Watermelon Progress (long)

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Aug 13, 2009
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Hi all -

I've seen watermelon mentioned here several times, so I thought I would share my limited experience with two 1 gallon batches.

The first batch was based mostly on Jack Keller's pure juice recipe. I followed it exactly; at least to get started. I used pure juice and Pastuer Champagne (Red Star) yeast.

I cut the meat into chunks into a fine nylon bag, squeezed, mashed and otherwise coerced as much juice as I could. One melon provied more than the needed juice. I opted for a seeded melon as the seedless varieties have never tasted as good to me.

I mixed everything except the yeast, covered with a cloth/rubberband and put in the frig for 24 hours - just like Jack's recipe. The only variation was sugar. Being a novice, I wanted rocket fuel, so I added sugar to an sg of 1116.

I took the must out of the frig, let it warm to room temp for a few hours, stirred the must, then sprinkled the yeast on top without stirring in the yeast.

12 hours later, it was going nuts! 24 hours later was nuts+ ...

I stirred daily. On the 4th day, there was zero evidence of firmentation. I tested and it had completely firmented out to 990. 17+% abv.

According to Jack's recipe, I was supposed to leave this, without stirring, for another week. Being concerned about a lack of C02, I went ahead and strained it into a secondary w/airlock.

Within a week, it had cleared to a cloudy golden color with considerable sediment. I racked it and topped it up w/ spring water.

At this point there was no evidence of spoilage.

After another 2-3 weeks it had cleared to a nearly crystal, wonderfully golden color. I racked again. I tasted it and as you might guess, it was very strong on alcohol. Watermelon flavor was evident, but it lacked bite. I dipped a measuring spoon into liquid tannin, and rinsed the spoon in the wine, stirring well.

That's where batch one is today - perfectly clear with a dusting of red sediment. I have the feeling that this will need to age for a very long time.

Batch two. Same process to begin except this melon came up short on juice. Having read other recipes that dilute by as much as 50%, I added a little better than a quart of spring water. Added sugar to 1084. Frig for 24 hours. While the must was warming, I hydrated the yeast (Pasteur Champagne again) this time.

This batch firmented out in two days. Yes, 990 in two days. I carefully syphoned to a secondary without stirring. It is rapidly clearing, so I figure I'll get a taste when I rack again in a few days.

The important point being that this batch didn't spoil either ...

I'll update when I get a taste

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