Barley On A Budget
As it has been widely covered in the news and social media, we have just been hit by storm Emma. In Somerset, we had a nice amount of the white stuff. Parts of Exmoor seen drifts exceeding 8 feet. During the storm, I spent a good amount of time rescuing stranded drivers and trying to do what I can to help others.
Something that got me thinking was, just how cheaply could I make a gallon batch of supermarket shelf wine? I call it that because all the main ingredients will be bought from the supermarket. I, obviously have all the relevant equipment but if you don’t, here is what you will need.
I happened upon pearl barley in our local pound stretcher but you can get it in virtually any supermarket. I managed to buy a bag of pearl barley for 29p… Yes, 29p.
Next up, a bag of seedless raisins, again, readily available from any supermarket. One thing I would say with raisins shop around, the price does vary dramatically. My bag cost £1.29.
You will need a couple lemons, 39p for a net of three. You could, at a push just use lemon juice from a bottle but that’s not the way I do it.
Sugar, A bag of Tate and Lyle cane sugar cost me 69p. I have mentioned before, read the packet as some sugars are made from beet. This will not ferment the same and can leave a bitter taint to the brew.
Last but not least, you will need 3 potatoes. Grand cost of these? 59p.
Total cost £3.25. That is a seriously cheap set of ingredients.
Ingredients And Method
Ingredients for this are adapted for supermarket sized bags.
500 grams of pearl barley (one bag)
500 grams seedless raisins (one bag)
1kg of sugar
Pour the sugar, raisins and pearl barley into a brewing bucket or other suitable vessel. Boil the kettle and add pour the boiling water over the ingredients. Next, chop the potatoes, leave the skins on. add the zest and juice of two lemons. top up with another kettle of water (This should be about 3 litres of water total) Once the mixture is cooled to blood temperature, add the yeast nutrient, yeast and if you want to, some tannin, (A cup of cold strong black tea) loosely cover and leave to ferment for 7 days.
A week will pass, then it is time to strain the mix into the demijohn. once done you can put the barley mix out for the birds or put it in the compost. Top the demijohn up to 5 litres using fresh water, fit the airlock and leave it in a warm place to ferment. Once fermentation has stopped, no bubbles are showing in the airlock, it is time to syphon or gently pour it out and into either, another demijohn or the same one once washed and sterilised. This process is called racking, basically its the process of removing the sediment each time. This will eventually produce a crisp, clear wine.
The Finished Article
In 3-6 months you will have a beautiful, refreshing, strong and I do mean strong, White wine.
This is a wine costing less than £5 to produce and yet when you taste it, you would think it cost a lot more.
Please feel free to contact me if you need any help with this or any other brew. am always willing to help or offer advice.