Okay, with the fig wine in the carboy doing its thing, I’ve started the quince mead. I’m making a bochet, which means I’ve boiled the honey into a caramelized state before cooling it and mixing it with the quince. But first… the making of the quince juice.
As you know, if you’ve followed my Fbook posts, I have a quince tree. I didn’t know I had a quince tree until late Aug/early Sept, but it appears I do. Quinces are a very bitter fruit. Once sweetened they are still sour as hell. However, if you slow cook them in a mixture of water and sugar, they release their flavor and only a touch of their sourness.
Here we have the quinces cut up in the slow cooker. These things are hard as rocks, let me tell you. The first batch I did, I peeled the quinces and completely cored out the hard middle sections as I wanted to eat them. But once I figured out the quinces themselves were inedible, I went to just making quince juice from the fruit. I cut and quartered each fruit and then dug out all the seeds *You should see the seeds in every fruit, there’s got to be 50 seeds if not more in every one.*
Kinda looks like stew, doesn’t it? Anyway, from this, I had to strain the juice out of the pulp. I used a collender with two double-ply pieces of cheesecloth to strain the juice.
Yep – that was the color. Quinces turn a wonderful red when cooked.
And this is the juice. It’s a gorgeous deep red and it tastes divine. Yes, there is a tartness to it, but it’s also sweet. I’m going to pluck the last of the quinces and make juice from them and then make that juice into a sauce.
From here, I put this in the fridge while I waited for my fig wine to get to the point where I had all the equipment I needed.
Since I do now, I took 4 lbs of clover honey and boiled it. Once it got to the boiling stage, I left it there for 15 minutes (and if you do this, do it in a HUGE pot because the honey triples in size while it boils)
Then I cooled it down and poured the ice cold quince juice into it. I poured that into the primary fermenter with water and a cambden tablet. Before I added the cambden tablet, I took a hydrometer reading. It was off the scale. So I added more water. Still off the scale. I ended up with a lot more water than I expected to get the hydrometer reading down to 1140, which brings it to a possible 18.3% alcohol. All I can say is I hope the yeastie beasties give up before they get there because OMG.
For amusement’s sake, I’ll tell you the a mistake I made. I’ve been watching the guys at TheInfoCo on their YouTube videos and they make their yeast starter at the same time as they put the must into the primary fermentor and let it do its thing for 24 hours before they put it into the must. So I figured I’d do that too. They said to put it into a wine jug. I didn’t have a full wine jug available, but I had a wine cooler bottle.
Heh. I put the ingredients in it and put it on a shelf. When I woke up this morning the fermented yeast had burst from the top of the bottle and settled in a lump at the base of it. So I had to toss that out and start a new one in a larger bottle. By the way – it does an amazing job on the yeast.
So, forward 24 hours from when I put the must in the fermenter. I added the yeastie beastie mixture and put the lid on. Then, 10 minutes later I realized I’d forgotten all the enzymes. CRAP! So I quickly put those together and dropped them in and stirred. Crossing fingers that the yeastie beasties got enough of a beginning that mixup won’t matter.
wine yeast, spring water, lemon juice, honey
- 4 lbs clover honey, boiled 15 minutes
- 6.5 cups quince juice, ice cold
- 3/4 gallon spring water
- 1 cambden tablet
- 1 t yeast energizer
- 1 t yeast nutrient
- 1/2 t acid blend
Here’s a short video of the mead 36 hours past pitching of the yeast. Watch those bubbles 🙂
Mead is supposed to ferment a lot longer than wine, which makes sense considering all the sugar the yeastie beasties get to munch on. So, once they finish fermenting and I’ve put the mead into its secondary fermentor, I’ll give you my next mead post.
I gotta say. Once the bug bites you, you want to try everything in a fermented state. I’m already looking at getting a big mouth bubbler for the holidays because my poor fingernails are taking a beating from opening and closing the primary fermenter. And I want to try all sorts of things. Mint wine, carrot wine, and next year harvest all the wonderful tart apples from our tree out back and make some apple wine. mmmmmmm