Author Topic: how to make the least flavorful fermented alcohol of at least 5% ?  (Read 575 times)

Offline fredthecat

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In japan there is a class of drinks called chuhai, which are clear alcoholic carbonated drinks which range from sweet to super dry and even bitter. most of the sweet ones are pretty meh, but i would get one that basically tasted like an excellent gin and tonic in a can, bone dry, with natural tasting citrus and herbal elements. 8% for 500ml and about $1.50 each, it was a hell of a way to drink.




I of course want to recreate that. White claw is doing fermented alcohol water now, I feel like if I could make something like that, and add juniper, citrus and other recommended gin ingredients.

1. I want to recreate a very cheap price point.
                  -a fully or mostly dextrose fermentation? Adding vodka to water and carbonating it would be more expensive as spirits have a minimum price point here in canada of about $25 / 700ml - so that is why that idea is out.
2. I want it to be very dry. at most 1.0005, ideally under that.

3. I want fresh tasting citrus. I've never added citrus or really any fruits to my beer before... so, any ideas on if it will or how to keep the lemon-lime flavour fresh and not like cooked marmelade or something. C-hops are a possibility.

4. I want it to have an absolute minimum of yeast character

5. Don't care about colour, It doesn't need to be clear or pale or anything.


I'd say something like

boil .5kg pilsner DME, .5kg dextrose in 14 litres of water for an OG of 1.025, add yeast (nottingham?, W34?). after 3 days of active fermentation, add another 1kg of dextrose in 4 litres of water to step it up to reach a potential alcohol of slightly more than 5%

Cold crash it really hard and minimize transferring any sediment to the highest degree.





Offline Wilbur

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Re: how to make the least flavorful fermented alcohol of at least 5% ?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2020, 08:43:48 PM »
https://byo.com/article/hard-seltzer-made-easy/

Quote
Hard seltzer
5.25 gallons/20 L
OG = ~1.031  FG = ~1.000
ABV = ~ 5%

Neutral Base Ingredients
21 L reverse osmosis (RO) or distilled water
4.5 g gypsum (adjusts calcium concentration to 50 ppm)
1.65 kg cane sugar
11.5 g packet SafAle US-05 or other neutral yeast strain
2.5 g Yeastex 82 yeast nutrient added with yeast pitch
2.5 g diammonium phosphate (DAP) added with yeast pitch
2.5 g Yeastex 82 yeast nutrient added 36–48 hours after yeast pitch
2.5 g diammonium phosphate (DAP) added 36–48 hours after yeast pitch

Flavorings
2.8 mL lime extract added after CO2 bubbling (if used) and carbonation
2.8 mL lemon extract after CO2 bubbling (if used) and carbonation
420 mL pulp-free orange juice (single-strength, not from concentrate) after CO2 bubbling (if used) and carbonation
14 g citric acid powder after CO2 bubbling (if used) and carbonation

BYO recommendations...

Offline fredthecat

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Re: how to make the least flavorful fermented alcohol of at least 5% ?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2020, 08:46:45 PM »
Excellent, i had looked at some of those before, forgot to base any ideas on them.

Anyone ever made this thing before though?


Looking at it, I can see already I would replace cane sugar with dextrose IMHO. definitely agree with the nutrient additions. hmmm might be good

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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: how to make the least flavorful fermented alcohol of at least 5% ?
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2020, 01:25:27 PM »
This has no benefit of saying you made it yourself but why not steep a neutral spirit with the ingredients you want to add and then mix it with carbonated water?

Not trying to criticize people over hard seltzer but this seems like going to great lengths to make something very easily made in the most difficult way possible--and I say that as somebody who both brews and has a kegerator just for homemade non-alcoholic seltzer water.
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Offline Wilbur

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Re: how to make the least flavorful fermented alcohol of at least 5% ?
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2020, 02:35:02 PM »
This has no benefit of saying you made it yourself but why not steep a neutral spirit with the ingredients you want to add and then mix it with carbonated water?

Not trying to criticize people over hard seltzer but this seems like going to great lengths to make something very easily made in the most difficult way possible--and I say that as somebody who both brews and has a kegerator just for homemade non-alcoholic seltzer water.

I believe he said vodka starts at $25/700 ml, and is looking for something cheaper.

Offline Northern_Brewer

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Re: how to make the least flavorful fermented alcohol of at least 5% ?
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2020, 03:32:06 PM »
This has no benefit of saying you made it yourself but why not steep a neutral spirit with the ingredients you want to add and then mix it with carbonated water?

The spirit of this is to be cheap, as opposed to buying spirits with duty paid on them. Turbo yeasts were invented for just this purpose - yeast with nutrient to get them to ferment a cheap source of sugar (molasses) which would then have cheap chemical flavourings added to create alcopops, to get teenagers laid in those countries where they are officially allowed to drink.

I don't know Japan well enough to know what their cheapest source of sugars is - some kind of hydrolysed rice starch perhaps? I guess in the US then corn syrup perhaps?

Offline kramerog

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Re: how to make the least flavorful fermented alcohol of at least 5% ?
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2020, 04:08:01 PM »
Sugar and nutrients makes sense for cheap and easy.  Possibly champagne yeast as a neutral yeast because champagne yeast has low nutrient requirements.  Staggered sugar additions could make for a cleaner flavor.

Sushi rice, amylase and sake yeast could be another way to go although Wyeast's sake yeast is quite aromatic (to me melon, pear and apple)so if you were going for melon, apple or pear seltzer could work well.  I understand that WhiteLab's is less aromatic but I don't have any experience with it.   You would have to buy everything in bulk to make prices reasonable.

Offline Visor

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Re: how to make the least flavorful fermented alcohol of at least 5% ?
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2020, 04:53:56 PM »
   The most recent hard seltzer I did I used Pure Turbo yeast because it's supposed to be very neutral and as previously stated, it already has the necessary nutrients. I didn't realize until I rehydrated the stuff that it is about 30% bentonite by weight. I have no idea what the purpose of bentonite in brewing yeast is, but what a freaking mess. That batch got dumped.
   Skip the grain, use only sugar and yeast nutrients, and if you're kegging, flavor to taste with syrups or whatever at kegging. If you're bottling then you need to add any flavorings that have fermentable sugars before or during fermentation, unless you think you can accurately calculate the amount of attenuation you'll get and use that for your bottle conditioning. Most seltzers, especially fruit flavored ones will need some sweetening, which if you're bottle conditioning means lactose.
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Offline fredthecat

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Re: how to make the least flavorful fermented alcohol of at least 5% ?
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2020, 12:29:46 AM »

I don't know Japan well enough to know what their cheapest source of sugars is - some kind of hydrolysed rice starch perhaps? I guess in the US then corn syrup perhaps?

lol rice in japan is pretty expensive and not wasted. they invented HFCS and would obviously import cheaper sugars from around the world. its probably sugar or something idk.

Sugar and nutrients makes sense for cheap and easy.  Possibly champagne yeast as a neutral yeast because champagne yeast has low nutrient requirements.  Staggered sugar additions could make for a cleaner flavor.

Sushi rice, amylase and sake yeast could be another way to go although Wyeast's sake yeast is quite aromatic (to me melon, pear and apple)so if you were going for melon, apple or pear seltzer could work well.  I understand that WhiteLab's is less aromatic but I don't have any experience with it.   You would have to buy everything in bulk to make prices reasonable.


yup, i've got a champagne yeast sitting here now ready to go actually.

i've never used amylase enzymes before, if someone wanted to do this, i would just use a wine yeast with rice/amylase especially if i wanted a clean flavour.  i like making sake or rice wine but it takes a bit more effort than making beer and also a lot of temperature control.


   The most recent hard seltzer I did I used Pure Turbo yeast because it's supposed to be very neutral and as previously stated, it already has the necessary nutrients. I didn't realize until I rehydrated the stuff that it is about 30% bentonite by weight. I have no idea what the purpose of bentonite in brewing yeast is, but what a freaking mess. That batch got dumped.
   Skip the grain, use only sugar and yeast nutrients, and if you're kegging, flavor to taste with syrups or whatever at kegging. If you're bottling then you need to add any flavorings that have fermentable sugars before or during fermentation, unless you think you can accurately calculate the amount of attenuation you'll get and use that for your bottle conditioning. Most seltzers, especially fruit flavored ones will need some sweetening, which if you're bottle conditioning means lactose.

i've mostly heart turbo yeasts are really not neutral and throw off a lot of odd flavours in favour of simply fermenting very fast and to a high ABV.

Thank you very much for mentioning bentonite though, that strips out colour and flavour really well and makes stuff super clear. I'd definitely use that after a fermentation.

@Visor, could you describe how your hard seltzer turned out? Was it any good?






Looks like if I did it today, i'd go with staggered additions of dextrose, staggered nutrient additions, maybe a very small amoutn of hopping? like 5-10 IBU, EC1118 type yeast or something and bentonite to clear it after.

another reference point would be kilju i guess




Offline fredthecat

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Re: how to make the least flavorful fermented alcohol of at least 5% ?
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2020, 12:54:22 AM »
I just realized how close I am to being able to make this.


I will post the recipe when I do it soon.

Offline Visor

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Re: how to make the least flavorful fermented alcohol of at least 5% ?
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2020, 04:54:19 PM »
   I've made several Fred, the 1st was mostly a proof of concept and establish a functional method. Cane sugar, dextrose & maltodexrine to give it a little body, some mild spices and lactose cuz it's a ladies drink and they usually like their drinks sweet. It was very bland but drinkable, the tasting "panel" unanimously said ditch the body additives. The next was a requested cranberry seltzer that was well received but really needed about twice as much sweetening than it had. There was a sweet tea seltzer that they also liked, but it needs about 3 times as much tea. The last batch was pomegranate and it ultimately got dumped, it had a fairly strong vinegar smell and taste, I don't know how much of that was from the pomegranate and how much was process flaws. I personally don't care for any of it cuz I'm a beer lover, but I didn't brew it for me.
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Offline fredthecat

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Re: how to make the least flavorful fermented alcohol of at least 5% ?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2020, 07:12:02 PM »
Thanks for the detailed reply Visor.

I'm going to make it as dry as possible  and flavour with 6-8IBU of magnum hops 1oz of juniper berries and as yet not finalized basic gin botanicals.

Other people have commented that citrus should be added to secondary only to avoid a "fermented weird" citrus taste.

Will fine it with either benonite or sparkolloid, whatever the wine store i asked has.


Summing up:

1. I want to recreate a very cheap price point.
2. I want it to be very dry. at most 1.0005, ideally under that.
3. I want fresh tasting citrus.
4. I want it to have an absolute minimum of yeast character
5. Don't care about colour, It doesn't need to be clear or pale or anything.



I think I've got all of these covered except number 3.

Anyone know about citrus flavouring? Lime ideally?

Offline Visor

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Re: how to make the least flavorful fermented alcohol of at least 5% ?
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2020, 04:30:57 PM »
  My 1st test batch I added 1tsp bottled lemon juice to 1.3 Gallons seltzer with the priming sugar at bottling, it was okay but would have been better with 1 tbsp. Another time I added the juice and pulp from 4 lemons to the BK of a 2.2 gallon batch, if you go that route you'll want to filter/strain out the pulp before the BK, as I found out it won't settle out in the cold crash. IIRC that batch was a bit overly lemony.
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Offline fredthecat

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Re: how to make the least flavorful fermented alcohol of at least 5% ?
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2020, 04:08:42 AM »
Update will come of this in about 15 days, colour is a pale green.

I messed up one variable thanks to COVID, in a way.

I got my dextrose from a reliable bulk place that is not a homebrew store, but buying from them I also got "yeast flakes", nutritional yeast flakes, assuming "it's dried dead yeast.. it'll do fine as a nutrient". Reading after I brewed, that stuff is full of umami flavour, described as "cheese-like"...

Ugg, anyway, I used bentonite, let's see how it goes.