Juniper Craft Soda - brewed!

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Juniper Craft Soda - brewed!

Postby robwalker » Sat Nov 08, 2014 11:39

Been looking at "craft sodas" a bit lately. I tend to avoid most commercial drinks due to the shitty chemical/sweetener content and only resign myself to the odd bit of squash when I'm feeling lazy, but generally for myself I'll make an infusion of sorts overnight (cucumber water, citrus stuff, ginger beer) or just drink plain water. The focus there is natural ingredients because I hate the thought of caining through chemicals on a daily basis.

Apparently the way to go without a soda stream is to ferment it with wine or ale yeast for a day, then bung it in the refrigerator. I would go a step further than that and pasteurize the bottles for consumption as I feel right. With some nice glass bottles it'd be very enjoyable I think!

So for my first, I think I'm going to go for a "Gin and lime" type beverage as I have most of the stuff already. Here's my ingredient list;

coriander seed
ground almond
cinammon bark
cassia bark
lemon peel
orange peel
juniper berries
liquorice
lime juice and peel
raw cane sugar

Either this or a cinnamon/spiced apple thing for christmas.

I'll crush it all and pour boiling water over to infuse and dissolve the sugar overnight. In the morning I'll bottle it and add a few grains of yeast to each bottle. After a day I'll test one and if it's pressurized then I'll pasteurize the lot and bung it in the fridge.

A few ingredients are coming Wednesday so I'll post the "brewday" then. In the meantime, any advice or ideas on quantities? I can wing it of course and water it down to suit the taste intensity - I'll only be having it mildly sweet.

Cheers!

Last edited by robwalker on Sun Nov 16, 2014 18:49, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Craft Soda Idea

Postby rlemkin » Sat Nov 08, 2014 22:28

I really like this idea.. no advice to offer, but sounds fun.
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Re: Craft Soda Idea

Postby PhatFil » Sun Nov 09, 2014 03:31

im sure you know what your doing but just be careful pasturising the closed carbonated bottles, i would do it in lidded vessel and allow to cool before removing the lid and touching the bottles.
Ginger beer/lemonade would be a great candidates too,
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Re: Craft Soda Idea

Postby robwalker » Thu Nov 13, 2014 18:09

Well after some research I got this underway today. Recipe as follows:

3tbsp juniper berries
1 cinnamon stick
juice and rind of 1 lemon
2 cloves
2 cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
200g sugar
boiling water to 1 gallon

couldn't find my coriander seeds and someone used all the citrus so it's a bit of a mash up but really just a first experiment to see if it's doable.

crushed all ingredients together and poured boiling water over. leaving in a bucket overnight to infuse. already tastes quite nice but needs some bitterness, hopefully the overnight steep will extract some nastiness from the juniper.
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Re: Craft Soda Idea

Postby robwalker » Sun Nov 16, 2014 18:20

Happy to report a success here.

Image

Id needs a little more bitterness and acidity next time so that's a route I'll explore. It's lightly flavoured but enjoyable and you don't want to guzzle it which is good and the sort of thing I'm after.

The bottles took about 2-3 days to harden up and I put them in the fridge as they did (squeeze checked every 12 hours.) This stops the fermentation so the soda remains sweet but fizzy with no pasteurizing required. Carbonation was inconsistent bottle to bottle, I guess because I added the yeast to the batch, stirred well and then funneled into bottles one at a time through muslin to catch all the crap. Interestingly they're well carbonated after 12 hours in the fridge, unlike beer which takes a while to convert co2 into fizz in my experience. I'll add a few grams of yeast to each bottle next time.

It's only sort of medium in terms of sweetness, certainly miles away from coca cola and fanta! This is a nice amount of sugar in a gallon for something you'd want to drink with a dinner or to chill out with. Maybe for something fruity you'd want more, but I guess there are sodas which will benefit from less too.

There's an obvious sediment in each bottle and it may even clear given time (which it won't get, tee hee.)

I'll brew something else next time. Really enjoyed this and I'll be doing many more in future!
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Re: Juniper Craft Soda - brewed!

Postby robwalker » Sun Dec 28, 2014 17:38

Brewed this one again today. Switched a few bits and bobs to include star anise, cassia bark, coriander seed, more lemon peel for bitterness and some orange peel too. Reduced sugar to 150g to keep things drier.
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