Instructables

Plum Wine

Step 1: To start:

Picture of To start:
I used:

The Boots Book of Home Wine Making & Brewing (New and revised edition 1978) Recipe 119 PLUM (dry)

42 red/black plums (4.5lb in the book, but I have no scales)
245g red grape juice concentrate (1/2 pint in the book)
1 Kg white sugar (2lb in the book)
1 tsp citric acid (juice of a lemon would be fine instead)
1 cup of strong tea (1/2 tsp of tannin in the book)
1 tsp pectolase
Campden tablets
1 tsp yeast nutrient (ammonium phosphate & sulphate)
1 tsp Super Wine Yeast Compound (i.e. yeast and nutrient as above, which in retrospect I didn't need...)

A 5 gallon / 25 litre bucket, with snap-on lid.
Electric blender (optional)
A long spoon
Two 1 gallon / 5 litre demis
1 fermentation lock
Siphon tubing

Step 2: Plums: preparation

Examine your plums, remove stalks, leaves and any which you would not eat (i.e. under ripe or mouldy)

Add plums to a food-grade bucket, and cover with boiling water (~ 5 pints or ~3 litres). This cleans, sterilises and softens the fruit. When cooled pour off the water.

Fun-part:
Wash your hands and squeeze out the stones, this will leave you with plum-mush and sticky-fingers.

Step 3: Before fermentation:

Add ~3 litres / 5 pints of cold water, and blend until 'soupy'. If you're not going to use the blender, just ensure the plums are well mushed.
Add 1 cup of strong tea (of the "English Breakfast" type, no milk, no Earl Gray) otherwise tannin if you have some.
Add 1 tsp of citric acid, or the juice of a lemon (as opposed to bottled lemon juice)
Add 1 tsp pectolase. This should 'digest' pectin within the fruit, which will otherwise give a hazy finish to the wine.
And finally, the book recomments 1 Campden tablet.
In water, these produce sulphur dioxide to sterilise.
Put the lid on the bucket and leave overnight.
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ilpug3 years ago
we get bushels of plums every year. might try this once i turn 21.
lemonie (author)  ilpug3 years ago
I believe that you only have to be 21 to drink it.
If you start now it can mature for a few years. (or be distilled and keep indefinitely)

L
shomas lemonie10 months ago
One should be careful about dispensing a recommendation like this. The laws can very substantially based on location. I live in Virginia US where It is illegal for any one under the age of 21 to purchase, possess, or drink alcohol. Virginia law does provide an exception for possessing or drinking in a home where an under-age drinker's parent is present.

If the region where he lives outlaws the possession even in the home without exceptions, then fermenting his plum could get him in trouble. On the other hand, if the law does provide for in the home exception then he might be able to drink, under parents supervision, any time he and his parents would like.
ilpug lemonie3 years ago
Ah, yes, you are right. I only have two years to go, so i might just do that. That would be a pretty good way to celebrate turning 21.
lemonie (author)  ilpug3 years ago
Yes, it might good idea.
(I'll ask my friend how he made wine with hemp, he thought that was great)

L

ilpug lemonie3 years ago
that sounds... interesting.
codyg1022 years ago
Just a note on the stones. Plums are one of a number of fruits that have a natural toxin in the stones (presumably designed to protect them from being eaten and not being able to make more trees) that can convert to hydrogen cyanide. It therefore seems wise to eliminate them from the process.

From the Canada Food Inspection Agency website:

"The kernels within the pits of some stone fruits contain a natural toxin called cyanogenic glycoside. These fruits include apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, plums and prunes. The flesh of the fruit itself is not toxic. Normally, the presence of cyanogenic glycoside alone is not dangerous. However, when kernels are chewed cyanogenic glycoside can transform into hydrogen cyanide - which is poisonous to humans. The lethal dose of cyanide ranges from 0.5 to 3.0 mg per kilogram of body weight. This is why it is not recommended to eat the kernels inside the pits of stone fruits."

The page this is taken from can be found here.
Wadesrd2 years ago
In all other wine recipes, heaps of sugar is added at this point? Is this what the concentrate is used for? Seems strange not to have any sugar in it here.
lemonie (author)  Wadesrd2 years ago
Grape juice has sugar in it, concentrated-grape juice has a lot more.

L
aidancurran2 years ago
Hello, lemonie and all! Thanks for the great instructons! I have 15kg of plums ready to go. I have a few questions you might be able to help me with:

1. Is removing the stones necessary? (as I said I have 15kg of plumbs) I was thinking about just mashing them a bit with the bottom of a pot inside a larger pot and leaving the stones in. Wondering if the stones cause undesirable flavours or bitterness if left in?
2. You mention at the end that it lacked tannin. Do you reckon is it that the cup of strong tea is not a suitable substitute of tannin or just that you didn't add enough tea?
3. When making grape wine degassing is another step. You don't mention degassing, is it not required for plum wine?

lemonie (author)  aidancurran2 years ago
Hi man. I don't know about the stones but I think they would be harmless.
I don't advise on tannin-flavour other than that batch didn't have enough.
Degassing I've never done (as a manual-process over letting the brew stand) and it doesn't seem necessary to me...

L
Thanks for the reply.

I ended up removing the stones after searching more online and reading that they could cause bitterness. But if I do it again next year, I think I'll try without removing them as it's a bit of a pain.

I used a cup of strong tea made with 4 teabags so we'll see if that covers the tannins... I've read that the tea tannin is not like the grape tannin. I have some oak chips too which are also a source of tannin so might add those as well at a later stage.

I will update my progress/results on my blog (http://beerandgarden.com), so bookmark it and check back in a year or so for the results!

Cheers,
Aidan
lemonie (author)  aidancurran2 years ago
Oak eh, that could be interesting, thanks.

L
AnnKenny2 years ago
Okay, here I am confused. We used no sugar for the first fermentation process (in the barrel) half the sugar for the second fermentation (transferring from barrel to demijohns - when do we get to use the rest of it? And, do you put the campden tablet in each bottle when you bottle the wine, or when straining the wine for a 3rd? time into demijohns?
lemonie (author)  AnnKenny2 years ago
Step 4: the sugar naturally present in the plums and the grape-juice concentrate.
Step 5: granulated sugar
(missing step): add the rest later after most of the first has fermented - I'll update later this month.

Well done for spotting that after so many years.

L
AnnKenny2 years ago
Thanks - I'll know for the next batch. I poured the water off for this one. Actually as the plums had been frozen and I didn't check that they had completely defrosted the water unfortunately wasn't all that hot on the plums for all that long. I had cleaned and washed the plums before I froze them though. I am up to the stage where I have added the yeast and nutrients and stirring 2x a day - which I started about 24 hours ago. It didn't bubble and froth yesterday, but this morning there was a red frothy layer on top which I stirred back in. Should I keep the snap-on lid slightly off, if I have an air lock set up in the top?
lemonie (author)  AnnKenny2 years ago
The air-lock will do, or just don't snap the lid completely.

L
AnnKenny2 years ago
As a complete newbie to winemaking, with a surfeit of plums I don't have room for in the freezer, I am a little confused with the water thing. Can you tell me why you need to pour off the boiled water and pour away all the lovely juice that has come out of the plums by pouring boiled water on them and steeping them until it is cool?
lemonie (author)  AnnKenny2 years ago
You don't need to pour the water off, but I treat this as a "hot-wash" in with the cooking / sterilisation.

L
psims13 years ago
OK how many gallons do this make please
lemonie (author)  psims13 years ago

What you see, 1 gal demis.

L
chuckr447 years ago
Is the purpose of a fermentation lock to let air out but not let air in? Could I use a balloon if I don't have a real ferm. lock?
hate to burst your bubble but I've tried several different types of balloons instead of the vapor lock, TASTED HORRIBLE, and smelled just as bad as it tasted, don't know why but I really hated to waste some great pear wine, 2 batches down the drain
you'll have better luck with the vapor lock
lemonie (author)  chuckr447 years ago
The lock is there to stop crap getting the brew. This includes dust, insects, air-borne bacteria etc. It ovviously has to let gas out while the brew is fermenting. Balloons also work, as past a certain pressure they will vent, but they close up at low internal pressure. L
mol19614 years ago
Great post! Thanks!!!
MUKKI4 years ago
Hi Lemonie,
I have just got my first batch of plum wine into the demijohn for the Stage 6 fermentation. The demijohn is half filled and was wondering if it is possible to making another batch of plum mash and then add it to the existing batch and let them both complete stage 6 for 5-6 week?

Also, during the stage 4 fermentation of my first batch the yeast clumped the fruit pulp together for the first 4 days, but on the 5th day the clumps of fruit and yeast sank to the bottom of the tub. Is this ok or do I have a bad batch?

Mukki
lemonie (author)  MUKKI4 years ago

Hi,

you could add more, I've done things like this, but I'd advise you brew them separately and blend the finished wines (if they taste right for it, you leave yourself options like that).

Step 4 image note says "clumpy", reminding me that mine did the same yeast/fruit thing as yours.

L
wenpherd4 years ago

You might have been asked this before but, what is the alcohol content?

lemonie (author)  wenpherd4 years ago
It was a long time ago, but ~12% v/v. It's proportional to the sugar concentration, a good wine-yeast and 3.5Lb within a gallon (imperial) done right and you're getting towards 20%

L
Ahh A dual airlock ! i got given some wine making stuff a few weeks ago and have only just Got round to researching what some of it is . Its a good idea just add water and go !
Please help a newbie (that's me) out: I am unclear from the instructions how much water to add (and when) in order to fill the 2 gallon jugs at the end (or am I misunderstanding that part?). If I follow correctly you end up with ~3L of water, but somehow you're filling 2 1-gallon containers, correct? Please advise... Otherwise love the instructions and am looking forward to utilizing all of these wild plums I have! :)
lemonie (author)  AldousHuxley5 years ago
Step 3 - ~3L of cold water, but consider that there's also the juice in the plums which adds more volume, this is what ends up in one glass container. There's a bit more liquid added in step 5 with the sugar. I had two of these because I did it twice (separately, about a week apart). Note the comment below: grape tannin would improve the balance of flavour. L
Hi, I've made plum wine for several years now and have figured out a great recipe. Basically it is similar to what you have posted but i used white grape juice concentrate instead of red, and reduced the amount of plums per gallon by 1/2 lb. Then added 1/2 lb of white raisens per gallon as a substitute. I ran all my fruit either through a blender or a grinder. The result was terrific fruity flavors! I think the white raisens filled in the blank as far as the tannins and added more body to the wine overall. It's something to try if you want. i also used Distilled water not tap water. I also used Lalvin ICV-D47 (Côtes-du-Rhône) yeast which allowed ripe spicy aromas with tropical notes develop.
lemonie (author)  Countrywines5 years ago
I'd agree with the raisins, sound recipe. This was experimental, and I like my tap water.

L
seraphus5 years ago
Great how-to. I was thinking about writing one for my own plum wine that I just made. My recipe: 3.5 lbs yellow plums (cal native, found in the hills, more acidic than normal) 1.5 lbs sugar 1tbsp grape tannin Used sodium metabisulfite instead of campden tablet, and Lavin K1-V-1116 Montpellier yeast to gun for a more fruity flavor. In the past I've used drier yeasts that wiped out the fruit flavor. (Champaign yeast is the worst for that) It also dominates the heck out of any wild yeast that might sneak through. Woot. I'm hoping for good results, as I just had to pour out 5 gallons of fig wine that got tainted somehow. (sadness)
lemonie (author)  seraphus5 years ago
Sounds good (campden tablets are sodium metabisulfite) - grape tannin is something I didn't have. Hope it gets to the stage of being drunk! L
xerxesx205 years ago
Good to see that the art of home-brewing is still alive! I too am a brewer. Ah, very nice looking I bet it tastes a treat too -- what's more I don't even like plums! I have been drinking my way through my second batch of cherry wine recently, it's delicious -- fairly strong too! Also been drinking my apple wine -- first batch. This instructable is well-written, not at all misleading, easy-reading informative and just generally a piece of p*ss! This makes the fermentation of solid fruit easy to understand -- rather than the slightly easier, but less tasty and slightly wasteful method of just using store-purchased nectar -- such as my cherry brew MK I&II (hangs head in shame -- I just don't have the space for a fermenting bucket really.) Another great addition to the instructables archives on the whole. :-)
bthistle5 years ago
did you cover the mix during the 5 day fermentation process? or leave uncovered?
lemonie (author)  bthistle5 years ago
It had a lid fitted, but not completely gas-tight. The thing has a 'snap-on' rim and I just didn't snap it tight all the way around

L
xxburton1826 years ago
What kind of plums are you using? It only took me 20 plums to reach 4.5 pounds. Not if I did as many as you recommend it'd be twice as many pounds. Just curious.
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