Time to try something new: making an alcoholic beverage from readily available, cheap ingredients, primarily fruit juice. For my first experiment I’m going to start with:
- 2 litres Tesco Cranberry & Raspberry juice drink.
- Water, sugar, malic acid, pectin
- Cranberry juice from concentrate (6%)
- Cranberry puree (3%)
- Flavourings, vitamin C, sucralose
- 2 litres Grower’s Harvest Apple juice (Tesco own brand)
- Supposedly just apple juice from concentrate
- 250 grams brewing sugar
- 1 level teaspoon wine yeast
- 1-2 grams wine yeast nutrient
- 500 ml warm water (for dissolving the sugar)
I’m starting by letting the juice come up to room temperature, since it’s from the refrigerated section and will be too cold for the yeast. My first reaction was to try and heat it gently in a saucepan, but then I decided against it on the basis that I might introduce unwanted flavours or germs – best to be patient and let it stand in a warm room for a couple of hours.
45 minutes later: OK, that’s enough. All the liquids are combined in a 5 litre plastic water bottle and temperature is 17.0 ℃, which is near enough the yeast’s 18 ℃ lower threshold. The worst that will happen is it’ll take a couple of hours to kick off, but at least I can measure gravity and move onto the next one.
As I don’t want to ferment too quickly and risk damaging its incredible flavour (the sample from the trial jar was amazing) I’m going to store this next to the Grapefruit IPA at around 19 ℃. OG comes in at 1.048 so it’s roughly on par with our own pressed apple juice and using Type 25a as a benchmark I’m hoping for roughly 5% ABV from this one. There may be a good quantity of non-fermentable sugar in here so that figure could be lower, and I’m almost certainly going to have to back-sweeten before bottling.