Friday, May 30, 2014

Holy Water!

Currently under the fermenting sink, a small batch of a recipe called Holy Water! I had a pretty good stock of oatmeal coffee stout and a batch of pipeline cider going, but I still wanted to get something fermenting. Taking a suggestion from the book Booze for Free by Andy Hamilton, a gift from my in-laws (thanks!) I threw down a batch of something very close to my first fermenting projects two years ago.

Sugar. Water. Yeast for Holy Water!
Sugar. Water. Yeast

This recipe is more of a proof of concept than a treasured standby recipe. For new brewers, it is an introduction to the very basics of mixing ingredients and adding yeast at the correct proportions and temperatures. It is basically sugar, water, and yeast with a few additions to assist in fermentation and flavor. No fruit juice, no malted cereal grains- just good old refined sugar.

I cut the recipe down to fit into my 3L vodka bottle fermenter as my 5L water bottle jug was full of the pipeline cider. I ended up with the following ingredient list.
  1. 1kg sugar (half white sugar, have unrefined cane sugar)
  2. 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  3. 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient
  4. Water to 3L
  5. Dry cider yeast

Mixing for Holy Water!

The process was about as simple as the ingredient list. Dissolve the sugar in hot water, top up with cold water to bring the temperature down to a safe yeast pitching level, add the lemon juice, yeast nutrient, and dry yeast. Shake vigorously to aerate, and place in my fermentation chamber- under the kitchen sink.

The original gravity was 1.048, giving this the potential to be 4-5% alcohol by volume if everything ferments correctly. The recipe called for a higher OG, but I decided to go with less sugar (and thus less alcohol).

Ready to Ferment Holy Water!
Ready to Ferment

My first fermentation experiment was much like this one. I fermented some sugar water with bread yeast for two weeks, then added two Kool-Aid drink mix packets to the finished product. It tasted about what one would expect that to taste like: fruity and bready.

This isn't made to be consumed by the glass by itself. The Booze for Free book also includes numerous recipes for herb and fruit cordials and naturally carbonated sodas. This mostly flavorless alcohol solution is meant to add just a bit of alcohol bite to a mint-and-berry cordial or a homemade ginger ale, perhaps.

Coming soon, elderflower wine and champagne as we get into elderflower season here in northern Europe!

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