Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Skeeter Pee Round 1

I really do not like brewing during the summer time.  Well, not so much the actual brewing part, but the fermenting aspect.  Liquid in my basement will hover around 70F on its own.  Throw the metabolic reactions of the yeast cells and you have a recipe to overshoot your fermentation temperatures and receive off flavors.  Now there are some beers and wines that will do just fine with a 70F to 78F temperature  range, but I have an 8 week old, a two year old, finishing up my 2nd to last semester of graduate classes, along with work, so my time availability was limited.  I needed to scratch the itch, but I didn't have 4-6 hours of spare time.

Skeeter Pee ingredients minus the yeast energizer and tannin.

I have been eye-balling Skeeter Pee for about 2 years now.  This was the perfect time.  I could throw it all together in under an hour after the kids go to sleep.  The variability of Skeeter Pee, plus the ease, is what really attracted me to it.  It is well known among the home-brewing forums so I knew it was tried and tested.  I decided to go with the standard recipe for the first time, and maybe next time I will throw in something different to change the flavoring(I have seen blueberry, pineapple, cherry, lime, etc.)  The one thing I did not have was a yeast slurry, and I didn't want to spend the time making one with some apple juice or fruit concentrate.  It wouldn't have been hard, I have the stir plate and flasks, etc, but I just did not want to have to deal with it, and I had two packages of Montrachet yeast laying around...I figured two will be just fine....we'll see.

You can use most any yeast, a lot of people recommend Champagne yeast, Cotes de Blancs, or similar, but I just used what I had and it will offer me an ABV of up 13%, plenty high enough for me.

I cleaned AND sanitized my equipment.  I will post later on the differences of cleaning and sanitizing, but using just PBW or OneStep is not enough.  (Those are cleaners, not sanitizers.  You need an acid sanitizer like Star San to finish the job, but again, more on that later.)  While my equipment was sitting in the cleaner, after being scrubbed, I readied my invert sugar(simple sugar syrup).  My 8qt pot was just big enough to handle it all. While I waited for my super saturated solution to come to completion I moved from my cleaning stage to sanitizing and my wife, with a baby boy in one arm, took the whisk in other hand continued to stir and watch my pot on the stove...what a sweetie.

Almost done...keep this solution from boiling!  Just stay right under boiling temps!

I added my 1/3 cup of lemon juice from a container in the fridge, therefore not taking it from my 3-32 oz bottles.  I then let the solution cool a bit and dumped it in my fermenter with 2-32 oz bottles of lemon juice and enough water(tap, distilled, and purified left over from last brew) to top it off to 5.5 gallons.

I added the yeast nutrient and energizer to mugs worth of volume of a strong brewed tea to get my tannins since I had no tannins from the home-brew shop.

Yeast Nutrient was added to this solution.

That all went into the fermenter as well.  I then vigorously stirred for about 5 minutes to oxygenate and covered with a clean dish towel for 48 hours.  I don't have a wine whip so I just used my standard plastic paddle. The addition of the tea really did not make too much of a difference to the color.

After adjusting for temperature, my OG was 1.070...right on target.  No need to add granulated sugar.

After 48 hours I uncovered the must, stirred again, and threw in the two packets of yeast and stirred some more!  I added the lid, put on an s-lock, which I would generally use for secondary, but my 3-piece airlocks were in use, and walked away.

5/19/15 UPDATE

I went ahead and opened my lid to check fermentation since I did not see any bubbles coming out of my air lock.  Sure enough some fermentation had begun by the noticeable onset of bubbles at the top of the must.  The temperature on the bucket is registering at around 70-72F.  I quickly closed the lid and walked away.  I'll check the gravity Thursday or Friday night.  Following the directions, once I get around 1.050, I'll throw some more yeast nutrient and energizer in the bucket.  Stay tuned!

5/22/15 UPDATE

I checked the gravity and it was 1.048.  The last bit yeast nutrient and energizer, along with the last 32oz bottle of lemon juice was added.  I went ahead and agitated the must once more and shut the lid.  The s-lock was replaced with a 3-piece lock that I picked up today...because who doesn't need more airlocks?

I also tasted what had been fermented so far....and all I have to say, even with it all being almost half-way fermented....this is going to be a refreshing, perfect drink for the summer.  I cannot wait, and I am already thinking of doing another batch, with the addition of a different fruit to go along.

5/25/15 UPDATE

I checked the gravity, and it read 1.016.  Bubbling had also slowed down from a constant bubbling to a steady "blub....blub...blub".  I went ahead and clean and sanitized my carboy and equipment and racked the Skeeter Pee.  I also tasted it.  Yeasty right now, but that it to be expected.  Tart, with a slight sweetness and definitely on its way to being dry.  I can tell this is going to be a good hot summer day refreshment.  Manzi tasted some as well.

NOTE:  Make sure your bung and neck of carboy are DRY before you fit them together.  I freaked because my bung kept pushing out, until I slowed down my thinking and got logical.

Not very much yeast at the bottom of bucket.

With the flash on.

Without the flash on.



Matuz said...

UPDATED 5-23-15

Antonio Manzi said...

Sounds awesome. Is this projected to come out kind of sour, kind of sweet?

Matuz said...

Depends on how much I back sweeten. I am going to let ferment out dry...below 1.000 gravity. Then follow the instructions with the addition of sugar. So we will see,but I am expecting a good balance.

Matuz said...