I want to jump in here and I know the American Persimmons are done for the season, but I just bottled an experiment and it came out insanely good, so I had to share.
I decided to do a Persimmon Belgian high gravity for the holidays as a winter warmer. I've got 2 nice sized American persimmon trees in my yard, so it's a sin not to do something with them - assuming I can steal enough away from the Turkey's and Deer. My persimmons have a very sweet, yet slightly spicy taste to them. Very delicate with a deep amber color.
First, I picked a Belgian recipe - in this case, it was modeled after a high gravity Northern Brewer kit "The Number 8" which seemed appropriate. Here's the recipe:
Belgian Persimmon (All Grain)
BJCP Style and Style Guidelines
18-D Belgian Strong Ale, Belgian Golden Strong Ale
Min OG: 1.070 Max OG: 1.095
Min IBU: 25 Max IBU: 35
Batch Size (Gal): 5.00 Wort Size (Gal): 5.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 17.50
Anticipated OG: 1.112 Plato: 26.44
Anticipated SRM: 9.6
Anticipated IBU: 19.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72 %
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes
2.00 lbs. Candi Sugar (clear) Generic 1.046 1
3.00 lbs. Persimmon East Coast 1.062 7
2.50 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row) Great Britain 1.038 3
0.50 lbs. Aromatic Malt Belgium 1.036 25
7.50 lbs. Pilsener Belgium 1.037 2
2.00 lbs. CaraPilsner France 1.035 10
0.50 oz. Hallertauer Mittelfruh Whole 4.50 3.9 30 min.
0.50 oz. Hallertauer Mittelfruh Whole 4.50 1.3 5 min.
1.00 oz. Tettnanger Tettnang Whole 4.50 13.8 45 min.
1.00 Oz Cardamom Seed Spice 15 Min.(boil)
0.50 Oz Corriander Seed Spice 15 Min.(boil)
0.50 Oz Grains of Paradise Spice 15 Min. (boil)
0.50 Oz Bitter Orange Peel Spice 15 Min.(boil)
0.50 Oz Sweet Orange Peel Spice 15 Min.(boil)
0.50 Oz Juniper Berries Other 0 Days(fermenter)
(All spices were crushed using a mortar and pestal)
WYeast 1762 Belgian Abbey II
Danstar Nottingham (Dry)
I was too lazy to prep the starter, so I double pitched knowing the Nottingham was a fairly clean finishing yeast and wouldn't step on the Abbey too much.
The issue was how to prep the Persimmons. It can be daunting especially with the small American persimmons. First rule: Only use American persimmons which feel like a little bag of jelly. Don't pick them when they're still firm and hope they'll get soft. Second - if you've ever eaten one with the skins (American ones), you'll remember it. The skins are not to be used. Third - some of the persimmons have black spots on them - use them. That doesn't mean anything. Lastly - I did not put these in the primary or secondary as an addition - I actually added these into the boil which is a little bit different and you get some sludge --- but it's totally worth it. Here's how I prepared the Persimmons:
Persimmons: Remove skins and squeeze out all pulp & seeds of 3 lbs of persimmons to a bowl. DO NOT use skins or seeds. Add to a pot, add 4 cups of water and 1 heaping tsp. of Baking Soda per pound of fruit, and heat to 160 F. for 10 minutes. Do NOT boil or heat too high as the fruit will turn very dark. Strain out seeds and majority of pulp. (You can use a strainer or porous cloth) Add persimmon to the boil for the last 15 minutes. Crush all spices in a mortar and pestal, add to the last 15 minutes of the boil. Add the juniper berries if you want more spiciness during the Secondary in a small muslin bag (sterilized).
The batch OG came out at 1.107 which was HUGE. I used a mead conversion to gauge the persimmon SRM and identified the SG of the persimmons at 1.062, which kicked the OG way up. I double pitched only about 4.75 gallons due to a decent amount of thick trub on the bottom of the boil pot. The ferment went smooth with the blow off tube and it perked for 4 days rapid, 4 more slower and then stopped. I kept it in the primary another 3 days, then xferred it to the 2nd. I didn't add the Juniper berries in mine - but it stayed for 3 weeks in the secondary, then I chilled it to 35 degrees for 24 hours and bottled. It came out a nice and clear amber with the FG when taken at 70 degrees was 1.011. That's 11%, and I only had 22 oz. bottles left.
The taste was a nice Belgian, a little spicy but the persimmon smoothness was still evident, with a very nice warm alcohol that didn't burn. It's sitting now for another month until I crack it open. I'm curious to see the head retention, lacing and cold flavors.
For the bottles, I used the 3/4 cup of corn sugar with a 1/2 tsp. of dry yeast added. Since it came out so clear due to the chill, I was afraid of not adding a little bit of yeast back in for the bottle conditioning. So far so good - no bottle bombs. If this works out the way I think it will - I will do a double next year and possibly add even a bit more persimmon and maybe take out the candi-sugar.
Here's my tasting notes:
Tasting while xfering to secondary - strong, alcohol, peppery, spicy. Final taste - nice alcohol flavor, spicy, mild belgian taste profile. ABV @ 11% +. Complex flavor when warm. Bottled with 3/4 cup of Candi Sugar and 1/2 tsp. of Nottingham yeast added in the bottling bucket. Will let sit for minimum of 1 month to condition.
Try using a juicer with the persimmons - very difficult to extract the pulp, cook, remove seeds and strain. That step took approx 2 hours for the 3 lbs of persimmons.
If anyone else decides to try it let me know!
Bottle Conditioning: Blackberry Porter, Persimmon Belgian Abbey, Honey Lager, Imperial Pumpkin
Next: Double IPA