Brewing Lessons – Concord Pyment

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
  1. Clean and sanitize a glass 5-gallon carboy.  Pour in ~1/2 the grape juice.
  2. 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).
  3. Using a sanitized spoon, stir the batch thoroughly to dissolve the honey in the grape juice.
  4. Using a sanitized wine thief, pull a sample to measure and record the starting gravity.
  5. Add 2 packets of Red Star Montrachet wine yeast.
  6. Seal with a fermentation lock and leave it alone for a month.
  7. Check the specific gravity again.  It should be ~1.055-1.065.
  8. If it is, rack off sediment into a clean and sanitized fermenter and add 1 tsp of sorbate and 1/4 teaspoon of sulfite.
  9. Re-seal in the new carboy with fermentation lock.
  10. Allow to sit another month.  Re-rack.
  11. Repeat step 10 for ~6 months.
  12. Bottle or keg as you desire.

Feel free to comment with any questions you might have, and happy fermenting!



About Josh

I'm an engineer, brewer, vintner, gamer, hiker, biker, and many other "-ers" besides. I grew up in Connecticut, but now live and work in Delaware. This is where I put various ramblings and musings, as well as tasty recipes for beer. Yes, beer. I brew my own beer, wine, cider, mead, and other fun fermented beverages. It's fun, easy, inexpensive, and I love it. It's something I'd love to do professionally, but that's a plan for a future day. For now I work as a chemical engineer with a bunch of great people that I'm never going to talk about here. Have a great day, and good brewing to all!
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