lundi 18 avril 2011


Don't get me wrong, I love the River Cottage series on Channel 4 tv!

I think Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall is a great chef with sound principles - an all round good egg then. He lives in an idyllic part of the world and the innocence and beauty of life in rural West Dorset comes across in the programmes.

But as an experienced homebrewer of both real ale and wine, I've noticed that the recipes given in the programme for making alcoholic drinks are just off the wall.

I would challenge anybody to brew a ginger beer with a Bordeaux yeast in just 2 days - as they claimed in last Saturday evening's show. The yeast needs at least 7 days to ferment all the sugar. The method of pouring the mashed root ginger straight into plastic bottles - and not starting with an anaerobic fermentation process in a plastic bucket and then syphoning into demi-johns before bottling - was also ridiculous. I was amazed that none of the bottles exploded. Why rush anyway when you're living in beautiful Dorset!

Hugh, you have a great programme BUT you need some expert advice on how to make alcoholic drinks if you're concerned about their flavour! Britain has a great heritage of homebrewing, especially since it wasn't always safe to drink from the local water supply.

The hobby of brewing real ale form malted barley and hops and making wine from the wonderful British seasonal fruits are so satisfying and may soon become a necessity as the price of a pint/glass of wine in the pub and supermarket reach heady heights. Gooseberry - aka the poor man's grape - wine is a fantastic drink and not dissimilar to a fine Chrdonnay!!!!

Homebrewing is not rocket science but the keys to it are hygience, a little know-how and patience. The latter two are sadly lacking at River Cottage............

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