It's been a dozen days since I last posted. My brain is too tangled up to post on the important things. What I do need is a record of dates etc on the two brews currently glooping away happily in the dining room.
recipe below started on April 15th, aside from the precook and freeze part which was prior to festi.
My comments, interpretations and alterations in italics. Pics later when I have the full series.
Recipe 1 of 2 -Country summer style (can't remember the source website but this recipe turns up in several places. It is the alternative presented along with the one that says to grow mould on the surface first. Pass, but Weaver has done that one and it is truly tasty)
• 3 lb. ripe damsons(I started with ~2kg)
• 3 lb. sugar
• 1 gallon cold water(4.5L)
• pectic enzyme-(1teaspoon)
• campden tablet
• gp wine yeast (fermol rouge, hydrate before pitching)
• yeast nutrients (1g)
pick or buy damsons as ripe as possible,
remove stones and wash them well (wash and remove stalks, stew slowly with 200g sugar, mouli to remove stones, freeze, defrost). put the 3lb. damsons in a large saucepan (my big stockpot,fruit inside a brew bag) and pour on a gallon of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer(a few min only given they were cooked earlier )until the damsons are tender but not mashy. strain off the liquid through muslin into a plastic bucket (lift brewbag and allow to drain back into saucepan). The damsons can now be used as stewed fruit or for making jam(residue is now only worthy as compost, all brown and dry). add 3lb. of granulated sugar to the liquid in the bucket and stir well with a plastic spoon until the sugar has dissolved(tick). leave to cool right down, then add pectic enzyme and a crushed campden tablet(tick). allow 24hrs covered in a warm atmosphere before stirring in the yeast and yeast nutrient. the leave in the warm for three days before you transfer into a fermentation demi-john, fit an airlock and ferment until dry, (this still in progress) when the fermentation has stopped, rack and clear before bottling. some may be required during fermentation and a tablespoon of sugar added once or twice should do no harm. you will de able to drink it in six months or perhaps before that. but the longer you keep it the better it will be.
Racked on 2nd June. there was a white lump of something floating, is this pectin perhaps? I included the ~600ml from the PET bottle (volume that wouldn't fit in the demijohn in the first round). Ferment still going but slow. taste is fiery, fruity, sweet but thankfully not sour.
simpler but a lot more work.
25L home crushed apple juice (2:2:1 acid, tannin, sweet)
5 crushed Campden tablets for 24hrs
Nottingham ale yeast, hydrated before pitching
Apples collected by Weaver and friends, including me. Juicing for this lot happened between April 13 and 21st. Yeast pitched Monday April 22nd. Ferment going by Tues 23rd. As usual I didn't have a proper seal initially. We were being monstered by wasps through the second juicing day. Amazingly only one sting was received that day, by poor Weaver. Lots of wasps got into the juice in one way or another. We should probably call it wasp cider! I boringly insisted that no wasps end up in my fermenter. Weaver set up at least one 50L batch, same juice proportions as mine, including the wasps! Then, because I am experimenting by using an ale yeast, he planned to do one with the same proportions again, but sans wasps, both with our more usual champagne yeast. Ha, he is such a Weaver, but I appreciate the scientific approach, test one variable at a time eh? Oh, juicing method this year was almost the same as last- Commercial juicer then pulp put through a hydrolic press. Last year we took the juice from the juicer and only pressed the pulp, but we ended up with a LOT of solids in the fermenters. This year we recombined juice and pulp and pressed the lot. This made for very satisfying pressings :-) and much clearer juice.