Sugar

Malt by itself contains enough fermentable sugar to make an alcoholic drink. In fact German law refuses to recognize a malt liquor brewed with added sugar as "beer" at all. But the home brewer is not a purist. He cannot afford to be, with malt the price it is. By adding sugar he can make his beer much stronger than is normally sold over the bar; he can make it keep better; and he has a wide range of new flavours to play with, since each type of sugar will add its own particular fragrance.

Honey is the oldest form of sugar to be used in beer, and is still thought by some to be the best. Nowadays it is a luxury if added in any quantity, and the drink would rank rather as a hop-flavoured Mead. As in Mead-making, the honey should be boiled 10-15 minutes in part of the water going into the brew, to kill unwanted bacteria which would otherwise turn the beer sour.

Then there are the various types of cane-sugar. Of these, white sugar contributes nothing noticeable to the flavour of the drink. Demerara, though dearest, is best, especially for pale, light-bodied beers. Brown moist is cheapest, and makes a darker beer, heavier in body, but not necessarily more alcoholic, since it contains more unfermentable matter. Invert sugar, used commercially in English beers, ferments out quickest of all, and most completely. It makes a good, dry beer, with a slightly cider-like taste. Golden syrup for some reason takes much longer than the other sugars to clear, and tastes faintly of grapefruit. Black treacle or molasses are best kept for medicinal stouts. Its flavour is not clean on the tongue, and needs the roughness of black malt, and plenty of hops, to counteract it.

A whole range of beers can be produced by using malt extract and our table shows four excellent recipes for home brewers to produce beers of varying strength.

These are quite simple, and anyone can produce an excellent, strong beer fully as satisfying as any which can be purchased at "the local."

Five gallons is the most a man can lift conveniently. If women brew, they had better halve the quantities and make 2 gallons at a time. Round figures are used. There is no need for precision, but a hydrometer is worth getting, to let you know what type and strength of beer to expect. Use tap-water. Galvanised wash-boilers are quite safe for boiling up the infusion of herbs; there is no acid formed at this stage, and so no risk of metal poisoning arises. Use Demerara or invert sugar for the lighter brews, brown for the heavier.

The Extract is easier to pour if left in a warm place overnight, and 2 lb. jars are more convenient than 14 lb. tins, but dearer. When pouring extract from a tin, wet the free hand with cold water. The ribbon of malt can then be coaxed back into the tin without sticking to the fingers.

Hops can, of course, be used alone in any of the recipes that suggest other herbs, at the rate of 4-8 oz. to the 5-gallon brew. Compressed hops come in 8-oz. packets which can easily be broken in half to save weighing. If loose hops are used, a good fistful may be taken to weigh about an ounce.

Baker's yeast may be used, but it needs more skimming, and takes longer to clear. Lager and Ale yeast cultures are best left for fancy brews.

The fermenting vessel should be large enough to hold the wort and allow for the "head," say 7-gallon size. It is best made of polythene or stoneware.

Making Your Own Wine

Making Your Own Wine

At one time or another you must have sent away for something. A

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