I have had several requests for a particular recipe to be posted here. For some reason, a batch that I made last year which I had thought was hopeless has become incredibly popular. It had started with the idea of making a pyment, a hybrid between a grape wine and a mead.
Since I didn’t want to spend a considerable sum of money on a wine kit at the time, and I had a BJ’s membership, I went out and bought 15 quarts of concord grape juice and 15 pounds of clover honey. I had previously attempted this recipe on a small scale-just 3 quarts-and thought it was delicious. So I figured I could use the same recipe, just scaled up. However, because the first batch had not fermented completely due to the limitations of the yeast strain I had chosen to use (Red Star’s Montrachet), I decided to use it for the initial fermentation, then finish it with a champagne yeast.
This did not work.
The pyment, after nearly 10 months of fermentation, several rackings, and multiple attempts to re-start the fermentation by re-pitching yeast, ended up with a final gravity of 1.062. After having starting at 1.152, this is a fairly amazing feat. It’s as sweet as most beer worts at the start of fermentation…and 10% ABV. Very much so a dessert wine, and one to be served in port glasses. Or so I thought. My friends disagreed. A few weeks ago we had a bonfire party at my house…and 4 bottles of this stuff just disappeared.
At least it won’t be sitting around un-drunk!
For those of you who are interested, here’s the full recipe:
Two Ravens’ Concord Grape Pyment
- 15 quarts Concord grape juice
- 15 lbs clover honey
- 2 packets Red Star Montrachet wine yeast
- Sodium or potassium metabisulfite
- Sodium or potassium sorbate
- Clean and sanitize a glass 5-gallon carboy. Pour in ~1/2 the grape juice.
- Add the honey to the carboy. Use the rest of the grape juice to rinse your funnel (you’re almost certain to need to use a funnel to get the honey in without spilling any).
- Using a sanitized spoon, stir the batch thoroughly to dissolve the honey in the grape juice.
- Using a sanitized wine thief, pull a sample to measure and record the starting gravity.
- Add 2 packets of Red Star Montrachet wine yeast.
- Seal with a fermentation lock and leave it alone for a month.
- Check the specific gravity again. It should be ~1.055-1.065.
- If it is, rack off sediment into a clean and sanitized fermenter and add 1 tsp of sorbate and 1/4 teaspoon of sulfite.
- Re-seal in the new carboy with fermentation lock.
- Allow to sit another month. Re-rack.
- Repeat step 10 for ~6 months.
- Bottle or keg as you desire.
Feel free to comment with any questions you might have, and happy fermenting!