Tales from a newbs kitchen...

Information about fruit/vegetable type washes.

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Tales from a newbs kitchen...

Postby Gingerninjarick » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:31 am

This is a "from the hip" concoction I threw together with the little bit of learning I had before recently finding this goldmine of a forum! So I had about 5 cases of plums that were about to pass the squishy stage into rotting stage.. Got about 50lbs from 2 boxes. Squished each plumb by hand (so fun), 25 lbs made 3 gallons of mash in two separate 5 gallon fermenters. Topped the 5 gallon off with water bringing me to 2 gallons of water in each bucket.. I then moved both buckets into a 30 gallon fermenter. So at this point I have:
50 lbs plums (seeds and stems and skins) 6 gallons of mash
4 gallons of water
So roughly 10 gallons before sugar, yeast, etc.

I added 10 crushed Camden tablets and let it sit 24 hours.
I then added about 8 tsp of pectin enzyme and let it sit another 24 hours.
I boiled about 4 gallons of water and dissolved 10lbs of sugar and added it to my mash
So at this point I was at
50 lbs of plums
8gallons of water
10lbs of sugar

Checked my SG and it was a little over 1.050
I added 4 more lbs of sugar and for some reason 2 more gallons of water.
Now I was at
50 lbs of plums
10 gallons of water
14 lbs of sugar
And a SG of 1.070

I hydrated 30 grams of red star DADY and tossed it in with 30 tsp of nutrient (which now I realize I shoulder waited a bit before pitching yeast) it's been about 12 hours since and I'm waiting for a bubble. It's in a 32 gallon hdpe trash can with a decent sealing lid (if I push down on the lid I hear air hissing through the seal) I put an airlock in it just cause I like to see it bubble.

So.... I know this probably isn't a perfect recipe and lacks a lot of preparation... But I'd like your honest opinions on what I did wrong. I want to learn from my mistakes so far but I also want to know what I can do to improve. Bring on the constructive criticism! :lol:
Thanks in advance!!!!


To clear up the confusion.. added Camden tablets and sat for 24+ hours, then pectic enzyme and yeast, yeast nutrient. I shouldve waited a little longer between pectic enzyme and pitching yeast
Last edited by Gingerninjarick on Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tales from a newbs kitchen...

Postby Pikey » Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:00 am

Campden Tablets. Because of the distillation coming up, infection Doesn't worry us like it does wine and beer makers. They may still be inhibiting your yeast. Plums don't have much acid imo and yeast likes acid- perhaps 5 lemons or 5 tsp citric acid. Yeast has an aerobic stage, where it is breeding. It is quite important to get some oxygen into the wash - some splash it about - I use an aquarium air stone and pump for an hour on a ferment that size at the beginning. What temperature did you pitch the yeast at ? What is the temp now ?

It sometimes takes mine a day or two to start up - but that's quite a lot of yeast you put in - Some make up a starter bottle to see it working first then add the bottleful.

So 16 gallons of wash containing 50 lb plums - 3 lb / gallon and 14 lb sugar - less than 1lb / gallon. May be a little light on sugar, but many will say not.
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Re: Tales from a newbs kitchen...

Postby Gingerninjarick » Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:21 pm

ok, good to know on the camden tablets. I do have citric acid powder but did not add any. And I only use distilled gallon jugs of water. Would it hurt to open it back up and add some acid and give it a stir? Im thinking the directions on the yeast said 1-2 grams per gallon so i figured 30 grams +or- a gram or 2. Not 100% sure but if i had to guess 85-90 degrees when i pitched yeast. First yeast i ever used was red star white whine yeast. It said to hydrate in 95-105 degree cup of water for XX minutes so I did the same for the red star DADY. ferment stays in a room about 70-75 degrees. (Now i know more notes to take next time)
Is there a bottom line ratio fruit/water/sugar? At the time I was thinking as long as i had a 1.070 SG then i had a pretty good ratio of sugar/water for a decent brandy. Am I wrong here?
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Re: Tales from a newbs kitchen...

Postby Gingerninjarick » Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:15 pm

im reading "making a fruit brandy" by bushman and its making my brain hurt.. haha,

Would the 6 gallons of juice account for any added sugar?
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Re: Tales from a newbs kitchen...

Postby Gingerninjarick » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:51 am

OK so I peaked in the 32 gallon. No bubbles yet but there's a big frothy cap on top. THICK! like 2".. closed it back and checked on 2 other 5 gal fermenters that have only had 3 gals plums, 2 gals water, and pectic enzyme and they have the same cap.. :wtf:
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Re: Tales from a newbs kitchen...

Postby Mikey-moo » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:14 am

You won't get any bubbles in the airlock unless you have a perfect sealing lid. The fact that you can press down and here the gas escaping means you don't have a perfect sealing lid. But that aside, the thick cap means that it's all working fine. Just wait now :-)
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Re: Tales from a newbs kitchen...

Postby Gingerninjarick » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:15 am

Mikey-moo wrote:You won't get any bubbles in the airlock unless you have a perfect sealing lid. The fact that you can press down and here the gas escaping means you don't have a perfect sealing lid. But that aside, the thick cap means that it's all working fine. Just wait now :-)


Thanks mikey, I thought maybe the airlock would be the path of least resistance or I'd hear hissing (like when I push down on the lid) but what troubles me is the fermenting buckets that have not had yeast pitched yet have the same cap. It's mostly the plum skins and pup but it's frothy.. It's a shame yeast can't talk.. "hey guys I'm off to work, need anything?"
Yeast- " yeah, a little more sugar and could you bump the a.c. down a little.. it's about to get wild in here!!"

Hahaha get it? Wild... ahhhh I crack myself up..
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Re: Tales from a newbs kitchen...

Postby Gingerninjarick » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:26 am

20171002_105857-300x500.jpg


20171002_110448-300x500.jpg


Wife is gonna kill me! :shh:
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Re: Tales from a newbs kitchen...

Postby Gingerninjarick » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:36 pm

A little update... so I made another 15 gal plum wash and used more sugar this time.. it's still fermenting as of now. The first wash has been fermenting for 17 days. Tried to pull a sample from the first wash to check SG and it was a PITA to get enough strained to fill test tube.. so I pulled the whole first 15 gal wash... strained it into 5 gal buckets.. checked SG after straining AGAIN.... 1.020 :oops: either my ferment stalled or I pulled it too soon. When I open the fermenter it didn't have the thick cap on top and there was white "residue" on what was floating...
So far I've learned fermenting plums with pits, skins, pulp, stems is a HUGE PITA to strain.. :thumbdown:
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Re: Tales from a newbs kitchen...

Postby flatout » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:14 pm

Just my 2 cents Gingerminjarick.. I have attempted many fruit washes, with not much success. However, I can let you in on my thoughts.
Use a mesh bag for the fruit, make life easier.
Ec118 seemed to real knock the sg down for my berry washes, DADY stalled and I had to " kick start " by nutrients or yeast or sugar water dilution or water or citric and sometime all of the mentioned. Real PITA.
If your mash is sweet (1.02) and you are going to distill.... you may just get a batch of undesirables. That is my experience.
I don't usually have a big cap on the mash, but have read that many do ?
Some of my fruit mashes have been left as wine... and I add some other neutral from another batch and the final product turns out not too bad. I can taste the fruit flavours.
I used picked berries ( various ) start at sg 1.060 - 1.070 ( 20 - 25 c )and had many that stalled at 1.02 - 1.01. Using same ingredients as you.
So, I can make wine and not a very good mash as it seems.
I just ran a batch of berry mash, start same as others with ec118 yeast, finished at .990sg and was excited until I stripped, even stripping it should have been better. I didn't get any flavours other than hot yuck. I reflux tho. I will run this boat gas with my other feints and see what happens.
Feel your pain.
Try and try again, then give in and read the instructions.
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