Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Soap Dispensers

So I've become kind of obsessed with homebrew. My first batch of beer is just heavenly. Over carbonated so it's got a very dry finish to it. Tastes more like a beer probably should - notes that could offend some palettes. It turns out my big dislike for Millers - the least offensive beer ever (soda water with an alcohol content) - is actually really common. Sure, they might not go as far as to make it as bland and tasteless as Millers, but fining agents do tend to take something away.

Oh... and those fining agents? Totally not needed. It turns out that the solids tend to settle on the bottom of the bottle anyway. A careful pour into a decent pilsner glass (I was seen in K-Mart in the weekend looking at their pilsner glasses looking a little crestfallen. While the price on these glasses was brilliant, the imperfections just had me irritated) later and it's perfectly clear.

I think I mentioned that my beer kit came with carbonation drops - sugar (and corn syrup). During bottling, you drop one of these "drops" into the bottom of the bottle. It provides sugar for the yeast to do it's thing - produce CO₂ in order to carbonate the beer (and also results in a little more alcohol). It seems silly to buy lumps of sugar when I can go just about anywhere for sugar - The bulk bin store, supermarket etc. - rather than having to make a trip out to the brewing shop. The thing is, the drops are just convenient.

So someone at Tangleball has been using a soap dispenser. It's a classy idea. Rather than using dry sugar that fizzes as it comes in contact with the beer, he makes up a syrup - which reacts with the beer a lot less violently.

But there's something else rather cool about this approach. What if you wanted to have a play with different flavours? The one I'm keen to try is a lager or pilsner with a honey after taste. Something else occurred to me today. Lime... Using a lime cordial, assuming that it's mostly sugar, would probably (hopefully) give me something close to that abomination which is Monteith's "Radler" (I'm still rather irritated by the whole "Radler is trademarked" thing).

This leads to one tiny 'lil problem... Assuming I want just a plain, plastic, can see the fluid levels on the side type of bottle, and I don't want to use something that's been full of a scented soap... where do you find these from? I've seen tiny ones at the dollar store (I've decided the American, more generic term for these shops is better than the brand name "$2 shop"). Clues anyone?

Update 6/3/2013
So after an hour or so of wondering through town... A total of 4 dollar stores, the Warehouse, the Body Shop, a Chemist, a health food store - I finally found the perfect bottle...


  1. The dispenser at Tangleball is from a "$2 shop" type shop. It just needs to dispense.. liquid.

    Also, home brew is all about the carbonation drops!

    1. Right.. So mission. Go to the "Holy crap! I've gotten lost and I can't find my way out" of all dollar stores (Look Sharp) and find me a dispenser. If I'm not back by tomorrow evening, leave without me.

      Just watch. It won't be long till they're making "Honey Carbonation Drops" and "Lime Carbonation Drops".

      Oh - also going to have to look at modifying my bottle filler - while over carbonation is great for a lager, probably not so good for an ale or stout.