I’ve been experimenting again! Since my last partial failure (grape cider that needed more grapes) I’ve gotten some kind of setup set up for ‘real’ brewing. It consists of our 5 litre pot, 2 x 10 litre buckets, one inside of the other, and some blankets along with the usual fermenting buckets. This has opened up new avenues for my deranged hobby to travel down! Namely, poorly-brewed-beer, and literally-anything-else-I-can-cram-into-a-bucket…. beer… First of which… Sweet potato beer(?)!
The process for Saturday’s sweet potato brew was largely the same as regular barley beer, as sweet potato very conveniently contains similar enzymes to malted barley. The enzymes are what convert the bulk of the starch into simpler sugars for the yeast to chow (before pooping alcohol). You start off by chopping up the sweet potato into chunks for easy surface area. Soak the lot at a particular temperature for an hour to kick start them enzymes, otherwise called mashing. Once that’s done you boil the resulting sweet potato water to sterilise it. I then mashed it again to try and get all the sugar I could out of it. I repeated that again, but still ended up adding a heck of a lot of sugar to it. This particular brew is meant to reach 16% and in just a sugar-water mixture, you’d need around 315g of sugar for each litre to get that high.
So I plopped it all in a bucket, pitched my yeast, and let it… explode slowly. It’s been fermenting so quickly that it’s already hit 10% abv. 10% in two days! To put that into perspective, 5% usually takes at least a week. My 12% mead took about 2 and a half months… the 14% rooibos was quicker at about 2 months…
Despite the very quick fermenting, it’s turning out very nice, and tasting nothing like sweet potatoes!
Alongside the big batch, I have a much smaller batch of the same junk with different yeast, and I’m hoping for around 4% instead of 16%.
Unlike Saturday’s adventure, today was pretty mundane. We went into George to run some errands. Got increasingly sick of people and cars… The constant stops on the side of the road so that a stranger can check if I’ve recently paid a man behind a desk to lie (considering he never sees my car) and say that my car is roadworthy when it actually isn’t. So I get fined (fines which never see the light of day) for not paying the desk-man. This, while buses filled with people speed up Kaaimans (one of the most dangerous roads in the country) right behind a people-puller-over!
We also renewed our drivers licenses. We came prepared with the usual things including the ID photos… which weren’t needed after all. Which brings me to this:
Another errand was popping into the state vet to ask about getting little pupster a rabies shot because rabies is terribly inconvenient. The woman behind the counter told us between cringes that they only give rabies shots to dogs brought in by ‘previously disadvantaged’ people… and that we need to take Badger to a private vet. I never realised that this country’s racial issues reached even the pets of white people, but I guess this 3 month old just isn’t previously disadvantaged enough for the state…
Back to a lighter note, we’ve been keeping up with Caroline’s little parasitic belly pea, and we came across this little gem on a website:
“Week 36/37, month 9: The baby weighs about 6-9 lbs. The heart is pumping 300 gallons of blood per day, he is fully capable of life outside the womb with minimal intervention.”
Wow! In 8 months time I’m going to have a kid who’s better at life than both of it’s parents combined! I’ll just throw the occasional slice of toast at it and it’ll be fine! Who said child-rearing was tough?