hist-brewing: Cordial question...

rory rory at forgottensea.org
Tue Jul 1 09:58:26 PDT 2003

> And really quickly, I wanted to 
> agree with what Francois Baptiste le Renard said, brewing for the 
> use of sale in FL is illegal.  

(Distilling Legality arguement aside - this is a point of clarity to a 
statement on brewing)

Brewing for sale in any state is illegal if you do not have the permits to do 
so. That is one of the big no-nos in brewing. Even "auctioning an empty 
bottle <wink>" is not allowed. Bartering trade for beverage borders within 
that grey area. Technically you didn't "sell" the beverage, but you did 
receive compensation of value for the alcohol, and that has been debated 
several times within the courts with differing opinions ruled depending on 
the Court and the exact circumstances. 

> A question I did have, however, was that when you are making 
> cordials from a pre-exsisting alcohol base (i.e. Rum, Vodka, etc), 
> when you add the fruit, and the sugar to it, does that not ferment 
> the fruit and increase the alcohol content?  Is that not considered 
> brewing on some small scale?   I don't want to get anyone riled up 
> about the subject again, I was just curious.  ^_^
> Regent Covina
> Amtgard - Tampa, FL
> In the Kingdom of Neverwinter,
> The land of the Barony of Falling Fire

The answer to this is NO. Yeast cannot survive in an environment containing 
an alcohol percentage over 22%. So most Distilled Spirit bases are already at 
this point (Distilled defined by the ATF, and hence by Distributors, is 22%). 
There are no surviving yeast within the base to further ferment whatever you 
add it the base. So you are not "brewing."

The only exception to this MIGHT be a situation where you took a 40 proof 
(approx. 20%) Vodka, and added enough fruit juice and such that you lowered 
the alcohol content below 17%, and then added in some yeast on your own. Then 
you might cause fermentation to activate. But certainly not much. Champagne 
yeast will only ferment out to +/- 18%. Distillers' yeast is "rated" to 21%, 
but it leaves off flavors. 

So technically, it is possible to do, but why? 


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