To make alcohol out of sugarcane, you only need a few ingredients:
- Sugarcane juice
- Options for flavor: guava leaves, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, duhat (Java plum) bark
Let's experiment how to make it now:
Step 1: Boil Sugarcane Juice
Soft boil the sugarcane juice for some minutes. I boil it for 3-4 mins for pasteurization. Then let the juice cool down.
Step 2: Add the Yeast
While the sugarcane juice is cooling down, you can measure out the yeast. I use an estimate of 5 grams per liter. You may adjust it according to your yeast instructions.
The thing is, if you add more yeast, the final wine product will have a more bitter taste. If you add less, it will be milder and not as bitter. Some people like the bitter taste. So they add more.
Then, when the juice has cooled to temperature. That is, hotter than your body temperature a bit but not too hot.
A quick trick to test, shared by Veganlovlie, is to hold your finger against the juice surface. If you can comfortably hold your finger for 8 seconds, then the temperature is good and we can add the yeast in. If you withdraw your finger immediately to the touch, then it's still too hot. Wait a bit more. Hope your finger is ok.
Then add yeast in, stir it to dissolve.
Step 3: Put Juice Into Jar
Finally, put the juice with yeast into jar. And close the lid. Store it in a dark dry place.
From here, there are different paths you can take. At this point, some folks ask:
Can You Make Beer Out Of Sugarcane?
Beer can be made from sugarcane. While fermenting the sugarcane juice, instead of letting the CO2 air out, you can retain it in the container. In 1-2 days depending on local weather, the sugarcane will be carbonated and become beer.
If you'd like to make sugarcane beer some time later, here are some brief steps below for reference:
To Make Sugarcane Beer
So from Step 3 of our fermentation process above, if you'd like to make sugarcane beer, let the jar ferment with the lid closed for about a day. Observe the sugarcane juice as it transforms into beer.
When you open the lid a day after (depending on your local weather), you will hear a "ZZzzz" fizz sound. Coming near, you'll smell the hint of beer. Lots of bubbles will come on top. Now at this point, you can have a taste of the liquid. If you like how it tastes, pour the beer out chill it and enjoy.
The sugarcane beer I made (mostly by accident) here has a golden color. If you let it sit in the fridge, the residue or lees will gradually sink down, leaving a clearer beer color on top. You could filter the lees out for a clearer beer.
The taste of my batch is a bit bitter, possibly because I put a bit more yeast in it. It has very sharp notes, making a drinker go "Kheeehh" (with a bit of a monkey face) after tasting it (thanks my 4 involuntary test drinkers).
To soften the sharp flavor, you could throw in some oak chips and let it sit. This will also enhance the flavor with a nice oak smokiness. You could use the other flavor options like ginger, cinnamon, cloves.
In about 1-3 days, you'll have nice cool sugarcane beer to enjoy. Leaving the beer in the fridge in an open-mouth glass, I do notice a reduction of carbonation.
Besides beer, some folks also make wine.
For now, if you'd like to make sugarcane wine, let's see how below:
To Make Sugarcane Wine
From Step 3 above, here are the steps next:
The First 5-7 Days
For the first 5-7 days, you can shake the jar once every day. Some twist the lid to let the CO2 out and close it back up. If you have a plastic container with silicon lid, you can let the lid there without worrying about built-up pressure breaking your vessel.
This shaking is said to give the microbes some oxygen to kickstart the fermentation first (yeast waking up, getting into action, no alcohol produced yet, sugarcane may still smell sweet).
Shaking also helps incorporate the top and bottom part well. During these first days, you can see bubbles going up these and a layer of sediments at the bottom (possible sugarcane fiber if not well filtered).
Next 3-5 Weeks
Then after about 7 days, we can begin the anaerobic (no oxygen) fermentation. At this time, some alcohol may have been produced. You may notice some alcoholic scent coming from the juice and you may have a taste. If you like it at this point, you can drink the young wine. Some folks take it out to enjoy at this time. Some let it ferment for longer.
When some alcohol has been produced, we begin the anaerobic fermentation. Close the lid tight as air getting in can turn the wine into vinegar. If you open the container to transfer the liquid into another jar, you could add in some sugar for the yeast. Let it ferment for another 3-5 weeks. It may take longer in the winter.
If you have an airlock and you see that it is level (no air bubbles anymore), then the wine is ready to serve and bottle. If you observe through the container that there is no more air bubbles, then it is also a sign to tell our fermentation has done. You can now take some out and enjoy the wine.
Sparkling Sugarcane Wine
To make sugarcane wine sparkling, it is really not up to the decision of us human but actually the yeast. There are some strains of yeast that produce this sparkling effect. You could experiment to see which they may be around your environment and keep some for next use. Or get some sold yeast to do that.
Another way is to use a carbonation machine. This also works with the sugarcane juice.
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