Concord Brandy

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Honest_Liberty
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Concord Brandy

Post by Honest_Liberty » Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:58 am

Greetings folks!

Appalachia runs deep in my blood as does my Yugoslavian/Polish heritage. I come from a long line of hard working, alcohol making slavs. Maybe that is why I have always loved concord wine, despite what all the wine snobs out there say. It has always worked for my family and it certainly works for me.

I have been tinkering with how can I make affordable, good brandy outside of harvest season, without adding excess sugar...and then I discovered Costco 100% concord grape juice, NOT from concentrate, no added nasties!

(2) 96oz bottles, or 192oz for $5.99, so a 12 gallon wash will run about $50. Maybe not the cheapest option but since this sits at 8.5% potential alcohol I won't add sugar. But I need to change my yeast to a more dedicated wine yeast. Recommendations appreciated.

I'm going to run in my pot still once. My question though is whether I should add the feignts from the previous run back into each new run and whether I can add fresh juice to the old yeast bed. I would like to end up with 5 gallons at 55% for aging on oak after enough runs. I'm estimating $250 to make 5 gallons at 55%, which sounds reasonable enough for me to bulk age and keep as a high quality homemade brandy for years to come.

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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by StillerBoy » Mon Dec 09, 2019 1:57 pm

Here's a link on best yeast for fruit brandy, from our own in house expert " cranky"..
viewtopic.php?t=60985

Mars
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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by Honest_Liberty » Mon Dec 09, 2019 5:23 pm

thank you, that is a great resource!

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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by NZChris » Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:35 pm

If was planning on spending $250 on ingredients for any grape spirit, I wouldn't be running it once through a pot still. The commercial pot distillers who have been doing this for a long time don't do one run and done instead of doubles because they are stupid and need re-educating from forums and YouTube.

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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by cranky » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:03 pm

I have to agree with Chris, I seldom do single runs.

As far as yeast I don't know what your experience is with brandy making so you may need to go through a learning process with any fruit. Each fruit is different. I always recommend 1118 for learning on because it doesn't add or take away anything but if I were going to make something to age in a barrel I'd go with 1122. The reason for this is first it adds fruity esters, which I like and second it is a cold weather yeast and I live in a cold weather area and we are going into winter. The problem with 1122 is it adds fruity esters which makes cuts more difficult.

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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by Honest_Liberty » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:24 pm

I appreciate the input. You know, it is really frustrating me that I'm making decisions on information I thought I digested, but turns out I was completely opposite of what was said. I seriously can't understand why in the heck I'm tripping over myself. I wonder whether I'm reading too much and confusing myself, instead of having the threads up when I make decisions.

I recall reading this thread and swear to myself up and down I read about single runs on a pot still...
viewtopic.php?f=38&t=49916... then it is specifically mentioned NOT to do that.

then, you folks come here and remind me that I'm off base. I go re-read it and sure enough.... I'm 180 degrees INCORRECT! Ugh.
Paulinka sure is correct about the net day runs. good grief.

Thanks again.

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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by cayars » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:18 pm

I just bottled some wine made from Kirkland Signature 100% Concord Grape Juice (I think this might be the juice you are talking about) a couple of months ago. I was shooting for a decent low cost white wine and if it didn't turn out good, would become brandy.

I split the batch and used two different yeasts to see what the difference would be. I used Lalvin 1116 and 1118. 1116 had more body and tasted better to me (more esters), while the 1118 was "flatter" but still fine. I mixed them together and kept them as wine and eventually bottled them.

I originally wanted to use 71B & D47 (both likely better) but I didn't have them at the time so I used what I had. I'm trying these two in the next batch I make.

Considering you plan on making so much, why not break it up into smaller batches and test a couple of different wine yeasts to see what you like best? You won't go wrong trying any yeast mentioned in this thread.

While I did not distill this batch I have no reason to think it wouldn't have made a good brandy.
BTW, my potential ABV came out to 8.7% and I didn't add any sugar.
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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by Honest_Liberty » Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:45 pm

Cayars, thank you. My hydrometer read 8.5 so send fairly consistent.

I will indeed try the 1116, thank you.
I have 6 gallons of 18% I made from the Costco stuff, and I really like it, but it's handover Central.
I sanitized a bunch of 4L jugs and have it sitting up in my garage. There is a bite in Concord wine that isn't great but I've become accustomed to it. Do you pick that up with the 1116?

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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by cayars » Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:19 am

Nothing I'd call a bite or anything like that in my bottled wine but I added a smidge of sugar syrup. Dad likes sweet wines (coming around) and I prefer dry wines so I compromised a small amount. It had what I'd call a "tart/dry" like flavor before the very small amount of syrup was added. Could that be what you call a bite?

On the yeast front, I'd try 71B or D47 if you can, as I think they might be better than 1116 for making brandy as it will likely be a bit more flavorful.

BTW, I didn't mention but we did a couple of 3/4 gallon size batches with 96oz bottles from a few brands to see which one to use. We tried Welch's, Kedem, Kirkland and the Shoprite generic brand. I think most besides the Kirkland was made from concentrate. Kirkland for us came out on top.

I buy pickles in gallon size jars to have the glassware. I drill holes in the lids to be able to put an airlock in them. They make great mini ferment vessels for testing things like this. I scale back nutrients and yeast (ie about 5 grams) for these test batches. From juice to mashed fruits, a small mini batch is nice for testing.
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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by Honest_Liberty » Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:51 am

That's cool. I have a bunch of 4L Carlo Rossi jugs. I'm currently finishing a juice box wine with brown sugar, because I have giving my kids that garbage and it's been sitting in the pantry for a year. I'll clear it, let it sit for 2 months, and take the jug to my hunting camp for emergency alcohol.

I love Costco, but it's hit and miss. They have amazing coffee out here, pinon roast from New Mexico. Literally the cheapest and simultaneously best coffee I've ever had. Comes in under $4/lb. Friggin delicious.

Their Kirkland spirits are all trash, save for the 20 year scotch. That's actually a solid value

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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by Honest_Liberty » Sat Dec 28, 2019 11:16 am

So, I decided to oak what I had at 55% in the jug. I realized it was a combo of the original wine plus a rerun of the 1gallon of oaked product on burr oak.

I added a few pieces of 380F toasted oak heartwood and 400F toasted, 2/3rds respectively, with only one piece each being charred lightly. I wish I could fast forward a few months to get an idea of where it will go, but....patience

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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by NZChris » Sat Dec 28, 2019 11:39 am

I use this to test my oaking experiments.

viewtopic.php?f=44&t=55301

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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by Honest_Liberty » Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:22 pm

Holy crap! The grape flavor is extremely pronounced. I can't believe how much the aroma and flavor has carried through

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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by NZChris » Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:58 pm

I hope that's a good thing. I've never tasted Concord.

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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:41 am

NZChris wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:58 pm
I hope that's a good thing. I've never tasted Concord.
I would think that if you're inclined to run grapes through a still, getting grape flavor is always a win. If you don't like Concord grapes, what would possess you to want to make a brandy with them?
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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by The Baker » Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:46 am

ShineonCrazyDiamond wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:41 am
NZChris wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:58 pm
I hope that's a good thing. I've never tasted Concord.
I would think that if you're inclined to run grapes through a still, getting grape flavor is always a win. If you don't like Concord grapes, what would possess you to want to make a brandy with them?
I believe that the 'wine' used in France to produce brandy is quite unpalatable as just a wine.

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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by NZChris » Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:47 pm

After several tries, I hadn't managed to make decent wine out of the Black Hamburg table grapes that came with the property, so I tried making a brandy and it was good enough that I've been doing it every year since.

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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by Grappa-Gringo » Thu Oct 01, 2020 10:51 am

Concord grapes are growing at the end of the yard at my place .... My dad called them "uva Americana"..... "American grapes"...lol not great for wine, more of a table grape... Great for running through the still though!!!
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Re: Concord Brandy

Post by rubberduck71 » Mon Oct 05, 2020 12:43 pm

cayars wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:19 am
Nothing I'd call a bite or anything like that in my bottled wine but I added a smidge of sugar syrup. Dad likes sweet wines (coming around) and I prefer dry wines so I compromised a small amount. It had what I'd call a "tart/dry" like flavor before the very small amount of syrup was added. Could that be what you call a bite?

On the yeast front, I'd try 71B or D47 if you can, as I think they might be better than 1116 for making brandy as it will likely be a bit more flavorful.

BTW, I didn't mention but we did a couple of 3/4 gallon size batches with 96oz bottles from a few brands to see which one to use. We tried Welch's, Kedem, Kirkland and the Shoprite generic brand. I think most besides the Kirkland was made from concentrate. Kirkland for us came out on top.

I buy pickles in gallon size jars to have the glassware. I drill holes in the lids to be able to put an airlock in them. They make great mini ferment vessels for testing things like this. I scale back nutrients and yeast (ie about 5 grams) for these test batches. From juice to mashed fruits, a small mini batch is nice for testing.
Hmmm... Shoprite, eh? Methinks we are in the same region of the country! :wave:

Has anyone used Nottingham ale yeast with grape juice? It's excellent with apple juice conversion to cider.
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