hist-brewing: Cordial question...

CorwynWdwd at aol.com CorwynWdwd at aol.com
Tue Jul 1 11:28:31 PDT 2003

In a message dated 7/1/2003 10:54:27 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
Tsunammi at aol.com writes:

> 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.  ^_^

As I understand it... (best way to start ANY post of brewing or cooking<G>) 
the alcohol in fact extracts flavors from stuff steeped in it and in fact not 
only doesn't ferment, but keeps the sugars, tannins and things from the fruits 
or herbs from fermenting. It's only brewing in the same sense that you "brew" 
tea. Did that make sense?

The yeasts that do the fermenting work in a very low alcohol environment, and 
you aren't going to get much over about 20% alcohol through fermentation 
solely (IF that, we're usually talking more on the order of 12%-14%), the alcohol, 
which is a waste material from the yeasts, will eventually kill them. There 
ARE a few strains they've bred to stand a bit more, but not much more alcohol.

Next stage is vinegar mother, which eats up the alcohol and makes vinegar, 
but it needs air to do it, which is one of the reasons we use sealed containers 
and fermentation locks when we make wines, beers and such.... Now the old 
country winemakers around here often use stoneware crocks, which have open tops. 
Often their brews are about half vinegar too, and you can taste it. Not always 
bad, as vinegar is a thirst quencher, as anyone who has drunk sekanjabin on a 
hot day will tell you, but not what you'd classify as a good table wine 
necessarily either.

As an aside, I've been told you can make vinegar from watered vodka too... 
but why would you <G>?

Hardly ever riled up anymore <G>

There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. 
And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the 
consequences. -- P. J. O'Rourke

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