Author Topic: Preserving Summer Goodness -- Raspberry, Blueberry, Cherry, Blackberry Liqueurs  (Read 4957 times)

Offline Tomer1

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Re: Preserving Summer Goodness -- Raspberry & Blueberry Liqueurs
« Reply #30 on: August 17, 2012, 08:49:38 AM »
This is a very hard to get verietal, paid 0.875$\lb.    A winery bought the entire vinyard (3 tons of fruit) to product a mock ice wine. The vintner was able to put aside about 60kg.





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Offline Boofer

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When I put the cherries into the big jar, I had sliced them and mashed them as best I could. At extraction time I had some difficulty getting a good squeeze on the cherries because of the pits. Even so, I believe I was able to derive a good cherry essence and significant juice to make the liqueur. Some recipes had recommended cracking some of the pits and adding that to the juice. Not wanting to possibly incorporate cyanide into my elixir I added almond extract instead to boost the cherry character.

This is my third rendition of a berry-based liqueur and I wanted to give the "Simple Syrup" another try. Remember that there were already Simple Syrups based on a 1:1 and 2:1 ratio of sugar to water. Following another SS recipe I had tried to make 4:1 syrup. I succeeded but that appears to be a very dense combination, bordering on unusable. For the cherry blend I decided to step it down to 3:1. That works much better. I boiled 3 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water and then added some lemon juice when the concoction cleared, and boiled for 10 minutes more, aiming for an invert syrup.

The 3:1 Super Syrup (no longer just a simple) allowed me to sweeten the liqueur without diluting the alcoholic content. My target is still 26-30% alcohol by volume (ABV), following the Pallini model. I also dragged out Tuaca and Frangelico from the back of my liquor shelf and they boast 35% and 28%, respectively.

My calculated potency for the cherry liqueur is 32%ABV. It needs a little aging I think. It tastes a little like cough syrup :o.

Edit: Added finished bottles.

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« Last Edit: September 22, 2012, 12:07:27 AM by Boofer »
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Offline Boofer

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Just as I was about to finish up the cherry liqueur my Dad called with an offer of some blackberries that were begging to be picked. I thought "Why not? This will cap the year of my berry liqueurs just right."

I'm trying to implement what I have learned in the first three liqueur episodes of this thread to improve this final berry liqueur. I have the 3:1 Super Syrup ready to go. I think I have established the guidelines for a robust and full-flavored liqueur. I crushed the berries and added the 75.5% Everclear to let the mash steep for a week or two. I'm not sure it needs any longer than that to extract the fruit goodness.

My Dad picked two containers full of berries. Each container has a capacity of 13.5cups/3208ml/108.5oz. Combined, they fill the 2.5 gallon jar. Crushed, they fill not quite half the jar.

Now I wait....

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Offline Boofer

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Extracting the alcohol-encouraged juice from the pulp of these blackberries was more difficult than the previous three efforts. There was a lot of pectin and fine particulate. Even after four or five filterings the resulting liquid still contained some suspended particles. It will have to be carefully racked when it's served.

Final alcohol level for the blackberry is around 22%. It has a slight tannin note. All of these liqueurs need a little rest time in their bottles to gently age.

I was particularly happy with the results I got from the labels. I was able to find sharp, colorful, fruit pictures to insert into the Vistaprint template, which help to define the fruit contained within.

That last photo of all four bottles is the package I will present to my son and daughter-in-law for Christmas, along with perhaps a wedge of cheese.

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Offline Susie

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I just think this is the neatest thing and what an awesome gift! Those bottles are so pretty. I can't wait to hear what you think about taste after they have aged a bit.

I wonder how much syrup it would take to make the persimmons in my yard palatable.  :o


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Offline iratherfly

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Oh boy, I am getting boozed just reading through this thread.  Beautiful process, beautiful fruits. Beautiful bottles ...and you labeled them too! NICE!!!

I am gearing up for making hard cider this fall.  Don't have space for a fruit press but I think I will crush the apples in a cuisinart very roughly and then press them in a cheese press with a ply-ban lined tomme mould. I will take the slurry and put it in a cheesecloth bag to infuse in the virgin juice for the first 24 hours or so.  Have you ever made hard cider? Boofer? Tomer? Anyone?  I am aiming at making it a moderate boozer but I am really not experienced. Should I get a refractometer and alcohol hydrometer? I already have the glass carboy, siphon and vapor lock on standby. Getting champagne yeast for this (unless better suggestions out there).  I would rather not add alcohol but have it arrive naturally. I realize more sugary apples would do that but I want to keep it a bit dry so I may get less sweet apples and add lactose? I have no idea what I am doing

Offline hoeklijn

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It's important to be able to measure the gravity so you know how much sugar to add. Champagne yeast will do fine for cider, Be sure to activate the yeast before adding it to the pressed juice so you have a kick-start. Do not clean your bottles with something that contains chloride, the slightest residue of chloride will spoil your wine. I used to add about 80 % of the sugar at the beginning and the remainder in smaller parts later in the process, depending on the "speed of yeasting". (Mmm, I'm not used to translate this kind of stuff into English...). If you add all the sugar in once you have the risk that the yeasting stops before all sugar is consumed and you end up with a wine that is too sweet.
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Offline iratherfly

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Thanks for the tips Herman. Seems like the rules are the same as in cheese.  Use no-rinse sanitizer, never chlorine or iodine, don't overload with cultures because they will eat the stuff up too fast; I got it!
So you are saying I should proof the yeast first? Just put it in 1/2 cup of water with a teaspoon of sugar for 10 minutes?

My assumption is that I can always add a bit of sugar to kick up the alcohol production but if it's too sweet it won't be very dry. I suppose I can add lactose instead of sucrose to make it less sweet but just as active.

Then, I taste it when I do the bottling and I can add some simple syrup at that time if it doesn't seem sweet enough. As I understand it, the alcohol at that point will no longer change so this is the final point to measure alcohol gravity, right?

Fascinating stuff!

Offline Tomer1

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If you dont have a press, Id advice you to ferment on the fruit and add maceration\pressing enzyme (pectic enzyme blend).
It will save you hours of trouble trying to extract juice manual. (believe me, it doesnt work very well and its a ton of work)
After about 2-3 days of fermentation the pulp will turn into empty shells (by the aid of the cell breaking enzyme) and can be strained thru a cheese cloth and lighly pressed.  after 24 hours you should rack it from the gross lees (a layer of sludge at the bottom of the tank).  this will produce better aromas.

Also, Think about renting a press or buying freshly pressed cider (during season).


You will need to measure the gravity of your must (will likely be around 10-12 brix, depending on apple sweetness) and add sugar to reach about 22 brix.
I would not use champgane yeast, You want a slower fermenter IMO that will allow you to ferment it slowly and cold (between 10-15c).
You can try V1116 (clasic fruit wine yeast) or D47.  Cotes des blanc is also nice but its a bit fast.
You will also need to buy some yeast nuetrient.



Quote
So you are saying I should proof the yeast first? Just put it in 1/2 cup of water with a teaspoon of sugar for 10 minutes?
No, Just follow the instruction in the back of the package.  Rehydrate in 37-41c water for 10 minutes sprinkling on top, stire and wait additional 15 minutes, slowly equalize temp (add 40-50% of the starter volume with cold must and wait 10 minutes before adding more if needed) untill starter and must are less then 10c difference and pitch the starter into the must.  this will prevent yeast death.



Quote
My assumption is that I can always add a bit of sugar to kick up the alcohol production but if it's too sweet it won't be very dry. I suppose I can add lactose instead of sucrose to make it less sweet but just as active.
If you reach a point when it wont ferment any further and you still have residual sugar, you wont have wine but jet fuel. (15-16% alcohol).
You dont want that, you want 10-11.5% something like a light white wine.

You can let it ferment dry and add lactose to sweeten. (lactose is unfermentable by wine yeast). I suggest you do it before bottling when the wine is clear and ready for bottling.

Quote
Then, I taste it when I do the bottling and I can add some simple syrup at that time if it doesn't seem sweet enough. As I understand it, the alcohol at that point will no longer change so this is the final point to measure alcohol gravity, right

This can be done but you will need to use pottasium sorbate to prevent refermentation. 200 ppm. 
You will also need to add Kmeta at a dose needed to reach 0.8 ppm molecular so2 (This can be easly calculated with a free tool called Fermcalc, you input pH, Volume and mol so2 needed and it spits out how much kmeta you need to add by weight).


I suggest you add to the crushed fruit\juice Kmeta (so2) at a rate of 30-50 ppm to prevent spontanious fermentation taking off before your culture does, this will also prevent possible lactic bacteria spoilage.

You want your pH at no more than 3.4, add tartaric acid or acid blend to get it down if needed (very sweet apples are often very low in acid).






« Last Edit: September 24, 2012, 05:02:01 AM by Tomer1 »
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Offline iratherfly

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Whoa, okay! Fantastic info Tomer. I will talk to you directly. This is my first project of this kind so it's a little too much... I want to make a simple hard cider; as natural as possible.

I get your fruit advice - ferment it BEFORE pressing it so pressing is easy and there's already activity in the fruit.  10% alcohol? Oh no, that's too much for a cider for me. The Normandie style apple ciders are often 2%-4%. More modern ciders sold in cans and bottles in beer shops go as far as 7.9%. I want it dry, not sweet, so it seems from what you are telling me that I won't have to add any sugar.

The freshly pressed cider from the farmer is available (New York is not called the Big Apple for nothing... Holly molly there are lots of apples growing here in the fall). Problem is that it's a very sweet variety (Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Cortland) and I feel that it would be like making great pizza ...with store-bought dough. I want to have an intimate moment with my fruits... so I thought that pressing my own will be great. An alternative is to go to an Apple orchard outside the city. You pick your own apples, pay for them by weight and then you can use their press to make your own cider. That may work!

I won't use Potassium Sorbate (E202?) -the day I begin using preservatives in artisan food is the day I stop making artisan food... I can stop fermentation in other ways.

I have yeast nutrient ...know what I use it for?  MORGE!!! It keeps it alive and attracts more yeast to the cheese.  Shhhhhh.... this is still experimental. I will report back when my 3 month study is completed :) Kids, don't try it at home yet, I am your guinea pig on that one.


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Offline Tomer1

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Ah... making french style cider is a completly different story.  It requires a very specific process to strip nitrogen from the must (a combination of calcium chloride and specificly prepered enzyme combo. (basically fancy pectic enzyme)
Allowing the pressed juice to form a cap during cold storage over a few days and siphoning the nitrogen poor juice from under the cap and above the sediment layer.

Very low fermentation temp and the use of wild yeast (not a robust alcohol resistant wine yeast culture).
Continious racking off the lees during fermentation to reduce the size of the yeast colony and finally a high dose of so2 to kill it.


Quote
I can stop fermentation in other ways.
Only way I can think about is pasteurizing or sterile filtration (A basic setup will set you back at least 400-500$, take a look at the enolmatic tendom system)  or using a centrifuge  :P

Or fermenting dry and adding lactose as you suggested to sweeten things up.   So2 will be needed anyhow to control oxidation and spoilage.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2012, 06:11:17 AM by Tomer1 »
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Offline iratherfly

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I must have missed that answer. That's great Tomer. I just got some apples from the farmer for a test crush run. I will let you know if it works. In any case, I will email you and we can figure out some easy wild cider for me to start with.

I just got an incredible Applejack liqueur from Upstate NY (It's the American version of Calvados; basically a hard cider that has been distilled and aged in oak barrels for 2 years). This one added a touch of NY Maple syrup into it which makes it super flavorful and exciting. Going to fume age some lactic cheese with it. That's going to be a good batch. Gives me inspiration to create my own local cider and age my local raw milk cheese in it - so the wilder, the better.

Offline Boofer

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Checking in with this project a year later....

The raspberry liqueur is a decent little cordial (17% ABV) after maturing for a year in the bottle. This one is brandy based. Good fruit essence.

I would also give a positive nod to my blackberry cordial which has a bit of a tannic tone to it. Very pleasing.

As for the bing cherry and blueberry cordials I made...they have the character of cough syrup. :o The only thing missing is the actual drug component (dextromethorphan). Must be directly related to the kind of fruit used.

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Offline hoeklijn

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Ok, I'm a volunteer to get a cold, you send me a bottle  ^-^
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Offline george (MaryJ)

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I wonder what it is about blueberries and cherries that make them ferment so differently?  When I used to make a lot of fermented fruit drinks (a la WAPF), the raspberry was always fantastic, whereas the cherry was only mostly okay.  And the blueberry was just positively nasty, as far as I was concerned, but a couple of customers liked it, so I made it occasionally anyway.
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