If you're my neighbour then you've seen the abundance of plums on our tree. The branches were arching under the heavy weight of the fruit. Most of you sampled. And you're welcome. Next time grab a few more plums.
Sure we ate and froze some of the bounty. But the bruised, split, and wormy ones went into a wine experiment. We won't know the results of the experiment. The first corking will be in February or March 2021. Per the recipe we need to wait at least 10 months after corking.
"This drink is a curvy road in changing weather conditions."
July 15, 2020 marked the end of the secondary fermentation in the 1 gallon jar from the first harvest, and the end of the first fermentation of the 5 gallon carboy of the 2nd harvest. The difference between harvests is in the amount of worms that were present in the fruit. All plums in the first harvest had a worm. The type that gets into your fruit in the winter. So we rescued whatever flesh we could for that one gallon jar.
The fruit from the second harvest was worm free. Either way, each plum was cut and inspected to ensure only the good parts of the fruit went into the initial 6 day fermentation period (in pots).
The extraction process was pretty straight forward. It's not as messy as you would imagine it to be. Of course everything had to be sterilized. Every step needs to be mindful to prevent spoiling the batch.
Ultimately you're wondering how does it taste. Is there alcohol in the first batch?
The presence of alcohol is likely. I did not take proper measurements of gravity at the start of the process or through the fermentation process. That's the right way to measure the resulting alcohol. But I followed the recipe.
The taste for batch 1 is a rollercoaster ride that lasts 39 seconds. The smell indicates the presence of yeast. It's not as strong as your sourdough bread starter, but it's assertive. On the swish the front part of the tongue completely ignores the taste of the drink, but halfway through you get hit. The sweet aroma of the plum is present. But it's not juicy or overly sweet. As the liquid travels down you feel sensation of warmth. Then you feel tingling in your mouth. What's happening? Why? All kinds of thoughts run through your mind in this moment. Maybe this was a bad idea. You look at your hands to check if they are shaking. Is this normal? You start thinking about how does this compare with previous exotic experiences of fancy wine, craft beer, or horilka? Nothing. This is unique. Now you're feeling the warmth in your stomach. It's either alcohol or bad news. You take a deep breath and start feeling the bitterness of the plum skin as the after taste. It's not bad. This goes away too.
Bottom line: this drink is a curvy road in changing weather conditions.