Lots of homebrewers ask us about how to store their result and questions regarding shelf life. So we decide to write an article to properly address the needs. No matter you own an ALCHEMA or not, this article still works for you.
What kinds of containers should I use to store my result?
Here, we list three types of containers that commonly used. You could find the upside and downside of these containers in this article. And when to use the specific type of container based on our experience.
- Swing Top Bottle
- Easy-to-use, no easy-to-lose accessary
- Usually high air pressure tolerance (Please check with your suppliers)
- Quality varies from different suppliers. Each bottle is inconsistent in air tightness.
This type of bottle is suitable for people who like carbonated drinks (we will discuss later how to carbonate your result.) If you prefer still drinks, using bottles with screw cap is recommended.
- Bottle with a cork
- Good gift choice
- The cork might have a leftover smell from your previous batch.
- The lifetime of the cork is limited.
- The airtightness varies from different cork. If the air pressure is too high, your cork might be pushed out.
If you are into a carbonated taste, this type of bottle is not for you, since the cork might be pushed out. This type of bottle works better if you make your drink with a fortified-wine method. (We will talk about it later.)
- Bottle with a screw cap
- Best choice for beginner
- Not suitable for carbonated drinks making
Though it is hard to make carbonated drinks with this type of bottle since the gas might leak from the gap between the bottle and the cap, it still works best for beginners because of the safety (You still need to check with suppliers the airtightness.)
How to store your result after fermentation?
Your result usually has leftover yeast so fermentation will continue. We recommend you to store your drinks in a colder temp., like in your fridge, to slow the fermentation. At low temp. the yeast activity will be low which could help you maintain the flavor profile of your drinks.
At high temp. the yeast activity will be high which will fasten the fermentation. As we mentioned before when a fermentation happens sugar will be converted into alcohol. Therefore, that will lead to higher alcohol content and lower sweetness. Your result is still drinkable but out of the flavor profile you set.
How to create a carbonated taste? | Try the secondary fermentation
Like traditional campaign making, the carbonated taste comes from secondary fermentation. If you have an ALCHEMA, you will know ALCHEMA machine focuses on monitoring the main fermentation. What main fermentation does is alcohol generation and flavor profile control. While the secondary fermentation does is bubbling-taste making.
At the secondary fermentation, the leftover yeast will transfer the residual sugar into carbon dioxide (CO2) and alcohol. If you control the environment and keep the container sealed, the CO2 will diffuse into your drinks and that creates a carbonated taste.
If you want to try the secondary fermentation for the bubbling flavor, you could store your result in an airtight swing top bottle and leave it in the fridge for 7 ~ 10 days or 3 ~ 5 days at room temp.
The secondary fermentation will slightly increase the alcohol content and decrease the sweetness. Since this is a small difference, most of the people will not notice but the fresh bubbling result.
After the secondary fermentation, please store your result in the fridge and finish your drinks within 2 weeks before the flavor profile out of original setting too much.
I Want the Stability | Try The Fortified-Wine Method
Before we dive into it, we want to share a bit more what the fortified wine is. The common fortified wine includes Port and Sherry. Both Port and Sherry making process involve a process which is adding spirits to force the fermentation stops. (Usually, if the alcohol content is over 15%, the yeast will stop working and it leads to no more fermentation. )
We could bring that idea into homebrewing to stabilize your drink body. The reason why homebrewing result is usually not stable is because of the fermentation continues. Through the "fortified-wine method" we could increase the alcohol content without affecting too much of flavor profile but stop the fermentation.
It is easy to do fortified-wine method at home, one thing you need is a 750 ml (25 fl oz) container.
If your result has 14% ABV.
You have to add at least 50 ml (1.7 fl oz) of vodka in every 700 ml (23.6 fl oz) of your drink. Then your end result will have about 15% ~ 16% ABV.
*Vodka is one kind of spirit which is usually transparent and with 40% ABV.
If your result has 4% ABV.
You have to add at least 250 ml (8.5 fl oz) of vodka in every 500 ml (16.9 fl oz) of your drink. Then your end result will have about 15% ~ 16% ABV.
If you are not into the bubbling taste but the stability. You could use the fortified-wine method. Adding 50 ml ~ 250ml (1.7 fl oz ~ 8.5 fl oz) of vodka into your drinks could stop fermentation.
Your Drinks Usually Stay At Its Best For 2 Weeks
Normally your drinks will not turn bad if the ABV is over 7%. Since the alcohol content is high enough to kill bad bacteria.
However, since your result has leftover yeast which will make the fermentation work slowly, there is still a period that your drinks stay delicious and at your flavor profile setting. The period is 2 weeks.
The fermentation will transfer sugar into alcohol so your result will become with higher alcohol content and less sweetness. To make sure your drinks stay at its best and close to its original flavor profile setting, enjoy and finish your drink within 2 weeks.
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