Fermented Iced Tea

Fermented malt tea, hard iced tea or iced tea twist is basically the same as gruit ale, a type of ale that was popular for centuries before hops were introduced into ale making it beer.

To make your own fermented (malted) iced tea:

Make a pot of tea by putting tea or loose leaf tea of your choice, either regular, decaf or herbal, into a ceramic pot, pour boiling water over it and then cover and let sit until cool, or overnight.


When the tea is cool, strain it through a sieve (if necessary to remove tea leaves) and then pour it into a glass container. For every quart of tea add:

1/3 cup of malt extract*
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of yeast starter**

Cover with an airlock and set in a warm place.  http://lowmoonglowing.googlepages.com/PRA_covered.jpg


When signs of fermentation appear (tiny bubbles), let it ferment 3 days*** and then transfer to plastic soda pop bottles****

Screw cap on tight. http://windintheroses.googlepages.com/ale_captight.jpg

Tea has become a fizzy drink when  bottle becomes firm to the touch and cannot be squeezed. Put it in the refrigerator to cool and drink within a few days.

This bottle can still be squeezed and is not ready to drink yet.  http://yankeeharp.googlepages.com/squeezebottle.jpg

* Until you are ready to use the entire jar of malt extract at one brewing, you will probably prefer working with malt extract that has been mixed half-and-half with hot water so it is easier to pour out of the jar.You can then either subtract the amount of water from the rest of the recipe, or ignore it, as a splash or so of water one way or the other does not have a major effect on brewing ale or hard tea.

** Any kind of yeast or yeast starter will do, including bread yeast, airborne (wild) yeast or any kind of ale or wine yeast. However, bread yeast is the least desirable. If that's all you have, you can use it to get started but then try to get some other ale yeast. If you save some of your fermented tea from each batch and use it as a yeast starter for subsequent batches, in time the nature of the yeast will change and if you were happy with it, you could continue to use it, but you will probably prefer a hard tea made with either ale yeast or airborne yeast.

***  How long it ferments will determine how hard it is, and how sweet. It can be fermented for up to 7 days. If fermentation continues past the point where it is no longer fizzy, add 1 tablespoon of sugar syrup or honey to each quart before bottleing. See Adjusting Alcohol.

* It's okay to brew in glass, but I carbonate everything in plastic soda pop bottles. The advantages to this are that plastic doesn't risk accidentally exploding, sending long pieces of sharp, pointy glass into your flesh, and it's easier to check on carbonation by squeezing a plastic bottle. A traditional method, before glass or screw-on tops were invented, was to add some raisins to the brewing liquid and to measure carbonation by when they floated to the top. If you intend to bottle in glass, pack them in sand to reduce the risk of explosion.

Airlocks are anything that will keep out bugs but let gas escape. When I first started making wine, I used store-bought airlocks. When those broke, I found I could use plain plastic sheet secured with a sturdy rubber band. You can also use cloth, especially if you are hoping for a wild yeast fermentation. I also discovered it worked just as well to close the plastic soda pop screw-on top and then loosen it every once in a while to let out the gas buildup, or to screw it on just a tiny bit loose. Use whichever of these methods appeals to you.

How Long Will It Take Until First Sign of Fermentation?
3-4 days is the average, but there are so many variables, that is meaningless in practice. Yeast are living things and can take as long as they want to take, especially at the beginning when they are first learning how to eat the food you're giving them. I've made brews that didn't start fermenting for weeks and I'd given up on them and thought it was a dud only to walk by one day and see a strong fermentation with an inch of foam on top that grew there overnight.


Lacto-fermented malt beverage -- Substitute kefir whey for yeast starter
Vanilla Cream Tea -- Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla per cup of tea
Sun tea -- put teabags or loose tea in glass jar, add water, cover and leave in sun until steeped. Strain tea leaves from liquid and proceed with recipe.
Weaker or stronger -- See adjusting alcohol to learn how to adjust by amount of sugar and fermentation time, making near beer to strong ale.
Raw Green Tea -- Use green tea and raw or sprouted grain for tea and grain material, respectively.
Raspberry hard iced tea -- Add 1 teaspoon of raspberry syrup per pint when pouring into plastic bottles
Lemon Hard Iced Tea -- Add a squeeze of lemon juice plus extra teaspoon of sugar
Light -- Eliminate grain material and substitute a pinch of stevia for tablespoon of sugar when brewing but add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar per cup when bottling.


Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Harr Buhner
Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. 
Truly Cultured Rejuvenating Taste, Health and Community With Naturally Fermented Food.

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