Typically when bottle conditioning a homebrew it takes at least 2 weeks or more to properly carbonate the beer, however if you need to carbonate the beer faster, we have a useful trick that will reduce the carbonation time to just 6 days.
All you have to do is gently rouse the yeast and invert each bottle once per day for the first 5 days after bottling. After chilling the beer for a few hours on the 6th day it will be fully carbonated, this will work even for high ABV stouts that would otherwise take 3 weeks to carbonate.
Basically this just wakes up the yeast which is resting on the bottom of the bottle and increases their surface area, allowing the yeast to work more efficiently.
See the video below for a demonstration. Happy homebrewing.
A Shrub is is a concentrated syrup that combines fruit, sugar, and vinegar, and when combined with club soda or tonic, makes a delicious effervescent beverage. Shrubs also make a great addition of any of your favorite cocktails.
If your looking for a way to add a special touch to your cocktails, why not try making your own house bitters, it’s a really simple process once you gather all the necessary spices and herbs. This week we made 2 shrubs, and a batch of orange bitters. For our first attempt we made a Strawberry Mint Shrub, and a Mixed Berry/Lemon Balm Shrub with Strawberries, Raspberries, and Blackberries. The addition of Mint and Lemon Balm to the shrubs really complemented the fruity and tart flavors, these are going to make some truly excellent drinks. Cheers
House Orange Bitters
- 3 oz Dried Orange Peels
- 2 Whole Cardamon Pods (Crushed)
- 1 1/2 tsp Corriander Seeds (Crushed)
- 1/2 tsp caraway seeds (Crushed)
- 1 3/4 oz Rich Demerara Syrup 2:1
- 750 ml high proof neutral spirit (Vodka, Everclear, Overproof Rum)
- Prepare the Rich Demerara Syrup 2:1 (1/2 cup Demerara sugar, 1/4 cup water)
- Crush or grind all the spices, and combine everything is a jar, store at room temp.
- Shake once per day for 1 week, then strain and bottle
The magic ratio for shrubs is 1:1:1
- 1 part fruit
- 1 part simple syrup (1 part water and 1 part sugar)
- 1 part cider vinegar.
- Add 1 part simple syrup to a pot and begin heating
- Add an equal amount of the desired fruit, and simmer on medium until the fruit has broken down and released all it’s fruity goodness.
- Add any optional herbs or spices near the end of the boil
- Add 1 part cider vinegar and allow to cool.
- Strain though cheese cloth or a nut milk bag to remove all the fruit pulp.
- The shrub can then be used immediately and/or stored in the refrigerator for 4-6 months.
YCC was recently mentioned in the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News in an article discussing the “Free State Homebrew Guild”. The guild is the first and only statewide homebrewing guild which brings together representatives from every Maryland homebrew club.
Kombucha is a delicious, effervescent beverage produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria. Making kombucha is super easy, all you need is some iced tea, sugar, and a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast).
While it’s possible to order a SCOBY culture online as a dry powder, the preferred way to get a SCOBY is from a local friend or fermentation group. Kombucha has become exceedingly popular so once you start asking around someone is sure to have one to share. To make kombucha all you need to do it combine all your ingredients in clean glass container, and wait 7-10 days. After fermenting for a few days you can flavor your kombucha with all sorts of juices, fruits, spices, etc.
Recipe (1 Gallon)
- 1 gallon ice tea
- 1 cup sugar
- SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast)
- 1/4 cup of kombucha
Day 1 (Time required: About 15 min)
- Boil water and steep black tea according to the instruction for your favorite brand of iced tea. We have been using “Lipton Iced Tea” with good results.
- Add 1 cup of sugar while the tea is still warm.
- Cool the tea to room temp in a refrigerator. Adding ice will help cool the tea a lot quicker
- Clean your glass container with soap and water. Don’t use any sanitizers because the residual sanitizer can end up killing the beneficial bacteria in the SCOBY. If you do happen to use sanitizer just be sure to thoroughly rinse it out with water.
- Once your tea has cooled to room temperature add the sweet tea to the container, add the SCOBY culture and 1/4 cup of the kombucha. Ideally you want the SCOBY and the tea to be the same temperature, if your tea is too hot or too cold it could damage the SCOBY and delay the fermentation process. If the tea is really hot then it could completely kill the SCOBY.
- Cover the container with a clean towel, cheesecloth or a paper towel. Kombucha fermentation is an aerobic process, so it needs plenty of oxygen for a healthy fermentation.
- Let you kombucha ferment at room temperature for a minimum of 7 days.
Day 7 (Time required: About 30 min)
- Look at the Kombucha. Ideally a thin slimy SCOBY should have formed on the top of the liquid. You may notice some bubbles trapped under the SCOBY or around the edges. The SCOBY is usually a light tan color, but there may be dark brown areas and there may be stringy bits dangling from the bottom of the SCOBY. All of these are signs of a nice healthy SCOBY.
- Taste the kombucha. You should notice a slight sour taste, similar to vinegar, this is kombucha. Is it strong enough for you? If you want it to be a more sour let it sit for another few days. Kombucha likes warm temperatures so depending on your room temperature the kombucha may ferment slightly slower or faster. You’re the boss of your bucha, so decide for yourself when it’s done.
- At this point you have 4 options.
- Drink the Kombucha now. Just decant the Kombucha into another container and refrigerate it.
- Bottle the pure kombucha which will carbonate and become fizzy after about 3 days.
- Bottle the kombucha and add some fruit juice, herbs or spices to create unique flavors, again it will carbonate after about 3 days. One of our popular flavors is Black Cherry Kombucha in which we add 2oz of “Just Black Cherry” juice to every 12oz bottle. Every juice will have a different amount of sugar, so you’ll have to experiment to figure out how much juice to add to your bottles, try 2oz per 12oz bottle, and adjust from there.
- Decant the kombucha into a separate secondary container and add chunks of fresh fruit, or other ingredients. If the secondary container is tightly sealed it may carbonate, otherwise you can bottle it after a few day.
- If you decided to bottle your kombucha let it sit for at least 3 days at room temperature, in the absence of oxygen the yeast will produce a small amount of alcohol and carbon dioxide which will carbonate the Kombucha. The alcohol percentage is approximately 0.5% so it’s not typically considered an alcoholic beverage.
- Now its time to start over again, all you need to do is brew up 1 gallon of tea with 1 cup of sugar, let it cool to room temperature and add it back to the original container with the same SCOBY and 1/4 cup of the kombucha liquid. You can and should repeat this process as many times as you want.
- If you want to stop brewing kombucha for a few weeks or if you go on vacation, gently scoop out the SCOBY and place it into a jar, cover the SCOBY with kombucha liquid and set it aside at room temperature. This is called a “SCOBY Hotel”, and the SCOBY can last a long time tucked away in your kitchen. When your ready to brew kombucha again just start over from the beginning.