Grappa - My first fruit wash

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decomissioned
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Grappa - My first fruit wash

Post by decomissioned » Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:08 pm

Having an abundance of free grape skins I decided my first non-sugar wash would be a grappa run. I picked up a Gott cooler full of some white wine variety skins that had just been pressed. The skins smelled musty, but still fresh. Here was my procedure:

Loosely fill an 8 gallon fermenter full of skins.
Invert 8 lbs of cane sugar in 2 gallons of water. I think I might have used too much sugar.. i think it should have been closer to 4-5 lbs. [Comments?]
Add 2 gallons of ice water to give 4 gallons of slightly warm (85-90F) water.
Poured this over the grape skins in the fermenter to fill.
No yeast was added.
Covered and airlocked.

The first week the airlock went nuts. You could hear it downstairs across the house. I eventually had to put the fermenter on top of a few towels to insulate the sound so I could sleep. The next week it slowed down. Once it was burping once every 10 seconds I racked off the secant wine and tossed the skins into the compost. I let the wine continue on its own for another few days. It kept on fermenting, burping every 15-20 seconds. At the two week total ferment time mark I racked into the still and ran it real slow in my Mile Hi Mighty Mini 3 gallon. My 4 gallons of water gave me about 2.8 gallons of clearish wash so I just ran the one batch. I ran it pretty slow, about 700 watt without any packing in the column and the jacket cooler turned off completely for the entire run.

I was expecting to pull off 65% ABV or so to start, but it was upwards of 70% and stayed there for quite a while. My column is uninsulated so maybe I was getting some unintended reflux? I collected 8 mostly full half-pint jars at above 40% abv. I kept capturing down to 20% for the feints jar, and got another 3 mostly full jars. Just went and checked my jars and most of them are only about 3/4 full.. so that would mean I have around 1.8 liters. Seems high for a 3 gallon still. Then again, this is everything that came out of the still minus fores. Heads, hearts, tails... Does that sound right?

In the next day or two I'll do my blending. So far though, I can tell you hands down this is the best run I've had to date. Granted I'm still a newbie, but this run has me excited all over again!

If the Legends of the craft would care to critique my process I will accept all comments graciously. I checked my ego at the front door and just want to get better.

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Tater
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Re: Grappa - My first fruit wash

Post by Tater » Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:58 pm

Sounds about right for the sugar used .Nice when ya get something ya like .
I use a pot still.Sometimes with a thumper

blind drunk
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Re: Grappa - My first fruit wash

Post by blind drunk » Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:30 pm

I really want to do the grape skin ferment again, but every time the skins are available, I'm a little too busy with other work stuff. But damn it, it's what I really want to do. Exciting thing you did there. Congrats. bd.
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Re: Grappa - My first fruit wash

Post by Hutch- » Fri Oct 22, 2010 2:29 am

Sounds about right although I tend not to add sugar and distill the whole lot going for a more traditional approach. Clean up is much easier going your route by fermenting and distilling a second run wine. Blending is the tough part, remember your 9th jar may be garbage, but 10 and 11 just fine. The must I got from the winery this year was unpressed (60 odd gallons of white grapes), so I completed fermentation and pressed going for a brandy. I plan to age some on oak for a cognac style end product. I've done this in the past, most everyone who's tried it asks for a bottle. I found that grappa/brandy lends its nicely to aging with a handful or 2 of raisins and even a vanilla been, those of us without oak barrels have to cheat. That said, I drink most of it white.

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Re: Grappa - My first fruit wash

Post by Braz » Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:09 am

Hutch- wrote:I found that grappa/brandy lends its nicely to aging with a handful or 2 of raisins and even a vanilla been, those of us without oak barrels have to cheat. That said, I drink most of it white.
A question Hutch, I have 5 L of apple brandy aging in glass with some oak. I put a few raisins in it (like 20) but don't want to go overboard with them. How many would you recommend I put in a 5 L batch?
Braz

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Re: Grappa - My first fruit wash

Post by Hutch- » Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:29 am

Braz,

I've never been one to take measurements or keep detailed records, but for about the same amount of grape brandy I believe I added half a cup of white raisins. I wasn't too concerned as both my product and the raisins were from grapes. For you I would only want to add to the complexity of the apple not overpower or mask it. I know some folks add just a touch of maple syrup to their thin wash whiskey, seems like that might be a good compliment to the apple.

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Re: Grappa - My first fruit wash

Post by goose eye » Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:25 pm

them rasins is gonna take in some likker

so im tole

SuburbanStiller
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Re: Grappa - My first fruit wash

Post by SuburbanStiller » Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:08 pm

Are they good eating afterwards or do they turn nasty?
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Hutch-
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Re: Grappa - My first fruit wash

Post by Hutch- » Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:34 pm

SuburbanStiller wrote:Are they good eating afterwards or do they turn nasty?
They're good eatin'. Never used enough to worry about how much alcohol they took up.

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Re: Grappa - My first fruit wash

Post by Phantom_SixZero » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:17 am

sound like you have a keeper. I'll have to give it a try some day

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Re: Grappa - My first fruit wash

Post by mdaquino » Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:53 am

If you want to try something really interesting, fill some 1.5L mason jars with raw cranberries and then fill to the top with your grappa. Let age until the grappa is dark red, and then then squeeze the grappa and cranberries to get all the grappa out. The flavor is absolutely amazing and rivals a very high end wine but with quite a bit more kick.

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Re: Grappa - My first fruit wash

Post by mjstorm » Mon Dec 27, 2010 11:39 pm

I'll be impolite, to say that in Spain,
good Grappа prepare from not dry skins.
Skins , that remained after the wines are still around
30-40%grape juice, if specially configured to manufacture grappa - 60% juice.
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My favorite weekend first breakfast: coffee and handmade grappa
My favorite weekend first breakfast: coffee and handmade grappa

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Re: Grappa - My first fruit wash

Post by Hutch- » Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:17 am

mjstorm wrote:I'll be impolite, to say that in Spain,
good Grappа prepare from not dry skins.
Skins , that remained after the wines are still around
30-40%grape juice, if specially configured to manufacture grappa - 60% juice.
Where my family is from they call such a product lozova rakija or simply loza. This is some combination of fruit/wine/pomace. There is a distinction from pomace only, called komovica, which is the same as grappa. I've made both many times and find little distinction in the end product when comparing product from the same grape varietal(s).

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