The art of fermentation

Making alcohol is a bit like practicing witchcraft. You can impress your friends who will not understand and who, at first, will probably not trust you. Then, they will finally be amazed by the results and will want to get into this wonderful hobby too.

All you need is…

In reality, promise to keep the secret, but to make fermented beverages, all you need is yeast, sugar and a liquid (water, juice) to dissolve everything. Yeast can be thought of as a microorganism that is starving for sugar. By mixing the two together in a liquid, yeast will gradually and almost exponentially convert sugar into alcohol, as it will reproduce. This process is called “fermentation”.

The process of fermentation keeps the beverage healthy

Subproducts of fermentation are sulfur and carbon dioxide gas. This effect also allows for the carbonation of beer and sparkling wine. What is fun to know is that this process in itself generates the bacteriological weapons necessary to keep your beverage healthy. Indeed, the sulfur and alcohol produced by yeast will prevent, to a certain extent, the survival or reproduction of undesirable microorganisms.

In fact, even yeast have a certain tolerance to alcohol and fall asleep when the alcohol content reaches a certain level.

Do you need to add sugar?

Some fruits, like grapes, make excellent fermented beverages without having to add sugar to the juice, because it contains enough sugar to create an alcohol content of 10% to 14% when yeast is added.

The addition of sugar to the finished and stabilized beverage could however make it sweeter to the taste.

However, other fruits like watermelons or cherries have such a negligible amount of sugar that they cannot generate a high enough alcohol content. Sugar is usually added to low-sugar fruit juices in order to increase the potential alcohol content of the final beverage. This is called “chaptalization”.

Making your own fermented wine or beer is easy!

Well, now you know how alcoholic fermentation works! I promised you it was easy! So, let’s start making wine, beer and other weird stuff that may or may not impress you! Fermented tomato “wine”? What? Is that even possible?

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