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Old 02-02-2010, 08:01 AM   #1
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Default Odd question: tea makes yeast go crazy?

So,

A week or so ago the idea of homebrewing piqued my interest. I'm not currently in a living situation that permits making something reasonable, but I thought it would be fun to play around with yeast, sugar, water, and see what happens. I don't plan on actually drinking my end results; I just want to play around and watch it ferment and do its thing in small quantities. I know, it's about as boring as paint drying, watching the bubbles of c02 rise to the surface, but for some reason I find it fascinating.

Anyway, armed with some cleaned and sanitized empty plastic containers, I mixed up some sugar, water, and baker's yeast. In one container, I mixed sugar+water, got some yeast going, and pitched it. It started showing signs of fermentation pretty quickly. In another container, I brewed some sweet tea up on the stove, cooled it, and then pitched the yeast. That showed signs of fermentation quickly as well, but seemed to be bubbling at a much greater rate than the sugar/water. A few days later, out of curiosity, I threw some loose green tea into the sugar/water. It caused the whole thing to go mad compared to what it previously was, and started really bubbling and getting its ferment on.

So, what in the tea is making the yeast work better? Is it providing nutrients and whatnot that it does not have in normal sugar/water?

Again, I'm not drinking this when it's done; I just wanted to play around and see what happens. I do plan on actually trying to make beer several months from now, however.

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Old 02-02-2010, 12:13 PM   #2
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So,

So, what in the tea is making the yeast work better? Is it providing nutrients and whatnot that it does not have in normal sugar/water?
What kind of Tea? Chai Latte?
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:18 PM   #3
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I'm guessing the tea leaves provided nucleation points for the CO2 dissolved in your hooch, causing it to bubble out of solution.

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Old 02-02-2010, 12:58 PM   #4
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Tannins and maybe some acids for more ideal yeast conditions would be my guess. But I just say that mostly out of previous habit of using tea in all of my wines for tannins and spice, instead of just using tannin powder or raisins etc.

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Old 02-02-2010, 01:00 PM   #5
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A friend of mine is getting really good at making "Tea Wine." From what I know, it's very similar to what you are playing with but he uses a wine yeast.

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Old 02-02-2010, 05:07 PM   #6
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A friend of mine is getting really good at making "Tea Wine." From what I know, it's very similar to what you are playing with but he uses a wine yeast.

That sounds quite interesting...any details on it?
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:28 PM   #7
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That sounds quite interesting...any details on it?
I'll see if I can get the friend I mentioned to hop on here and give you some feedback.
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:29 PM   #8
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That sounds quite interesting...any details on it?
I have my second batch going right now.... I used orange spiced tea. My wife found a huge bulk supply somewhere. I steeped 60 tea bags by bringing two gallons of water to a boil the dropping in the tea bags and turning the heat off and steeping them for 15 minutes........I added 4 pounds of sugar and stirred until that was dissolved. I squeezed out the bags a LITTLE and poured this into a carboy and topped up to 5 gallons with cold water. Once the temp dropped enough I pitched a packet of pasteur red champagne yeast.......waited a week and added 4 more pounds of sugar dissolved in some of the wine.......will do another sugar addition of 2 pounds in a few days.
I made this once before and like all wines the longer it sets the better it is.. I do NOT like it but everyone else LOVES it. They claim it tastes like a spice pumpkin drink. I don't taste it ,but it is cheap to make and doesn't take forever to clear.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:22 PM   #9
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Default Tea Wine

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That sounds quite interesting...any details on it?
I use loose leaf teas from Golden Moon. They have a tea called Honey Pear that is awesome. Steep a cup of tea in a gallon (plus another 20 oz to be used for top up) of boiled water for 2-3 minutes, longer if you want more tannin. I use a nylon bag to hold the tea. Add 2# sugar. Cool to 70º and fill a gallon glass fermenter. Pitch yeast (I've been using Lalvin V1116) and fit with an airlock. The extra tea can go in a sterilized 20 oz. soda bottle and be kept in the refrigerator. Rack a couple times 2-3 weeks apart topping up from the extra in the soda bottle. It's ready to bottle and/or drink in 2 months.

2# of sugar in a gallon batch will result in a fairly dry tea wine, but I think it lets the finer quality of these loose teas come through.

Interestingly my top up bottle force carbonated in the refrigerator resulting in a sparkling tea wine that is quite pleasant.

Golden Moon's Vanilla Jasmine tea is another great tea to ferment.
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:04 AM   #10
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Neato, that sounds like something I would enjoy. I think I'll try my hand at it, but in a smaller quantity.


Thanks, all!

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