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Speed Brewing: Techniques and Recipes for Fast-Fermenting Beers, Ciders, Meads, and More Paperback – June 15, 2015
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From the Publisher
Strawberry-Peppercorn Short Mead
This recipe was one of the first short meads I brewed. I served it at an outdoors art and music benefit bash in Brooklyn, where it was about 100°F outdoors. The strawberry peppercorn short mead was a huge hit, and the keg kicked in an hour, beating out a slew of beer and cocktails. The spiciness of the peppercorns is a wonderful complement to the sweetness and delicate floral nature of the strawberry. Carbonated lower-alcohol beverages are delightfully refreshing on a hot summer day, but the strawberry aroma will bring you back to warmer times on even the coldest of winter days.
Yield - 1 gallon
- 1 package (1–1.2 ounce) freeze-dried strawberries
- 1/2 tbsp. mixed peppercorns
- 1.25 pound honey
- 1 gal. spring water
- 1/16 teaspoon yeast nutrient
- 1/4 package dry champagne yeast
1. Place your yeast packet, stopper or lid, airlock, and scissors (to open the yeast packet) into a sanitizing solution. Clean and sanitize a glass jug or jar.
2. Pulverize the freeze-dried strawberries. A small food processor works best, but I’ve used a mortar and pestle, too. You can also transfer the berries to a zippered plastic bag, squeeze the air out, seal, and hand-crush or use a rolling pin on the berries. Crack the pepper slightly—a mortar and pestle works best for this. Place the crushed berries and peppercorns into a heatproof glass measuring pitcher.
3. Heat 2 cups of water to a boil. A teapot is perfect for this purpose. Pour the off-boil water over your berries and peppercorns, add yeast nutrient, stir, and steep for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, place your tea in an ice bath to cool to below 75°F.
4. Place the sanitized jug or jar on the scale. Zero the scale and add 1.25 pounds of honey.
5. Remove the jug from the scale, add filtered water leaving enough room for the tea, cap or cover the opening securely, and shake until the honey is combined. Take a look at the bottom of your jug; if honey is still clinging on, keep shaking.
6. Uncap the jug and add the cooled strawberry-peppercorn tea. Do not strain the tea.
7. Top off with water to bring up to 1 gallon, recap or cover, and shake gently to combine. You may take a gravity reading using your hydrometer or refractometer at this point if you like. Your OG will be in the 1.042 to 1.046 range.
8. Uncap, pitch the yeast, and place a stopper or grommeted lid and airlock on the jug.
9. Ferment between 66°F and 76°F for 5 to 14 days.
10. Taste after a week. If it’s at your desired sweetness, package using the directions on pages 26 to 31. If it’s too sweet, continue to taste every day or every other day until the mead is where you want. Higher fermentation temperatures will increase speed of fermentation. If you are taking gravity readings, I usually find 1.004 to 1.008 to be the ideal range. If you’re using fruit or other flavorings that float, I recommend cold-crashing your short mead overnight before bottling. The flavorings will fall to the bottom, and the short mead will be easier to bottle. If you don’t cold-crash, I recommend using a filter or strainer to bottle.
Blueberry-Nutmeg Short Mead - Use a 1- to 1.2-ounce package of freeze-dried blueberries and a dash of freshly grated nutmeg in place of the strawberries and peppercorns. Pulverize your blueberries and follow the directions above.
Spiced Cranberry Short Mead - Use a 1- to 1.2-ounce bag of freeze-dried cranberries and 1/2 cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, 2 star anise, and a strip of orange zest in place of the strawberries and peppercorns. You do not need to crush the spices; just use them whole. This is a wonderful beverage to serve in late fall and during the winter holidays. It is especially nice with Thanksgiving dinner and may be served warm as well, like a mulled wine.
Mango Chili Short Mead - Use a 1-ounce package of freeze-dried mango and 3 dried pequin chili peppers in place of the strawberries and peppercorns for a spicy, fruity mead. Crush the mango and chilies and use more or less chilies depending on your heat preference.
Peach Thyme Short Mead - Use a 1-ounce package of freeze-dried peaches and 1/8 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme or a heaping 1⁄8 teaspoon dried thyme in place of the strawberries and peppercorns.
"As the popularity of home brewing has increased, some brewers were bound to find themselves exploring beyond beer. Izett, who cohosts a radio show on fermenting,Fuhmentabudit!, realized that traditional brewing methods were not always possible and started looking for faster brews. She discovered quick meads, soda, and kefir, among others, and here takes readers through each project, beginning with discussions of ingredients and equipment through the process of bottling the final product. She provides basic recipes as well as variations on each brew. Throughout, the tone is encouraging of experimentation and the writing clear. Diving into this book gives the home brewer plenty of room to stretch their brewing experience. VERDICT A welcome introduction to the art of speed brews, these recipes will be a marvelous addition to any brewer's bookshelf." - Ginny Wolter, Library Journal
"When I first saw Mary's book, I must admit that it raised an eyebrow. What was this, some sort of strange joke? But one good look through, and I was hooked. Wherever you go in the world, from England to Vietnam to Africa, people have always brewed some delicious beers quickly-why not now? There are a lot of great ideas in these pages." - Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery, editor-in-chief of The Oxford Companion to Beer, and author of The Brewmaster's Table
"I joke that if it can be fermented, I've fermented it. However, Mary's book shows that my experiments have fallen far short! She's presented so many fun, easy, interesting, and impressive ideas that I can't wait to try. Using her recipes for alternative brews turns every trip to the grocery into a research trip. Back to the fermenters I go!" - Drew Beechum, author of Experimental Homebrewing, The Everything Hard Cider Book, and The Everything Homebrewing Book
"Fermented beverages are as old and diverse as mankind, but in this age of high technology, it is easy to forget how accessible they can be. I have always been a dedicated homebrewer and craft beer drinker, but this book has convinced me to broaden my horizons and try something new. In fact, I have time right now..." - John Palmer, author of How To Brew
"The beers I enjoy most tend to be made by brewers who have entered into partnership with their favorite yeast strains. They are a product of confidence as much as equipment or scale. Speed Brewing is intended to inspire such confidence as quickly as the fermentations it describes." - Stan Hieronymus, author of For the Love of Hops and Brew Like a Monk
"This is a great book on fermenting a wide array of beverages. It is user-friendly, with straightforward methods and clear instructions. It's a valuable contribution to the growing literature of fermentation." - Sandor Ellix Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation and Wild Fermentation
About the Author
Mary Izett is a passionate homebrewer specializing in fast and alternatively fermented beverages. She co-hosts Fuhmentaboudit!, a live weekly show on all things fermentable, on Heritage Radio Network and is a BJCP National ranked beer judge. She has been the president of both the New York City Homebrewers Guild and the Malted Barley Appreciation Society and has written for Ale Street News, All About Beer, and Zymurgy.
Top customer reviews
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If you're new to brewing, all the basic information you need is in here. The first few chapter describe the fermentation process (primary fermentation) and bottling and carbonation (secondary fermentation). You need a hydrometer, kitchen thermometer, a one gallon fermenter, such as a jug or 1 gallon jar, a stopper and an airlock. And yeast nutrient. You can get all of those inexpensively at a homebrew store or online. Her suggestion that a new brewer use plastic PET bottles is good advice. PET bottles are like plastic soda or seltzer bottles. You can reuse your own or buy them new. Fermentation creates co2, and inside a bottle that means pressure builds inside. Glass bottles can explode which is dangerous. With PET bottles you just check them every day and when they are hard you have sufficient c02 and you then put them in the fridge to stop fermentation. No worries.
I made the Rubarb Soda (3.5% ABV) first, adding strawberries. I only made one gallon, there was no one hour boil (just some off boil water poured over the fruit) so it only took me 30 minutes to make. The soda is pink, very pretty and delicious. I already started another batch. Next I made her City Cider recipe. Very simple with no boiling at all. It took 15 minutes. At bottling time, I decided to use some juices I had, Pomegranate and Guava juice as the priming sugars (sugars mixed in at bottling time to give the yeast just enough food to create carbonation in the bottle).
I have a ginger short mead fermenting as well. After listening to her Fuhmentaboudit! podcast on kombucha, I was inspired to try that and I've made all kinds of 'buch with black teas, white teas, roibos tea, jasmine tea etc. Now having read the book, I will move onto her boozy 'buch recipes including a 'faux' Flanders Red that can be made in weeks rather than the year or more it takes in the traditional method. She also documents kettle souring, a good way to make a Berliner Weisse or a Gose beer. There is a short beer making chapter with recipes.
This book inspired me to make other fermented drinks in addition to beer. The writing is clear, the descriptions of ingredients is detailed and the recipes are creative and internationally inspired. In addition, the techniques are quicker than standard beer brewing. However I would say that the fact that the brews are faster are a happy side effect, and the real intention of the book is fermenting out of the box, or alternative fermented beverages you may have never thought of. Many of her recipes were inspired by interesting fermented beverages she found while traveling.
It's full of beautiful photos of ingredients, equipment, and fermented, carbonated beverages looking gorgeous in fancy glasses. I would not get an e-version of this book, it's more than the text. I think the title Speed Brewing might throw someone off, so the publisher added a long winded subtitle, attempting to describe the book in more detail. Fermenting on the Flip Side, which was a talk she gave at NHC would more accurately describe the book. Or Beyond Beer. Publishers dictate titles and authors have little choice but to accept their marketing decisions.
One of the best parts of the book, in my opinion, is the table included in the section on ciders. This table discusses how a variety of different yeast types (e.g., American Ale, English Ale, Belgian Ale) can drastically change the flavor of a cider. Some make it more dry, others more sweet. Some accentuate the apple flavors, others contribute additional flavors. The brewing world needs more experimentation and sharing like this.
If you're interested in trying out home brewing and want to create some simple fermented beverages, this is a great book. If you're experienced as a brewer but are interested in seeing what kind of things you can whip up in a week or two, check out the book as well.
The book is easy to read and more importantly the recipes run the gamut from familiar to unusual(at least to me). Izett makes it fun for the new brewer. I tried one of the recipes and it turned out great! This lead to more brewing and more drinking and well now I'm hooked. I heartily recommend this book to anybody who is thinking about getting into brewing. You won't be disappointed.
Most recent customer reviews
Only book out there like this one.