Santa Rosa Plum Cider
Last month I put on a pair of surgical gloves, sanitized my hands, and hand squeezed/mashed about 15 lbs of Santa Rosa plums from our tree. I then collected the must, used some k-meta and pectic enzyme, and fermented two separate gallons with Nottingham, and got about two liters total clear, dry, hard cider in return, maybe 5%ABV. After two racking sessions, I broke it out at my g-ma's wake this weekend, and it was awesome.
Chilled in an Erlenmeyer flask, Rose colored, clear, and tart, I am surprised how much of the 'Santa Rosa' signature flavor came through.
It impressed everyone with the juice and yeast combo, no sugar added, some said it tasted just like sweet/tart candy...
Congrats! It's great when that much hard work leads to a good result. If only I had a plum tree in my back yard.
I have a santa rosa tree, its a good producer, maybe I should try juicing and fermenting some. I'm not sure why you needed the surgical gloves. I stomp my grapes the old fashioned way, with my feet, no harm has come to my feet or the wine so far.
2 liters from 15 pounds doesn't seem like much.
I'm thinking of making a centrifuge...
Mash time and temp?
How long do I boil?
Primary and or secondary carboys? About how long?
I hope you have time to answer my questions. Thanks,
There is no "mash" time needed with sugars that are fermentable without any enzymatic processes. You mash the fruit only to release the juice and you release the juice because using the fruit's own liquid is always better than diluting flavor with added water.
One easy way to mash soft fruits like plums is to freeze them and then allow them to thaw. The freezing breaks the cell walls allowing more of the juice to be pressed out of the fruit with less effort.
Fermentation lasts as low as it takes to convert all the sugars to alcohol - could be 5 days , could be several weeks. You want the gravity to be below 1.000 (around .996 or thereabouts) and you might ferment in an open bucket (I know - heresy! ) until the gravity drops to around 1.005 and then rack into a glass carboy with bung and airlock for two or three months , racking every two or three months onto K-meta (to help inhibit oxidization with the sue of free SO2) until no sediment drops out and the wine is clear enough for you to read fine print or a newspaper through the carboy (unless the wine is a deep red , of course - but there should be no visible turbidity in the wine).
Boil? Only if you are making jelly or jam. Wine ain't beer. You don't want to set the pectins. In fact you might want to add pectic enzymes to help further break down the pectins and proteins. Heat will result in a hazy unclear wine.
Yeast? I've not made plum wine before but QA23 is good with fruit wines as is 71B. Champagne yeasts are OK but they may remove or hide the flavors and aromatics that you are looking for from the plums. I would ferment at the lower end of the preferred temperatures for the yeast you choose.
Preferred sanitization uses K-meta - NOT bleach. Bleach and corks do not live comfortably together.
Sugar? One pound of table sugar will add .040 gravity to a gallon of your must and that will increase the potential ABV by about 5 %.
I would bottle after all the sugars have fermented out and all the CO2 has been removed.
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