Saturday, May 14, 2011

Did I used to be stupid? A homebrewing experiment

I've understood the basics behind fermentation for a long time.  You need three ingredients:  water, sugar, and yeast.  The yeast float around in the water and eat the sugar, releasing alcohol as a waste product.  This is really basic stuff.  Knowing this, why did I ever bother with a fake ID when I was younger?  I wasn't going to bars.  Why not just brew my own booze in my dorm room?  Way easier and cheaper.  I would have made my room the Goldeneye/Street Fighter 2 mecca.  Maybe it is because I knew nothing of cooking and didn't realize that they sell yeast in the grocery store.  Anyone can simply buy the stuff.  Yeah, I know you want brewer's yeast not baking yeast.  But I'm sure the baking yeast will do in a jiffy.

Back then the interwebs was a dark place, full of shitty geosites webplaces and terrible midi files that played in the background when you loaded a site.  These days kids have everything handed to them.  Like this awesome tutorial on how to make your own dorm wine.  Man if I was young again I would kick so much ass...

So I'm running a little experiment to see if I am truly a more enlightened person now than I was back then.  I went to the store and bought some cans of Old Orchard 100% juice blueberry and pomegranate.  It is the frozen stuff and has no preservatives.  Preservatives will kill the yeast, duh, so only use preservative free juice.  It is also less then 2 dollars per can, so very much recession/college student pricerange.  I was hoping to get mango because when was the last time you drank mango booze that wasn't some overpriced mangotini crap?  But I didn't see the mango stuff at the store.  Oh well, maybe next time.

2 cans of juice is less than 4 dollars and yields 48 fluid ounces.  That's about 1 1/2 liters, which is decent for a first brew.  Granulated sugar is like 3 bucks for a big bag, and yeast is three bucks for a big jar.  But the sugar and yeast will give you many yields, so maybe a dollar's worth of sugar and yeast gives you a yield.  So maybe 5.50 for 1.5 liters of hooch.

For the carboy I'm using the big 4 liter Carlo Rossi wine jug.  Even as a youth I could get these:  my old man loves that Paisano.

If you were a youth needing a big carboy on the cheap and your dad doesn't like rotgut wine, you'll have to stick with the plastic jug.  I hate drinking from plastic.

So I'll see how long it takes to make wine with no instructions (other than the website I liked, the information therein I already knew).  I'll see if it tastes better than malt liquor.  I'll see how easy it is, how cheap it is, how strong it is, etc.

Are college kids still making fake IDs?  Or are they smart and making their own hooch?  After all college is more expensive now than ever.  And since high school is like a prison I'd wager that the more intrepid kids are making their own pruno but what do I know.  I'm thinking that the time it takes to ferment is probably the weakest part of this project, but I had nothing to do in high school.  Especially those lazy halcyon days of summer.  Shoulda spent my time loading up the back of my closet with bottles of hooch.  I coulda run that place like Al Capone.

This is what booze know-how looks like

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