Tag Archive: wine



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.

BUBBLES!

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*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.

Ta-Da!

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.