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[)roi(]

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Erythritol
As mentioned previously; erythritol is a recommended non nutritive sweetener that is 70% as sweet as cane sugar, has no bad flavours like stevia and will not be consumed by the yeast -- hence it can safely be used together with bottle carbonation using priming sugar.

Erythritol whilst available at Woolworths, Clicks, Dischem, ... is rather expensive in comparison with cane sugar. e.g.
  • Cane sugar 2.5 kg @ R38.99 (Woolworths, Checkers)
  • Erythritol 250g @ R65.99 (Woolworths)
The best bulk buy of erythritol I've found in South Africa is from Caring Candies (in Cape Town), for example:
  • Erythritol 1.5kg @ R150.00
Whilst still not as cheap as cane sugar; it's far more workable than the previous options.
Let me know....if you find a cheaper source.
 

[)roi(]

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Update re brewing with the 200 litre Braaumeister

Saturday - Milling

The monster mill made light work of the 25kg bag and a half of grains on Saturday -- the only challenge was temporary storage for that amount milled grains and then similarly simplifying the way to add those milled grains to the Braaumeister... in short I need to purchase a few more buckets to be used just for this.

Sunday - Brewing and pitching
The Sunday session went well; the Braaumeister is very well designed and the experience is quite similar to my 20 litre Braaumeister except that it's 10 times the volume. Similar to the challenge of temporary storage for the milled grains; additional buckets will make it easier handling the spent grains -- e.g. transporting & preparing this to my chicken coups, goat feeding troughs and outside feeding area for peafowls. They're going to love this on a regular basis... great supplement to fatten them all up.

Note:
Spent grains are a poor food source on their own as they've been stripped of most of their sugars; to fix this I mix the spent grains with Voermol LS33 (molasses-based protein, vitamin, mineral supplement ).

Conclusion
Overall the process was a lot simpler than I thought it would be -- it's such a pleasure in comparison with previous workflow of similar batch sizes using the 20 litre Braaumeister. A lot of improvement can be made to streamline the workflow from brewing to fermenter to bottling, for example:
Moving the wort around needs some improvements / simplification -- e.g. plumbing to control / direct to which fermenter I'm filling, also the decanting, bottling, etc.
 
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[)roi(]

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Brews for tomorrow
Tomorrow I have no engagements with clients, and hence it's a perfect day for speciality brewing... tomorrow's brews will be:
  1. Molasses infused Dark Rum ~20% ABV (undistllled) -- 24 x 750ml bottles
  2. Peach Sherry 18% ABV (decided on peach instead of apricot) -- 20 x 750ml bottles
  3. Banana Wine ~12% ABV (will be a dry white wine similar to Chardonnay ) -- 20 x 750ml bottles
I am also considering carbonating half of the banana wine; as a sparkling wine.

1620150564425.png

The Rum and Peach Sherry batches are fairly quick to make ~1 hour for both, with only the Banana wine being closer in workload to an all grain beer brew ~3 to 4 hours.

Timeline
The Rum should be ready in ~20 days, the Wine should be ready in 30 to 40 days; whereas the Sherry will take at least 6 months.
 

SykomantiS

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Brews for tomorrow
Tomorrow I have no engagements with clients, and hence it's a perfect day for speciality brewing... tomorrow's brews will be:
  1. Molasses infused Dark Rum ~20% ABV (undistllled) -- 24 x 750ml bottles
  2. Peach Sherry 18% ABV (decided on peach instead of apricot) -- 20 x 750ml bottles
  3. Banana Wine ~12% ABV (will be a dry white wine similar to Chardonnay ) -- 20 x 750ml bottles
I am also considering carbonating half of the banana wine; as a sparkling wine.

View attachment 25301

The Rum and Peach Sherry batches are fairly quick to make ~1 hour for both, with only the Banana wine being closer in workload to an all grain beer brew ~3 to 4 hours.

Timeline
The Rum should be ready in ~20 days, the Wine should be ready in 30 to 40 days; whereas the Sherry will take at least 6 months.
Really liking your posts as of late. (y)
The banana wine sounds really interesting. Care to share more details?
Also, is this your day job or something semi-permanent you have going on or just hobby related?
I'm thinking someone who has use for a 200L Braaumeister on a regular basis must have something going on :)
 

[)roi(]

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Really liking your posts as of late. (y)
The banana wine sounds really interesting. Care to share more details?
Also, is this your day job or something semi-permanent you have going on or just hobby related?
I'm thinking someone who has use for a 200L Braaumeister on a regular basis must have something going on :)
It's a hobby... my day job is a partner in a software engineering / consulting company (our clients are in Asia, Europe and America)

As for the 200 litre Braaumeister; that came about largely because of the ban on alcohol sales... I've been a home brewer for a long time but on a much smaller scale (only for me). The alcohol sales ban resulted in more than a few friends knocking on my door -- if you look back in the thread; you'll see that I was brewing quite substantial size batches using a 20 litre Braaumeister and some urns -- as you can imagine, that was a lot of work with a 20 litre Braaumeister.

My friends started to enjoy my brews far more than what was on offer in store (and what they drank previously), and the lower price (~ R4 per 750ml) certainly has helped. To lighten my weekend workload I got them involved in brewing with me, but they didn't quite experience the workload until they were forced to continue to brew whilst I was stuck in Singapore for a few months earlier this year. That's what started the discussion on how to continue making / enjoying our own brews, but with a focus on lightening the effort to continue doing this. In short we agreed to start a brewing club of sorts, where we'd each contribute equally to the costs of equipment and ingredients, and then schedule fairly regular weekend sessions to brew and braai.

My existing equipment is now used for experimental brewing, as is the case with the Rum (I've made a version of this before, busy now refining it), Peach Sherry (new) and Banana Wine (new) -- because not everyone wants to only drink beer all the time. There's a lot planned on the experiment side (as you can imagine), including at some future point building a pot still for distillation (whisky, brandy, Amarula, ...)

The Banana wine is not my invention -- but I've tasted it and enjoyed before.

Here some videos on how to make it -- a rather simple process in comparison to all grain beer brewing.

Ps. I'll be using Bentonite Clay to clarify the wine after fermentation (secondary fermenter)... to completely drop out any protein haze, yeast, etc. I also cold crash (stick it in a fridge) the secondary fermenter -- a process I've used with great success with my previous batches of un-distilled rum.
It delivers an absolutely clear end result with minimal to no foaming -- a frothy head is not ideal for either a wine or rum; whereas it's typically desired for beers / ciders.
 
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satanboy

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[)roi(]

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View attachment 25321

That's cute, but rather expensive for what it is -- also it appears to have little or no reflux; so the output quality won't be all that great. The reflux chambers is what ensures that the distilled spirits are completely stripped of any flavours in the starting mash -- expensive / professional stills typically have multiple reflux chambers that can be loaded with copper mesh and special beads to ensure that only the neutral spirits make it through to the gin basket and condenser.

For example:
s-l1600.jpg

The glass window sections are reflux chambers, that can be filled with flavour extracting beads, copper mesh, etc. You can either buy or build these sections yourself -- their purpose is to create a surface for reflux; where the steam vapour collects, becomes liquid droplets and drips back down the reflux column; this slow evaporation cycle is what ensures that the final product is stripped of all flavours in the mash; the final window section is the gin basket; where flavours you want to infuse in your spirits is added; this is done just before the condenser (the section with connector point for cold water in/ warm water out -- to condense the steam back to liquid state. The final section is the parrot; where an alcohol meter similar to a hydrometer can be inserted to assess the alcohol content during the distillation -- because this will vary between the:
  • heads -- first part of the distillation and the stuff that you throw away because it's mostly methanol i.e. the poisonous stuff.
  • hearts -- the part after the heads -- this is what you want to keep and typically has the highest alcohol and is the bulk of the distillation
  • tails -- the off flavour lower alcohol distillation -- safe to drink, but typically doesn't taste nice.
Also for the price of that cute still you could quite easily build your own much larger still starting from a base with either an aluminium or stainless steel pressure cooker, or a stainless steel urn or a stainless steel pot. Building the copper parts is fairly easy once you get over the initial feeling that copper soldering is too complicated (it's not). Also all the larger diameter copper parts can easily be sourced from a plumbling parts store like plumblink. All in all you'll build an equivalent or better for a fraction of the price.

Alternatively you can build something of equivalent e.g. 4 litre volume using standard off the shelf chemistry lab glassware; although it won't be as robust as the copper or stainless steel equivalent.
 
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