp of yeast nutrient in a 23 litre batch. With wines & ciders I tend to add ¼ to ½ a tsp to a 2.5 litre demijohn just to “make sure”. High sugar & flower wines should also benefit from a vitamin “B” complex tablet.


If too much nutrient is added then this will remain in the finished brew & provide a haven for all sorts of nasty bugs, not enough can result in a stuck fermentation, the home brewer’s nightmare, or a poor fermentation that could leave a high final gravity and/or a poor taste, this may also be accompanied by an “off” smell..


The main nutrients required by our yeasts are calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), phosphorous (P), potassium (K) & nitrogen (N). The main vitamins are B1 (Thiamine), B3 (Niacin or Nicotinamide), B5 (Pantothenic acid) & B6 (Pyroxidin), please excuse any spelling errors in this section. Trace elements such as sulphur (S), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe) & copper (Cu) are also required. Thankfully a lot of these items are present in the materials we use, including our tap water, a good reason for not using the ridiculously expensive & dubious quality bottled water which can cost more than a bottle of beer!


ESTERS

When we allow our beers & wines etc. to mature they often gain extra aromas & flavours, these are the results of “esters”, volatile organic compounds that are formed when alcohols react with acids. You may have wondered why for example, a wheat beer has bubble gum and/or cold baked bean notes or why, in a white wine, you can detect things like strawberries, tobacco & butter when these items were not in the making of the wine. This is owing to the esters, our drink may have developed esters identical to those found in the compounds we detected. The yeast(s) used, the ingredients used & their acids, added acids & the fermentation temperature are some of the factors that can affect the types & quantities of esters produced. Ethyl acetate is the most common ester & has the chemical formula CH3COOC2H5  OR  CH3COOCH2CH3. In small concentrations this ester can have flowery aromas but in higher concentrations it can give a “pear drop” aroma/taste, the aroma is also often associated with solvents such as nail polish remover (acetone).


The table below shows just a few esters & their aromas, there are well over 200 esters present in wines & in different quantities in different styles of wine.

GRAVITY TABLE

Jam & Other Miscellaneous Recipes

°Brix

°Baumé

°Oechsle

S.G.

Sugar

g/litre

O.G.

Divider

Wine

Est.

Beer

Est.

0

0

0

1000

0

7.75

0.00

0.00

0.26

0.14

1

1001

2.7

7.75

0.14

0.13

0.51

0.29

2

1002

5.3

7.74

0.28

0.26

0.77

0.43

3

1003

8

7.74

0.42

0.39

1.03

0.58

4

1004

11

7.74

0.56

0.51

1.28

0.72

5

1005

13

7.73

0.70

0.64

2.56

1.4

10

1010

27

7.71

1.40

1.29

3.83

2.1

15

1015

40

7.69

2.11

1.94

5.08

2.8

20

1020

53

7.68

2.81

2.59

6.32

3.5

25

1025

67

7.66

3.53

3.24

7.56

4.2

30

1030

80

7.64

4.24

3.90

8.78

4.9

35

1035

93

7.62

4.96

4.56

10

5.6

40

1040

107

7.60

5.68

5.23

11.2

6.3

45

1045

120

7.58

6.41

5.90

12.4

6.9

50

1050

133

7.56

7.14

6.57

13.6

7.6

55

1055

147

7.54

7.87

7.24

14.7

8.2

60

1060

160

7.53

8.61

7.92

16.9

8.9

65

1065

173

7.51

9.35

8.60

17.1

9.5

70

1070

187

7.49

10.10

9.29

18.2

10.1

75

1075

200

7.47

10.84

9.98

19.3

10.8

80

1080

213

7.45

11.60

10.67

20.5

11.4

85

1085

227

7.43

12.35

11.36

21.6

12

90

1090

240

7.41

13.11

12.06

22.7

12.6

95

1095

253

7.39

13.88

12.77

23.8

13.2

100

1100

267

7.38

14.64

13.47

24.9

13.8

105

1105

280

7.36

15.41

14.18

25.9

14.4

110

1110

293

7.34

16.19

14.89

27

15

115

1115

307

7.32

16.97

15.61

28.1

15.6

120

1120

320

7.30

17.75

16.33

29.1

16.1

125

1125

333

7.28

18.54

17.06

Apart from being a Brix/Baumé/Oechsle/S.G. comparator the table gives the required amount of sugar to give a certain Specific Gravity solution.


The O.G. Divider is very useful when accurately calculating the % ABV (Alcohol By Volume) from the known Original Gravity (OG) & the Final Gravity (FG) of a fermented beverage. The effects of any sweetening sugar in a wine are ignored as they are added after fermentation.


% ABV = (OG-FG) / OG Divider for that OG


If for example we have a wine of

OG = 1080

FG = 993


Then

% ABV = (1080-993) / 7.45 = 87 / 7.45

              = 11.7% ABV (approx.)


Similarly for a beer of say

OG = 1042

FG = 1008


Then

% ABV = (1042-1008) / 7.59 = 34 / 7.59

              = 4.6% ABV (approx.)


Note that the divider 7.59 is estimated from the table. Priming sugar has been omitted, 5ml (approx. 3.15g) sugar per litre adds about 0.3% ABV.

You will have seen many tables similar to this giving fairly similar results, you will also have seen a “Potential Alcohol” column. I personally hate these as they are very cumbersome & inaccurate. This is why I’ve calculated my own “Wine Est.” & “Beer Est.” columns.


Wine Est.

If we want to make a wine with an OG of say 1075 then the table tells us directly to expect about 10.84% ABV.


Beer Est.

This is very unreliable as many factors affect a beer’s strength, i.e., the quantities/types of malts/grains used, sugars & other adjuncts, not forgetting the yeast efficiency. To make a decent guess for a beer's ABV we really need to brew it first!

The beer estimating process is more difficult than that for wine.


If a beer has an

OG of 1050 it has an associated “Beer Est.” value of 6.57

FG of 1010 it has an associated “Beer Est.” value of 1.29


Then

% ABV = “Beer Est.” @ OG - “Beer Est.” @ FG = 6.57 - 1.29

              = 5.28% ABV


A much better/easier(?)/accurate method of estimating the parameters of a beer/wine/cider etc. is to enter the recipe into my free YoBrew Calculators.

WEIGHTS & MEASURES


Here are a few approximate weights for one 5ml level teaspoon full of a few compounds commonly used by home “brewers”.

Compound


Acid Blend

Bentonite

Calcium Carbonate

Citric Acid

Granulated Sugar

Weight (g)


5.3

4.5

3

4.9

3.15

Compound


Irish Moss

Malic Acid

Sodium Bicarbonate

Sodium Metabisulphite

Tartaric Acid

Weight (g)


3

4.5

5.5

6

5

Spoons


A “standard” level teaspoon holds 5ml

A “standard” level desert spoon holds 10ml

A “standard” level table spoon holds 15ml


Quite a few herbs & spices can be used in the making of beers, wines, meads & mulls etc. here are a few VERY approximate weights one level 5ml teaspoon full (unless otherwise stated) of the more common ingredients used. Information is sketchy at best, certainly unreliable, take the data with a pinch of salt (wt. 6g). I have verified the weights in RED.

Please note that different producers of  ingredients may (WILL) vary in weight.

Ingredient


HERBS (dried):

Mint

Parsley

Rosemary

Rosemary (dried)

Weight

(g)/5ml tsp



1

0.6

2

1

Ingredient


SPICES:

Allspice Ground

Caraway Seed

Cayenne Chilli Pepper

Cardamom ground

Cinnamon Ground

Cinnamon Sticks

Cloves Ground

Cloves Whole

Coriander Ground

Coriander Seed

Cumin Seed

Weight

(g)/5ml tsp


1.95

2.1

2.6

2

2.6

4.2 (1 stick)

2.1

1g each

1.8

1.4

2

Ingredient



Black Peppercorns

Fennel Seed

Ginger Ground

Grains of Paradise

Juniper Berries

Mixed Spice

Nutmeg

Nutmeg Ground

Star Anise (broken pieces)

Vanilla Pod

Weight

(g)/5ml tsp


2.12

1.9

1.8

2

3.0

1.25

6g whole

2.8

2.4

2.5




A spoon full of granulated white sugar weighs 3.15g. This statement ain't necessarily so as, more accurately, one level 5ml teaspoon full of sugar weighs approximately 3.15g. Searching the web to find the weight of a teaspoon full of sugar was quiet informative in a perverse sort of way. “A teaspoon holds 5ml therefore it will hold 5g” was one silly statement, “A quarter of a teaspoon weighs 1g so a teaspoon full weighs 4g” is also quite mind-numbing, did someone actually get a teaspoonful of sugar & quarter it before weighing? I was alarmed that these “facts” & many more were repeated at an alarming rate. So, I actually measured out 10 level teaspoons of sugar using a calibrated 5ml plastic spoon, the type you get with some medicines, I then weighed the sugar. This was repeated several times giving an average weight of about 31.5g, I therefore assumed that 1 level 5ml tsp of sugar weighed approximately 3.15g. I repeated this experiment with the various sized spoons we had amassed over the years, one teaspoon only held about 1.8g. Also, by my measurements, a level 5ml teaspoon of DEMERARA sugar weighs approximately 3g & finally CASTER sugar checks in about 3.2g. So just be careful when your beer instructions say “add 1 tsp priming sugar to each 500ml bottle”. Do some of your beers end up as flat as a proverbial whilst others explode like Vesuvius? See the “priming section”.


Corollary:- One level 10ml desert spoon full of white sugar weighs 6.3g & one level 15ml tablespoon full weighs 9.48g.

Note that all these figures are approximate.


FOOD & DRINK PAIRING

I truly believe that food should be paired with a mediocre drink such as Stella, Fosters or “smooth” beers, & Kopparberg, Bulmers or Mangers cider or “pub wines”. To drink any thing better would be a waste of money, food spoils a good drink.


I think a similar attitude should be taken to cooking food in drinks although I would choose something better than the “ciders” & “wines” mentioned above, they could possibly impart a chemical taste.


After a bottle of (red) wine, save all the dregs for tomorrows gravy. (Ginger wine is NOT recommended for this purpose.)


IT’S ALL A MATTER OF TASTE!

All constructive comments/criticisms etc. are welcome.

Some American units of measurement


1 cup = 8 ounces = 236ml

1 quart = 32 ounces = 944ml



1 tbsp (tablespoon) = 1/2 ounce = 15ml

1 fifth = 25.6 ounces = 750ml



1 tsp (teaspoon) = 1/6 ounce = 5ml

1 pint = 16 ounces = 472ml

1 pint = 0.8 UK  pint

Like Pete’s Pint Pot, YoBrew is a British site dedicated to home beer, wine and cider makers all over the world. I read a complementary review about the site in the Culture section of the Sunday Times a few years ago, visited the site, really liked it, contacted the owner, Stephan Barnard, then became a regular contributor. My main contributions are beer & wine kit reviews, commercial beer reviews, recipes for beers, wine & ciders, growing your own beer, wine & cider ingredients & my calculators (heavily plugged on this site) for making beer, wine, cider & even jams.

Visit YoBrew at  www.yobrew.co.uk

Links

Colchester Homebrew Supplies at www.colchesterhomebrew.co.uk  for local & mail order shopping.


Beginners to beer-making should find the excellent www.colchesterhomebrew.co.uk/brewingwithbeerkits.html page of great use.

www.beeracademy.co.uk. Here is a fantastic site aimed at the serious side of beer drinking. It covers some of the basics of beer such as the history of beer & its appreciation, going on to educational courses & brewery visits, at the time of writing the Budvar brewery in the Czech Republic was the chosen destination. The site is associated with the Institute of Brewing & Distilling www.ibd.org.uk.


www.drinksplanet.com/forums Is another great site for discussing beer & wine problems, even if you have no issues you will probably find this interesting & entertaining. Why not share your knowledge?

HINTS, TIPS & A FEW MYTHS


BOTTLING: When performing this tedious & often messy process I find that an extra

(sterilized) bottle usually comes in handy.


I like to have my sterilizing liquid handy to rinse the end my siphon tube after sucking the

liquid halfway through. I’m sure that other people drinking my wares would find this fact

somewhat re-assuring.


The instructions given in some beer kits suggest dissolving the priming sugar in hot water

then dividing it equally between the bottles. It is much easier to shovel the required amount

of sugar into a funnel placed in the neck of the bottles, with a little shaking of the bottles

(be sure to fit the bottle cap first) the sugar soon dissolves. If brewing sugar is called for,

ordinary sugar will suffice.


I prefer the use glass bottles for the smaller brews of high alcohol beers apart from one where I use a plastic PET type, I can then tell when the beer is carbonated by squeezing this bottle & then place the whole batch somewhere cool & dark(ish) to mature. See the “priming section”.


WINES NEED TO “BREATHE” BEFORE DRINKING: I have seen “expert’s” newspaper columns debating this statement. Personally I have noticed that a half drunk bottle sometimes tastes better when finished off the next day. Also, my normal strength BEERS tend to be kept in 2 litre PET bottles & consumed over two nights, again this effect is sometimes apparent.


I suppose the correct answer to the question is no, they don’t need to breath but it does help sometimes (that word again).


MAKING RUM FROM A MARROW/MELON: Thankfully this myth is not very popular now but often home winemakers were told stories, usually concerning an uncle who bought a marrow/melon, scooped out all the seeds, filled it with Demerara sugar (no details of how these two actions were performed), the melon was then hung up in a net. After X months the melon was pierced with a knitting needle & pure Jamaican rum came running out.


Jamaican Rum is rum made in Jamaica from sugar cane by-products (molasses) which are fermented then normally distilled to around 40% ABV, some of the “rum” recipes mentioned above actually specify using yeast but even the high alcohol wine yeasts will struggle to get much above 20% ABV, the recipes that omit yeast will probably produce vinegar!


DESIGNING YOUR OWN WINE RECIPES: Food combinations that go together well for eating usually make good wines, but practice will tell you that this is not always true, for example, liver & onion wine is not really recommended.


AIRLOCKS: Keep dust & insects out by placing an old beer bottle crown cap over the top, a loose plug of cotton wool can also be used.


FERMENTING/MATURING VESSEL & COVERS Wrapping these with an un-used off-cut of carpet or

underfelt help slow down any heat gain/loss & also greatly slow down the rate of temperature change.

Yeasts will enjoy these conditions.

For standard sized demijohns, 750g Corn Flake/Rice Krispies & other similar sized cereal boxes make

quite good covers. The contents are shaded from the light & the temperature will be slightly stabilized

but an insulated demijohn jacket or a piece of carpet or underfelt, as described above, would be much

better.  


MATURING BEERS & WINES ETC.: The general consensus is that you allow beers to mature for a minimum of a month in the bottle before sampling. Wines & ciders are best “matured in bulk” in demijohns for three months before bottling then kept another month before drinking. Meads are bulk matured for at least six months. I think these are sensible but limited guidelines.


A month for beers is possibly adequate for low alcohol brews, some suggest adding an extra month for each % ABV above 3%, this seems reasonable to me but each beer can be different. Personal experience tells me that kit beers generally need more time than those made with “proper” ingredients (including malt extract). Do try to curb your enthusiasm & refrain from drinking too soon, most “bad” beers will become perfectly acceptable with time.


Red wines often need more time than whites as they have more tannins, fresh fruit wines take longer than those made with tinned fruit. I normally adhere to the three months + one in the bottle but I made a batch of Grapple Wine (Grape & Apple) that was only matured for a month & served after two weeks in the bottle, not a practice I would advocate. Surprisingly I found the wine to be very acceptable but even so it tasted “young” & it improved with time.


MATURING VESSEL COVERS: 750g Corn Flake/Rice Krispies & similar sized cereal boxes make quite good

covers for standard sized demijohns. The contents are shaded from the light & the temperature will be slightly

stabilized. An insulated demijohn jacket or a piece of clean, un-used carpet/underfelt would be much better.  

See FERMENTING VESSELS above.


RACKING BEERS & WINES ETC.: This siphoning process is use to separate our precious liquid from all the rubbish at the bottom of the fermenting vessel. In time dead yeast cells rot (autolyse) & can spoil the brew, this process is performed to prevent this.


Some brewers bottle their beers directly from the fermenter a few days after fermentation is complete, I like to rack my beers into a clean fermenter when the (primary) fermentation is complete or almost complete. The beer is then covered & “rested” for about a week before bottling, this helps to give a clearer beer with less sediment in the bottle. The September 2009 BYO magazine published the results of several empirical tests on beer racking & concluded that racking was not really important, some beers were left for a month with no adverse effects! I suppose that makes the previous sentences of this paragraph irrelevant.


If finings are used, it is usual to rack a wine a couple of days later then left to mature with the addition of a crushed Campden tablet. If finings are not used, the wine can be left for a few days for most of the “lees” to settle out before racking. I had a “Brewmaker Medium Dry Essential Wine” kit which fermented out perfectly without any cloudiness appearing, such a wine would be ideal if you wanted to bottle immediately but I would always recommend bulk fermentation. Incidentally the judged the very good wine to be excellent value for money.


SUGAR SOLUTIONS: Sometimes, especially when making wines etc., it is advantageous to add sugar in the form of a solution. Put the sugar & water in a saucepan & heat gently, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved, the heat can usually be turned off just before this occurs. It can be useful to have an idea of the final volume of this solution & so I aim at a gravity of around 1300, it is easily achieved without too much messing about.


For every 100g of sugar use about 67ml of water to produce about 125ml of sugar solution with an SG of approximately 1300.


CAN I SELL MY HOME BREW? No, at least not here in the UK, in fact a lot of home brewers can’t even give it away! (Joke? Perhaps.)


DOM PÉRIGNON “INVENTED” CHAMPAGNE: This is a very popular myth as anyone who was bottled a wine too soon will tell you. Champagne is a sparkling wine made in the Champagne area of France from Chardonnay, or the dark-skinned red wine grapes Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier. The sparkle is produced by inducing the in-bottle secondary fermentation producing carbonation dioxide but some, non-Champagne sparkling wines can be artificially carbonated.


Dom was born as Pierre Pérignon around 1639 in Saint-Menehould, a small town to the east of the Champagne region, he died 14 September 1715. When 19 years old he entered the Benedictine Order at the Abbey of Saint-Vannes, Verdun & at 28 he was appointed cellar master at the Abbey of Hautvillers. It is believed that our Dom helped improve the production of the wines produced at the Abbey & devised a way of making a controlled carbonation of them. These Monks have a lot to answer for, wot with their wines & (Trappist/Abbey) beers.


DRINKING THE YEAST FROM THE BOTTOM OF A BOTTLE OF BEER UPSETS YOUR STOMACH: I’ve drunk a few beers in my time that have had this effect but to my knowledge the yeast is harmless, if it were true then surely drinking any beer, under which sediment lies, would give you the squirts. Many beers, such as Abbeys, Trappist & wheat beers are considered to be enhanced when the yeast is “swirled” in to the beer, I have found this true for many such beers, at worst there was no noticeable difference in the taste.


ALCOHOL MAKES YOU FAT: This is definitely a myth, alcohol does not make you FAT! In fact it makes you LEAN....

Mostly against tables, chairs, floors, walls & ugly people.


Many thanks for that useful information Trev.


FINALLY: If everything else fails, read the instructions!

A little bit of serious stuff now, most of this site is only relevant in the USA but the link to help feed the starving peoples of our world is available world-wide. Just click on the yellow button at The Hunger Site to give a cup of food to the hungry at no cost to you.

www.thehungersite.com/tpc/ERH_052209_THS


In this age, where everything appears to be processed, digitised & computerized dumbed-down, soul-less crud it is good to get to real beers, music & art etc. Candice’s web site promotes things such as hand-made jewellery, textiles, cards, hand painted pottery, in fact too much to mention!

In Box pete@petespintpot.co.uk

TONGUE

Showing the taste buds.

Taste is the weakest of the five senses, there are almost 10,000 taste buds in our mouths situated mainly on our tongues but there are also about 10% on the palette & in the cheeks, generally, females have more taste buds than males (& more taste than males - they say!).

Our taste buds can recognize four basic kinds of tastes: sweet, salty, sour & bitter. The “sweet” taste buds are on the tips of our tongues, the “salty” taste buds are situated just to the sides, near to the front, the “sour” taste buds line the sides of your tongue & the “bitter” taste buds are found at the very back. Very few taste buds are at the centre of the tongue, which nicely bring us round to the “umami”, an allegedly a fifth taste bud, uniquely, there are no main areas for umami receptors. The Japanese word umami ( うま味  or 旨味  or うまみ, I’m not sure of the correct spelling or the actual pronunciation!) approximates to “savoury taste” or “good flavour” & relates to protein-rich foods such as cheese, soy sauce, monosodium glutamate, it is present in tomatoes, grains, beans & most importantly (for us), fermented materials.

Ester
Typical Aromas
Ester
Typical Aromas
Benzyl acetate
Peach
Iso-butyl propionate
Rum
Benzyl butyrate
Cherry
Methyl anthranilate
Grapes
Ethyl acetate
Flowers, nail polish remover
Methyl butyrate
Apple
Ethyl benzoate
Fruity
N-amyl acetate
Pear, banana
Ethyl butyrate
Pineapple
N-amyl butyrate
Apricot
Ethyl caproate
Wine-like, fruity
N-butyl butyrate
Pineapple
Ethyl formate
Rum
N-propyl acetate
Pear
Ethyl methanoate
Raspberry
Octyl acetate
Orange
Ethyl propionate
Rum
Octyl ethanoate
Bananas
Iso-amyl acetate
Banana, pear
Pentyl butanoate
Strawberries
Iso-amyl valerate
Apple
Pentyl ethanoate
Pear
Note that an ester can have several names, for example octyl acetateis the same as octyl ethanoate.

Just in case you didn’t recognize the lady between Esther Williams & “Little” Esther Phillips, portrayed in the icon, it is, of course, Esther Rantzen.

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