Introduction: Making Fruit Brandy
This is my basic fruit wine and brandy recipe, from fruit selection to fermenter, to still, to aging, to blending, to the bottle, then your belly.
Works for all fruits!
*With watermelon, it’s a 1:1 juice to water ratio.
*With bananas, mash them up into 1/4" chunks.
*The bananas are perfectly ripe when they have lots of small freckles, and there's a little bit of green still around the stem.
•One part fruit juice to two parts water and 2.5- 3 pounds of cane sugar per gallon of mash.
•Select only good, ripe fruit. Cut out any soft spots, and don’t use any with mold on it. The more ripe and better tasting the fruit, the better the wine, the better the brandy.
•Cut your fruit up into chunks and puree it in a blender. Some fruits that are more pulpy, like apples, need some water added to loosen it up. You only need to add a cup or so.
•Strain the puree into the fermenter through a strainer or a jelly bag. You can find them on Amazon.
•Add your sugar to the juice and stir it in until it’s mostly dissolved.
•Put all of the pulp into a stock pot, then add enough water to cover the pulp, about an inch above the pulp.
•Boil the pulp for about 30 minutes, then strain the liquid into the fermenter.
•Top it up with the remainder of your water and let it cool to 80°F.
•If you’re using distiller’s yeast, pitch it now.
•If you’re using wine yeast, get your starter ready according to the directions on the sachet. When the time is up, stir it up real good and pitch it.
•Thoroughly stir in the yeast, then cover and airlock it.
•If you’re using distiller’s yeast, it should go 5- 8 days.
•If you’re using wine yeast, it should go 10- 14 days.
•Once it stops bubbling, check on it a few times a day for three days to be sure it’s stopped. Thump on it with the heel of your fist a few times to help work out the CO2.
•Now set it up on a counter or workbench and don’t touch it for 7 or 8 days. Let it settle.
•Siphon it off into a clean, sanitized fermenter, being very careful not to disturb the sediment on the bottom. Leave a half inch of liquid in the bottom to be sure you don’t suck up any sediment.
•Reserve some of the wine to blend back with the distillate. (For example: I usually reserve a gallon and a half and run about 8.5 or 9 gallons. I get a gallon and a half of 120 proof booze out of it. I’ll blend a gallon with the booze and have 2.5 gallons of fruit brandy.)
•Pour your wine into the still and slowly bring it up to heat. It should take about an hour to start dripping.
•Collect one fluid ounce per gallon of wash in the still, then make your head cut. For example: If you have five gallons of wash, collect the first five fluid ounces that drip out. Use it to light your grill.
•As you collect the hearts of your run, pour all of the booze in one big container to blend the whole run. This balances the flavor and proof.
•Run it down to 80 proof and make your tail cut. The final proof of the whole run blended should be around 120- 125. Usually about 122.
•Now run it down to 40 proof and shut it down. Save the tails to re-distill later.
•I do not carbon filter brandy. It takes out some flavor elements.
•Sweeten the wine with cane sugar just enough to bring out the fruit flavor, not enough to make into Kool-Aid.
•Blend the wine into the booze until it tastes right to you. Cut it almost in half.
•After you siphon it off the first time, let it settle for a month and siphon it off, then another month and siphon again. The clear wine will have a cleaner flavor when you distill it without all of that yeast.
•Reserve some wine and run the rest.
•Age the distillate for two or three months with un-charred white oak chips.
•Once the booze is nicely aged, siphon off the wine again and sweeten it to taste, then blend it.
The short process only takes a month, and makes fantastic brandy.
The optional process takes a total of 5- 6 months, but makes a phenomenal brandy
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