Grappa recipe and Process

Moderator: Site Moderator

yorg
Novice
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:30 pm
Location: Melbourne

Grappa recipe and Process

Post by yorg » Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:33 pm

Hi.
Can't seem to locate a description of Grappa making - end to end - from what and how to ferment to a traditional distillation process.
Can anyone help?

Cheers.

CoopsOz
Distiller
Posts: 1172
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2006 4:00 am
Location: Didjabringyabongalong

Post by CoopsOz » Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:39 pm

Grappa is pretty simple. Ferment the leftovers from wine making (skins etc), throw it in a pot still and run it hard....make no cuts whatsoever, this is how all the grappa I've tasted has been made. There might be varying differences in family traditions so there very well might be some high quality stuff out there. It has never passed my lips though!.

Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.
Last edited by CoopsOz on Mon Mar 10, 2008 8:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
It is most absurdly said, in popular language, of any man, that he is disguised in liquor; for, on the contrary, most men are disguised by sobriety. ~Thomas de Quincy, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, 1856

punkin
Master Distiller
Posts: 2711
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Northern NSW Oz Trail Ya

Post by punkin » Mon Mar 10, 2008 7:55 pm

I've been shown how to make traditional Grappa by an old Macedonian.

Stomp red grapes till you have a barrell full, cover with a lid and leave for 6 weeks. Drain wine and keep to drink, then load the pulp and left over juice into your still. heat slowly and make a small methanol cut when drips start, then run slowly making no cuts. mix it all together at the end, then bottle in flagons, leave for a while (coupela years is what he does with his large stock) then drink.

Not much to it, and that's why it tastes the way it does :roll:


Do the whole process champagne yeast instead of wild and with proper cuts ect and compare the two. Let us know how ya go. 8)

absinthe
Rumrunner
Posts: 534
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 8:29 am
Location: Aussie

Post by absinthe » Mon Mar 10, 2008 8:28 pm

i make my grappa from the "wine lees" (the sediment left in the barrels after secondary fermentation) i strip with a double boiler.. and then do a spirit run and make cuts...

have been told by some people "in the know" that its dam good grappa.. smooth crisp and headache-less


not realy a true grappa but if you get the lees for free then its good enough :P and easier to get in and outta your still
Whiskey, the most popular of the cold cures that don't work (Leonard Rossiter)

EuroStiller
Swill Maker
Posts: 241
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Italy

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by EuroStiller » Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:11 pm

Grappa in the Modern Age - The Rise of a Poor Mans Drink

And I thought the dissertation I wrote to pass medical school was tough!

Lets begin at the beginning, around the year 1225 AD, when Arab traders acquainted Italians with the art of distillation. This probably occurred at the major seaports of Venice, Ancona, Pescara, Bari, Naples, and Genoa (on the Main Land) From there, the idea slowly spread across Spain, into France, and then northward until it was in full use by 1650 AD. Now by this time people were already making both wine and beer, this is well documented. It is also well known because water at the time was generally unsafe to drink whereas spirits in drink, even as low as 2% abv, would not transmit most of the water-born pathogenic diseases of the day. Now skip forward a bit in time to the 1500’s. This is when we first se the emergence of grape pommace being distilled. There are many accepted methods for the production of grappa, and they vary among Italy’s 20 regions as they appear on the map today. The most common is to simply dump the pommace into an alembic or copper “pot” type still, add water to cover, and distill. However; as I stated earlier, there are many other accepted methods for the production of grappa. Before I precede any further I need to describe as best I can, how grappa has been categorized in modern times.

Young (Giovane)- Clear, un-aged, harsh 40- 80% abv

Cask- Aged (Affinata) Refined or Fine- Clear going in, almost always Chestnut or
Blackberry casks for at least 6 months. Can pick
up some color, does pick up taste. 40- 60% abv

Cask-Aged (Vecchia) Old - Clear going in, barrels changed out sometimes after 6
Months. Minimum time in cask 12 months. Does pick up some
color, definitely does pick up taste. 40- 60% abv

Cask-Aged (Stravecchia) Very Old- A very special class of cask aged grappa. In additon
to the traditional Chestnut and Blackberry cask,
Cherry, Oak, and Acacia cask are used as well. The Oak
being of a special variety (Quercus ilex). In
addition to that, the source must be
distinguished as either “monovitigno”- single grape or
“polivitigno”- multiple varieties of grapes.
Polivitigno varieties at on time were limited to 85% of one
type of grape. This has since changed with the demand for
more Grappa! 40- 60% abv

Aromatic (Aromatica) Grappa prepared in the style of French Marc. Herbs, spices, etc
are placed at the bottom of the boiler and the
pommace piled atop it. Distillation is then
carried out. It is like making an essential oil
in alcohol at the same time. Generally,
these are just bottle aged.
Lately I have seen their prices climbing for
some strange reason.
I’d much rather shell out the bucks for a snoot
full of Vecchia any day!

Aromatized (Aromitizata) The classic method of taking a single herb, spice,
citrus peel, or plant and infusing it’s flavor into
the grappa via maceration. Sometimes a bit of
sugar is added as well. These are making it to
market more and more these days! They were mostly
home made before and not considered fit for resale.
I have well over 200 recipes for aromatized grappas.
Here is the sad part they are so good and so simple
to prepare They are superior to aromatics, because
not only do you get the scent but you get the subtle
flavor and sometimes the medicinal benefit of the macerate!
Go look at the price of a bottle of say Pear Grappa and you will
crap your pants!


So now that you understand how Grappa has been classified, we can go in to the vineyard and get our feet dirty. And you though I was going to jump to directly to distillation. This is my definitive treatise Grappa; I get to give you all 28 years of my knowledge on the subject.

Q: Is grappa from northern Italy is better than grappa from southern Italy because the grapes have low acid?

A: Bullsh!t. This is northern propaganda against the wine and grappa producing areas of the south, the islands of Sicily and Sardinia! My home in Italy is in a very viniferous area, that borders that north south boundry line. The soil is not the A+, however, the vines are watered with pure glacial melt that is so cold it freezes you fingers if you touch it. This mineral rich water also bubbles up through many wells found everywhere.

Q: Is grappa made from red grapes or white grapes?
A: Both! But since more red wine was/ is made in Italy, the grappa comes from the pommace of the red grape. Red grapes also contain tannins, which contribute to the fire of the distillate and sometimes a bit of residual color in the grappa. In addition red wines also tend to have higher alcohol content; therefore, the pommace has more alcohol in it and still viable yeasts that can be utilized if one knows what they are doing! Don’t forget, red pommace is in contact with the alcohol for a longer period, whereas, white pommace generally is not. White pommace has less to no alcohol content to it, less tannin, and more often than not, less acid. In summation: Grappa from red grape pommace yields more spirit when distilled, but it is hotter on the tongue and takes longer to tame. Pommace from white grape yields less spirit when distilled, it is just as hot on the tongue, however it mellows easier. Both aromatize well.

Q: What kind of grapes do they use?
A: As a general rule, the juicer the grape, the better the grappa (and the better the wine).
I was taught to look for a Brix of 20-23 for red wine. Any higher, and you have mold issues. Especially because I do not use, or believe in Camden Tablets (Sodium Metabisulphite). I have never had an issue to date with bad wine or whatever. Grappa makers in the North of Italy obsess over low-acid grapes. This is simply because they want to turn out as much grappa as possible, as quick as possible. They do not follow classic distillation methods anyway. More on distillation later. So when it comes to grapes, this is my opinion: Take what you can get and make the best of it. If it turns out good, mark your notes so you can repeat you steps! It worked for my ancestors. I have tomes of notes, recipes, Brix readings, vineyard temperatures, etc…

Q: When are you going to cover distillation?
A: Now


Distillation of Grappa- Miscellaneous tidbits first
As you saw in that video clip, a river of grappa pouring out of his condenser, that may have not been low wine or what we call “acquatico”. Even if it was low wine, low wine is not discarded in Italy. It is sweetened and usually consumed th day it is made having at least 12 % abv. It is not uncommon for Italian distillers to employ “doppia serpentina” or double serpent/ condensing coil. In Italy I have a very large copper alembic still, with a pre- heater, that leads to double serpentine cooling coils in a water bath tank, that re-connect just before the output. What’s the purpose? Well long ago, large diameter copper pipe was difficult to make, and coil. So, double it to compensate for the pressure coming out of a 400 Liter boiler! What they discovered is that it also doubled efficiency. Why nobody else is doing this is beyond me!

The pre- heater is generally used when we distill wine for brandy. It is also handy for a step my great- grandfather called “rajjungio” or re-adding. This is just one of my family’s grappa tricks. We stop part way through distillation, and pour the distillate back into the boiler. Essentially, starting over! I did not understand this at first but it is just basically double distilling.

All good grappa is distilled in an alembic or “pot” still to preserve the flavor. The device is traditionally made of copper. Stainless steel is acceptable. I would draw the line there. I think the UTF (Agency of Finance and Customs), the primary, and other Italian departments that oversee the purity and production of certain foods and beverages would see it that way too. My big gripe with grappa is with these companies pumping out 375ml bottles of crap at $30+ bucks a pop. On top of that, wine snobs giving it good reviews!!

Every distillery does it differently, so I cannot point a finger and I should not make blanket statements. Some extract by steam distillation, some by vacuum distillation, and yet others the traditional route.

Basic Grappa needs to contain: Stalks, stems, seeds, pulp, and skins of the pressed fermented grapes. The pommace can range from lightly fermented out to totally fermented out. In the North the go mid- range, but as you head further south, you will find that people are distilling fully fermented out pommace. This also depends o the harvest.

The basic procedure is simple enough: Weigh your pommace to get a rough idea of what you have and remember the number, no move on. Coarse stems and stalks go in first, providing a bed for the soft pommace. Yes, this does mean that after pressing, you have to open you press and take the cake apart and sort through it. Oh, and don’t press your cake too dry! So, pile all you soft pommace on the stems. Fill you boiler two-thirds full. If you have used all you pommace then that number you have in you head will come in handy, otherwise you will have to wing it. Add half the weight in water or water to come half way up the side of your boiler. Ready, set, distill. You will be running you’re still hard and fast at first to get things going. After, you will be able to cut back the heat but not by much. Be sure to run your distillate through filter paper or coffee filters, just like in the video. The rapid boiling in the boiler can sometimes throw seeds or stuff through the condensing coil. Apart from that it is just good to do anyway. When you hit your low wine, you done.
Cool your pot, clean it out, then run it again if you want a stronger product.

On re-fermentation:
I should not even have mentioned this. If my grandfather were alive he would strangle me to death! This came about completely by chance. A few years after WWII they had a huge harvest, so much so that they crated the grapes and brought them into the upper cellar until they could get to them. I have to give you some idea of the size of the press involved here. It takes 2 people to work the ratchet. The basket, well take 2 #45 presses and put em together and your somewhat close. At any rate, that year, there was no way that he was going to have enough time to take care of the farm, his law firm, the wine, and the distillation. But he did, worked day and night though the entire harvest season to get it done. So this first batch was a red, it got pressed and the cake set-aside for over 3 days. It was almost a complete loss. The second batch was a white wine, Malvasia grapes growing way out of their region and thriving like mad! White wines do not sit on the skins. So the got stomped. Yes by the feet of beautiful women, in a large marble vat and the juice pressed right away. Well, he looked at the almost dry cake and the wet cake and figured, what the fu~k! When the ladies were done with the dancing and singing and the tub was drained, my grandfather combined both cakes in the tub with some water and some fresh pressed juice. Just enough to make the mass moist again. Then he covered it with burlap. A few days later the whole mass was fizzing with activity. After the fermentation died off, he distilled it. And when he did, he said it was the best grappa he had ever mad or had! Over the years he refined the process even more. Now it’s to the point where it’s just a matter of taking the pommace, add freshly pressed juice to it, add some water and letting it re-ferment. I’ve taken it a step further because American grapes are sprayed and there is little to no good natural yeast on them anymore, so I add a pinch, just a pinch of EC-1118, and wait. I have found that my yield of grappa is considerably and consonantly better, unless the grapes I get are not so good. But so far, knock on wood I have been lucky. So, basically, you’re just fermenting the new juice that’s added, but there is more to it. I’d bet my left nut that it’s picking up residual sugars as well. In addition, that second fermentation gives another dimension to the flavor of the grappa. I can't quite understand what is happening, but it is very unique!


How to enjoy Grappa-Properly
Young Grappa you enjoy between 10-12.75 degrees C/ 50-55 degrees F
Aged Grappa you enjoy between 15.5- 18.3 degrees C/ 60-65 degrees F
Don’t drink Grappa like shots, it will give you a headache and make you sick, just like drinking red wine too fast!!

Originally Grappa was used as a medicine. Now it is taken at the end of meals with espresso to aid in digestion. I tend to like my own Grappa Aromitizata al Limone, Lemon Grappa, after dinner. Then again my grappa is 60 %abv!!

HookLine
retired
Posts: 5628
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:38 am
Location: OzLand

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by HookLine » Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:20 pm

It is not uncommon for Italian distillers to employ “doppia serpentina” or double serpent/ condensing coil.

<snip>

What they discovered is that it also doubled efficiency.
You mean the efficiency of condensing?

[And good info, especially the double fermenting. I think some here do something similar with the solids in fruit washes.]
Be safe.
Be discreet.
And have fun.

EuroStiller
Swill Maker
Posts: 241
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Italy

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by EuroStiller » Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:33 pm

I dont know if it doubles efficiency or just speeds up condensation. I dont know how this would work with like a grain mash.

EuroStiller-The Doctor

MountedGoat
Swill Maker
Posts: 267
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:21 am
Location: Mountains out west

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by MountedGoat » Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:49 am

I tried once to make some grappa out of some freshly pressed chardonnay and ended up dumping the entire thing due to a lack of a still at the time. I won't run into that problem again. Just put all the stuff from the press (stems, seeds, skins) into a bin with water to top, some yeast and some sugar. Foul smelling and had fruit flies from day one. Not pretty

Hey Eurostiller,

I noticed in a previous post of yours and the one above that you don't use cambden tablets and also that you purchase your grapes from Californias Napa area and have them trucked out to you in Chicago(?). Unless those grapes are refrigerated immediately after picking and then refrigerated on the journey over, they will begin fermentation on the way. Natural yeast is super prevalent around the vineyards, so they are going to be adding some sort of anti-fermenting/bacterial aid such as sulphur :( . If you ever get a chance, try some grapes that are closer to you and they will most definitely start a natural fermentation. I know a bunch of winemakers that do a natural ferment (they believe it makes their wine different from everyone elses) and have on multiple occasions had friends go to work, unable to innoculate their grapes, and come home to find them bubbling away happily.

Thanks for the detailed explanation of Grappa :lol:
water + sugar + yeast = wine

water + flour + yeast = bread

wine + bread = two things I can make at home

punkin
Master Distiller
Posts: 2711
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Northern NSW Oz Trail Ya

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by punkin » Wed Apr 23, 2008 12:27 pm

Yes, thank you. Bound to be some information i can use there. I'll read it more carefully when i'm not so rushed.

The people i know always rely on natural fermentation, they just go to the vineyards and pick there own grapes. 8)

Is there anything else you think would be ok to use on the bottom layer besides stalks?

blanikdog
Angel's Share
Angel's Share
Posts: 4545
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:55 pm
Location: Bullamakanka, Oztrailya

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by blanikdog » Wed Apr 23, 2008 4:59 pm

I tried making grapper once and found it to be a 'pain in the kettle!!' Now I just stick to brandy. Nice and easy. :)

blanik
Simple potstiller. Slow, single run.
(50 litre, propane heated pot still. Coil in bucket condenser - No thermometer, No carbon)
The Reading Lounge AND the Rules We Live By should be compulsory reading

Cumudgeon and loving it.

Ftero
Novice
Posts: 99
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 5:26 pm
Location: Pacific North Wet

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by Ftero » Wed Apr 23, 2008 7:08 pm

My Father-In-law, lines the bottom of the pot with hay, then starts loading in the grape pressings on top.
I bought a perforated copper grate for my still, to use instead of hay. Looks something like the one that Uncle Jesse shows in his Sour Mash pictorial.
In Spain, they would collect the pressings after the first fermentation, and seal them in clay pots, for up to 6 months before distilling it all.
Luckily, in Spain, Grappa has not gotten the snob-appeal associated with it that it has here. Same nonsense that has happened to Olive Oil and Vinegar here. People buy these uber-priced, designer bottles, thinking that they are getting water from Lourdes or something! :roll:
Sorry, got on a rant.... Anyway, plain old hay will keep you from scorching the pressings.

punkin
Master Distiller
Posts: 2711
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Northern NSW Oz Trail Ya

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by punkin » Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:55 pm

It doesn't put a taste in the distillate?

What stops the hay from scortching, and why wouldn't it work the same on grape skins?

EuroStiller
Swill Maker
Posts: 241
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Italy

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by EuroStiller » Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:14 pm

punkin/Gogo: Carry over comment from the other section. My father is from Puglia. Puglia was under Greco control for quite some time. Greek is even still spoken there and was in our household. Tsipouro, as you stated, is made exactly like Grappa. Raki; however, is made like French Mark/ Clear Pastis. Interesting how lands not that far away from each other produce strikingly similar distillates from pommace. Amazing how word travels, huh! And they didn’t even have the Internet! LOL

MountedGoat: Yes of course they spray the grapes in Napa. Yes I know they are transported in refrigerated trucks. If you re- read my post, I actually stated that I've had to use small amounts of yeast (ec-1118) because of the lack of natural yeast on grapes here in the US. That and I wait until the Brix is almost at mold level (23) before crushing, just to be sure that I'm gonna get a natural starter. I cannot help the fact that I'm in Chicago for 8-9 months out of the year. You think I enjoy it? Like I don’t miss my own vines! The poor grapes here have suffered enough, why subject them to anymore-unnecessary sulphites. Besides, that shit gives make me sick to my stomach. If I had the opportunity to grow and pick my own vitis vinfera here I would and with out spraying! The closest thing is in Michigan, and it's all sprayed crappy Concord! I/ we have never once sprayed our vines back home, and have never once had any problems with Phylloxera, or any leaf or grape viruses! Not even during the blight of the late 1800's. Oh, I forgot to mention in college I took Oenology as an art elective for 2 years. Must have slipped my mind.

Punkin/Gogo, back to you: I don't see why it would be bad to use a grate on the bottom of the boiler if you are so inclined. If you do opt for a grate, use a non- reactive, non- corrosive metal. Inox (stainless steel) is probably you best bet. Easy to maintain and what not. However so long as you have plenty of water in there, and a good base of stems and stalks, you can go old school if you are so inclined.

blankindog: You bet you backside it's a pain in the ass! But when times were poor, you squeezed every last drop out of everything you could. Look at Grappa now! It’s just ridiculous. Paying for Grappa hurts almost as bad as paying for gasoline! I enjoy making Brandy too, but not here in America. I really don't have the set-up for it. I only do it when I go back home. Always plenty of good wine at the ready. Wood and coal fired copper still. Proper barrels and locations to age it in. I feel your pain though every year I make Grappa. But it’s a passion. Luckily, now I have my fiancé to do a lot of the dirty work, LOL. I'm kidding she loves it. Just don't get between her and the tapped wine barrel, yikes!

Ftero: Your Acquavita has not gotten much appeal or attention because it's like your wine, not worth mentioning! Sealing pommace in a pot for 6 months to me seem a bit like a recipe for methanol poisoning as the remaining yeasts finish off the sugars and begin to digest the fibers of the stems, seeds, and branches. In addition, what does this process contribute to your Acquavita? You neglected to tell us this when you blasted me!! If anything, I would think that it would impart some horrendous flavors. For the bottom of your boiler: ¿Me dice, usted prefiere utilizar el heno fresco o usado?

Just as France claims the word Champagne for is bubbly from that region. So should Italy have the exclusive right to use the word Grappa for pommace distilled on Italian soil. Everything else can be called Acquavita, since both terms mean the same. Lot's of people really do work hard to make some of the finest Grappa around. They deserve the recognition!

That's my rant and I'm sticking to it. I was asked to write this article, and I did. I will answer all questions as best as I can! And if ya don't like the facts well baby, that just too bad. :D Cuz that's just how this story goes!

Well, I have to be to work in less than 6 hours.
Untill the next b!t@h session.

EuroStiller- The Doctor

punkin
Master Distiller
Posts: 2711
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Northern NSW Oz Trail Ya

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by punkin » Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:33 pm

punkin/Gogo: Carry over comment from the other section. My father is from Puglia. Puglia was under Greco control for quite some time. Greek is even still spoken there and was in our household. Tsipouro, as you stated, is made exactly like Grappa. Raki; however, is made like French Mark/ Clear Pastis. Interesting how lands not that far away from each other produce strikingly similar distillates from pommace. Amazing how word travels, huh! And they didn’t even have the Internet! LOL
I think you have me confused with someone else, i've got no idea what you're talking about.
Punkin/Gogo, back to you: I don't see why it would be bad to use a grate on the bottom of the boiler if you are so inclined. If you do opt for a grate, use a non- reactive, non- corrosive metal. Inox (stainless steel) is probably you best bet. Easy to maintain and what not. However so long as you have plenty of water in there, and a good base of stems and stalks, you can go old school if you are so inclined.
I can't put a grate in my boiler, unless it was some kinda folding contraption. My boiler only has a 4" hole in the top of it.

punkin
Master Distiller
Posts: 2711
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Northern NSW Oz Trail Ya

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by punkin » Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:40 pm

Fennel grows wild everywhere round here...might try lining it with fennel tops.
The hairy stuff should protect the pommace from burning and give a nice aniseed hint to the grappa as well.

EuroStiller
Swill Maker
Posts: 241
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Italy

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by EuroStiller » Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:44 pm

Sorry, was trying to answer everybodys at once and got everybody mixed up. That, and I was a little pissed of. The fennel fronds will give you some flavor, but the seeds will give you alot more!

MountedGoat
Swill Maker
Posts: 267
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:21 am
Location: Mountains out west

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by MountedGoat » Fri Apr 25, 2008 11:46 am

EuroStiller wrote:
MountedGoat: Yes of course they spray the grapes in Napa.
Try Organically or biodynamically grown grapes if you aren't happy with all the spraying that is going on in California. Look into Sonoma County or the Central Coast for more cared for grapes, rather than Napa where you are mostly getting a name. Watch out for wetter areas as you will run into more mold problems, however if the vineyard takes proper care mold is easily avoided and is all right in small quantities.
I cannot help the fact that I'm in Chicago for 8-9 months out of the year. You think I enjoy it? Like I don’t miss my own vines!
Your location says Chicago, however you keep mentioning Italy, so I wasn't sure where you live during the harvest. Where are your vines located?
The closest thing is in Michigan, and it's all sprayed crappy Concord!
I just had a cab from there and it was floral and soft, which judging by your preference in lower Brix, might just be your type of wine :D Worth a try for the $20 it cost.
Oh, I forgot to mention in college I took Oenology as an art elective for 2 years. Must have slipped my mind.
Yep, it did. No matter though, as it does sounds as though you got a lot from it. Very informative once again. Thanks
water + sugar + yeast = wine

water + flour + yeast = bread

wine + bread = two things I can make at home

Ftero
Novice
Posts: 99
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 5:26 pm
Location: Pacific North Wet

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by Ftero » Sat Apr 26, 2008 5:27 am

Hey Punkin,
I don't know which mystical thermodynamic property keeps the hay from scorching, but it works.... and has for as long as my In-Laws can remember. grape skins and all. Hay is dry, and as such, doesn't scorch much I think. :) Oh, and they keep the stalks to a minimum, as they tend to impart more foul flavors to the batch apparently.

For those that are interested, here is a vague, interesting pictorial of the process:
http://www.copper-alembic.com/distilled ... rience.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

Eurostiller, You jumped to take offense, when none was directed your way. You have to be honest with yourself, and agree that here (in the U.S.A) the snob appeal associated with Grappa and Vinager is ridiculous. Go to a bar in almost any small town in Italy, and you can buy as much, fine Grappa as you can stomach, with none of the hoopla and cut-crystal bottles.
As far as the Spanish wine not being worth mentioning; well, you are entitled to your opinion. The vaguely veiled offense pointed my way, was uncalled for and rude, as was your following quip about whether I would use used (soiled) or new hay. Uncalled for and rude.
The anecdote that I included about how in ancient times, the Orujo would be sealed up in clay pots for months at a time, was included as a curious anecdote, that I thought might be interesting to others.
None of my comments have been in answer, or reference in the slightest way to any of your own posts.

punkin
Master Distiller
Posts: 2711
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Northern NSW Oz Trail Ya

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by punkin » Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:55 am

Thanks Ftero for the reply. It's interesting isn't it, i can't see what the difference would be between the wet stalks and the wet skins, but obviously it must be different or they wouldn't do it :lol:
Thanks for the reply, mate.

blanikdog
Angel's Share
Angel's Share
Posts: 4545
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:55 pm
Location: Bullamakanka, Oztrailya

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by blanikdog » Sat Apr 26, 2008 5:18 pm

EuroStiller wrote:Luckily, now I have my fiancé to do a lot of the dirty work, LOL.


Way to go, euro. :) :) :)

I live in a wine producing district and can occasionally get hold of a bit of 'poor' wines which I use for my brandy. I will never try grappa again until my wife will clean out the kettle after distilling. I don't think this will ever happen!!! :lol:

blanik


Some really informative postings by the way. Thanks. :) :)
Simple potstiller. Slow, single run.
(50 litre, propane heated pot still. Coil in bucket condenser - No thermometer, No carbon)
The Reading Lounge AND the Rules We Live By should be compulsory reading

Cumudgeon and loving it.

EuroStiller
Swill Maker
Posts: 241
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Italy

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by EuroStiller » Mon Apr 28, 2008 8:11 am

Sorry kids I would have liked to have responded sooner but my fiancé was nice enough to surprise me with a little get away weekend. She even went behind my back and got one of my partners to cover my on call for me. What a doll! So, back to the business at hand.

MountedGoat: You are obviously someplace along the west coast grape belt, Luck bastard! What is it then eh? California, Oregon?? Don’t answer that question, I’ll probably die of envy. I generally return to Italy for harvest, which tends to occur in my area, for the majority of my grapes, a bit earlier than here. Not only am I out in the fields, but my relative’s drive down from France to help and we also have hired help. I try to stay as long as possible, but I cannot be away from my practice for extended periods of time anymore. It puts too much stress on my partners. They all knew going in that I would be gone for parts of the year, so it was agreed upon. Our practice has grown at an astonishing rate and now it is becoming increasingly difficult to stay away for more than 2- 3 weeks at a time. Then I come back and do it all over again here! And I appreciate you advice on the use of organic/ biodynamic grapes! My family has been dealing with basically the same vendor since they came to America. My grandfather gave up practicing law because it was too difficult at the time for him to pass the US bar equivalency. So he did the second best thing he knew how to do, cook. He opened a restaurant and had a pizza delivery service out of the back. He made a ton of money. Probably more than he would have had he continued with law, and he was a much happier person. I will scout around and see what I can find. I would love to go organic. It would better fit in with my lifestyle. I do remember studying biodynamic farming methods with respect to viniculture; however, I hold no degrees in biochemistry. The entire process on the whole made some sense, but I just could not follow it. It was like my studies in pharmacology. When they explained homeopathy, I just laughed my head off. But back to the topic at hand, as I am quite easily sidetracked. I do appreciate you input! I'm going to look into some alternate vendors and see what I can find before it is time this year. Your input does not fall on deaf ears and I thank you!

blanikdog: Hey, even "poor" wine can be made into good, but not great brandy! If the wine is poor, just distill it to a higher abv then put it in a nice fresh char oak barrel. Don’t top off the barrel; give it a nice little pocket of air. Bug it up tight. Keep this barrel in a humid cellar, at least 40% humidity and try to keep the temperature constant (cool). You are going to loose some spirit, of course, to the barrel. Roll and rotate your barrel at least once a month. After at least a year, knock out the top bung, get a thief, and see if you are getting there. After a year you should have some "light" brandy. By the end of 2 years you could possibly have a product that is ready to be cut and kept as house brandy. And when you drain that barrel, have a new batch ready to go in right away. This way you don’t have to go through the trouble of preparing your barrel! But hey, that's my 2 cents. And that is not worth anything anymore! Glad to hear there are still other people making the classic spirits out there besides the usual rum, whiskey, etc. Cheers!

EuroStiller- The Doctor

phanmo
Novice
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:01 am
Location: Nantes, France

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by phanmo » Mon Jun 02, 2008 4:29 am

EuroStiller wrote:Hey, even "poor" wine can be made into good, but not great brandy!
Back when the town of Cognac was a shipping port, the boats going back to the Netherlands and Great Britain would load up with the white wine produced in the region. It was too bulky and fetched too low a price(being "poor" wine) to make it economically feasible , so they started distilling it to save space with the intention of watering it down to wine again upon arrival at the next port. Turns out that the bitter, watery white wine of Cognac makes pretty damn good brandy.

I also feel that knocking spanish wines is a little harsh. For a long time only the cheapest wines were exported whereas the very good wines stayed in Spain. Personally I love Riojas(I reckon tempranillo is one of the best grape varieties), and a good bottle of Cava from Catalunya rates up there with the best Vouvrays and Champagnes from France.
"I look up to the heavens for a ray of hope to shine; and there it is in neon: Liquor, Beer and Wine"

mbz250sl
Novice
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:02 pm

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by mbz250sl » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:00 pm

Thanks Eurostiller - great info but no recent posts???? Sipping my plum shine and thing about grappa - used my neighbors press the other week on my apples - which is now fermenting nicely under the house and have to pay the rent this weekend by helping him pick his Pinot grapes - he plans to treat a bunch of these grapes like white wine so I've got my mind set on using these skins and stems for grappa - thinking i'll fill my 5 gallon buckets , add water, sugar and some 1118 and let it go a few weeks and then run it in my pot still - I'm not big on the notes and he numbers but what should I be looking for in a starting gravity - don't want to add much sugar but like the higher yield for my efforts - saw some mentions on aromatics but not any specifics - would appreciate any new comments, thoughts, insights - thanks

mbz250sl
Novice
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:02 pm

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by mbz250sl » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:41 pm

Only problem with reading so much on the subject is that it creates more question - any thoughts on boiling the mix and cooling before adding the yeast????

MrD
Novice
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:31 am

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by MrD » Sun May 05, 2013 1:10 pm

Talking with a French winemaker over dinner last night and we both agree we must do a Grappa this year along with all the au de vie we can produce.
I got the lees from last years pressing, let settle, racked off the clear juice and did brandy, we enjoyed several glasses last night. Have a Cab and a Chard, the nose on the chard brandy is sublime. Saw a little time in white oak.

I've talked to a couple pros and they make a face when you ask about grappa, something about a "horrible mess". Anyway that said, what about a false bottom over the element? any known reason not to try this?

I can't see any reason to add the heads and tails unless they are adding something good.

My plan is to get the pomace, and a few gallons of fresh juice, do a clean ferment, course filter/rack and distill using 1 plate and and some copper scrubbies. try the same with 2 plates as a test. Does the pomace in the wash add something vital? will it come out like a rough brandy with-out the seeds and skins?

Maxime
Novice
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:12 pm

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by Maxime » Mon May 08, 2017 7:35 pm

I know this post is old but, could somebody help I got the same questions :shifty:

User avatar
engunear
Swill Maker
Posts: 309
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:01 pm
Location: Couch

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by engunear » Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:08 pm

A really old post, but in case someone else stumbles on it. There are some good posts. Here is a complementary view.

With grappa, you have to ask "what kind do I want"? I like Italian grappa, fruity and fragrant. With grapes, much of the flavour comes from terpenes, not esters. Terpenes have a boiling point higher than alcohol. They are quite robust chemically. Other terpenes include citrus oil, anise, juniper etc.

Italian Grappa is made from marc (left over stuff from winemaking) and is steam distilled, by law. It is steam distilled because otherwise it burns on the still, but its also "traditional". See also comments on false bottoms.

If you are making it at home, you probably cant get enough marc.

Get Muscatel grapes (not American Muscatels, which are not as aromatic). Getting as late in the season as you can, but before they turn to raisins. Flavour goes up as they ripen. Muscatel make the best raisins, but raisins do not make good grappa. White and black muscatels make good though different grappa.

Ferment normally, then strip. A double-bottom boiler is essential, skins above the false bottom. If it has fermented out, there is no tendency to stick on the element.

Then distil with a good fractionating column. Pull out the ethyl acetate. (Many Italian grappas have a lot of this. I don't like it.)

Then run into jars till it tastes watery. The last few jars - should be 200ml each - and taste like absolute shit. Thats party because the flavour is too strong.

So take the second half of the good tasting spirit. The first half can be used for Ouzo. (Since with marc most of what they have is skins the flavour is high. We can't repeat this so we use a column to get high flavour content.)

Blend back the flavours from earliest (light fraction) to latest. Do test batches with a syringe to measure accurately as if you were adding it back. You will find there is a point where the fruit is good and aromatic, and a point where it gets twisted and bitter. Find the point you like and mix the good tails with the second 50%. Try it a few times to be sure you are happy. Then discard the remaining tails, and the heads.

(I was really disappointed with my first grappa. Trying to work out why, I dumped some of the shit tails back. Mother's Milk!!!)

Enjoy!
Other people can talk about how to expand the destiny of mankind. I just want to talk about how to make whiskey. I think that what we have to say has more lasting value.

Anyone who tells you measurement is easy is a liar, a fool, or both.

User avatar
jonnys_spirit
Distiller
Posts: 1256
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:58 am
Location: The Milky Way

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by jonnys_spirit » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:58 am

Whoa! Wish I found this thread before I made my grappa.... All turned out well but I did a very simple recipe. I had pressed skins from three 5 gallon cab sav must buckets... That ended up being a five gallon bucket full of pressed skins... Added water to about 15 gallons or so and a bunch of sugar... Refermented then did two stripping runs with everything thrown into the boiler (220V 5500W element/controller) and ran it twice for my low wines then again on a spirit run... I'm very happy with what I got out of it and put it on oak... Tastes nice now (it is an acquired taste) and yield was about 2 gallons of 125pf.

Next time I make some I'll do similar but less sugar and more skins if I can get em...

Cheers!
-j
————
i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
————

Fraser
Novice
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:29 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by Fraser » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:57 am

I'm in the process of making a pomace brandy from white wine grapes. I'd hesitate to call it a grappa since that's really made differently than the method I'm using.

I took the pressed pomace of chardonnay, pinot grigio, reisling and tramminette grapes (no stems, just skins and seeds) out of the wine press and divided it into 30 gallon barrels. I filled about 1/3 of the barrel with the pomace and then filled it up with water until it was about 3/4 full. I let it sit overnight to rehydrate with the water and in the morning the barrel was pretty much full to the top with a dry cap floating on top.

I adjusted the pH to 4 and added some sugar to it along with some pectic enzyme, stirred it up really good and pitched in 60g of ec1118 per barrel. Punched down the cap every day.

After a week I press it out again and pump it into 500l tanks to let it settle down and finish any residual ferment that may be going on. I don't have a good temperature control in my spot so the temp fluctuates between 60-75 daily.

I'll probably end up with about 2000L of 10% abv small wine to work with to make a pomace brandy. I've already started stripping some of it out and I think it's turning out very nice so far. When I've got enough LW to take a spirit run it'll go through a short bubble plate column and then maybe into a barrel to age a bit. First time trying this out, but you can't beat free material to work with.
Attachments
PomaceBarrel.jpg
Bin.jpg
Sator Square Distillery
DSP-PA-20063

zach
Bootlegger
Posts: 142
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 8:42 am

Re: Grappa recipe and Process

Post by zach » Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:11 am

I made a small batch of grappa with 5 gallons of grapes of unknown variety that a neighbor let me pick. I removed most of the stems and crushed with a drill driven paint mixer. The grapes were smaller than table grapes, red and had seeds. The volume after the crush was only 2 gallons. I added 1.5 gallons of water and 2 lbs of sugar.

I punched down the cap daily during the ferment. The wine fermented to dry (0.995). I had a vacation to Italy planned before I could run the wine/pomace through the boiler. So I froze the pomace so it would not grow funky stuff . When I returned I put the pomace which included a lot of seeds and the wine into my boiler.

I have an induction hot plate with 5 gallon stockpot with a 3-ply bottom. I ran the 3.5 gallons on about 1 KW during heat up and 0.75 KW during collection. I discarded about 100 ml of heads/fores. I collected about 750 ml (@ 45 %) that I put in a bottle. I put aside 300 ml of tails that. I had no problems with scorching with all of the solids.

The flavor when I bottled it was pleasant but stronger than the grappa I tasted in Italy. It's at 6 weeks now and is starting to mellow out. If I had more volume I would have double distilled for a more refined product.

Post Reply