With a blanket ban on booze in full effect for at least the next two weeks, Mzansi is ready to rekindle its love affair with pineapple and ginger home brews.
In his televised address to the nation yesterday, President Ramaphosa announced the return of lockdown alert level 4 with a total ban on alcohol due to the rising number of Covid-19 infections.
Devastated by the news of a fifth booze ban, South Africans took to Twitter to express their grief, reintroducing home brews of skelm gemmer (ginger beer) and pineapple beer as the real icons of the national lockdown.
Sugar, fruit, you have a home brew
Luckily, the fruit stores are not being locked down, and all you need is brewer’s yeast, water, sugar and any fruit to get your brew started, suggests KwaZulu-Natal soil scientist Morgan Brand.
The perfect brew is a delicate balancing act between the right amount of sugar and yeast, Brand advises.
Yeast plays a central role in the fermentation process. Yeast is a single-celled fungus and during the brewing process it consumes the sugar and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2).
“Variations depend on whatever volume that you are going to make. The optimal amount of sugar is between 14 and 16 percent of the volume of the container that you use.
“The more sugar you’re going to put in your mix, the more potential alcohol you can get from it.”
He also warns that if you do not make your brew safely you could end up with explosive guts, blindness or worse from your bottles of homemade beer.
It’s all in the yeast
Different yeast strains determine the effects the home brew will have on the body.
“The reason you are probably going to end up with a bit of a hangover the next day is the chain length of the alcohol. Methanol is produced and can be produced in quite high quantities by these bugs.”
It is important to stay away from high pectin fruits like apples, berries, and citrus he warns. “These fruits contain large amounts of carbohydrates and that is what is going to turn into methanol. “That’s what can make you go blind and hurt you,” he says.
Brand adds that you will know once there is too much methanol in your brew. “The moment you have one glass, and you get a severe headache from that glass, that’s got methanol in it. A toxic brew!” he laughs.
If it hurts you after a small amount, you should know that that will be a strong brew, so be careful.
- Don’t let the booze ban blues get you down. We know you are dying to try Morgan Brand’s homemade pineapple beer, head on over to Health For Mzansi for the full recipe.