Old "Fruit Brandy" recipe???? Help

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dilbone

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I got a recipe from a friend that was actually something she found from her late father. It is what he called in the recipe a "fruit brandy" but since no distilling is done I assume it is technically a fruit wine.

He makes no distinction in the recipe as to what yeast to use, but here is the recipe/directions:

3 gallons of boiled water cooled
3lbs of cut up fruit (of any kind)
10lbs of sugar

Put all above ingredients in fermenter and pitch yeast

Stir once a day for 7 days, then add 4 lbs of raisins
Let sit for 4 weeks
Siphon "brandy" off of sediment

I think he was using baker's yeast, but I have no way of knowing. Any suggestions as to what I should use for this? I'd like to try it out and see what happens.
Thanks!!
 

Brewkowski

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Seems like it would turn out as a really weak flavored, higher alcohol wine. Most basic fruit wine recipes call for 3lbs of fruit per gallon, so this recipe is much less than that. From what I can find out, about 3lbs of sugar per gallon will get you around 1.100 SG with an alc% of maybe 14% with the fruit added, so nowhere near as strong as one would expect from brandy.
 

Gunfighter04

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That's almost exactly the way I do mine except I use 5 Gallons of Water. I also use WL champagne yeast. Boosts the ABV and dry's the flavor a bit. (I'm not a huge sweet finish fan)

The last one I did was with pears. And BTW I use white raisins too.

My favorites have been with Blackberry, and with Cherry
 
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dilbone

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Seems like it would turn out as a really weak flavored, higher alcohol wine. Most basic fruit wine recipes call for 3lbs of fruit per gallon, so this recipe is much less than that. From what I can find out, about 3lbs of sugar per gallon will get you around 1.100 SG with an alc% of maybe 14% with the fruit added, so nowhere near as strong as one would expect from brandy.
I assumed that because he probably used baker's yeast that possibly some of the fruit sugars weren't able to be fermented out(don't know, just a guess)...this would make 3lbs of fruit + 4lbs of raisins more than enough I would think...(again, a guess)

I put "Fruit Brandy" in quotes because it can't be a brandy if it hasn't been through a distilling process.

My question isn't with the recipe, it's with what yeast to use...
 
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dilbone

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That's almost exactly the way I do mine except I use 5 Gallons of Water. I also use WL champagne yeast. Boosts the ABV and dry's the flavor a bit. (I'm not a huge sweet finish fan)

The last one I did was with pears. And BTW I use white raisins too.

My favorites have been with Blackberry, and with Cherry
That was my line of thinking...that a wine or champagne yeast would be able to ferment out more of the fruit sweets than a bakers yeast and would give me a less sweet higher abv...
I'm not sure how to try it first...maybe a half batch with bakers yeast first and then go from there.

Thanks for the input.
 

Clann

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you can use any wine yeast you want. I mostly use Red Star Montrachet. It is a good all round yeast and i think it quits around 15%
 

Atvar

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I got nearly the same recipe from a relative, except it added 1 quartered lemon per gallon for acid I assume. The result was way sour and I'll be using acid blend from now on.

The raisins added a week later seem to be a poor man's staggard nutrient addition while also raising the alcohol. I think they end up pushing the abv. to ~18% which is why people call it a "brandy". The name bugged me too since you aren't distilling anything.
 
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dilbone

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Oops, yeah this recipe says to add 1 lemon for the 3 gallon batch also... I suppose 1 per 3 gallons is better than 1 per gallon...

I went ahead and picked up some red star Pasteur Champagne yeast from my LHBS...maybe tomorrow I'll get this thing going. I'll report back on any progress or interesting developments.

Thanks all
 
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dilbone

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Here's an update so far...and I have some concerns.

I put this "fruit brandy" together on Sat night(4 days ago) and I do have some signs of fermentation...but it is REALLY slow.

Like no airlock activity, but I can hear it fizzing in the bucket. The recipe says to stir it everyday, and when I do it's like I'm stirring up a bucket of pop. There is A LOT of CO2 release whenever I stir, but nothing of what I would consider normal fermentation yet(again, normal for me is what I've seen so far in 6 or 7 batches of beer).

Is this sluggish a start "normal" for something like this that was probably 1.100 or more in OG? (with virtually no change yet)

Since I know there is "something" happening I'm not panic'd but I would sure have thought it would have picked up by now 4 full days in.

Thoughts on that?
Thanks!
 
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dilbone

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well, just another 24 hrs. has made a big difference...

The yeast seem to be waking up and working a little faster. I actually do have some airlock activity now at the end of the 5th day, about 3 bubbles per minute.

Looks like I'm on my way
 

pulpfiction32

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i was given the same recipe from a friends father

along with a bottle of edlerberry and raspberry brandy.

Which were really good, I would suggest using bakers or beer

yeast
 

truckjohn

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Yep - the "traditional" home made fruit wine "brandy" is usually made with bread yeast - which conks out around 14% - so you end up with a sweet, fruity wine that is easy drinking but still packs a punch....

The stuff I have had locally is quite sweet and isn't usually aged for long - usually only long enough for it to completely work off and the yeast to settle out all the way.... so 1-2 months....

Thanks
 
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dilbone

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This stuff's been going for about 3 and a half weeks so far and it's still going strong at about 4 bubbles a minute from the air lock. It got a very slow start, but once it got going it's been going nice and strong. I took a tiny sip from the spiggot the other day and it's definitely got some alcohol... and is still VERY sweet... almost syrupy. I assume with the champagne yeast still going strong it will be bringing this down to a very dry finish.

I would have guessed that bread yeast would have given way long before 14% abv. I've been told by a few people to avoid bread yeast altogether unless I like a very "bready" taste. They said they had done it before and it was awful... not sure who to believe on that one.

Even with the very sweet state it's in right now, it still seems like it's going to be really tasty result.
 

truckjohn

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It will go better if

You watch your fermentation temps... If you have a basement - put it down there against an earth wall....

Make sure to use a staged nutrient addition... This helps lessen weird flavors.... (Read the stickies on the Mead forum...)

You degas regularly during primary fermentation... meaning stir it up good with a big plastic spoon and watch the bubbles fizz....

It was probably "Awful" because they tried to drink it as soon as it quit bubbling.... Guess what - everything tastes awful when you are drinking it 1-week old.... even beer....

At 14% alcohol... be prepared to let it sit a year before you drink.... Remember the motto.... Drink no wine before its time...

Thanks
 
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dilbone

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I've tasted all my beers after a week or so(to check carbination)and they all have tasted great.

I'll have to see how dry this turns out...if too dry I may try something else next time. It tastes pretty good already and it's not even done fermenting yet...I don't think I'll be waiting very long.
 
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dilbone

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well I finally bottled this stuff last weekend. It is waaaaaaaay too sweet... i don't know if the yeast just crapped out or if the recipe was just too much sugar, but it thought it would turn out much drier than it did.

I'm not sure I'll ever get through the 12 liters I have of it, but if anyone has any ideas of other yeast that might help me out that'd be great. I don't have an OG because it was too high for my hydrometer, I didn't bother with an FG since I didn't have an OG...

I probably won't be trying this again anytime soon...I'll just stick to beer
 

truckjohn

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Well, yes... It will be very, very sweet with the recipe you posted... There was no way that any proper wine or champagne yeast available today would have fermented that mix down to a "Normal" slightly sweet wine FG.... Your 3lbs 5oz sugar in a gallon is actually *way* above 33 brix.... and your hydrometer told you that.....

I suppose you could water it down some with more water or fruit juice and re-pitch champagne yeast to dry it out some more.... I would try 1/3 more liquid - so rack however much you got left after racking onto another 3 or 4 quarts of liquid....

Just be sure you make a proper starter to work the yeast up to your alcohol level or it won't be happy.

Another option would be to make another batch of fruit wine that has a fairly strong aroma and flavor, but is very dry... so lots of fruit and not much extra sugar - and then blend your Pancake-Syrup wine into it to balance out the flavors.....

Thanks
 
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dilbone

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watering down and repitching I hadn't really considered...great advice for a first timer with "wine"

Do you think apple juice addition would be too much additional sugar or should I just stick with water addition? Maybe a gallon of each? I had heard that the "great value" walmart brand of apple juice is the one to use for something like this...is that true?

I suppose I could water it down and add a few more pounds of cut up fruit...apples or peaches or something...

As far as a starter, I've never made one and haven't read a whole lot about it. I just pitch dry for my beers. Do I just pitch the yeast in a quart of water and add some sugar to get it going?

I was just going to give up on this stuff, but I may have to give it another shot. Thanks for the advice. I'll have to wait until my fermenter is available when I bottle my amber ale next weekend, but hopefully I can make this work.
 

SusieDarling

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what does the addition of the raisins do to the "brandy"?
Raisins are an abundant source of body. They can improve the mouth-feel of the wine by increasing its viscosity. This gives the wine a heartier, overall impression. It also causes the fruit flavors to linger on the tongue longer, producing a fruitier impression.
 

SusieDarling

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I got a recipe from a friend that was actually something she found from her late father. It is what he called in the recipe a "fruit brandy" but since no distilling is done I assume it is technically a fruit wine.

He makes no distinction in the recipe as to what yeast to use, but here is the recipe/directions:

3 gallons of boiled water cooled
3lbs of cut up fruit (of any kind)
10lbs of sugar

Put all above ingredients in fermenter and pitch yeast

Stir once a day for 7 days, then add 4 lbs of raisins
Let sit for 4 weeks
Siphon "brandy" off of sediment

I think he was using baker's yeast, but I have no way of knowing. Any suggestions as to what I should use for this? I'd like to try it out and see what happens.
Thanks!!
My grandmother's "Homemade Brandy" recipe (yes, I know, it's technically country wine, since true brandy is distilled from fruit wine), was almost identical. Hers calls for 3 ounces of Active Dry Yeast (I buy the Fleischmann's brand, 4oz brown jar with red/yellow label, $5.00 U.S).

I have two different batches on now, and after 9 days I am still getting several bloops (CO2 bubbles) every second.

Yeast reacts to temperature, as much as it does to sugar. Temperature plays an extremely vital role in the fermentation process. If the fermentation temperature is too cool, the yeast may not be invigorated enough to ferment. It will simply remain in the juice, dormant.

If the fermentation temperature is too warm, the yeast may ferment fine, but the flavor of the wine will usually suffer (turn to vinegar). This is because of the increased production of unwanted enzymes by the yeast and the possible growth of micro-organisms that thrive in warmer temperatures.

The optimum temperature for a fermentation is 72 degrees, but anywhere between 70 and 75 will do fine.
 
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