Hot on the heels of Farting Thrush, an earlier creation, I’m putting my second spare airlock to good use by creating another questionable concoction from some very cheap fruit drink, specifically Grower’s Harvest Summer Fruits Drink from Tesco. Not even juice, just … “drink”.
Summer Turbo. What can I say? It’s like a cider for millennials who don’t like apple. Lots of sugar, plenty of alcohol. Carbonation is spot-on for this type of drink, taste is 100% synthetic instagram-inflatable with no off-flavours and no twang. The Mitsubishi Evo of home made alco-pops, the Subaru of home-brew. I like this very much, but in a quiet, personal kind of way. Dirty and unapologetic. Back of the closet.
A success? Possibly … can’t seem to remember the criteria right now. Anyone seen my pants?
I’m running short of purchased bottles so in the spirit of this brew I went all-out ghetto and re-used a bunch of assorted 500 ml cider and beer bottles, including a 660 ml magnum. Each received 2 Easybrew carbonation drops except the 660 – that got three. Red crown caps all round to match the contents.
The sample from the trial jar was OK. Not as good as Farting Thrush but I daresay with enough ice it’ll be just the ticket on a hot summer’s day. Gravity was difficult to measure due to foam, but I think we’re at 0.996 which makes for 6.2% ABV – not too shabby.
I’m going to do the same as with Farting Thrush and store these in the server room (currently at 20.2 ℃) for 4 days and then it’s off to the garage for 10 days before we take the plunge and crack one open.
The airlock has almost stopped on Summer Turbo, just a small trickle of bubbles making their way to the surface of this brew today. Like the Farting Thrush, when it comes to the end this one hasn’t so much gently applied the brakes as thrown out the anchors. I fully expect to be bottling tomorrow, or the next day.
Both of these brews are fizzing away furiously, so I thought I’d dig out the PCM recorder and get a quick sample. This high-fidelity recording features Turbo on the left and Thrush on the right, and the hissing noise that sounds like static is actually the constant stream of champagne bubbles, amplified by the empty space at the top of the plastic fermentation vessel.
Both these brews have entered the next phase in their fermentation as I post this update following a night out on a steam train stargazing experience. Long story.
Summer Turbo is fermenting furiously if steadily; no yeast carpet at all left on top of the foam, which is made up up very small bubbles that disperse immediately, leaving no layer at all on top of the brew. There’s a strong fizzing sound from this FV, like Coke poured into a microphone, like acid dissolving part of a crime scene. The flakes of yeast which were seen earlier falling and rising are now gone, just a mist of bubbles rising through the murk and then popping at the surface, leaving nothing behind but a furiously popping airlock.
Farting Thrush is a different story. There’s not as much gas being produced but the visuals are better, with large clumps of yeast mimicking the rise-and-fall performance of Summer Turbo’s individual yeast flakes from yesterday. I’m still seeing a good carpet of yeasty gunk on the surface, so maybe Thrush will prove to be more of a long-term performer, though it’s certainly spectacular now. Time will tell.
Not enough happening, hoping that a slight increase in temperature will get things going. Ambient temperature in office 19.1 ℃ (vessels measured at 20.4 ℃ with infrared thermometer) when I moved them at 21:45.
Right now the Thrush isn’t doing very much, there’s some very small static bubbles that look like they’re from fermentation stuck near the top, but generally the yeast has just expanded a little to form a weird carpet on top, with some chunks linked together and staying still, suspended in at various heights.
The Turbo is more exciting to look at, with a similar but slightly thinner carpet on top and individual yeast flakes continuously falling and rising for the whole height of the brew in some kind of bidirectional cascade. More bobbles on top also, with the airlock popping every 15 or 20 seconds.
The vessels have come up to temperature and the infrared thermometer reads 21.6 ℃ while the ambient temperature is around 21.9 ℃. This doesn’t appear to have done much for the Thrush, which is still as static as yesterday, but the Turbo has gone up a notch and there’s a steady stream of bubbles audibly making its way to the surface. Airlock is popping every couple of seconds too.
Another cheap attempt at fermenting something, this time using Tesco Summer Fruits Drink. Damn, it’s not even labelled as ‘juice’ – that’s how cheap we’re going with this. Anyway, initial ingredients are:
2 litres Grower’s Harvest Summer Fruits juice drink
Water, sugar, citric acid, flavourings
Apple juice from concentrate (28%)
Raspberry juice from concentrate (1%)
Strawberry juice from concentrate (1%)
Colour, vitamin C, Sucralose
250 grams brewing sugar
200 grams caster sugar (wanted more sugar, couldn’t be arsed to open another bag)
1-2 grams wine yeast nutrient
1 level teaspoon wine yeast
1 cup of strong black tea from 2 bags (tannin – why not?)
500 ml warm water for dissolving the sugar
Once I let this cool down from 26 ℃ to 19 ℃ the initial OG came in around 1.045 which is lower than I expected given the amount of sugar I tipped in, so this better ferment down to below 0.980 if I’m going to get the kind of ABV I’m hoping for. Since we’re up to temperature I pitched the yeast at 19.3 ℃ and gave it a gentle swirl so that it doesn’t all sit on top. Nothing to do now but wait.