Oztops is the simplest, most convenient way to brew. Your 2 most common issues will be:
1) Brews that are slow to start. This is almost always a temperature question. If your brew shows no sign of fermentation after 24 hours (little bubbles forming, some developing firmness when you squeeze the bottle) try giving it a kick start by warming. Just immerse your bottle in a bucket of warm water for half an hour, then put it in a cooler bag or box to maintain temp.
2) Brews that go wild and bubble over. Again, this is pretty much always a temperature thing. Just put your bottle in the fridge for a couple of days and calm it down. Then continue fermenting in a cooler spot than before, or just let it stay in the fridge.
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Is there any problem with moving the bottles during fermentation, you know, like shaking them? A: Not really. They will fizz off the excess gas through the valve, but bottles should be kept upright at all times.
Can I re-bottle using ordinary caps after fermentation? You can, but you need to be pretty sure where you are with respect to the remaining fermentable sugars in your juice. If they have all ,or nearly all, fermented out then there is no problem putting on a full seal. Trouble is, to be really sure of this you need a hydrometer and some simple calculations.
Q: Try making this mead!! Chris, Canberra. Just tried some mead using oztops. Basically I put about 3/4 cup of organic honey into a fruit juice bottle (ones for the low pressure oztops), brewed
Just started the first batch of dark grape. Do I change the Oztop cap back to the ordinary cap before putting the bottle in the fridge? . No need to. You can leave the Oztops on during refrigeration and use. In fact it is much better to do so. The only exception is if you want to mature your brews for longer than a month or two, in which case you could replace the Oztops with ordinary caps.
Tried Oztops with apple and black currant juice, brilliant, but have a mango and peach which seems very slow to start. Always check the label carefully for the presence of preservatives. Sometimes high levels of ascorbic acid are added as a "natural" preservative. Most of the time this is no problem, but in some juices it can inhibit fermentation. Try with Oztops yeast No.1 at optimum temperature, if it is still slow, dilute juice with 20-50% water, or a light apple juice. You can then add a bit of extra sugar after a couple of days fermenting to restore sweetness levels. Oztops.
Following from that previous question, can you confirm the highest alcohol possible with Oztops? the upper limit on alcohol production is set by the yeast tolerance and the available sugar for fermentation. The Oztops yeasts are tolerant up to about 15-17% alcohol, but most unsweetened juices will not reach this level because of insufficient sugar. Going for maximum alcohol, however, is not always the best way to go. Many juices taste best at much lower levels of alcohol, 2-5%, and at this level, you could argue the drinks are better for your health. Oztops.
What's the lowest alcohol you can get with this system? Is non-alcoholic possible? Depends what you mean by "non-alcoholic". The lowest you can get is 0.5% or a bit less, by fermenting for about one full day before refrigeration. Actually, fermentation time to achieve this result will vary somewhat, with variations in ambient temp. (warmer= quicker, cooler=slower) Generally, 0.5% or less is classed as non alcoholic, but be aware that there will always be some alcohol present. Oztops.
How long can you leave the bottles in the fridge? I have a feeling the taste improves after a couple of weeks. Up to 2-3 weeks is fine. Longer won't do any real harm, and some juices will certainly benefit from the extra time, but remember that there is a very slow, residual rate of fermentation taking place which will eventually dry out your brews, especially in summer, when fridge temperatures can lift somewhat above specified.
Great stuff, but those high pressure caps really let fly. we opened a bottle yesterday and it blew like a geyser. It was a warm day and the bottle was at room temp. Is this normal? You must chill your brews before opening! And remember the high pressure cap is equivalent to champagne pressure so use the same caution as you would for that drink.
The different pressures the caps work at, what are they and what is the point? The actual pressures are proprietary information, but the purpose is to control the final carbonation, or "fizz' in your drinks. The physics is that the higher the pressure, the more dissolved gas will go into solution in a liquid (other things being equal). Hence, the high pressure caps for Champagne style drinks, low pressure caps for spritzer style beverages.
What is your recommendation for the ideal punch? Should we use apple or cranberry juice? Why not try both. The trick with punch is to keep it sweet; most people have a fairly sweet tooth. The implication for Oztops drinks is to keep the fermentation times short, which gives lower levels of alcohol, or, if you want more kick, ferment longer but top up the sweetness level when you make up the mix by adding some swe.et cordial or soda. Of course, you could also add artificial sweeteners, if you are counting calories. Oztops.
Copyright Oztops 2009. Site updated August 2009
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