hist-brewing: New to brewing, Fermentation question

Jerry J Harder mastergoodwine at juno.com
Thu Jul 1 19:34:28 PDT 1999

>     Ingredients:
>                      2-3           cloves
>                      2 sticks      cinnamon
>                      2 thin        slices ginger
>                      2-4 teaspoons orange peel
>                      2 pounds      honey
>                                    yeast
>                      1/4 cup       vodka or grain alcohol
Honey is about 15% water 85% sugar so 2 lbs honey is equivalent to about 
0.85  X 2 = 1.7 lbs sugar in one gallon.  Assuming full fermentation,
that would produce 10.5% alcohol.  Vodka is about 80 proof or 40%
alcohol.  Using standard mixing equation:

((0.25  X  40% ) + (16 X 10.5% )) / (16+0.25) = 10.95 or about 11%

That's nice for a dry wine.

But a 2-3 days of fermentation will only produce about 1-2 % alcohol. 
That means that the beverage will only be about 1.5% avg + .5%vodka=2%
leaving a residual sugar of about 17%.  This sounds like a time bomb. 
Theres no way that that little bit of vodka is going to stop the

I'm wandering if keeping it in the fiig helped to settle the yeast to the
point there was none left, or slowed the fermentation to a near
standstill.   I used to make soda with a similar method by putting the
must with yeast pitched in sealed 2 liter bottles.  I put the beverage in
the frig set at just hardly above 23 deg. F after about 3 or three days
fermentation when the bottles felt sufficiently pressurized.  These
beverages were nice for about 2 weeks.  After that they would be too
pressurized and to alcohol and they didn't taste right as soda. The point
is they kept on fermenting even at near freezing temperature.

The second thing that is wrong is there is no nutrients.  My experiments
show that only about half the honey will ferment but that is likely to
very, perhaps greatly, with the honey.   (I did an experiment with 18
different yeast all with the same honey and at 16% potential alcohol and
they all stopped at 8% +/- 2%. This was a simple honey water mix with no
nutrients.)  Probably your recipe will ferment more than that because of
the spices but the phrase I would use to describe this recipe is "highly

It sounds like you could make the same recipe without fermenting but
using about 1 cup vodka.

If you choose to ferment it out, I suggest getting some nutrient like
fermaid.  It is available from Presque Isle: e-mail at prwc at erie.net

Most people don't really know how to use a hydrometer.  I'm working up
some charts and articles for another list.  Is anyone here interested

Master Gerald Goodwine
aka Jerry J Harder
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