Winemaking! Anyone?

HamiltonGardener

I'm sure I am on the wrong forum but... if anyone can provide a quick answer I would appreciate.


I'm making apple liqueur (I know, not exactly wine, but close enough) and must have had too many underripe apples. My liquid was "thick" and as I suspected, the liqueur is starting to gell a bit.


I understand winemakers sometimes have to deal with pectin problems.


What can I do to break down the pectin?

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maifleur01

Well a liqueur is different from a wine. Most are alcohol, fruit, and sugar. Some have other things but the alcohol, fruit, and sugar is the base and they are not fermented. You may have to heat a portion of the liquid to break down the pectin then add additional liquid.

Have you removed the apples from the mix? Sometimes just agitating will help.

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patriciae_gw(07)

Alcohol plus pectin can mean gloop. Why your solution is gelling I cant say but I do know that if you are testing for the amount of pectin in your fruit syrup you can use some alcohol to cause the pectin to precipitate out into a "glob" and judge accordingly. It is an ancient method to predict jelling in the final product. Apples, particularly the peel, have a lot of pectin. I wish I knew what you need to do. Over cooking a syrup can destroy the pectin and cause your jelly not to jell but it would create a cooked taste and evaporate the alcohol. sorry. end of my knowledge. I have made liqueurs in the past but they were nut and fruits like cherry. simple matter of pulling out the flavor. Never had jelling.

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elvis

HG, what exactly have you done so far?

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Izzy Mn(4)

Is this a distilled alcohol or more like wine or beer? I would think distilled none of the pectin would get through that process. Maybe you need to start with apple juice if fermented, the pectin is in the pulp and skin I would think.

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HamiltonGardener

It’s a liqueur as maifleur’s method, except this year I experimented. Instead of putting fruit chunks into the alcohol, I decided to press it into juice to see if I got more flavour. I started with crushed apples and crabapples (skin and all) and pressed the juice out (old fashioned wine press). It was quite pulpy so I strained it through a jelly bag but it was still very cloudy and hazy and “thick”.

Stupid me, I even had the thought “I could probably make crabapple jelly from this.”

So I added the sugar and alcohol as usual and a couple minutes later, it was starting to glob up.

Ive read that there is a pectin enzyme for cider making that breaks down the pectin and clarifies cider and wine with this same problem. (The pectin causes the cloudiness)

Think it will work on a non fermented product?

or should I just commit to handing out Jell-O shots?

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elvis

should I just commit to handing out Jell-O shots?

Sometimes it's best to start over. Got more apples?

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HamiltonGardener

Apples shouldn’t be a problem. It’s the booze. What a waste.

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maifleur01

If you have a store in your area for beer making see if they have the stuff patriciae mentions. If they do talk to them about how to correct your problem. Not certain if it is still there but one of our local breweries started with the proviso from the wife that they make cider. Not today but if they are still open I can check to see if they have suggestions in a couple of days if you have not found a solution. However the glop chopped up on top of cake and fruit does sound good but would need to put it in wide mouth jars so that you could scoop it out.

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patriciae_gw(07)

Ah, I see your problem is what I anticipated. I would go with the enzyme as it works on the pectin and would have nothing to do with fermentation or the alcohol. It sounds like the very thing.

I just looked it up and you can use it at the recommended rate and if you still have pectin you can add more.

I make a blackberry liqueur that is based on Tequila of all things. I invented it for a friend who had an excess of Tequila and it was amazing stuff. It is the best if you have Dewberries or around here their close relative the trailing blackberry because they have so much flavor. Put them in a container and cover with tequila and let soak. When the berries start looking pale (couple of months) strain off the alcohol, let settle and leaving any sediment behind run the product through paper coffee filters. Sweeten to taste and bottle the stuff and by Christmas it will be drinkable but keeping it a few months more would be better. It has a remarkably complex flavor that is hard to describe.

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HamiltonGardener

I found the pectin enzyme for sale at a local home brew store.


I will I’ll pick it up tonight and give a try.


If this turns out well, maybe I will do it this way again... just have the enzyme on hand!


Wish me luck!

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patriciae_gw(07)

HG, let your squeezings settle and the pour off the top before you add to alcohol to that. It would preserve the flavor and eliminate some of the pectin? I make apple syrup for friends which involves pressing for cider and then boiling down the must to make a concentrated syrup. I let it settle to clarify before I boil it to get a clearer product.

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maifleur01

When I was making liqueur for my own use because I can not stand the smell of vodka I always used brandy, rum, Everclear, or blended whisky. Most of what I made was from dark fruits so color was not that important. I did save the fruit with enough of the liquid to be eaten later. Think of it as a single fruit rumpot.

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patriciae_gw(07)

Yes, Maifleur, Brandy is the best.

I was thinking of what to do if this enzyme stuff doesn't work, use your product to soak into cake? Or put on icecream or make floats with it. that has distinct possibilities.

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maifleur01

Since it is alcoholic jelly as long as it does not ferment and mold I can think of all kinds of things to use it for such as glazes or toppings for various things. However I think it will not stay good. I did wonder if freezing it would release the bond if it was stirred several times but probably will not work as my mom's jelly was often frozen and other than a small portion liquifying it stayed stable.

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patriciae_gw(07)

Yes, over cooking jelly can cause it to go past jelling and you can add water and heat to liquify but there goes your alcohol. Still as you know from making alcoholic rumpot that does keep which was the entire point of it back in the day-a way to preserve fruit.

I am interested to hear what the results are HG.

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maifleur01

Depending on the size that is heated I am not certain how much of the alcohol would be lost. I have warmed jelly in the past to use as a glaze between cake layers when filling them but that was to seal the crumb on a very soft cake so that chunks did not stick to the spatula when spreading the filling. Although it has been a long time since I did that I do not remember using a high heat and only warmed the jelly/jam on a low flame just a little bit and it dissolved. It was mostly apricot jam or current jelly. HG could try experimenting with warming a little bit in a just warm pan. If it did liquify I would stick it in the frig to see if it would re-solidify. I too am waiting to hear if the stuff he found works on his mass.

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HamiltonGardener

I wasn’t able to get to the store yesterday so I picked it up tonight. I’ve put in the prescribed amount and shook it up.


I will I’ll let you know if there is a difference tomorrow.

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

Following to hear the results!

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b(zone 9/10)

Hope your plan works.

Wondering if any of the good folks over on the cooking forum might be of help?

But the 'jello shots' idea seems like a good solution. How much did you make?

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HamiltonGardener

Carol,

About 3 gallons. A little less because the 1 gallon demijohns aren’t quite full.

I think it’s working. The liquid seems thinner this morning, no globs, but still cloudy rather than clear. Doesn’t seem to be any “sludge” in the bottom like when you make cider and it settles.


I will take a better look after work tonight and see the consistency. I may try straining through a coffee filter if I am not quite satisfied but right now I am encouraged that the globs seem to be gone.

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maifleur01

It may be that if you have some long chopsticks or skewers that you could use them as stirrers to help the stuff mix better along with breaking up the blobs. More expense but some Asian stores have what are called cooking chopsticks that are about 24 inches long and made of a softer wood so be careful if you find and use them how vigorous you use them as some will break easier than others.

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maifleur01

Bumping this up so HG can report on what the "fix" did with breaking up the sludge.

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patriciae_gw(07)

I am wondering as well.

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HamiltonGardener

It was a success.

Within a day, It was back to liquid. I gave it another good shake and it’s all good to go.

Could probably use more sugar though. Crabapples are a bit tart.

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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

It would probably be delicious as a mulled wine type of drink warmed with cinnamon, cloves, honey...

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maifleur01

Glad it happened. Now depending on how long you age your stuff you will have to do another taste test and report back.

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