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Home Brews and other Stuff

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by modelmaker, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    We tend to mostly discuss food on here, but what about drinks?
    In the early days of my first marriage, it became clear to me I wouldn't be able to afford to drink beer very often unless I brewed it myself. Initially, it was dire, but we drank it anyway and as time went on, it improved a good deal, mostly after I stopped buying the beer kits and playing around with the raw ingredients.
    It wasn't just beer, I experimented with all manner of country wines.
    I won't pretend I ever became particularly good at it, but it was becoming quite passable. And then, all of a sudden it ceased, mostly due to an upturn in my income and the lack of time I had available to do it any longer.
    By that was 25 years ago.
    And now, in semi-retirement with a lot more time on my hands, and finding myself horrified at the cost of the alcohol component of our Tesco deliveries, I feel it might be both prudent and interesting to revisit making my own brews.
    My sweetheart recently bought another juice extractor. I can't tell you for the life of me, whatever became of the previous 2 we owned, yet they are pretty efficient things. Only need to stay turned on for a few seconds to whizz any fruit or veg you have down into a juice with minimal pulp.
    Whizz down a few apples, for example, and you have a glass of apple juice that tastes exactly the same as eating an appple, whereas no other apple juice comes anywhere near.
    And I'm wondering if I ought to take advantage of the fact this machine is occupying workspace at the same time the apple harvest is due.
    I feel inclined to make cider and apple wine. To be frank, it will be a blessing to find a use for the mass of wine bottles cluttering up our garage since the bottle recycling facility was removed from our village.
    Who makes cider? Would you consider using a juice extractor? Would you add the pulp to the brew as well?

  2. No experience of home cider but we do brew our own beer. We use the brew kits and have had some really good quality flavours out of them. We have had particular success with St Peter's Ruby Red, Woodfordes Wherry and Woodfordes Great Eastern Ale. Woodfordes Nog also came out well but the flavour just wasn't to our liking, others raved about it though.
    It's certainly worth paying a bit more for the brew kit and getting one linked to a reputable brewery, the kits we get are about £20 but are a lot better than the £7 generic 'bitter' kits. It's also important to not skimp on the sterilisation process when cleaning the barrel (we make a single 40 pint barrel which we keep on the side pressured with CO2).
    All in, with cleaning stuff and brewing sugar etc. it comes to about 60p per pint (and would be a lot less if Mr RW lowered his standards and went for the cheap kits). Would be interested to see how using the raw ingredients compares.
  3. We don't make it but having spent far too many hours at the cider/perry farm over the hill watching apples and pears going through the scratter I'd say, quite confidently, that you don't use the pulp once you have squeezed it dry.
    BUT you could use the dry pulp to make your own 'health bars', a bit like muesli bars or old fashioned flapjacks with a twist. Then you won't waste a bit of the apple!

  4. I do a lot of home brew wines - every time we have a glut in the garden i try a wine with the fruit - plums, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries.
    We now have a load of apples and I was thinking of doing a wine/cider but don't have a juicer. I was thinking of building a basic press but now think a juicer would be cheaper and more efficient.
    I have started with a small batch by cutting the apples small and adding sugar to draw out the juice. I'll then strain this, add yeast and pectolase (to kill off the pectin which makes wines hazy) and put it in a demijohn (actually an old cider bottle but practically the same.
    My wines have definitely got better and better over the years as I am more patient and rack more in the final stages.
  5. Something I aim to do when I get my house at the end of the year. No room here at the moment.
    I used to brew my own wine when I was at uni, but only cheap generic and nasty stuff. It did the required job though (which at the time was not about a quaffable drop), so I couldn't complain.
    If you do try the cider route, do let us know.

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