Tag Archive: jam wine

Homebrew Update!

Today we have yet another homebrew update. I managed to rack both the plum wine and the Joe’s Ancient Orange Mead, both had developed quite a bit of sediment and I was worried they might develop a bad taste. Both had also almost completely stopped fermenting, there were almost no bubbles in the airlock.

Before racking. This is an old picture, there was actually a lot of sediment in both and they were much clearer.

From the first racking, several weeks ago.

I racked the plum first, there was over an inch of sludge on the bottom.

After racking but before topping off with water. Most of the sediment is gone.

And of course I wanted to taste it.

There are a few floaties, but they should settle in time.

It’s drinkable if you’re an alcoholic – it has a very “hot” taste, like it’s all alcohol. I can taste a little bit of the preserves I started with, after aging a bit the flavor should improve. I tasted it before adding water, that one little shot glass knocked me on my ass – it has a kick like a mule. Hopefully that will smooth out as well.

Next up was the mead.

After racking but before adding water. It's pretty clear, I wasn't able to remove all the sediment so when I added water it clouded up again.

After topping off, with a taster on the side.

I tasted the mead as well, and it was GOOD, sweet with a pleasant orange taste and a very strong orange smell. It smells a bit like fresh orange juice. It doesn’t have the kick or the raw alcohol taste the plum does, so it will finish off quicker. I will definitely be making more of this.

The next day, with a flashlight behind them to show their color.


Just a quick update on my recent homebrewing adventures.

The plum wine is bubbling nicely – I moved it into the closet after racking it the week before last and there was a sudden flurry of yeast activity. It has since settled down but is bubbling quite nicely.

Doesn't that remind you of a freshly poured soda?

I’m sure the specific gravity has changed, it was very cloudy and now there’s about two inches of sludge on the bottom. I might rack it early just to get it off the gunk so it doesn’t pick up any bad flavors.

Inspired by my net-friend Moira, I have decided to make a gallon of mead. I found a really easy recipe that is supposed to be good, if made completely different from real mead. It’s called Joe’s Ancient Orange Mead and was super easy.

The ingredients were simple – warm water,three pounds of honey, twenty-five raisins, a cinnamon stick, a whole orange cut into pieces and (of course) yeast. Basically you toss everything into your carboy, cap it with an airlock, and wait. No stirring, no racking, the less you touch it the better. After a couple of months, it’s ready. I’m curious as to how it will taste.

On the left, the plum wine. On the right, Joe's Ancient Orange Mead. You can just barely see the band of lighter color at the bottom of the plum wine - that's the gunk.

I left quite a bit of head space in the mead’s carboy – I was expecting a much more vigorous fermentation. (The plum wine frothed like a bottle of soda someone had dropped.) If it doesn’t foam up in a few days I’ll add more water. It is fermenting, the airlock is bubbling very steadily, it just hasn’t gone crazy like I had expected.


*hic* – The Update

I wrote a while back about making wine from some plum preserves I have and I thought I’d post an update.

After I boiled and strained it (the first time), I mixed it with the pectic enzyme and let it do its work for several days. I checked it periodically to ensure it wasn’t going bad and that the enzyme was working. Last weekend I dumped the mush  (it’s called must) into a pot and boiled it for five minutes and then strained it (again) and put it in my primary fermentation vessel (a plastic jug) and added  the activated yeast.

After a couple of days, bubbling very nicely. Sorry it's so dark, it is a jug.

When the yeast first started doing its thang, it smelled really sweet. Nothing like when bread yeast starts working.

Twice a day I had to “punch down the cap” – stir the foamy mass on top so that it would not dry out and give mold a chance to grow. it went from smelling sweet to having that distinct alcohol tang.After the most vigorous fermentation had subsided and I was certain it would not cause my carboy to explode, I decided to transfer it to my secondary fermentation vessel. After straining it yet again, of course.


It looks like really strong tea, I thought it would turn out purple like the jam was, but I guess not. It looks more like the inside of a plum, which I guess shouldn’t surprise me.

It’s still really cloudy even after all the straining I’ve done but hopefully it will “fall clear” – the tiny particulate matter will settle to the bottom – in a month or so. I was using the tube on the left to check the specific gravity with my hydrometer – as the percentage of alcohol goes up the density of the liquid changes so you can tell how much alcohol is in it by taking a reading before and after fermentation. It seems to be right on track.

Yay science!

As of right now it is still actively fermenting, there are little bubbles that form and rise to the surface so that it looks a little bit like a glass of cola someone has left out for a few minutes. I’ve got an airlock on the carboy to prevent it from exploding but the fermentation’s not nearly as active as it was in the beginning.

I did taste it – it is very sweet and has a little bit of an alcohol burn, like a really watered down wine cooler. Not bad, but I hope it gets better.

I will probably post another update in a month or so when I rack it – transfer the liquid from one vessel to another to remove the lees (dead yeast and particulate debris) from the bottom.Hopefully it will be clearer by then.

Something’s Brewing

An update on the jam fermentation – Friday morning I checked on the solution and saw a few bubbles, not what I had expected. It was still really thick, even after adding an additional quarter-cup of warm water. I could still see the individual yest-pellet-things from the night before. It was a bit on the hot side when I added the yeast, so I could have killed most of it, or it might have been too acidic (the jam is very tart, almost like cranberry sauce) at the strength I had it. There were a few half-hearted bubbles so I was encouraged. I put a few tablespoons of the thinned jam in some warm water, scraping up the most active fizzy spots and adding another pinch from Mother Dearest’s stash. I left it while I did my usual morning stuff and when I came back in a few minutes there was a nice thick plug of foam on the top!


I poured the failed water/jam solution, a bit over a cup, into a larger mixing bowl and added two cups of warm water and the bubbling yeast mixture. Off I went to do more morning things and let the yeast do their business. When I left for work there was about a quarter of an inch of foam on the top and it was still bubbling nicely.

Very foamy! It looked a bit like a chocolate cake.

So after quite a bit of searching around on the Internet, I found out what I would need and I made a trip to the local homebrewing store, which I did not even know existed.

It is one of the best smelling stores I’ve ever been in, very malty and yummy.

So I’ve got some gear and a big jar of the plum preserves that I’ve boiled with water in a sterilized jar with something called peptic enzyme to break down the pectin so it can eventually become wine. I hope.

I’m using Jack Keller’s recipe from his incredibly helpful website – he has all sorts of recipes for everything from jalapeño wine to maraschino-chocolate mead. All of them sound absolutely yummy.

The Santas make it festive! And I probably should have cleaned that spill up before taking the picture. My bad.