Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tart Cherries...

The Riesling Pyment I brewed last month with raw clover honey has been steadily bubbling away for the past 4 weeks.  I added nutrient additions carefully and in in stages so as to help the process along, and the mead appears to be on track based on gravity, taste and appearance.  It slowly turned a beautiful deep golden straw color as the grape juice and honey mingled.

Last night I racked it off the lees and onto 7 pounds, 4 ounces of Montmorency Tart Cherries.  When gathering ingredients for the recipe, I had some trouble accessing fresh or flash frozen tart cherries out of season here in San Diego, so I compromised.  I ended up purchasing Oregon brand canned tart cherries.  Flash frozen tart cherries from Michigan cost about twice as much per pound, and $80 - $110 to ship to San Diego overnight.  The 7+ pounds I bought through Amazon cost $30 and shipped for free.  They're grown in Oregon, picked ripe from the tree, pitted, sanitized, and packed in water. I know that there are many who might consider these an inferior choice, but I'm not certain I believe that.  I'm just going to have to make more meads to find out.  [As an aside: Is this now a melomel with the cherry addition?]

Racking off the lees.
After sanitizing a colander and all other equipment, I drained the cherries and placed them in the fermentation bucket.  They tasted deliciously tart and ripe, and had a clean maroon color.  As the pyment slowly filled the fermentation bucket, the cherries began to float upward.  I plan to let the pyment sit on the cherries for 6 months or so.  I'll be checking gravity (which, because of the addition of the cherries is pretty much obsolete for alcohol content) and tasting throughout.  After bottling, it will likely sit for years before being completely "done."

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