Saturday, February 27, 2010

Todays mad panic!

I was planning to get my finger out a bit today, but as I started getting myself sorted, something occurred that sent me into a bit of a panic.

The 6 jars of honey from Poland that a colleague brought back for me, well one of them was intended to become a sort of pyment (a mead made with grape juice) i.e. to use a jar of the honey (1.3kg or about 3lb in weight) and then measure a jar full of the chenin blanc grape concentrate.

I knew something was amiss, as when I poured the grape concentrate into the jar, there seemed to be a ribbon of paper (well that's what it looked like) in it. How wrong I was.

It was mould. Fucking mould that'd started growing on the top surface of the grape concentrate. Well the mad panic was mainly because I didn't want to lose the best part of £70 worth of grape concentrate (that's about how much the Kendridge Chenin Blanc wine kit was - where the concentrate came from in the first place).

So initally, I ran the honey jar full of concentrate through a strainer, then through a muslin straining cloth (into my version of Luc Volders "straining bucket" - paints a nice picture eh!). Anyway, I figured that it was paramount to get the concentrate strained and then sulphited in the hope that it (the sulphite) will kill off any remaining wild yeast spores.

Since then, I've mixed up (and sulphited - extra.....) 2 batches of "pyment". In the picture, you'll see the 2 DJ's. On the right, is the one made with the Polish honey (sorry, don't have any info on it's origins) and chenin blanc grape concentrate. You can probably make out some of the sugar that had crystalised out of it in the bottom of the DJ. That's not a problem. The yeast should take care of that.

The DJ on the left, is the same quantity of the chenin blanc grape concentrate, but it's then been made up with a jar full (1.3kg or about 3lb in weight) of Oklahoma Wild Flower honey. Which is part of the gallon that my friend Keith was kind enough to send me. You'll probably notice that it's darker in colour, as well as the layer that should really be mixed in better at the bottom of the DJ.

The intention is, that as they're both mixed up with spring water, but not all the way up, and both have had a crushed campden tablet added, that I'll let them sit till tomorrow so that the sulphite can do it's thing and then a fair amount of it will come out in gas form. Then I'll pitch the yeast after I've hydrated it with some GoFerm. Once the lag phase is over, then I'll add some Fermaid-K for yeast nutrient. I'm in a bit of a quandary, because the ??? about whether I should be adding some acid and some tannin. I probably will, though I think I'll check the pH tomorrow before I actually add any acid. The tannin will just go in as a teaspoon full per gallon. Once they've settled down to the ferment, only then will I top them up, with spring water. The gap is to prevent too much of a problem with foaming in the early stages and when the nutrient gets added (oh and I'm planning on pitching D21 yeast - again, something else that Keith kindly sent me. It's normally only available in the 500 gramme commercial packs, but he bought one of those and split me off about 25 or so grammes - enough to repackage into 5 portions....)

As for the rest of the chenin blanc concentrate, well that's made up nicely to a 2 gallon batch of the wine, and there's also 4 litres that have been placed in 2 x 2 litre spring water bottles and refrigerated. If I have to freeze them I can, the bottles are made of PET. Then whatever batches that are made and finished fermenting, I can always back sweeten with some after it's defrosted.

I'm hoping that I'll be able to arrange with Keith that I can get some smaller tins of the grape concentrate sent over, as a 16 litre wine kit was a bugger to handle. I'd need to have everything ready to go and use up pretty much a whole kit if it's going to be like this. I don't care if it costs me more, the convenience of being able to use smaller amounts of it is too much of a dream. It really does taste like watery honey. It's very, very palatable. I'm wonder what the wine might turn out like, though I expect it to be dry as the yeast they supplied with the kit was Lalvins EC-1118 which is a strong fermenting champagne yeast. We'll have to wait and see.


No comments: