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View Full Version : It's not mead, but... I think I'm having problems with my guarapo de pina.



Surfrider
02-27-2006, 05:05 PM
After stumbling across Miriam's recipe (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=1699.0), I decided to try some guarapo de pina.

As per the directions, I put the ginger, the rinds and cores from two pineapples into a 2-gallon jug, added the indicated ammount of sugar (I used the brown, cone-shaped, "mexican" sugar (aka "piloncillo")), filled with water, and loosely capped the jug. A week went by with me pushing down the floaters, but with no yeast activity to be seen. Then on ~day 9, I noticed a little pile of "goo" on the surface of the liquid/pineapple chunks. My first thought was "Oh crap; surface infection." Very carefully, I used a pair of chipsticks to remove the piece of rind that had the pile of goo in it, careful not to get any in the fluid, or on the insides of the bottle. I had no idea if this was the right thing to do, or if it would have any effect, but I recapped the bottle, and stuck it back in the cabinet.

I do not know if it was just coincidence or not, but the next day, fermentation went crazy. Overnight, the guarapo exploded inside my cabinet, making a sticky mess all over the place. In the interest of preventing further messes, or infection, I fitted a vodka-filled airlock on the bottle. For the next two weeks, fermentation was vigorous in the extreme; the guarapo bubbled faster than just-poured champagne. I racked the guarapo off the rinds after is appeared fermentation had stopped (it spent a little under a month in primary), but now it appears there is actually a little fermentation still going on; I hope this won't cause any detriment. But I have a bigger concern; the guarapo smells like urine, and the taste is absolutely FOUL. Totally undrinkable.

Miriam's original guarapo de pina recipe warns that "funky" smells are normal, but this seems to go beyond "funk;" it truly smells like somebody's peed in my guarapo. :( Infection? Stressed yeasts? Non-brew-friendly yeasts? Or is this a normal phase that I should relax and simply wait out?

Thanks.



edit: Added a few left-out details.

Miriam
02-27-2006, 06:37 PM
Heavens to Betsy! :o

I've never had such a bad experience with my guarapo, but I think I can deconstruct what happened. I'm afraid you'll have to throw that batch out, by the way...

The guarapo might have been fermenting along the whole time, just slowly. It looks different fermenting than what you're used to with wine yeast, it hardly looks like it's doing anything at first, then it sends up a loose head of foam. You need to taste it once in a while after day 2 or 3, and judge.

It should not have been capped. The brew should sit on a kitchen counter or similar place, and needs no more cover than a clean dish towel, the whole time. It needs a warm room, fresh air, and stirring a couple of times every day to push down the cap, which will readily get moldy if it's not stirred down. No transferring to secondary; once it's done, it's ready to drink. It will keep safely in the fridge for up to 1 week. I realize that eliminating so many normal, modern brewing steps might feel positively wrong, but guarapo is one of the world's great simple drinks. :)

Another possibility is that fermentation was delayed due to a cold room and took off violently when placed in the warm cabinet. It also sat around far too long. This primitive drink is made to be drunk as soon as it's mildly alcoholic and starts tasting good: maybe up to 10 days. Almost a month without sulfites - it simply went rotten.

I have also thought of putting guarapo under airlock after a week or so, but I would sulfite it first. If you're making as much as a gallon, by all means, sulfite, wait for the initial vigorous fermentation to subside, then put it under airlock. But in Venezuela, most people just make a jarful, or if getting a larger quantity ready for some event, they count on 10 or so days to make it, then bottle and put it in the fridge the day of the party.

The goo, I can't tell - might have been a little pulp clumped up with some of the yeast, or it might have been an infection. By the way, did you check the bottom of the pineapple for freshness? If there is mold where the fruit was cut away from the stalk, don't use it for guarapo. I've seen pineapples here, but all of them have traces of mold on the bottom, so I'm waiting till a new harvest comes in.

Hope this helps for your next batch.

Miriam

Surfrider
02-27-2006, 06:48 PM
Well I'll be damned.

Sounds like the lag phase killed me. The cabinet it was in was ~68-72 the whole time... Maybe there just wasn't enough yeast on the pineapples to begin with. :( Either that, or in my attempt to keep foregin invaders from infecting my guarapo, I suffocated the poor native yeasts. And yes, the pineapples were top-shelf; I cherry-picked 'em from the market. At least I got to enjoy the flesh; it was absolutely superb, and grilled up nicely for the pineapple/jalapeno chutney I made to go with my mahi mahi. ;)

Well, crap. I was really looking foreward to this, too. :P Oh well; chalk one up to experience, right? Fortunately pineapples are on sale right now at my local greengrocer's, so I'll give this another shot and see how it goes.

BTW: generally speaking, how long does your guarapo take, from beginning to...drinking?

Miriam
02-28-2006, 02:39 AM
Yes, I feel for you - disheartening to throw a batch away.

If the liquor was in a warm place the whole time, then you're probably right about having choked the wild yeast.

My guarapo is ready to drink about a week after starting, sooner in warm weather.

Well, at least you got to eat great pineapple, and that chutney sounds very good. Where do your pineapples come from? Here, the good ones are imported from Africa I think. The local fruit is little and sort of sad. We used to buy such beautiful pineapples in Caracas, and very cheap... :'( And we had two mango trees in the yard with fruit that just wouldn't quit - we'd make chutney and pie out of them, besides just eating one right over the kitchen sink a few times a day. It got so that we'd put a basketful by the door and allow no visitor to leave without taking a few away. Those were less dangerous times in Venezuela.

Miriam

Surfrider
03-02-2006, 03:42 PM
Nice story. I'd love to have a mango tree in my own yard (did you know they're the most-consumed fresh fruit in the world?), but alas, I don't think they'd do well in the Seattle area. :D So, you lived there becasue you are Venezuelan, or....? How long ago since you moved away? I've never been there myself, but I've heard it is a beautiful country. I've always wanted to go there (I'd LOVE to see Angel Falls during the rainy season), but given that Americans aren't too popular there right now, I think I'll wait a while longer. I'm not overly concerend though; the falls has been there for millions of years, so chances are it will still be there when I'm able to go see it.

Anyway... My pineapples are from Hawai'i. Alas they're all I can easily get in rainy ol' Washington. :( As I type this, I have some more guarapo going in a glass pitcher on my counter. I'll let you know how it turns out!

Thanks.

Johnnybladers
03-03-2006, 11:27 PM
Where can I find a recipe for this guarapo de pina. (a search of the forum turned up this thread but nothing else)
Thanks, Jon

lostnbronx
03-04-2006, 12:09 PM
Here's the original thread, as started by the Mead Bubeh herself:

http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=1699.0 (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=1699.0)

And related threads:

http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=3329.0 (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=3329.0)

http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=3228.msg27673#msg27673 (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=3228.msg27673#msg27673)

-David

Miriam
03-04-2006, 06:58 PM
Nice story. I'd love to have a mango tree in my own yard (did you know they're the most-consumed fresh fruit in the world?), but alas, I don't think they'd do well in the Seattle area. :D So, you lived there becasue you are Venezuelan, or....? How long ago since you moved away? I've never been there myself, but I've heard it is a beautiful country. I've always wanted to go there (I'd LOVE to see Angel Falls during the rainy season), but given that Americans aren't too popular there right now, I think I'll wait a while longer. I'm not overly concerend though; the falls has been there for millions of years, so chances are it will still be there when I'm able to go see it.


Sorry for the delayed answer, Surfrider. I was born in Venezuela, but brought up in the States. We moved back there after several years in Brazil when I was in my early 20s, as my Dad had a good business opportunity there then. It's been 30 years since we moved away, and we hear from old friends that in Caracas you can hardly move out of your house without a bodyguard these days. There was plenty of crime when we lived there, but nowadays it's petrifying.

My memories are of a beautiful country, though, both mountains and coast. I was once dreaming out of my window, when in the distance I saw a flock of small birds approaching. They were headed for a tall palm tree in the neighboring courtyard. As they approached, I saw that the birds were parakeets of the most varied and irridescent colors. They settled on the trunk of the palm, which must have harbored some insect they liked, and stayed there for a while like a magic, colored wrap, the bright pinks, oranges, yellows, greens and blues of their feathers changing as they moved around, dipping and pecking. When they were satisfied, they all rose together and flew away again.

I've never been to Angel Falls, but my folks spent a weekend there long ago. They said that the hotel is set right in the jungle near the falls; that huge blue butterflies flit past on their mysterious errands; that tame macaws come settling down to sit on your shoulder; that the mosquitoes are unbelievablly thick in the air at night.

I thought bananas were the world's staple article of diet; not only the sweet ones, but mostly plantain bananas, which have to be cooked. We used to eat those in Venezuela too. I have searched for them here in the neighborhoods where the workers from Africa live, but in vain. Only sweet ones grow here, and plantains don't survive the radiation all vegetables have to undergo to kill off foreign bugs. I used to love those platanos...

Did you put up another batch of guarapo? I'm going to the shuk (covered market) this week to find some good pineapples.

Miriam