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!

Skål!

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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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