Tag Archives: bottled

Nettle Beer

Nettle beer

  • Servings: 2 gallons
  • Difficulty: painful
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* a whole lot of nettle tips (about 0.8-1kg)
* up to 2 gallons boiling water
* 600 g golden caster sugar
* 1 lemon
* brewer’s yeast
Nettle beer

20 bottles of nettle beer for bottle conditioning

I need to emphasize how experimental this recipe is, as it hasn’t yet been tested and won’t be until the weekend. Then I’ll be able to give a better idea of what it produces, whether it’s drinkable, and whether it’s worth doing. Until then a few notes:

  • gloves are vital, long gloves, sturdy trousers, preferably armour if you can get it
  • unlike harvesting dandelions, getting enough nettles takes a long time
  • the nettles can be frozen quite happily

I think that covers the important points. Now for the recipe itself. All we did was gather the nettles, bring them home and rinse them quickly (cursing a little at stings), then throw them in boiling water. Added the sugar, juice of one lemon (and the two lemon halves as well) and allowed to simmer for about half an hour. After that the whole mess was poured into our 2 gallon must bucket and allowed to cool overnight.

The next day we skimmed out the nettles and lemon halves (giving a good squeeze to get the liquid out) and a little sugar and yeast was combined with water to activate it, then poured in. Again it was left overnight (this is the experimental bit – normally I’d bottle straight away but since I’m trying to avoid explosions, and have the bottles last for a few days outside refrigeration, I’m trying to let most of the fermentation get out of the way before bottling, in the hopes that the next couple of days won’t cause enough pressure to build up for detonation but will allow enough for a nice fizz).

I will say that the result does look quite good at least, a nice clear golden colour with a touch of green to it. Whether it lives up to my hopes or not I’ll be able to report back on Tuesday.


Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Beer, Experimental, Foraging, Nettles, Recipe


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Homemade Appleade

The cloudiness and sediment is due to the use of ale yeast.

The cloudiness and sediment is due to the use of ale yeast.

1l apple juice
1/2l water
1 cup sugar
brewer’s yeast
Overall this was much, much sweeter than the cola, almost as sweet as commercial products like appletise. I would recommend that anyone making their own soda avoid brewer’s yeast like the plague (particularly when 99p can get you enough champagne yeast to brew a crystal clear five gallons of soda). The brewer’s yeast, unfortunately, left an unpleasant looking sediment, as well as taking a much longer time to ferment.
There was a very strong apple taste to it, and the three experimental bottles were quickly imbibed by my assistant (pictured). Followed by the request to make some more. Since it’s so simple to make, and good apple juice can be had cheaply I’m happy to do so.
Appealing Apple Soda labelDefinitely an experiment to be repeated, with a larger batch. We’ll be looking to make a couple of gallons once the champagne yeast turns up. I would definitely recommend this to anyone with kids who’re over-fond of fizzy fruit juices – although it might be best to wait to hear the results of the second batch. Getting some more of the sugar fermented away would help this stuff.
As with all sodas it’s important to monitor the progress of fermentation. Fill at least one plastic bottle (I use plastic beer bottles personally, though I have some glass ones that will be used at some point) and put everything in the fridge once it feels solid, with only a tiny bit of give. Make sure the bottles are sealed airtight after putting the mix in, either with a bottlecapper or just reusing screwtop plastic bottles as well, since otherwise the pressure will be lost.

Posted by on February 2, 2014 in Experimental, Recipe, Soda


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Homebrewed Cola

One of fifteen bottles, fresh from the fridge.

One of fifteen bottles, fresh from the fridge.

50ml kola nut extract
8l water
3 cups (approximate) Demarara sugar
1 cup (approximate) honey
Champagne yeast
This was the first, experimental attempt at making a soda – just to see if it could be done (without making a hand grenade instead). Really it was an almost disturbingly simple process. Get the bottles sterilized, and leave them sterilizing while the rest goes on. 50 ml of cola nut extract was mixed with 8 litres of water, 3 small cups of sugar and one cup of honey (cups are approximate rather than accurate measures). Make a quick starter with the yeast, warm water and a teaspoon of sugar and dump it into the mix.
Allow everything to cool to room temperature, pop it in the bottles and seal them airtight (I use a capper for this, but you could just reuse normal soda bottles). I recommend against glass bottles (especially those not designed to hold pressurized drinks) until you’ve done a batch or two. Even then it’s worth putting some into a plastic bottle to use as a measure for the others. Once the plastic bottle feels solid, but still has a little flex to it throw them all in the fridge.
I’ll be honest, I think these were actually a little over-fermented. There was very little sweetness to them at all, although they were exceedingly fizzy (open outside type fizzy, and open quickly to avoid the spray effect). There was definitely a cola flavour, and a very distinctive one, but absolutely none of the caramel sweetness you get in most Convincingly Fizzy Cola labelcommercial varieties. After a couple I got used to them, and they seemed a hit with others as well (though a bit of an acquired taste). I’d highly recommend doing this to anyone as a good start on the way to homebrewing, as it is simple, relatively safe (really, they won’t explode if you remember to check on them and put them in the fridge when they get firm), and gives very quick results. These actually fermented in only 36 hours.
Since the fermentation is so quick they’ve also got a very low alcohol content (generally estimated to be less than 1%) and so it’s a good project to get into with kids as well.

Posted by on February 2, 2014 in Experimental, Recipe, Soda


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