Making wine, beer and mead
Wine, beer and mead are 3 types of alcoholic beverages. Wine is made by combining any type of fruit, vegetable or flower with caster sugar and yeast and allowing it to ferment. Cider and perry are also considered a form of wine. Beer is made by combining an infusion of malted grain with hops, caster sugar and yeast and allowing it to ferment. Mead is made by comining honey (together with some natural acid) with yeast and allowing it to ferment.
Combine 1 kg of sugar per 4,5kg pressed grape juice (so just the weight of the grape juice, excluding the weight of the pits and skins; pits and skins are left in the pressed grape juice with red wines to allow tannins to soak in); alternatively you can use 1,25 upto 1,35 kg of sugar per 4,5kg pressed grape juice for sweeter wines. Place the liquid in a bucket and add wine yeast. Then, two fermenting stages occur. The first stage is the active stage where the yeast multiplies. Make sure there is still a bit of empty space in the bucket, also make sure it is left open, (a muslin can be used on it to deter flies though). When the liquid no longer looks foamy (after a few days or so), the second stage has set in. Siphon off the liquid (from sediment and pits and skins if present) to a demijohn, add water and top it with a fermentation lock. Allow to ferment for 6 months. Note that the temperature needs to be kept between 21°C and 27°C at all times during both fermenting stages (aim for 24°C). When it goes below 21°C, or above 27°C, the fermentation will halt.
Note that the above recipe is used for making grape wine, yet any type of vegetable or fruit can be used as previously mentioned. Flower wines tend to need more acid (often added in the form of lemon juice). Also, you need to compensate for the difference in sugar content of the fruit you're using in comparison to that of grapes (use a hydrometer to calculate this).
Also note that for making cider, the same approach as mentioned above is followed, yet only 1 fermenting stage is done.
Crush malted grain in a cloth. Mix with the required amount of hop. Transfer to a muslin bag and allow to soak in water. Heat the mixture and allow to simmer for 45 minutes. Strain the contents and place in a demijohn. Add water and allow to cool to 15°C. Mix 1 tsp of yeast per 4,5 litres of liquid. Store at a warm location for one week. Once fermentation has stopped, leave 1 day to settle out the sediment. Siphon off the liquid in sterilized bottles and add 1/2 tsp sugar per bottle.
Mix 1 kg of honey with the juice of a lemon and an orange. Heat in a pan and stir untill everything is dissolved. Add 1/2 tsp yeast, bottle and leave to ferment for 6 months.
- Sake and other similar alcoholic beverages can be considered a form of beer. This as they have been made from rice, which is a grain.
- Vodka and ginger beer can be considered a seperate form of alcoholic beverage as they are made of root vegetables (potatoes, ginger)
- Practical self-sufficiency by Dick and James Strawbridge