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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > cherry plum wine
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Old 06-29-2009, 03:19 PM   #11
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I started a plum wine from juice pressed and given to me that had been previously frozen about a week ago. Just based on my experience, you probably won't be needing a lot of acid blend. Plums are pretty tart and have a lot of acid bite already. That being said, you may want more or your plums might be less acidic than mine (these are a wild Ozark variety).

Moving onto the juice. You will probably want to add AT LEAST 1 lb of sugar per gallon. I added 2 lbs per gallon and intend on adding another 1+ lb more per gallon today. The measured SG was around 1.060 with just the juice so you won't have very much alcohol with just the juice (it would be more like plum "cider"). Adding honey as you are talking about will help dry it out and add some alcohol but 5 lbs probably won't add enough fermentable sugar to get the wine up to much over 8 - 9% abv in 3 gallons.

Also, you will want to add pectic enzyme, even if you don't heat it. There will be a lot of residual pectin in the solution regardless of how you decide to get at the juice (plums make very good jelly partially for this reason). If you press the plums, just be prepared for a lot of "pulp" to be in the solution. It is OK as this will have a lot of flavor and sugar but it will take a while to clear and will create a good several inches of trub you'll have to avoid!

Finally, I used a Montrachet yeast. This yeast is tolerant well into the range you're looking for and isn't very likely to add a lot of funk to the mix, even if you ferment it out a little high. You can use almost any wine yeast, including Champagne, and get a nice wine. I did not add a Campden tablet (probably should have) and fermentation started within a few hours. I just poured the juice from container to container and dissolved the sugar by shaking (basically, like EdWort's apfelwein) and this seemed to oxygenate it nicely so the yeast really took hold quickly. Let me just say, it smells very nice!

Hope this helps!

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Old 06-29-2009, 04:43 PM   #12
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i'm not planning on boiling my juice mix, just get it hot enough for pasturization. i believe i read some where that to pasturize youhave to get it up to 160. maybe i'm wrong, i'll have to research a bit further. mosly i'm looking for nice low heat to concentrate the juice a bit. don't know how long it will take to reduce this down at 160 but i'm game to try. if theres a homebrew shop around here open today i'm going to go pick up the yeast and honey and get the ball rolling on this.

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Old 06-29-2009, 07:08 PM   #13
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Pasturization is more than just about temp, it also has to do with time and consistancy of what is being pasturized, at least that's what I learned several years ago in Food Science. Mostly what I've run across deals with pasturization of a liquid solution, like milk or juice. Since you're dealing with mashed plums, you'll have a thicker solution than either of those but, if you're planning on heating this to drive off water, you shouldn't have to worry much with that since pasturization will have occurred long before you finished... Let me continue.

Realize, however, that you'll be heating this solution for a very long time. When I brew, I expect about 1 gallon or so per hour to be driven off by boiling. Note I said "boiling." Since you are not going to boil, it will take much longer to drive off the water since, essentially, you are trying to create steam at low temperatures. But, be that as it may, you can most likely get the SG up to a higher level by heating but it may take quite a while. Were I going this route, I would probably just go ahead and heat it on up to drive off the water faster.

Also, keep in mind that you will be starting with quite a lot more than you will want to finish with. As in brewing, if you start with a "wort" of 1.060, driving off some amount will raise the SG by a proportional amount (in a perfect world where you don't lose anything other than water). So, let's assume you started with the juice at 1.060 (a pretty fair guess) before the addition of honey. To get it up to 1.080, you will have to reduce the amount of water by about 1/3rd. With the addition of the 5lbs of honey, you should be in the 1.095+ range if you have about 3 gallons left. If it ferments dry (1.000), you will have a weak (10% or so), but probably very good, wine. All this is basically being done in my head so your results may vary (do the calculations before continuing).

Also, I will again mention the pectin. Pretty much any heat will drive a lot of pectin into the solution. You'll be heating this a long, long time and probably extracting all the pectin there is in the fruit. Just remember to add pectic enzyme or this will never clear completely.

Summary, this will take time. I would go ahead and heat it higher if you're going this route. Get a proper SG to calculate how much reduction you will want to do and don't forget to add the honey to the calcs. And don't forget the pectic enzyme.

Hope that helps!

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Old 06-29-2009, 08:47 PM   #14
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Oh, at least here, Whole Foods has a section where you can get maple syrup and wildflower honey "on tap" and is sold by the pound. The little cups they give you to put them in hold over 2lbs easily and the price isn't bad. FYI

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Old 06-29-2009, 09:07 PM   #15
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Interesting read so far.. I just prepared a plum wine yesterday using 30lbs of plums from my backyard tree. Planning to pitch the yeast tonight when I get home from work.

I used pretty much the same recipe that Yooper posted. Seemed to be the "normal" way people do a fruit wine. I've lived at this house for almost 5 years and every year I think to myself that I should make a plum wine, but the darn things ripen so fast that by the time I notice they are ripe and start to research what I need to do - they are all on the ground! It was actually much easier than I thought it'd be, but it's alot of work to pit and crush all those plums - took me almost two hours. If I'd gotten to the tree a little sooner it would have been better cuz I could have been more selective and used the bigger plums, but I was stuck with alot of smaller plums with the occasional big one here and there.

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Old 06-30-2009, 12:25 AM   #16
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I recently did a plum wine, I used one of these to juice the plums


I was able to make up about 2.5 Imperial gallons of juice and about a half gallon of must in with that from the juicer, I then made this up to 5 gallons with water and sugar, I can't remember the rest of the recipe but I have already posted it here on this forum.
It's bottled now, cleared perfectly and will make a nice wine in the end I think as it's still maturing.

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Old 07-01-2009, 10:15 PM   #17
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Well, my bucket o' wine is happily fermenting away. I stirred it yesterday afternoon and now I know why they call it a "cap". It was like a semi-solid crust of fruit had settled on the top. Tasted the must and it's still very sweet and kinda tart. Color is really nice dark purple.

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Old 07-02-2009, 01:18 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruin_ale View Post
Tasted the must and it's still very sweet and kinda tart. Color is really nice dark purple.
What sort of plums are you using? Mine is definately tart and acidic. The color is more red than blue but it has a purple tint to it.
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Old 07-02-2009, 02:51 PM   #19
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I believe it's a japanese plum. They have dark purple skin when fully ripe. Also, the ripe ones aren't all that tart - just sweet, which is why I like to eat them about a week before they are fully ripe. For wine though, I picked the most ripe ones as I was just crushing them by hand and removing the stones.

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Old 09-11-2009, 04:53 AM   #20
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ok so, i'm about to make this tonight. i didn't get the bee keeper honey that i wanted, but clover honey went on sale at the store. i have the cherry plums all popped and waiting to be strained out and the stones removed. this whole thing is being tied up in cheese cloth and put in the primary.

the yeast i'm using is troubling me a little but i'm sure it will be fine. i'm using the red star pastuer champagne yeast. last time i made my mead i used lavlin 1118. that one goes to 18% i think this red star only goes to 15 or 16%, not a big deal, i'm sure things will be fine. so heres the recipe i'm doing tonight:

6 gallon batch:
10 lbs cherry plums(weight is before stone removal)
15 lbs clover honey
3 tsp of yeast nutrient
1 5g packet of red star champagne yeast
enough water to make 6 gallons after juice and honey addition

strain plums, remove stones, wrap skins in cheese cloth and place in fermenter. bring honey, juice and 3 gallons water to a boil for 15 mins. crash cool, splash into fermenter on top of fruit bag, pitch yeast, seal. ferment 1 month on fruit, after 1 month transfer to carboy and let sit for 2 months, bottle or keg

hows that sound? pretty simple and easy? i know i shouldn't boil the honey or the fruit juice but i am used to doing it with my beers and its worked out well for me, i'm not too worried about aroma at this point. just testing the mead waters until my feet are firm on the process.

what i'm shooting for is a mead that is sweet enough to balance out the tartness of these plums. these are some pretty tart plums so i need a good bit of sweetness.

thanks for taking the time to read. any and all feed back is welcome.


p.s. hhmmmm guess i should have posted this in the mead section. dang, my bad. if one of the mods feels like moving it cool, if not, well thats cool too lol

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