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Old 08-07-2013, 09:57 PM   #1
Nivlaek
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Default Peaches...Worth bothering?

Hello all,

I am a total newbie and signed up to ask a few questions to see if this is worth my time.

I live in Wisconsin. I have a peach tree loaded with peaches, but they are about 1-2 weeks out from fully ripening. I had a branch break off last night and I have about 100 peaches that are turning color, but still very firm.

I was simply going to compost the mess when a co-worker suggested making peach brandy or peach wine. He said, "Ain't too hard, water, sugar, yeast...let it sit for a few weeks to a month, strain it, and 'Poof', ...piece of cake. "

I have never tried this and do not know if the unripe fruit would even work. I have no equipment and wondering if it is worth my time.

Is anyone here willing to lend some wisdom?

Thanks,
Nivlaek

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Old 08-08-2013, 12:54 AM   #2
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Brandy would typically be a distilled product and not legal to produce... nor is it a subject allowed to be talked about on these boards.

Peach wine on the other hand is . You could certainly try to let them ripen and then ferment them using some sugar to get up to a decent sugar content. Even some kind of grape/peach juice concentrate to bring up the brix (i.e. sugar content). You'd likely end up with something worth drinking.

I think you'd be pretty hard-pressed to find someone here that doesn't think getting into fermenting your own alcohol is worth it - we're a brewing community afterall. I'd say go for it but don't hang all your hopes on this particular batch. After you've finished this one, do a recipe that's tried and true so you can see what the possibilities are.

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Old 08-08-2013, 04:16 AM   #3
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If they aren't fully ripe, you could squeeze them then test the sugar level with your hydrometer or refractometer.

If there's enough sugar in them, they'll make wine. If not, you didn't waste very much effort.

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Old 08-08-2013, 10:44 AM   #4
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Taste one, I would think that flavor would be the predominant flavor to come out of any fermentation you do with them. If they aren't sweet, but tart or just not ripe, my expectations would not be very high.

I suspect the helpful neighbor was not referring to making brandy, but buying some and infusing it with these peaches. Again, the current flavor of the fruit is what I would expect get out of an infusion.

There's a brew club in Sun Prairie called the Worthogs, I don't know if they have any vintners. Their next meeting is Aug 22nd at 7:00pm at The Cannery in Sun Prairie. If you call them, they can probably help put you in touch with someone before then. I would assume The Wine and Hops shop in Madison on Monroe St can probably lend some advice too, or put you in touch with someone who would know more. Brew and Grow is on Willy St, but I don't know their abilities with wines.

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Old 08-08-2013, 12:32 PM   #5
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I think the OP meant INFUSED peach brandy; perfectly legal. This is easy. Just cut up the fruit, place it in a sealable container like a quart mason jar, fill the jar with the brandy, seal the lid & wait a few weeks to a month. When the desired flavour profile has been reached, pour off the brandy & bottle.

Peach wine is good too, but will involve a little more effort & equipment; but since wine making is such an AWESOME hobby, it'll be money well spent; AND, you can make beer with the same equipment.

Here's a link to some recipes for peach wine:
http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/reques26.asp

For about $75 you can get the basic equipment you'll need for winemaking, don't let the cost put you off, it really is worth it & will eventually pay for itself in the $ you can save by making your own; and it's fun & tasty.
Regards, GF.

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Old 08-08-2013, 02:39 PM   #6
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Pleasantly surprised! Thank you everyone!

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Old 08-08-2013, 02:54 PM   #7
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Most people on these boards or of the mind "if there is sugar in it, I'll ferment it"

seriously though, definitely ferment them, peach wine is mighty fine; I'll be making some this year myself, thanks to a foaf that is going to provide me with free peaches.

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Old 08-20-2013, 11:55 AM   #8
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Ok, I decided to go ahead with the process. Thank you for all of the replies/wisdom. I cringe when I hit POST, aware that I am clueless at this endeavor and cannot imagine the experienced toes I am stomping on.

My level of experience is like Homer Simpson opening up the refrigerator and expounding, "Mmmmm... beeeer."

I was able to use about 24 cups of cut up peaches. I washed them and removed the pits. I used the following recipe, which I was given by a friend, who found it on the web.

The following were the instructions.
Easy Peach Brandy Recipe
Ingredients for Peach Brandy:
•3 quarts cut-up peaches with pits. You don't have to peel them, just cut out any bad spots. The tree-ripened peaches have the most sugar and are the juiciest. Be flexible on the amounts, you can use more or less depending on how much fruit is available and the size of your containers.
•4 pounds sugar
•6 cups cold water. Use chemical free water for this – purchase bottled spring water if you have chlorine in your tap water.
•6 tsp. dry yeast

Instructions for Making Peach Brandy:
Wash peaches well and cut each one into 4 or 5 pieces. It’s fine to leave stones in, but I usually take them out because it makes more room for the peaches in the container.

Layer peaches with sugar in a large stone crock. Dissolve yeast in about a cup of warm water and add to the peaches and sugar. Pour the cold water on top to cover the peaches. Be sure to leave room for the fermenting process to bubble. Cover the crock with a plate or a clean towel and place it out of the way on a tray with low sides to catch any of the juice that might overflow the crock.

After a week, stir the mixture with a long handled spoon, cover and let sit. I like to stir it once a week for about 4 weeks. The mixture will bubble a little when you stir it. After 4 weeks, strain the mixture and discard the peach pulp and pits. Pour the brandy into bottles (I use whatever is handy from mason jars to old wine bottles). Cover the bottles tightly and store in a cool, dark place. The brandy will taste better if you let it sit for a few months.

******
OK.

I doubled the recipe.

I stopped at a local home brew supply store and was recommended a peach/sweet wine yeast and yeast nutrient mix. ???

12 cups of water does not seem enough. How much water is too much? Is the above a hokey method? What about mold? What about the frigg'n fruit flies that have invaded my home? How do I keep them out? Plastic wrap? Towel? Don't worry about them?

I am using a new, washed and well rinsed 18 gal rubbermaid tote with cover (don't think it will keep out fruit flies), not a stone crock, jar, or enormous bowl. I have so many questions rattling around in my head...

Ugh, I dislike being a newbie...
Niv

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Old 08-20-2013, 12:44 PM   #9
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[moved to wine making forum]

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Old 08-20-2013, 07:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nivlaek View Post

I stopped at a local home brew supply store and was recommended a peach/sweet wine yeast and yeast nutrient mix. ???


I am using a new, washed and well rinsed 18 gal rubbermaid tote with cover (don't think it will keep out fruit flies), not a stone crock, jar, or enormous bowl. I have so many questions rattling around in my head...

Ugh, I dislike being a newbie...
Niv
The wine yeast was fine, I'm sure. I'm a little concerned about the directions and the straining and bottling early. It's definitely not typical winemaking technique. I suggest doing a bit of reading, starting here (it's quick and easy): http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/basics.asp Click each "step" for a good explanation of the basics.

I'm concerned that you didn't use campden tablets to kill wild yeast and bacteria and are not using a good lid on your fermenter. I'd definitely put a towel or something over the fermenter to keep out fruitflies and the like, as that will ruin the wine very quickly. Without using campden tablets to help sanitize the fruit, it's hard to say what micro organisms you have in there, so it may not work all that well for you.

You normally stir the wine for the first few days, but once fermentation slows down, it's typically only siphoned from then on to protect it from oxidation (due to oxygen pick up).

A hydrometer is pretty important to make sure you don't get bottle bombs once the wine is bottled, especially if you're rushing to bottle this in 4 weeks. I'd get one ASAP.
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