Grappa

Moderator: Site Moderator

YukonJack
Novice
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:23 am

Grappa

Post by YukonJack » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:25 pm

Okay, here is what I have and before we go any further just know that in the end this will not be a completey true Grappa because I use an electric element and will not be distilling on the skins. Through a great connection I was given approx 44 gallons of freshly pressed grape must. The grapes are sangiovese. I will admit that through the excitement of getting the must, I did not calculate how much I was getting. Had to get two 44 gallon fermenters last evening when I returned home. I loaded 22 gallons of must into each container and then appox 20 gallons of water. After further discusions with my source, I decided to add 7 lbs of inverted sugar to each batch, as well as 2 tablespoons of DAP and 2 B Complex tablets. I have been planning grappa for several years and have searched and read any topic on HD and have never come across anything close to a real recipe, so I am kinda going on this slightly unsure where to go next. Obviously, this was fresh and had a strong yeast population (i started working quite quickly), but it was suggested I add Uvaferm 43 just in case. These things were bubbling like crazy. I have been knocking down the cap to help get more skins in the juice for flavor. I know there should be plenty of residual sugars left in the skins, but am second guessing myself about whether or not to add more sugar? Any suggestions? Also, just to cover a few questions that might also come up, yes there are so stems and a lot of seeds are in there. I am not going to be able to get many of these out because they were pressed by a commercial press and were tighly compact intially and have now sunk. This is more of an experimental run on this and many more oppurtunities to get more must. Thoughts are always welcome. Thanks I think that should cover everything for now.

User avatar
NZChris
Master Distiller
Posts: 8552
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:42 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Grappa

Post by NZChris » Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:12 pm

I've always removed the stalks while treading as I heard they can give a grassy note, but some deliberately leave them in because they like that.

For any brew, decide on your target OG and do whatever you need to do to get it. The % of sugar in the skins isn't worth worrying about.

Seeds float to the top and I scoop them off when stirring the chapeau in over the first three or four days. I have no idea if it improves the final product, or not. After that I airlock it & don't touch it until I'm sure the ferment is over.

I reckon the 'real' recipe is the one that makes grappa that you like out of grapes you have access to.

Next season, I'll freeze some backset to play with. I have never heard of anyone doing that, but if the backset tastes ok, it could be worth a gamble.

Coyotex
Novice
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:21 pm

Re: Grappa

Post by Coyotex » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:59 pm

I'm more of a lurker and not a poster, but I would like to add my two cents here about the sugar. My family has always added a LOT of sugar to our "mix". For instance, you are using 2x22lbs of grape pressing, right? Then added 7lbs of sugar? We would have added at least 20lbs of sugar to our stuff.

Now granted, we are more old school and do not measure % of anything, we just eyeball it and taste it. Is this the right way to do it? I'm not sure, but it's been working for us for years.

So, if you ask me, I would say use more sugar than the 7lbs. But I could be totally off my rocker as well.

Great job with everything else and I'll be looking to see how it all turns out!

MDH
Distiller
Posts: 1001
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:33 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Grappa

Post by MDH » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:15 pm

Grappa di Merlot is the best I have ever had, regardless of who makes it. Grappa di Concordia is very unknown and there are only about two or three brands in all of Italy that make it, one I had I liked very much.

When I personally make Grappa, I add only a pound of sugar to every four or five pounds of pomace.

For white grape Grappa I always leave it the stems in.
The still is not a liar. Mash and ferment quality is 99.9% of your performance.

Coyotex
Novice
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:21 pm

Re: Grappa

Post by Coyotex » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:49 pm

MDH, I'm curious about how much grappa comes out with the sugar you use. If I read correctly, if you had 25 lbs of pomace, you would use 5lbs of sugar, right? How much product would you get out of that mixture?

I'm wanting to lower my sugar intake,but I'm afraid I would sacrifice product for it.

YukonJack
Novice
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:23 am

Re: Grappa

Post by YukonJack » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:15 am

NZChris wrote:I've always removed the stalks while treading as I heard they can give a grassy note, but some deliberately leave them in because they like that.

For any brew, decide on your target OG and do whatever you need to do to get it. The % of sugar in the skins isn't worth worrying about.

Seeds float to the top and I scoop them off when stirring the chapeau in over the first three or four days. I have no idea if it improves the final product, or not. After that I airlock it & don't touch it until I'm sure the ferment is over.

I reckon the 'real' recipe is the one that makes grappa that you like out of grapes you have access to.

Next season, I'll freeze some backset to play with. I have never heard of anyone doing that, but if the backset tastes ok, it could be worth a gamble.
NZChris,
Thanks for the insight. From reading, I thought that there was a good % of fermentable sugars are still in the skins. I think Odin said around 55%. This is where I am worried. Again my biggest problem is that I couldnt get an SG due to the solids and at the start I wasnt prepared with an refractometer. I did order one yesterday and should have by tomorrow. This will help to solve my worries on the sugar. I have been stiring the cap back in to help with the grape flavor. This again is the big problem, more sugar means less grape flavor gets carried over. Yet, as I said this is still an experiment and I can easily get more must. Like the idea of backset, I am toying with the idea of pulling some backset from the run of this wash, and pouring it back into the must I have and doing another wash with this must. It would probably be more of a sugarwash and I would try to make a vodka with it, similar to Ciroc. At least an attempt.

YJ

YukonJack
Novice
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:23 am

Re: Grappa

Post by YukonJack » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:27 am

Coyotex and MDH, thanks for the responses. Both of them are on either end of the spectrum. Coyotex, so you have had great results of the years with adding that much sugar? Did it ferment dry? How fast did it take to finish? MDH, how much product were you able to pull from just adding 1lb of sugar?

As far as an update, I did decide to add 5 lbs more this morning. I'll see how it looks tomorrow, once I take a refratometer reading. Going to use a converter posted on another thread, I think by Jimbo, which can convert brix to SG. Again, not out of laziness, but shear impossiblity did I not remove the stems and seeds. The large quantity and tight compact from the press just made the task to difficult.

From some nudging from another memeber, I'll get some pictures taken tonight and posted up here. Thanks

YJ

MDH
Distiller
Posts: 1001
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:33 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Grappa

Post by MDH » Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:57 am

Ideally you will get around a liter and a half of pure alcohol from 25 pounds of pomace to 5 pounds of sugar. Consider that with good cuts you will only keep about as little as thirty to at most fifty five percent of your run as hearts.
The still is not a liar. Mash and ferment quality is 99.9% of your performance.

User avatar
NZChris
Master Distiller
Posts: 8552
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:42 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Grappa

Post by NZChris » Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:38 pm

What I meant about not worrying about the sugar bound up in the skins, is that because skin is only a relatively small component of your total must, the sugar in it isn't enough to alter your sugar% enough to cause a problem.

Refracts and hydrometers will not give you an accurate reading of a partially fermented must as they are then measuring three components, not two.

If you wanted, you could roughly calculate your total sugar from the sugar% of the pomace (ask your supplier), plus what you added, then work out your original % from that. I aim for around 20%.

Adding sugar doesn't stop flavor being carried over. It increases the amount of alcohol that you make, therefor diluting the available flavor.

YukonJack
Novice
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:23 am

Re: Grappa

Post by YukonJack » Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:14 am

NZChris,
Thanks for the response. You finally made a light bulb go off in my head! I kept hearing more sugar = equals less flavor. I just didnt grasp what it really meant. You are dilutiing the grape flavor because you are making more alcohol. Thanks for the help, I dont know why it wasnt clicking.

YukonJack
Novice
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:23 am

Re: Grappa

Post by YukonJack » Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:20 am

I wanted to post some pics of the ferment so far....but I am having trouble uploading the pics. Any advice?

User avatar
Bushman
Global moderator
Posts: 15175
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:29 am
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Grappa

Post by Bushman » Sat Sep 21, 2013 7:47 am

We have a limit on size so that would be my first guess. But if it how to upload here is a reference.
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... d#p6908774

YukonJack
Novice
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:23 am

Re: Grappa

Post by YukonJack » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:01 am

two fermenters
two fermenters
Cap prior to punching it
Cap prior to punching it
Up close picture of cap - you can really see the skins
Up close picture of cap - you can really see the skins

YukonJack
Novice
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:23 am

Re: Grappa

Post by YukonJack » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:12 am

Punching the cap down
Punching the cap down
just to give you an idea how thick the cap is. The paddle is 24 inches, all but 2 are needed to push this down.
just to give you an idea how thick the cap is. The paddle is 24 inches, all but 2 are needed to push this down.
halfway through knocking down the cap
halfway through knocking down the cap
Process complete. Notice the juice color, it is much darker now
Process complete. Notice the juice color, it is much darker now

YukonJack
Novice
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:23 am

Re: Grappa

Post by YukonJack » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:16 am

Bushman, thanks for the help. It was the picture size and I couldn't get it taken care of till this morning. Hope the pictures help. I am now at a total of 19lbs of suger per each container. I last punched the cap down last night and will not be doing so anymore. The ferment is slowing a little and I will now just wait to let it fall. Depending how things go I hope to rack off this week to a few carboys to let it some of the solids clear out. I am using a "Sandhog" element, any opinions on scorching? I am not sure if I am comfortable in risking not clearing out the solids prior to running this. Anyhow, more pictures to come. Thanks

YJ

User avatar
Odin
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 6844
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:20 am
Location: Three feet below sea level

Re: Grappa

Post by Odin » Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:52 pm

Are you going to distill this in a water jacketed still?

I am currently making a sort of grappa from raisins. Higher in sugar, so you need less. Makes it easier to work with. WOW, that's like a thick soup you have there!

Odin.
"Great art is created only through diligent and painstaking effort to perfect and polish oneself." by Buddhist filosofer Daisaku Ikeda.

YukonJack
Novice
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:23 am

Re: Grappa

Post by YukonJack » Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:45 pm

Odin,
Thanks for replying and I was hoping you would. No, I will not be using a steam-jacketed still, although I am looking into plans to do so in the future. I will be using an internal electric element to run this. Yeah, it is pretty thick. Here is a question for you, from a grappa newbie, should I keep punching the cap or just wait now and let it fall? Thanks

YJ

User avatar
Odin
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 6844
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:20 am
Location: Three feet below sea level

Re: Grappa

Post by Odin » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:37 pm

Let it fall. But ... sometimes it only falls for like half. Check SG. If it is done, it is done and if there's cap still syphon from between top and bottom.

Odin.
"Great art is created only through diligent and painstaking effort to perfect and polish oneself." by Buddhist filosofer Daisaku Ikeda.

YukonJack
Novice
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:23 am

Re: Grappa

Post by YukonJack » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:36 am

Thanks, I'll post some more pics once the cap falls, move the juice to carboys, and press the solids. Thanks

YJ

User avatar
Grappa-Gringo
Swill Maker
Posts: 394
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:44 pm
Location: North of 49th/PNW

Re: Grappa

Post by Grappa-Gringo » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:25 am

Those are great photos... my father used a 2x2 kinda stick that he rounded out on one end *the handle... and on the other end, nailed in 3 inch nails.. about half way in..alternating the spaces on each side. This made for a great mixing stick, so to speak. He used it to punch down the grapes when they rose up in the barrels.... then after a few days he'd syphon out the juice that was at the bottom, and then press the skins to obtain more juice.... then the grappa... but that's another story...lol
They say, "you are what you eat"... Then I'm fast, easy and cheap!

YukonJack
Novice
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:23 am

Re: Grappa

Post by YukonJack » Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:51 pm

Thanks GG, I appreciate any feedback. As for my punching tool, I just used a large paint mixer attachment, not as planned, but it is what I had handy. Works pretty good. I love punching the cap, amazed to watch is fall and all the gas be released!!!

YJ

User avatar
NZChris
Master Distiller
Posts: 8552
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:42 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Grappa

Post by NZChris » Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:31 am

I only have internal elements, so I put mine through a wine press when the ferment is over. If you don't have one, ask your supplier if he will do it for you. If he won't, do it the hard way .... wring it out through the shirt you hate the most.

I don't like the idea of introducing oxygen once the ferment is well under way, so I don't punch the cap down after day four.

User avatar
NZChris
Master Distiller
Posts: 8552
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:42 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Grappa

Post by NZChris » Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:52 am

Is that 'another story' here somewhere, Grappa-Gringo? I've done a bit of a search and didn't find it and I'm betting your Dad knew more about grappa than I do.

I have thought about pressing the pulp at around day four, but I've never tried it for fear of pumping too much oxygen into the must. I just ferment it out on the skins to extract as much skin flavor as it can get.

YukonJack
Novice
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:23 am

Re: Grappa

Post by YukonJack » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:39 am

NZChris,
Thanks for suggestions, my supplier is a bit of a drive from me. He was going to bring a small bladder press this past weekend, when he was in town, but it didnt happen. Looking at a ratchet press now. I punched the cap on last time last night, at day 7. Ferment is still going strong. Next time I might stop punching after day 4. My supplier told to punch until it stops rising. So we will just see. I'll keep updating. The juice has continued to dark, still very milky looking. Next varieties I hope to do will be 2 different Zins and a syrah. Thanks

YJ

User avatar
NZChris
Master Distiller
Posts: 8552
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:42 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Grappa

Post by NZChris » Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:30 pm

Sometimes I haven't bothered to press it. Figured it wasn't worth the effort for the small amount of extra alcohol. I've also just chucked some more sugar and water on top of the unpressed skins and made a quick near neutral.

YukonJack
Novice
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:23 am

Re: Grappa

Post by YukonJack » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:22 am

NZChris, Thanks again for the response. I am planning to add more sugar to this pommace once I press and do a neutral. Right now this is still going and I am just waiting for it to finish and then I will press it.

YJ

YukonJack
Novice
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:23 am

Re: Grappa

Post by YukonJack » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:49 am

Thanks ZB, each has it positives and negatives. I will I had a steam-jacketed boiler, would make the decision much easrier!!! Looking into this posiblity, but that is down the road.

One of the fermenters seems to have developed a small infection overnight, looks like Candida Mycoderma. I can not rack these of or run them till this weekend. Had no choice but to add more sugar to get the yeasts going and added more citric acid. Seemed to clear it up pretty quickly. When I last puched the cap Tuesday night, I hit the now infected one first, then hit the second one. As a precaution, I added a little more sugar and half as much citric acid to the seemingly fine one. I was afraid I had contaminated it. See below, for a picture taken around 5pm yesterday, by 9 the infection had gotten a lot worse, before I went to work on fixing it.
beginnings of an infection
beginnings of an infection
My plan is to let it work off the additional sugar now and press/rack this weekend. I will let it clear a few days before running.

YJ

User avatar
NZChris
Master Distiller
Posts: 8552
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:42 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Grappa

Post by NZChris » Thu Oct 03, 2013 4:15 pm

Candida Mycoderma is aerobic, so if that is what you have, you are letting oxygen into your fermenter at a stage when most of us would have it sealed and airlocked.

Distilling is the best cure for Candida Mycoderma

I don't know how adding sugar could be a remedy. If you have added too much sugar you may slow down, or stop, the desirable yeasts and encourage the Candida, and the longer the ferment takes, the more chance there is for something to go wrong, especially if you can't resist the temptation to keep opening the container and fiddling with it. Did you measure your SG before adding sugar? It might have been ready to distil.

Adding sulphites will stop Candida Mycoderma, but will give you sulphur compounds in your final product, so don't do it unless you like rotten egg smell.

You should not be disturbing the uninfected container after you have been stirring the infected one because of the risk of cross contamination.

YukonJack
Novice
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:23 am

Re: Grappa

Post by YukonJack » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:57 am

Been real busy this week and havent had time to post updates. I pressed both fermenters last weekend. Ended up with about 45 gallons, in three carboys for set for clearing. I must have had a residual sugar in the fruit because they have been bubbling away this week, so havent quite started to clear. I then dumped the pressed pommace (now pressed twice) back into the 44 gallon fermeters, added 50 lbs of sugar, 8 b vitamins, 2 cups lemon juice, 20 gallons water, and finished out using the Uvaferm 43 yeast again. As I previously stated, plan to use this to make a nuetral.

I hope the first 45 gallons will ferment dry this weekend and begin to clear, I hope in 5-6 days. Since I am planning to make this into a grappa and will be using my reflux column. Should I completely detune or leave 1 or 2 copper scrubs in it? Again, this is a 3" column, which I use 6 rolls of mesh approx 6 inches tall each. Thanks

Here are some pics...
loading the press
loading the press
siphoning into 15 gallon fermenter. to give you an idea of the color
siphoning into 15 gallon fermenter. to give you an idea of the color
two of the 15gallon fermenters
two of the 15gallon fermenters

User avatar
Odin
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 6844
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:20 am
Location: Three feet below sea level

Re: Grappa

Post by Odin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:05 pm

Beautiful!

What's the SG?

In a way the sugar addition may cause the taste transfer to be less. Especially if you ferment/distill without the skins present.

Mine took 3 weeks to ferment dry ...

Odin.
"Great art is created only through diligent and painstaking effort to perfect and polish oneself." by Buddhist filosofer Daisaku Ikeda.

Post Reply