Plums pulped for wine - tips needed!

Hi again sagely folks of the wonderful world of wines.
My wife and I picked 44lbs of (I believe) Victoria plums last night from a friends garden - coulda picked twice that easily, but we only had about an hour and no use for 88lbs of plums...but I digress. These are very ripe and sweet indeed (but not rotten in the least!), and needed processing straight away (skins would 'slide off' with little effort - they would of all browned from the handling of picking them if left).
36lb of them we squished the (2 and a bit lbs of) stones out of, and mashed (smooshed 'em good with our clean hands - didn't have the time left to pulp 'em smoothly) into a primary ferm bucket. This gave us 3.5 UK gal of pulp. I added 4 dissolved camden tablets and 4 tsp pectolase, sealed the lid on and left 'em.
Now, there's no way we are going to get all the juice/sugar out of them in this state (is there?), as they are only 'smooshed', and we don't own/have access a press - any tips? Should I stick the bucket in the chest freezer for a while? Run them through a blender (bit-by-bit - it ain't even nearly a 36 UK gal blender, unfortunately.....heheheh....)?
Also, Will it be OK to ferment this pulp without diluting (we're going to add some blackberries and maybe elderberries to, maybe enough to make the pulp up to about 4-5 or so UK gal)? Or should we be looking at making 10 UK gal from this by adding sugar and water to the correct volume and gravity?
The thing I'm worried about is, even if we get a good gravity from this (undiluted) juice without adding any/much sugar, is that it will be too acidic (the fruit is sweet, but the skins are rather acid, and tannic) to ferment as-is. Have no way of testing this at the moment. Also, if we can't separate the juice from the pulp well, we aren't going to get anywhere near accurate gravity readings (OK, I gave in this time and agreed to do the hydrometer thing, for the first time......).
We are after a wine of about 15 - 17 % ABV, and bone dry. Haven't a clue yet what OG I'm looking for to achieve this, either.
TIA for any help, advice, flippant and/or sarcastic comments, insults to my ancestors etc. (It's all good).
Cheers!
Shaun aRe
A smile shared with another is 2 smiles.
',;~}~
Reply to
Shaun Rimmer
In article ,
Well, I think it all depends on what style of wine you are after. If you want a sweeter heavier port style wine, ferment without dilution. If you are looking for a dry table wine, I would dilute it by about half, bring the gravity up to about 1.090 and add some acid blend.
In order to get clear juice to measure the gravity, you could strain some of the pulp and filter it through a coffee filter.
Now, you have two options . .. you can add water to your pulp and ferment on that. Since it is already breaking down with your pectin enzyme, you could try to press out the juice (add water first, or not add water) using a straining bag or sack cloth. Perhaps first straining through a coated wire mesh basket and then through a cloth or straining bag. This way you can then do a juice fermentation without the pulp.
It will not hurt anything if you want to freeze it for later.
---Greg
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Reply to
Greg Cook
Hello, I've been wanting to do a plum wine, so when the plums went on sale I downloaded a recipe from Jack's site and then bought the recommended number of pounds. I took the pits out, cut them up, added a little sugar and threw them in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let the sugar mix well with the fruit and them threw them in the freezer. I will probably wait a couple of months before I make the wine. In the meantime, freezing will help break down the fruit. Here's Jack's site; he's got tons of recipes and tips on making wine at home.
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Good luck Darlene
Reply to
Dar V

"We are after a wine of about 15 - 17 % ABV, and bone dry. Haven't a clue yet what OG I'm looking for to achieve this, either."
I have a tendency to use more words than I need to sometimes, and details can get lost in the bustle - sorry!
For a very dry wine, what % abv will an OG of 1.090 give me do you think, roughly?
Thanks - I'll have to do that when I've got the fruit better mashed - the harder (and less sweet) pieces of fruit are still in bigger pieces and holding juice.
I'd like to ferment on the pulp, until the last stage - I've had much better flavour and colour results like this, much better.
Again - thanks for your input Greg!
Shaun aRe
Reply to
Shaun Rimmer

Hi Darlene - know about the freezer thing from the past - helps for making lots of fruit based foods like coolis, over and above covering fresh fruit with sugar ',;~}~
I was really wondering how much success I'd get with just the 'smooshing' (love that word!), blending and pectic enzyme etc, with this sort of fruit, or if I'd need to freeze to not be too wasteful. This will be the first time I've made more than 4 or so gallons of wine (if I go for the dilute and make ~10) - guess I'm just excited and a little nervous of wasting all this wonderful fruit we were gifted with.
Thanks, and best of good fortune with the success of your own plumy endeavours!
',;~}~
Shaun aRe
Reply to
Shaun Rimmer
I'm jealous you've got all that great fruit. There's this winery up by my Mom & Dad, they make a red/orange plum wine. The first bottle I bought from them was delicious. It was about an 11% Alcohol by volume, a pretty red/orange color, and very fruity. The second bottle I bought down here was good, but not as good. As with anything, I think it is the quality of the fruit and the process by which you get the best taste from that fruit. I've heard it is difficult to get the wine to clear. Anyway, good-luck and keep us posted on what you're doing. When I start this plum wine, it will be my first batch, so I'm interested in how things go for you. Darlene
Reply to
Dar V

Hi Darlene - we are lucky, in that we have a freind who has the tree, and virtually no use for the fruit. The tree nearly always has a healthy crop, but this year is a bonus - no frosts at a time that would have affected the bees so the tree's flowers were very healthily polinated, and a long hot growing season (certainly for England! Almost a record breaking year). This means we are actually harvesting some Autumn fruits already, while some others are over-ripe and past their best!
It sure is, though we mere mortals can sometimes hit the mark by pure accidental luck (what I tend to rely on!).
This is my first batch too, although my wife has made it a couple of times in the past with good results, based on 'country wine' recipes in older books - I'm doing it differently this time, by way of experiment for us.
Will be certain to keep the group posted, afterall, next best thing to making and drinking wine is duscussing it, no?
',;~}~
Cheers!
Shaun aRe - 'I just love making stuff'.
Reply to
Shaun Rimmer
Shaun, I don't think you will get more than 7% alcohol fermenting as is without adding sigar. By "as is" I mean without adding water either.
No matter how sweet they taste, plums rarely have a Brix suitable for wine without chaptalizing.
I would let the pectic enzyme work a while (8 hours is fine), then spoon some of the pulp into a cloth bag and squeeze. Get enough juice out to float your hydrometer and see where you are.
There is nothing wrong with adding sugar and water. Just add the water first, let it mingle with the pulp a while, and strain out another test batch for the hydrometer (just a reality check). Calculate your sugar and get to mixing.
My advice is not to shoot for 17% alcohol. You'll never taste the plum if you do unless you sweeten it back severely. For plum, 13% is plenty high and 11% is better. But, it's your fruit and you are free to do what you'd like. If you still want the rocket fuel, use Favourite or Gervin High Active Alcohol Yeast or SB23 Super Yeast.
Jack Keller, The Winemaking Home Page
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Reply to
Jack Keller
I did not understand if you had removed the skins. Sounds like you may have. If you did it will be less acid and will end up light colored. If you left them in you will get some of the nice color as well. Just two different styles. I would prefer to leave the skins. I would also ferment on the pulp and skins. Smooosh them with your hands. Great fun! Don't bother with a blender or press or anything. Leave 5 days in the primary. Twice or thrice (2ce or 3ce for Trevor) a day smooosh it with your hands again. After 5 days strain it thou a straining bag and squeeeze (not smooosh). You will get excellent yield that way. Plums are notorious for acid so get a recipe from Jack (or out of Berry's books as you are in the UK) or somewhere else and follow it. Or better, get an acid kit and check the acidity.
IMHO, one of the biggest errors in making country wine is trying to make too high of alcohol. It ends up hot and not especially pleasant. Of course it also becomes a teenager magnet. Aim for 12 to 13% on the first try. Try higher for the next batch if you want.
I envy you for all those tree ripened plums. All I can get are store bought and they are beautify but no flavor. Good luck
Ray
Reply to
Ray
In article ,
"We are after a wine of about 15 - 17 %
Yes, I saw that right after I posted my message, of course.
1.090 would have a potential alcohol of about 12% when fermented out. If you really want 15% you want to shoot for about 1.110. I think 15-17 would be too high for a 'very dry' wine, but that's my opinion.
You can find a good table of SG vs potential alcohol on Ben Rotter's web page here:
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I would favor this approach also.
Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
--Greg
Reply to
Greg Cook
Ray, Very interested in what you had to say. I left the skins on my plums and popped them in the freezer. When I make my batch, I'm going to shoot for 11-12% alcohol. I had some plum wine, and it was 11% and very tasty. My plums were store-bought too. Darlene
Reply to
Dar V

"We are after a wine of about 15 - 17 %
Ain't that just always the way of things? Heheheh....... ',;~}~
Thanks for that.
Maybe I have strange tastes, heheh.......
I like a warming wine, but I'm not a fan of sweetness in anything apart from my coffee, and icecream - I love the dry reds I've bought (the rare occasions I find them) that are up around 15%.
Superb! Again, thanks ',;~}~
Thanks yet again, and of course - will keep you 'posted'.
Cheers!
Shaun aRe
Reply to
Shaun Rimmer

OK - noted, thanks.
Uh-huh........
The plums are going to be the base and body of the wine, but we are adding blackcurrants and elderberries (lost around right now, and all deliciously ripe) for colour and depth of character.
First time I had a (almost) well made elderberry wine, I was amazed at the depth and complexity of flavour. It would have been an extremely wonderful wine, but the friend who made it stupidly protected his hands from colouring (he squished 'em by hand) with a brand new pair of 'Marigold' rubber (dishwashing) gloves. Even though we could taste all the other flavours, this left the wine with the most awful rubbery taste that made it ultimately unbearable to drink. ;-(
Thanks Jack.
Shaun aRe - A glass of wine a day...............is several too few.
Reply to
Shaun Rimmer

Oh, I left the skins! I love a good tannin bite to a wine and wouldn't dream of removing the skins! I will be fermenting on the pulp also. And yes, smooshing them with our hands was great fun, but it did turn the palms of my hands a really interesting 'false tan' brown, and left them burning a little for a day. Also, those peach stones are _sharp_!!!!!!! My wife and I both have a nice collection of finger lacerations.
Is blood detrimental to a good fruit wine? ',;~}~
What I'm worried about here, is if I adjust the gravity of the starting juice, ferment for 5 days, then squish through a bag, I'm going to again alter the gravity, and because some fermentation has already ocurred, will not be able to know which way or by how much to adjust it again?
Thanks - makes good sense.
So far, I've made quite a few 'country' (non-grape, fresh fruit) wines, most have been reasonably high alcohol (greater than 14%, up to 18%), and for the most part, they've turned out smooth and warming.
Heheheh - no teenagers about! We do (well my wife does) have a 12 year old daughter, but she can't abide wine, nor could she handle punishment for taking it (heheheh), so, I think we're safe!
Yes, I envy me for them too! Heheheheh........
They do have a heckuva lot more flavour than the store bought ones from around here, that's for sure.
Thanks Ray ',;~}~
Prost!
Shaun aRe
Reply to
Shaun Rimmer

"We are after a wine of about 15 - 17 %
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But I managed to correct the URL - thanks, lots useful! ',;~}~
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(Hdy was instead of Hyd for anyone else's reference).
Shaun aRe
Reply to
Shaun Rimmer
In article ,
Oh, I think that will be really nice. I used elderberries for the first time this year and made a wine with about 50/50 elderberries and blueberries. It is just about fermented out now and the taste, as you describe, is complex. I think it will be great. You can't beat the color that elderberries provide. I understand the color is somewhat delicate and light (sunshine) will deteriorate it pretty quickly. So, keep it in the dark as much as possible.
Now, I've got to go back and read the old posts about how to remove that awful greasy elderberry muck from my carboys. *sigh*
--Greg
Reply to
Greg Cook

Peaches? You have peaches in this fruit cocktail too? Should prove interesting. I how you do not have the stones in the must with the pulp. If so, feel around and get them out. They are not good for the wine.
This is always a factor in contry wines. There will be some sugar tied up in the pulp but it probably will not effect things too much. Just an inaccuracy we have to live with. If you want, strain off some juice before you squeeze the pulf and check it. Then to it after it is squeezed. Add the difference to the original SG. But I don't think it will be large.
Reply to
Ray

D'oh! - My Bad - no peaches, just plums, blackberries, elderberries and some rose petals. Oh, and oaked it a bit too.
Got 'em all out just fine, thanks, after fishing for hours for them...........
Well, I checked the OG of a pint of the mix (decided to make it up to 15 or so (UK) gal), adjusted to 1.110-ish for around 15% abv, claculated sugar needed for the whole lot (some 40+lb), added just ove half straight off. Will feed the rest in as needed.
Pitched the yeast, nutrient/energisier blend yesterday afternoon - going great guns this morning ',;~}~
Thanks folks - this one's looking good!
Shaun aRe
Reply to
Shaun Rimmer

Thanks - I found the chart helpful as a guide, and since I'm not needing any real degree of accuracy (just didn't want it to end up sweet, or below 14%abv), it don't much matter if it's out a bit. I went for 1.110 - ish, and expect I'll be seeing a wine with abv in the region of 15% - good enough for me!
Thanks again folks for your tips and pointers ',;~}~
Shaun aRe
Reply to
Shaun Rimmer

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