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I am home brewing for the first time ever. I had the following queries pls. Hope someone will answer:

  1. I mixed 200 grams of white sugar, 100 grams of ginger, 2 complete lemons, mint leaves and 1 teaspoon baker’s yeast in 1.5 liters of water. I had boiled the mixture (except for the yeast – which I added later). The brew is bubbling aggressively. Since this is the first time I am brewing, I did not go for a hydrometer. Can anyone tell me how long will it take to complete fermentation? And how will I come to know of it – any tell-tale symbols that the brewing process is over?

  2. After I started the brew, someone told me that the flavors are to be added during secondary fermentation (after racking). Is it true? Will I not get the gingerly, minty flavors from the brew?

  3. I am using a 2 liter Pepsi bottle as a brewing vessel (with an airlock on the top). Is it OK to use a plastic bottle for brewing? I took this bottle as it is used to store and transport consumable drinks and can withstand pressure. I am asking this question as everyone on YouTube seems to be using glass vessels.

  4. Is there any way to find out if any unwanted liquids have brewed up in the final beer/wine? (Like vinegar and other alcohols). How do I know that the brew is safe to drink?

    I look forward to answers of my queries. Any pointers / tips will be thankfully acknowledged.

Thanks and Regards,

Arvind Gupta

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It's kind of hard to figure what you're trying to do.. What are you "brewing"?

  1. Using a hydrometer, you would know it's finished when you take several reading and density is stable. Without a hydrometer I would check how much CO2 is produced. You mentioned an airlock, is it bubbling? Also, it might depend on the type of yeast and how much you used. White sugar is a "complex" sugar and it's hard to know how the yeast will work with it. If you were producing a beer, I would suggest two weeks of fermentation to be safe.

  2. A lot of people will discourage you to use more than 1 vessel for fermentation. It has been tested that it doesn't provide anything and increase the risk of contamination. That being said, secondary fermentation refers to the phase where yeast has done much of their work. It's usually the phase where it refine and clean some by-products. People add things during second fermentation because there's less CO2 produced so more aroma is kept.

  3. Plastic is fine as long as you use proper sanitation. Never used a plastic that cheap. I would check if it's BPA free, etc.

  4. If you're using proper sanitation, then you should be OK. Fermentation isn't distillation so there's no concept of producing "wrong" alcohol. Worst that could happen is contamination. You should be able to see, smell or taste it.

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  • Thanks for the answers. I checked the brew yesterday and tasted a few drops. It tasted sour (acidic). Is that normal? Will the brew remain sour at the end of the fermentation process? Usually wine or beer are not sour. Is it possible that it is turning into vinegar? Looking for your expertise pls. – Arvind Gupta Apr 30 at 21:40
  • You still didn't tell me what you are trying to do. It also depends on the yeast you're using. Some yeast gives a sour taste, some not. If not sanitazing correctly, you might be inviting wild yeast and many of them give a sour taste. – Boubou May 1 at 0:03
  • OK. I am trying to brew beer. I used 200 grams of sugar, 100 grams of ginger and few mint leaves in 1.5 lt. of water. As per an online calculator, the max. alcohol content would be 7.8 % by volume. I used common yeast for baking (available readily at local stores). I cleaned the articles in hot water before starting the brew. Is there any test to ascertain vinegar growth pls? – Arvind Gupta May 1 at 14:21

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