The Beerol Process is another film developer like the Caffenol Process that is a bit hard to believe but the results are amazing. Our development of Ilford FP4 produced a rather contrasty set of negatives which are really sharp for a beer based developer. For us this is certainly the best diy home developer we've tested so far and will be something that we'll try more of with different black and white films
500ml of Beer (We used Erdinger fine yeast wheat beer, 5.3%)
50g of Washing Soda
12g Vitamin-C Powder (from 1000mg Chewable Tablets)
Patterson hand tank or Equivalent (including spools).
Changing bag or light tight room (darkroom).
Ilford Rapid Fixer or Equivalent.
For a few of these ingredients you can actually make do with simple household goods, Washing Soda can be made by simply baking conventional Barcabonate of Soda in a oven at 200c for 35-40 mins. This process removes the hydrogen component eliminating it's reactivity to water, in effect making the baking soda into a water thinner, so for this experiment it is an essential part of the process. Like the Caffenol Process we will need to combine the washing soda with the Beer we've bought, this can create some bubbles and unfortunately stinks so much so be prepared. Lastly we need to add the vitamin C (from crushed tablets) to the mix. We noticed that when we added the washing soda that it clumped up, so make sure to stir well and they will dissolve eventually. Once your mixture in complete you'll be able to develop rolls of film and even paper negatives (ie Ilford Multigrade etc).
Ilford Paper Development
Our first test with paper negatives came out well - using one of our micro cameras to make a mini negative. This developed well with a slight brown cast from the beer which creates a blue toned print like that of the Caffenol Process. For our tests we developed the prints as normal, exposing the Ilford paper at ISO 3 and a development time of around 2-4 minutes. Unlike the Caffenol you will not need to increase the ISO setting on your light meter to better fit the developing tim. As for temperature, we suggest to have the Beer at around 20 to 23 degrees celcius for all paper developments.
Black and White Film Development
For developing black and white films, a 500ml solution will be ideal for a standard Paterson hand tank of 1 to 2 spools. Our recommendation would be to develop your roll/s of film for double the manufacture's recommended timings when using a normal developer (these can be found on their website/s). For our experiment we developed a roll of 35mm Ilford FP4 for 15 minutes.
When developing the film, it is essential to load the film in complete darkness. This avoids destroying your negatives as the film is highly reactive to light. Once you have loaded your film into the hand tank you can start developing. Start by adding the Beerol solution you have made and develop for the required amount of time. Once you finish the development cycle, you can use tap water as a stop bath or Ilfostop equivalents to neutralize the developer. We usually run a stop bath for 1-2 minutes with tap water or 1 minute with Ilfostop. Lastly, it's essential to use a fixer as it stabilises the film and stops any potential of futher development or deterioration over time, we recommend using a fixer for 5 minutes. We always recommend to rinse your film in the hand tank for 5 minutes at least twice before hanging to dry, this removes excess fixer and helps to clean the film. Examples of our Beerol test below from a roll of Ilford FP4.
Note for all processes after development we have used Ilford's own Rapid Fixer and Ilfostop (stop bath) products for both film and paper.
Disclaimer: it is extremely unwise to drink or ingest the by products of this developer!