by Rupashree Ravi
All About Homebrewing: The Art of Making Probiotic Fermented Beverages
2 August 2022
From being gut-friendly and improving digestion to keeping you hydrated and healthy, there are a number of reasons why fermented beverages are finding favour with people all across the world. More and more people are drinking and making non-alcoholic beverages as it offers a host of benefits. Homebrewing, which is simply making beer or wine on a personal and small-scale level, is a hobby and a profession for many. The reason is, that it is high on flavour, low on alcohol, and does not require any fancy equipment. The process of fermenting and making probiotic drinks is very easy, anyone can do it.
Homebrewing has become a great hobby and experiment that people are taking up in recent days.
The basic idea is to brew a taste test batch of your favourite beverage at your home, be it Kombucha, Tepache, Ginger Beer, Red Table Wine, among a wide variety of options. It can be intimidating at first, but can be very rewarding, and cheap! All you really need is a big vessel, something fermentable, and some yeast.
“There are a variety of beverages you can brew and once you get the basics down, it can be simple to add your own unique twist to a recipe.”
A great way to start is by brewing a Hard Cider. The easiest method is crushing the juice from a batch of apples, putting it in a jug, and letting it ferment in a dark place for one to three weeks. Apple skins contain various natural yeasts, which end up in the apple juice when the fruit is pressed, but you can choose to add cider yeast which is great for fermentation. You can also add sugar and spices to enhance the taste.
Another brewer’s favourite is the Kombucha, which is a great alternative to alcoholic beverages. It is naturally packed with probiotics and is made with water, tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast. It starts out as a sugary tea, which is then fermented with the help of a SCOBY, an acronym for ‘Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast.’ It is refreshing, fizzy, slightly sour, and low in calories and sugar. You can ferment Kombucha for seven to ten days in a mason jar and close it shut with a tightly woven cloth and lid.
Tepache is a fizzy fermented drink made from just pineapple skin, sugar, cinnamon, and water. Its taste can range from cider-like and sweet to yeasty like beer. The process is simple: add pineapple peels to a large jar, add sugar and cinnamon and drown them in water until the peels come to the surface of the jar. Let it ferment for one to three days. The longer it ferments, the less sweet and more yeast-flavoured it will become. You will know the tepache has fermented when you see many small bubbles on top. Refrigerate and enjoy your drink!
A batch of Kombucha (left) and Tepache (right) kept for fermentation
A sparking probiotic beverage that is very easy to make, Ginger Beer is a traditional remedy for nausea and digestion problems and is good for the throat. You will need to make a powerful fermented mixture, Ginger Bug to make this drink. The wild yeast or ginger bug is made by adding water, sugar, and finely chopped ginger to a glass container and letting it sit for twenty-four hours after stirring. Take the next two-three days to add the same amount of ginger and sugar every twenty-four hours until it becomes fizzy. Strain it and add lemon juice. Let it sit at room temperature for three to six days until it gets fizzy. Once they’ve reached that point, you can refrigerate them; but make sure you’re opening the top and burping them once a day.
Ginger Beer and Red Table Wine are said to be great for health having healing properties
To make a batch of Red Table Wine, add one cup of sugar into a bottle of purple grape juice, add a packet of wine yeast, pop in an airlock, and come back in a few weeks. Alternatively, you can add around three quarts of the juice to a glass jar, before adding six cups of sugar and a pack of yeast.
With these amazing and easy-to-make beverages, you can start homebrewing some of your own in no time. It’s a healthy hobby and is definitely a skill that comes over a period of time. Ultimately, it will be worth all the time and effort. Moreover, it is the best way to take part in an age old tradition that stretches all the way back to the Neolithic!