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Lugh
12-20-2005, 09:53 PM
Hi gang, long time lurker here - I've decided to come out of hiding because I wanted your input on a pyment problem.

A small group of friends have been makign meads for about 5 years, usually followed other peoples recipes. But after reading Ken Schramm's The Compleat Meadmaker, I decided to strike out on a new path. I've pruchased some frozen grape (must) from Brehm Vinyards. A bit costly, but a last minute decision for this years batch.

The problem is the recipe! There are lots of stuff out there for plain juice, but I can't seem to find anything for grape must. I thought about just adding the honey with no water, but I have a feeling that will make the starting brix sky high. Plus according to Brehm's nice documentation, the red grape must will result in about 3.5 gallons of finished wine, a bad amount for our 5 gallon glass carboy secondary.

So I'm asking you Master's of Mead how you would handle it - I'd hate to ruin this much grape (mainly because of the high cost..). Here are the details:
Red: Merlot. Brix: 24.0, PH 3.43, TA 0.73, SO2 none, 5 gallons.
White: Reisling. Brix 22.7, PH 3.20, TA 0.70, SO2 120, 5.25 gallons.

My thoughts:
Make the Reisling a sweet/dessert with a high brix of 27-28 since there are little/no skins to worry about and it will give us over 5 gallons to put into the secondary. None to very little water added.
Make the Merlot a Dry/Med with a brix of 25 or so by adding water with the honey, maybe a gallon of water, and then add honey until we get the brix we want?

Any input is much appreciated. This is really the first time we've struck out beyond the basics.

JamesP
12-20-2005, 10:20 PM
Does the Merlot have skins included in the must?

Lugh
12-20-2005, 11:08 PM
Does the Merlot have skins included in the must?


Yup, very much so. I believe that's why Brehm says you only get 3.5 gallons of wine from the 5 gallon must - 1.5 gallons of skins? Does that sound about right?

JamesP
12-21-2005, 12:24 AM
With the Merlot, you could:

make wine, then once the skins are pressed, make a pyment from the skins using the honey to add the fermentables and extra complexity (see http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=3059.from1135121177;topicseen#msg25859 - Pewter seems happy with this)
Do as you suggest - Brix 27-28
Make wine and blend in some mead (definitely a poor third option - I did this with some left-over wine tailings, but I'm waiting for this to age a little)


Watering down the grape juice seems wrong, even tho I do this to any other fruit :).

Pewter_of_Deodar
12-21-2005, 11:52 AM
I have yet to try a Pyment with the grape seconds but if the second batch of wine turns out, I probably will. I do not know about the grapes used for a Merlot but the ones I was given have a rich, robust flavor and a huge amount of color. So I am thinking that I could do a Pyment with a pretty mild flavored honey and allow the grapes to shape the flavor. I am thinking that a specialty honey might just be wasted by being so overshadowed by the grapes.

I have 3 gallons of a light wildflower from Kansas that I plan on using half for a Vanilla Mead when (ahem Mynx) someone posts the results of their efforts...

The other half of the honey is a prime candidate for a Pyment using the seconds...

Oskaar
12-22-2005, 09:19 AM
Sounds like a good pyment Pewter. I've actually used Orange Blossom with red wines (Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Barbera and Syrah) had really liked the results. I think the best that I made was with alfalfa honey though. I do mix my grapes especially the Zinfandel and Sangiovese which seem like they were made for each other.

I go 3 parts Zin to 2 parts Sangiovese to give me a good assertive fruit front with a nice old school finish and bring my brix up to 26 then pitch D80 yeast. I've also done this with a reverse blend of Sangiovese to Zin; 3 to 2 with alfalfa honey to 26 brix and inoculated with BM45. I ran these in parallel and oaked them starting with 4 oz of medium toast French oak, and followed with 4 oz heavy toast American oak at the next racking. I blended them and WOW awesome recipe. This was a few years ago and I didn't even remember this until I saw some notes from my check book about the grapes being group purchased with a few friends.

Anyhow, blending is certainly a very good way to bring layers into your pyment that would otherwise not be there.

Cheers,

Oskaar

SteveT
12-22-2005, 10:06 AM
Plus according to Brehm's nice documentation, the red grape must will result in about 3.5 gallons of finished wine, a bad amount for our 5 gallon glass carboy secondary.



You may want to also consider purchasing a 3 gallon carboy, as you could always rack to a full 3 gallon carboy, put the remainder in a smaller 1/2 to 1 gallon.

I've ended up purchasing (2) 3 gallon carboys for just this situation.

Steve

Lugh
12-22-2005, 09:10 PM
Plus according to Brehm's nice documentation, the red grape must will result in about 3.5 gallons of finished wine, a bad amount for our 5 gallon glass carboy secondary.



You may want to also consider purchasing a 3 gallon carboy, as you could always rack to a full 3 gallon carboy, put the remainder in a smaller 1/2 to 1 gallon.

I've ended up purchasing (2) 3 gallon carboys for just this situation.

Steve


That's a good idea Steve, thanks.

FYI - I opened the bucket today to take a look (we are meeting tonight to begin the ferment) it's about 1/3 juice and 2/3rds fruit. So I think we are going to have to add a little water. Starting gravity/brix is going to be off the chart and will be hard to measure with all that mushed fruit. Plus the juice doesn't even submerge all the fruit.

I don't think I'll be doing it this way in the future. It was way too expensive, SG/Brix with mushed fruit is impossible, and it's just easier to make a show mead and add fruit later. Maybe I'll try a cyser next... :-)

byathread
12-29-2005, 01:23 PM
I go 3 parts Zin to 2 parts Sangiovese to give me a good assertive fruit front with a nice old school finish and bring my brix up to 26 then pitch D80 yeast. I've also done this with a reverse blend of Sangiovese to Zin; 3 to 2 with alfalfa honey to 26 brix and inoculated with BM45.


No added water, just grape must plus a bit of honey?
I've been pondering more pyments lately and I was thinking using about 1/2 grape must, 1/2 honey must might be a good guideline. I've become more and more enamored of pyments and all the exciting possibilities it presents.

Oskaar
12-29-2005, 04:06 PM
I don't use concentrates or packaged musts, I use the grapes and press them myself. I like the flavor better. I only use water to lower the brix if necessary.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar