Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

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Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby MrBoy » Wed Mar 15, 2017 13:50

The wife is keen on all these fruit ciders which taste nothing like cider... Kiwi/lime, etc. And the raspberry Crabbies ginger beer which basically doesn't taste much of ginger.

The cider is just the main bulk and provides the alcohol cheaply. I've been told they sometimes use white grape juice rather than apples for those which are very pale, almost clear?

I wondered, can I just dump ale yeast in sugar water with a bit of nutrient? I've made a weak mead from simply honey+water+yeast and it has a white-wine kind of flavour. What does fermented white sugar taste of, if anything? Is it clear or coloured?
Is this a reasonable and cheap way to generate alcohol I can use for fruit 'ciders' and alcopop type things?
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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby oldbloke » Wed Mar 15, 2017 14:03

hmmmm dunno really. i imagine it'd work but i'll guess it'd lack body. And the apple grape juice base probably adds more than you can easily tell.
Seems like an ideal thing to try a 2-demijohms-side-by-side experiment, one with just sugar water and the other with apple juice
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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby MrBoy » Wed Mar 15, 2017 14:15

Is there an obvious candidate for the cheapest way to get an "alcoholic base" that has some sort of body but no overpowering falvour? Apple juice is cheap and sweet, is that the best bang per buck?
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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby Rolfster » Wed Mar 15, 2017 14:20

What about a tea bag wine? Using fruit flavoured tea bags.
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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby oldbloke » Wed Mar 15, 2017 14:40

I've used golden syrup instead of honey in melomels. It gives a slightly toffee-ish note but no real flavour, and does provide some body
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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby MrBoy » Wed Mar 15, 2017 14:47

Rolfster wrote:What about a tea bag wine? Using fruit flavoured tea bags.


I can see that could give a nice aroma but little taste... at least no fruit tea I ever had tasted of anything much ;)
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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby jkp » Wed Mar 15, 2017 14:50

Couldn't you just skip the hard work and get her a bottle of vodka and some mixers?

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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby MrBoy » Wed Mar 15, 2017 15:13

Couldn't I just skip brewing entirely and go to Tesco for all my beer and cider and wine?
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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby Rolfster » Wed Mar 15, 2017 15:16

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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby Rolfster » Wed Mar 15, 2017 15:18

I've alway intended to make one as apparently they are very quick start to finish and don't need any aging!

Still haven't got round to it!
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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby oldbloke » Thu Mar 16, 2017 00:01

MrBoy wrote:
Rolfster wrote:What about a tea bag wine? Using fruit flavoured tea bags.


I can see that could give a nice aroma but little taste... at least no fruit tea I ever had tasted of anything much ;)


Each gallon uses a whole box of bags! Works though!
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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby MrBoy » Thu Mar 16, 2017 01:05

What's it end up like then? Or is it not similar to anything else?

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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby jkp » Thu Mar 16, 2017 09:40

MrBoy wrote:Couldn't I just skip brewing entirely and go to Tesco for all my beer and cider and wine?


Ok I get your point, but you are saying that you want to make a flavourless alcohol and vodka is pretty close to that. The advantage is also that being distilled you get rid of other undesirable parts. I'd imagine a basic sugar wash would give you really bad headaches. Please let us know how that goes if you ever try it.

As for using tea as a flavouring, I can recommend teas in cider for filling out a sometimes watery TC. I wrote a post about adding Rooibos Tea or Honeybush to a TC (see my signature below) and the latter in particular adds a lovely blackcurrant taste. I'm sure lots of other fruit teas would work equally well. I add about 1-2L of really strong tea to a 19L keg and backsweeten it a bit too with about 250ml of AJ concentrate (you can make that yourself by freezing a litre of AJ and collecting the first 250ml when thawing it out).

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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby jaroporter » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:58

MrBoy wrote:Is there an obvious candidate for the cheapest way to get an "alcoholic base" that has some sort of body but no overpowering falvour? Apple juice is cheap and sweet, is that the best bang per buck?



there is.
it's whatever diageo, heineken et al are using for these drinks you want to replicate. seriously, if there was a cheaper way they'd be using it.
i'd believe that some alcopops do just use sugarwash for the alcohol, but then they clearly got a whole load of other crap in there as well.

oldbloke's first suggestion of a DJ sugarwash vs apple/grape juice is surely your best starting point, for the sake of half a bag of sugar. then you can build your recipe from the base up.
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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby BarnsleyBrewer » Mon Mar 20, 2017 08:43

Sugar, bread yeast and red lentils.

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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby Moley » Mon Mar 20, 2017 21:24

MrBoy wrote:I wondered, can I just dump ale yeast in sugar water with a bit of nutrient?


Just dumping ale yeast or wine yeast in sugar water doesn't work. It needs a LOT of nutrient or something else to excite those yeasties or they will take a very long time and quit before most of the sugar is used up.

BB is absolutely right about the bread yeast and red lentils, or I would recommend Alcotec Vodka Star yeast (around £2.50) plus 6kg of sugar added to 21 litres of water and kept at 26C for a week to give you an almost tasteless 14% abv base which can be fruit flavoured for wives, daughters or students. Those yeasties have been specially bred to work in sugar water and the pack does contain a lot of nutrient.
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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby BarnsleyBrewer » Mon Mar 20, 2017 21:54

I would also say that this kind of quick cheap alcohol will give you a blinding headache.. Beware my friend......

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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby MrBoy » Mon Mar 20, 2017 23:19

BarnsleyBrewer wrote:I would also say that this kind of quick cheap alcohol will give you a blinding headache.. Beware my friend......

Because of the deceptive strength or because the product is in some way defective?

It sounds to me like trying grape juice might be an idea where apple gives too much colour or flavour. Unless there is an easy way to remove the colour from cider, some fining or similar?

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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby BarnsleyBrewer » Tue Mar 21, 2017 07:39

I think this type of alcohol created would be high in Ethanol, and other nasties that are a major contributor to a bad head.

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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby PhatFil » Wed Mar 22, 2017 23:36

ive only brewed a hi gravity sugar wash with one of the hi alcohol tolerant industrial yeasts the once, The product was circa 20% abv However the fermentation Stank the house out.

personally i would look at brewing a few apple juice based Turbo cider-esq brews there is a great selection of other juices available to modify the flavour not forgeting the jui.ce flavour concentrates.
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Re: Just fermenting sugar as a base for flavoured drinks?

Postby oldbloke » Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:44

With care and time you can get Gervin GV4 to 20% without nasty smells or tastes
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