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Newbie here ... first post.

Newbie brewer ... first attempt at Pineapple Beer.

I'm posting my narrative, with a few questions at the end.

Feel free to tell me where I could improve or change, or any words of warning.

Comments and advice most actively welcomed !

Background

I'm living in Cape Town, South Africa

  • Currently under Covid-19 lockdown conditions
  • Week #5
  • Sale of alcohol has been prohibited

Necessity being the mother of invention ... and all that.

Starting Point

I am loosely following this Instructable:

https://www.instructables.com/id/Lets-Make-Some-Pineapple-Beer/

Along with some personal experience from a couple of my mates who are onto their 3rd or 4th batches.

My Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large Pineapples
  • 8 Naartjies (that's our local variant of a tangerine/mandarin)
  • 1 kg brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 sachet instant yeast

Method:

  • Pineapples
    • cut off the crown
    • cubed
  • Naartjies

    • peeled
    • cubed
  • Blended the fruit cubes

    • including the skin from 1 naartjie
    • used a hand electric 'zoomer'
    • into a chunky swill
  • Added

    • 1 kg brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 7.5 litres boiling water
  • Stirred and mixed

    • total volume around 10 litres
  • Poured into a 25 litre food quality plastic water holder

  • Cooled to around 26-28°C

    • then added my yeast
  • Lid placed on top to close

    • but not screwed down the thread
  • Wrapped in a sleeping bag for insulation

    • days here range from 20-25°
    • nights drop down to around 15°C

That was yesterday - so that is the point where I am currently at.

Questions

Fermentation Stage #1

(a) Can I keep the lid screwed on my 25 litre ?

I presume I can leave the lid on, but burp every morning and evening.

I have around 1/3 liquid & 2/3 gas space, so there is room for some pressure build up.

Or should I rather leave it loose ... during Fermentation Stage 1

(b) How will I know if the yeast is happy and doing its thing ?

Other than a warm sweet naartjie pineapple smell infusing and permeating the house.

From the pressure build up ? (Assuming lid closed and burping as above.)

(c) How do I know when to start Fermentation Stage #2

Is there a way to tell if the sugar is all nicely converted ?

Or should I just stick to the recipe recommended 7 days.

Fermentation Stage #2

This would be:

  • strain off the chunks
  • bottle into plastic bottles
  • lid screwed on - but burp frequently
  • leave to ferment to produce bubbles

What would be a recommended number of days here ?

Again, should I go with the recipe 2 days guideline - or - is there any 'test' I can do.

Fridge Life : Best Before

Once I chill the carbonated bottles in my fridge, how long can I keep them (safely) for ?

How will I tell when it is no longer good to drink ... or good for me to drink?

I am realising now that my pineapple beer will most probably have a limited life span.

Considering that I will be solo drinking - I need to plough my way through 8 litres before it gets unhealthy or rank.

Strength and Potency

If I have provided enough information, would anyone care to make an educated guess as to my range of possible alcohol levels ?


Thanks in advance for any comments.

And apologies for the long winded story !

Cheers Rich

  • Can you get hold of an airlock for fermentation? That will be much preferable as the excess CO2 can escape without letting any O2 back in (which could happen if you're burping it). Here's a video on how to build your own. youtube.com/watch?v=epb94anLNr0 – Max Williams May 9 at 14:11
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    @MaxWilliams : Thanks, good advice and the video looks useful. At the moment, I have the lid of my 25 litre brew container screwed on, but loosened half a turn. It allows for a slow seepage of air, so no need for the burping at the moment. This is my very first attempt, and I do plan to get more sophisticated where I can - and yes hygiene is at the top of that list. We're under a pretty hard lockdown here, so most stores are not open for business. I'll work out ways to improve and see what I can get my hands or make for Brew #2 while I wait for the first brew to get ready for me to imbibe. – TaoRich May 10 at 13:19
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Do not close the lid of your fermenter. The first 3 to 4 days is when the most yeast action happens and a lot of gas is let out. So keep the lid slightly loose, it will be fine. What I do is close it tight and then give it a slight turn loose.

Just leave it in the fermenter for the 7 days before you bottle it. Make sure everything is super sterile. I'm not sure how long it will last in bottles for. This weekend I will try out my 2 week old pine beer and let you know how it is.

Strength is very low. Maybe 3% max if you're using normal instant yeast. It might be stronger if it gets to age a bit more in the bottles, I'll know this weekend.

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  • Cheers & thanks mate. (1) I now have the lid on, but loose ... as suggested (2) Yes ... please send feedback ... that would be cool (3) My mate down the road says that he's pretty sure his batches are stronger than his usual tipple which is our local Carling Black Label at 5.5%. I know that instant yeast is supposed to die at a lower alcohol % than brewer's yeast, but I from what I have read they can get up up to 8%. Also, pineapple skin has its own 'natural' yeast. Perhaps that yeast strain can outlast the instant yeast, and add a little extra kick. – TaoRich May 8 at 16:22
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Posting an update here for folks who may visit this page in future, and to answer some of the queries I posted.

My final product

My final product

It tastes like a very very dry white wine.

  • No pineapple taste
  • No naartjie taste
  • No sugar taste

All converted to alcohol.

It's a tad tarty astringent, but by no means worse on the palate than a medium low price Chardonnay.

I suspect that is the pectin flavour from the naartjie pith and skin.

Overall it is very drinkable.

The fruit notes are about as strong as say a flavoured bottle water.


(a) Can I keep the lid screwed on my 25 litre ?

Screw the lid on. Turn a half turn loose to break the seal. No need for any fancy bubble trap.

(b) How will I know if the yeast is happy and doing its thing ?

I didn't. I had no signs of bubbles. I had no obvious signs of fermentation at all.

I got quite worried. I even added a new yeast batch which I pre-soaked in warm water on day 4.

I then read in a few places that cinnamon is an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial and it could kill the yeast.

In fact, after 7 days, I resigned myself to having made a gross error and was going to toss out and start again.

Instead, I was patient.

Day 8 : I sampled - and it was not bad, and no ugly tastes.

Day 9 : I bottled - and I could now see a pretty clear layer separating and rising to the top. That's the alcohol. You can see it in the photo.

(c) How do I know when to start Fermentation Stage #2

Patience. 7 or 8 days or 9 days.

Fermentation Stage #2

What would be a recommended number of days here ?

Because I left it for a long time in primary fermentation, there was no sugar left to convert.

So I have missed out on the 'make fizzy carbonated beer' option.

But in return for that

  1. I have no danger of exploding bottles
  2. My alcohol levels are way over beer strength

Fridge Life : Best Before

Once I chill the carbonated bottles in my fridge, how long can I keep them (safely) for ?

It seems to be pretty stable in the fridge now.

I reckon it should last 2 weeks or more.

Strength and Potency

If I have provided enough information, would anyone care to make an educated guess as to my range of possible alcohol levels ?

A 350 ml glass full is enough to provoke a silly grin.

A 750 ml amount is enough to significantly discombobulate.

Put it this way:

I usually drink 3 x 750 ml Beers at my local dive bar in an evening - 4.5% alcohol in those. There is no way I could handle that amount of my pineapple naartjie brew.

So I reckon I am up at wine strength. At least 12%.

And lastly ... no hangover !

A bit of a lazy stuffy head the next day, but no headaches or toxin comeback.


Overall Verdict

Very happy with myself for a 1st attempt at a Guerrilla Prohibition Brew.

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