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Old 10-18-2008, 04:38 AM   #1
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Default Prune juice experiment...

Seeing as how this is more "cider-like" than anything else, I posted here.
So I got curious one day & decided to ferment a gallon of prune juice, just to see what would happen. If anyone is interested, this is how it progressed.
I started with Sunsweet brand prune juice, NOT from concentrate, no additives, no preservatives, no added sugar, nothing artificial. The OG: 1.074 and I used a full 5g packet of Lalvin 71-B (narbonne). Other than yeast, I added a pinch each of yeast nutrient, yeast energizer, and D.A.P. Areated well & let the yeast do it's thing under airlock, ambient temp: 70 degrees F. Within a few hours it had a healthy bit of krausen, but mild, nothing explosively vigorous. Within roughly 24 hrs it appeared to be finished fermenting, having left a bit of headspace to begin with (about 8oz worth) I topped up with more juice. In a couple hrs the airlock was bubbling away again. The smell from the airlock at this point was "funky," almost "earthy."
Another 24 hrs & the fermentation has slowed to almost zero, I could still see some tiny bubbles rising to the surface. At this point I got extremely busy with work & didn't rack it off the lees till 17 days later. At that point I thought it was done fermenting. SG: 1.025 for an ABV of 6.66%
Of course I tasted the sample, the following is verbatim from my fermentation log entry: "The 1st thing that came to mind was 'tart.' I wasn't expecting that much tartness. Sort of an odd flavour, there's the fermented plum under, tart dominates; and just a suggestion of a sort of (for lack of a better term) 'cinnamon-ish' something. Like the aftertase of cheap cherry flavoured hard candy. Considering it's 19 days old & prune juice, not too bad; still dark & opaque, about the color of a hershey bar. I expected a little more alcohol though, maybe the last 3% will ferment in time, but I doubt it'll ever get past 7% ABV without added sugar. No legs to speak of, but after breathing in the glass, I could detect a kind of 'bubblegum' smell, not strong, but certainly noticable. This has turned out more 'plummy' than 'pruney' & that's surprising. The prune juice flavour is mostly in the background. I might be able to work with this; a little added sugar, maybe a pinch of tannin. It definately needs more research."
So that's where it stands at the moment, I'll update as I test, taste & experiment more with it. Regards, GF.

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Old 10-18-2008, 05:24 AM   #2
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I have a Grandfather that might adopt you if this is drinkable. He gets his prunes and alcohol??? you could be the son he never had.

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Old 10-18-2008, 05:26 AM   #3
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If I had to name one thing I would NEVER try and ferment, Prune Juice just might be it

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Old 10-18-2008, 05:49 AM   #4
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Oh man... I could see getting really hammered on that, passing out and totally sharting in my sleep...

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Old 10-18-2008, 11:32 AM   #5
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Default Prune juice

I've fermented prune juice with both ale and champagne yeast. There didn't seem to be much difference in the final products. They both made fizzy foamy prune juice. Theyboth tasted like prune juice but with some of the sugar removed. The prune juice must contain some unfermatable sugar (sorbitol maybe?) because it still had sweetness when it finished fermenting. It also had a lot of body (thick, actually) from ground up fruit pulp.

I would like to do it again but with some hops added to off-set the sweetness. Spiced prune "beer" might be worth a try also.

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Old 10-20-2008, 05:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChshreCat View Post
Oh man... I could see getting really hammered on that, passing out and totally sharting in my sleep...
I hadn't thought of that. ROFL!
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Old 10-23-2008, 01:55 AM   #7
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I don't even want to imagine being druck and trying to hold back the prune ****z. During hazing for a frat which I am no longer affiliated with we had to drink a half gallon of prune juice. That was a horrible experience. Walking around the woods and leaning up on trees to blast prune juice out my ass like a freaking firehose. OMG that plus alcohol would be hell.

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Old 05-31-2009, 08:23 AM   #8
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I just racked the experimental prune juice fermentation for the 3rd time. This stuff smells great, exactly like those spiced plums in a can, but it's so tart, it makes the hair stand up on my arms! Without either initial dilution with water, or some serious backsweetening, this is simply way too tart to be drinkable.

Now an interesting thing started happening with this stuff. It's been opaque & brown from the start, it went from dark brown, to the color of milk chocolate, to the color of a hershey bar. But now the top 2 inches or so is even darker, almost black. I'm guessing that this is due to the dietary fiber dropping out of suspension. I'll let this stuff sit & see if it ever starts to clear just out of curiosity, but I have a sneaking suspicion that even with dilution & back sweetening it'll still taste like prune juice; I'd be better off mixing regular, unfermented prune juice with vodka. Hey, it's an experiment.

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Old 05-31-2009, 10:44 PM   #9
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Sounds like you made plum jerkum.

From the wikipedia: plum jerkum, made from fermented plums, traditional of Warwickshire in the English Midlands. It is said that it "left the head clear while paralysing the legs". The Warwickshire Drooper plum from which it is traditionally brewed is now uncommon, which explains the rarity of the drink.

I would actually like to try making some of this.

Edited to add: Okay, I see that prune "juice" is actually just softened, pureed prunes. Not exactly plum juice. I don't think you are going to have much luck getting that to clear any time in this decade.

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Old 05-31-2009, 11:51 PM   #10
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I wonder if the plums are pressed before fermenting or fermented on skins then pressed as in red wine. Fully ripe, soft plums could probably be pressed whole in a basket or cider press, but I have no idea what the analysis of the juice would be in terms of SG, pH etc. I was thinking of pressing plums mixed with apple and pear pomace, I think this would help clear the juice and stop the fruit from forming a soggy mess. My plums won't be ripe until next january so in the northern hemisphere you will be able to try much sooner.

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