trouble with plum port recipe

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Feb 12, 2010
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I have been trying to make plum port from a recipe, which goes as follows:

9 Cups of plums
9 Cups of sugar
16 Cups boiling water

Cut up the plums and pour the boiling water over them. Leave for a week stiring and squeezing daily.
Strain through Muslin cloth and add the sugar stirring until dissolved.
Add one cup full of boiling water.
Leave to ferment for one week, then strain and bottle again.

After the first week nothing had happened to my must (except for a small piece of mold growing on it, which I skimmed off). I decided to strain it, place it in a fermentation chamber (5lt flask with an airlock), and add some wine makers yeast. At this point I could not get a reading of specific gravity (SG) because my hydrometer floated too much (my hydrometer goes to 1.150 SG.

The yeast did the trick and after a week the must was bubbling away nicely. I took a sample out to get a reading on the SG, which was 1.140. I tasted it and it was slightly fizzy.

After another week the SG had dropped to 1.122, and after another 5 days it was 1.120. It is still fermenting slowly and is still slightly fizzy.

My questions are:
Should the must be fizzy?
Should it take this long to ferment?
And should the SG be this high?

1) Yes it will be very fizzy as fermentation creates C02 hence why lots of people dgeas their wine so that it will start to clear faster once its done fermenting as trapped C02 in your wine keeps all the sediment floating in the wine
2) Since you dont have a startin g sg because it was so high you should be thanking yoiur licky starts that it eve started fermenting at all.
3) The starting sg was way to high and you are going to end up with a very sweet wine. i know ports are meant to be sweet but this is going to be off the charts. you may want to start another with a much lower starting gravity and when both are finished blend the 2 so that they even out. Normally Id say dilute this batch down but I have no idea what it started at now where it will finish due to that. Leaving a wine to ferment naturally is a game of chance as you have found out and can sometimes be a total loss as Luc can tell you with plums. You guys get lots of fruit for free so good for you for trying as you dont have much to lose, i on the other hand dont have this freedon and struggle to get fruits like this without paying out my a$$ so Im not willing to chance anything and always use wine yeast.
hello Michael and welcome to the forum.

to enable us to help you.

please list the recipe.. its origin and the full method please..

we know you have diverted from the original recipe, however, knowing what it is you were following will be a great help to us.

at this stage let it continue to ferment til finished.. it may finish very high in unfermented sugars ( sweet).. If you intend to add brandy or vodka.. that will help bring the sugars down somewhat and ageing will do the rest.

You state you tasted it and it was slightly fizzy.. this is to be expected.. more importantly what did the wine taste like?.. plums..? like a red wine? thin and sweet? did it taste moldy?

sounds like an interesting recipe.

In the future if you try this without yeast again, it would be best to not pour the boiling water on the plums. The natural yeast on the plums was most likely killed by that and only a couple of mold spores survived. If you want good consistent results stick to wine yeast.
Thanks guys,

It is still fermenting, very slowly. To answer some questions:

The recipe came from a book on fruit. Unfortunately I no longer have the book (only the recipe) and can not remember what it was called. The directions I listed are all I have.

The port tastes mostly like sugar and plums, with a little taste of the alcohol coming through. The liquid is more the consistency of a wine rather than a port. At this point I can't taste any mold and no mold has returned.

It did occur to me that the natural yeast would be killed off by the boiling water, but in the early stages I was trying to stick to the recipe. In the future I will just use wine yeast.

With this batch I think I will try adding brandy to half of it (approx 2L). What percentage of brandy to must should I aim for?

The rest I will attempt to blend. If I bottle this batch as is, will I be able to add it to a weaker batch in a few weeks?

Thanks again.

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