Spiked Juice

I have fondest memories of drinking Sturm at  Raschhofer Rossbräu, a bar/restaurant I frequented while living in Austria a decade ago, give or take a month.  It’s an effervescent,  not fully fermented red wine, which is cloudy and available only in the autumn.  Federweisser is the general term for this category of quick-fermented grape juice, but it is known by many names throughout Europe, and it isn’t produced in the US, at least not to my knowledge.

Now, a California-based group of German ex-pats has started selling a kit of  six “Spike” packets and an airlock (to keep the bottle from exploding), which convert the sugars in a 64-ounce bottle of juice into alcohol and carbon dioxide, giving you juice with a little effervescence and the kick of beer.  It’s reasonably priced, and the airlock is reusable.  All you do is add a packet to the bottle of juice (your standard Ocean Spray or Welch’s), replace the cap with an airlock and rubber stopper and let it sit out for a couple days. After 48 hours, you have a half gallon of juice with about 10% alcohol content.

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The guys at Spike Your Juice were kind enough to send me a sample, and it works exactly as advertised.  I opened a bottle of Ocean Spray White Cran-Peach, poured in a pixie stick-esque powder tube and plugged in the airlock, which I had filled with water.  A day later it was opaque and the airlock was gurgling out the occasional bubble.  The day after that, I was sipping on something akin to the jungle juice I remember drinking on nights in college of which I remember little else.

Note: with access to a brew supply shop or the Internet, one could, with a bit of experimentation, make a MacGuyvered spike kit.  Turbo Yeast is a versatile, fast-acting strain of yeast blended with nutrients that will ferment up to 20% alcohol over 48 hours, and a homebrew airlock and plug only cost a few bucks, but at less than $10 per kit from Spike Your Juice, it probably isn’t worth the effort.  The kit provides 6 packets, which each convert 64 fluid ounces of juice (totaling 3 gallons, or just under 12 liters).  A six dollar packet of Turbo Yeast yields 20 liters, but you would have to go through all the effort of measuring and dividing .

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2 Comments

  1. I just bought two kits. That was delicious fizzy buzzy juice. I probably should’ve gotten more – these would make a great stocking stuffer. . . .

  2. Normally I’d say yes to resuspending the yeast. But you have to warm it up first. Otherwise the yeast just think hey its still cold here, lets setlte out. In this case though, I am sorry to say that ferment is done at 1.014. It may get down to 1.012 or something, but that is not going to give you a noticable change in ABV. Your ABV here was largely fixed due to the OG! Mar 3 ’11 at 13:13

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