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7daysinaweek

damson vodka the ups and downs

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hi all

 

have been making damson vodka for years now and the last few years have got it to a consistent potion of how i like it. last year due to several factors i did not get to my usual damson trees and when i did they had been hammered. found another tree at at an old pit which has standing water, not running and water levels are dependent on rain. anyhow i picked my usual shedload of damsons which i thought looked and tasted ok, as it was a bit late on a lot of them were extremely ripe. made my usual 10 litre batch, usual process, brand of vodka and usual taste tests up to bottling and all seemed well. when tasting time came after bottling (i leave for a minimum of 12 months) the taste was a bit nasty not the usual smooth dusky taste, was quite fiery and left a bitter taste on the palate. certainly not my usual brew. i know taste and aromas can be hugely different between wild ingredients but turned out very poor. my usual trees i use are not near standing water and has wonder if stagnant standing water could be the culprit, maybe, maybe not!

anyone else had similar happen?

 

ended up ditching most of it as hardly a palatable quoff!

 

here some pics of a bottled batch left over from two years ago, very nice.

 

i managed to get to my usual tree earlier this year and a good haul was had. this batch will be ready for me in about 11 months. it will be a wait this year as i usually have a rolling 10 litres ready to drink over the year. does not last long as usually lots of eager tasters.

 

by the way i only put the bungs in to stop rubbish getting in whilst in the garage, will have to get round to getting some solid rubber ones.

atb 7diaw

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post-72392-0-00414200-1445525586_thumb.jpg

Edited by 7daysinaweek

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Interesting question.

 

I've just made up this years batch of damson vodka and gin and have some lovely colours like your `older` brew. It's only been soaking for 2-3 weeks. I'm planning to have it ready for Xmas due to poor crop last year and not making any (poor sloe crop as well).

 

I'm not sure if the water quality could affect the fruit. Did you do anything else differently?

 

I have found some wild damsons this year and they were beautifully `clean`- good colour and no external `scabs` (that's what I call them anyway). What condition were the damsons in? Were they over-ripe/rotten? Maybe some yeast/bacteria/mould? Or has something contaminated the brew?

 

I'll leave sloes for up to 9 months but tend to take Damsons out much sooner - 3 months seems to be the recommended time frame.

 

I'm sorry you've had a bad brew - such a shame. Maybe avoid that tree and make smaller batches (or make some from that tree and compare to others?).

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Interesting question.

 

I've just made up this years batch of damson vodka and gin and have some lovely colours like your `older` brew. It's only been soaking for 2-3 weeks. I'm planning to have it ready for Xmas due to poor crop last year and not making any (poor sloe crop as well).

 

I'm not sure if the water quality could affect the fruit. Did you do anything else differently?

 

I have found some wild damsons this year and they were beautifully `clean`- good colour and no external `scabs` (that's what I call them anyway). What condition were the damsons in? Were they over-ripe/rotten? Maybe some yeast/bacteria/mould? Or has something contaminated the brew?

 

I'll leave sloes for up to 9 months but tend to take Damsons out much sooner - 3 months seems to be the recommended time frame.

 

I'm sorry you've had a bad brew - such a shame. Maybe avoid that tree and make smaller batches (or make some from that tree and compare to others?).

hi hedge

 

i have not changed the way how i make it in any way. process, cleaning, brand of vodka, checking of the fruit all the same as my batches from the previous 6-7 years that is the reason why this batch got me so flummoxed and have little idea idea what went wrong. i know some of them where very ripe and so could have bee harbouring some mould but non externaly was to be seen as i scrutinise what goes in. yes i have come to the conclusion that some of this overipe fruit twinned with the standing stagnant water which the tree has been using as its water source has tainted the taste of the overall drink. anyroads i have moved back to my original tree for the batch in the above pics.

let me know how your brew goes and i am sure it will be hugely welcomed at christmas.

 

atb 7diaw

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Sounds like you had a bad batch of fruit :unhappy:

 

Good luck with the new batch. I `tested` my brews the other day - some are only 3 weeks old so not expecting too much. I've used 3 different sources and I think I'm getting different results.

 

1. `Proper damson tree in local village` (5 weeks) nice deep colour and already a nice flavour

2. `Proper damsons from friends garden (some a bit scabby)` (5 weeks) not bad but not as good as above

3. `Wild(?) Damsons` (3 weeks) seems weaker and still a strong taste of gin - probable expecting too much too soon.

 

I'll leave them until early December before removing fruit and I'll see how they are.

 

Going to pick my sloes soon as they seem to be ready and need picking.

 

Good luck with yours and I'll let you know how mine get on.

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hi hedge sounds like you got 3 good ones on way, thats it with the wild one if it is a little weak i would be tempted to leave the damsons in a month longer but that is a personal choice. i have just come back wiltshire today and tons of sloes about. am tempted to do some sloe vodka but have got plenty on the go at the moment. still got plenty of elderflower champagne to go at up until christmas and well into the new year.

 

yes let me kow how things go and i will do likewise. it is a pity you live so far from me i would have dropped you a couple of bottles of my elderflower champagne, very agreeable!

 

atb 7diaw

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planted a blackthorn hedge...just a quick question, any idea when it will actually provide sloes, have made blackberry gin for a few years and fancied trying the the sloe variety....thanks...atb....misser

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No idea really but a thought..... has anyone dumped anything nasty in the pit that is now in the water and or soil? Your bad batch looks VERY wrong in the picture.

 

I find damson gin is ready in a month ..... I've some threads on "Damson and orange gin" and "Sloe on here today"

 

I have done the freeze and the cook methods but ended up blending them together. I am now tempted to just use the cook method of syrup extraction with no sugar added until I come to bottle up and then add the sugar as a syrup with water in heated and cooled.

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No idea really but a thought..... has anyone dumped anything nasty in the pit that is now in the water and or soil? Your bad batch looks VERY wrong in the picture.

 

I find damson gin is ready in a month ..... I've some threads on "Damson and orange gin" and "Sloe on here today"

 

I have done the freeze and the cook methods but ended up blending them together. I am now tempted to just use the cook method of syrup extraction with no sugar added until I come to bottle up and then add the sugar as a syrup with water in heated and cooled.

 

hi malk thanks for your reply

the batch in the picture is my new batch and the picture was taken immeadiately after taking. having made both damson, sloe gin and vodka for many years this appearance is totally normal as i prefer to pulp the fruit at the production stage and remove half the stones. i think you may be refering to a much clearer brew at the initial stage when the fruit has just been pricked, i used to use this method but have moved over to the pulp process in last few years as i find it improves overall quality of the brew. the poor batch i was refering to was last years which i have now disposed of and the two bottles in the pic was an excellent batch left over from two years ago.all my batches start off at that colour and at end of process you can see how clear they are as i strain through vin paper at the bottling stage, the new batch in the pictures is coming along fine. i agree that sloe/damson gin/ vodka can be ready i a month but i have refined my way of making it as a personal preference. from making, bottling to drinking 12 months and it most certainly improves over that period. i make enough each year so i always have a bottle so am not waiting for a batch to become ready. yes i think you are correct that something stagnant from the pit has imparted the poor taste. malk i have also used the cook on a very , very low heat and extract the syrup and added straight to bottle with sugar, it worked very well but i my own opinion it did not impart the same tastes as the skins and slight bitters from the stones as said though was still very agreeable. let me know how your syrup brew goes would be interesting to hear, think i will try your damso and orange gi next year. i am always experimenting. am still sampling the 90 litres of elderflower champagne i made this year. this is also a year on year production for me and got it off to a fine tee. attached link a pic of the bottled elderflower, quite potent!

 

http://forums.pigeonwatch.co.uk/forums/topic/322973-homemade-elderflower-champers-very-agreeable/

 

atb 7diaw

Edited by 7daysinaweek

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planted a blackthorn hedge...just a quick question, any idea when it will actually provide sloes, have made blackberry gin for a few years and fancied trying the the sloe variety....thanks...atb....misser

hi misser

 

just checked out some interweb threads, some say as little as 3 years, suppose it depeds on many variables the ground, the start they get, may get some sooner. hope they fruit well for you. that said you will find shed loads around west lancs to keep you going until yours bear fruit.

 

atb 7diaw

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7DIAW, that is interesting about colour. Here is some Damson and Orange Gin after a few days ....

 

IMG_2931_zpsvlyvvotl.jpg


Oh, and this batch was the 3xFreeze and Thaw method

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malk

 

how big are the jars and how much orange do you put in, i take it it is only the peel that goes in, when will it be ready for the great consumption?

 

atb 7diaw

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malk

 

how big are the jars and how much orange do you put in, i take it it is only the peel that goes in, when will it be ready for the great consumption?

 

atb 7diaw

 

Hi, they are 2lb jars with about 3 strips of carefully peeled orange skin so as NOT to include any bitter white pith. I use 500grm of damsons to 1L of Gin. I'd say there was little difference to the cook and freeze methods in flavour terms in the early days. One batch was under on sugar and one over, hence the blend. Next time I'll add the sugar at the very end.

 

I've been undertaking "quality control" for a few weeks, it tastes superb and is now already mellow with a good orange background to the rich damson flavour.

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hi malk

looks all good and sounds lovely, i like the ratio of damsons to gin, i use a similar ratio as a third just does not cut it. yes that is the beauty of these concoctions that sugar can be added at the very end up to the drinking stag and dissolves in a very short time with a bit of a shake, let me know how it gets on . i might send you a small sample bottle of this batch of damson vodka in 10 months to try, would send you a bottle of the elderflower champers but it is a bit fizzy and do not think it would travel well.

 

atb 7diaw

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thanks 7 daysinaweek....will have to go on the hunt for some...am quite getting into this fruit type of brewing thing.....close to Merseyside border so hope don't encroach on your territory.. :lol:... thanks for the info as well...if ever get bucket loads your welcome to some...... :yes: ....atb....misser

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thanks 7 daysinaweek....will have to go on the hunt for some...am quite getting into this fruit type of brewing thing.....close to Merseyside border so hope don't encroach on your territory.. :lol:... thanks for the info as well...if ever get bucket loads your welcome to some...... :yes: ....atb....misser

thanks very much and likewise if you find you are ever struggling to find something let me know. think you might struggle to get damsons now but sloes still plenty about.

happy brewing

 

atb 7diaw

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hi malk

looks all good and sounds lovely, i like the ratio of damsons to gin, i use a similar ratio as a third just does not cut it. yes that is the beauty of these concoctions that sugar can be added at the very end up to the drinking stag and dissolves in a very short time with a bit of a shake, let me know how it gets on . i might send you a small sample bottle of this batch of damson vodka in 10 months to try, would send you a bottle of the elderflower champers but it is a bit fizzy and do not think it would travel well.

 

atb 7diaw

 

We could do a swap. Is the Elderflower classed as an explosive? :lol:

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hi hedge sounds like you got 3 good ones on way, thats it with the wild one if it is a little weak i would be tempted to leave the damsons in a month longer but that is a personal choice. i have just come back wiltshire today and tons of sloes about. am tempted to do some sloe vodka but have got plenty on the go at the moment. still got plenty of elderflower champagne to go at up until christmas and well into the new year.

 

yes let me kow how things go and i will do likewise. it is a pity you live so far from me i would have dropped you a couple of bottles of my elderflower champagne, very agreeable!

 

atb 7diaw

 

Ideally I will leave the damsons in for 3 months minimum - I just need some of it ready for Xmas.

 

I've got to pick my sloes this week and get cracking on next year's batch. I've done Sloe vodka but never seems to be as smooth as Damson vodka (also in production). I think I'll do some gin and leave it at that.

 

I'll let you now how it all turns out!

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Ideally I will leave the damsons in for 3 months minimum - I just need some of it ready for Xmas.

 

I've got to pick my sloes this week and get cracking on next year's batch. I've done Sloe vodka but never seems to be as smooth as Damson vodka (also in production). I think I'll do some gin and leave it at that.

 

I'll let you now how it all turns out!

hi hedge

yes damson is always smoother as the higher sugar content, in sloes there are natural sugars both fructose and glucose but they are very low compared to damsons. sloes also have a higher percent of malic acid, pectin, tanin and the stones have a high oil content and this all imparts to the slight gravelly bitter sensation left on the tongue. anyhow it is all good, happy days and good luck with your imbibing endeavours .

let me know how it goes.

atb 7diaw

Edited by 7daysinaweek

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We could do a swap. Is the Elderflower classed as an explosive? :lol:

hi malk it is super fizzy and have had some scary explosions in past when was experementing in the early days. even this year did not heed my own warnings, had some excess left over from the batch in the picture. i always bottle into pet bottles suitable for secondary fermentation, but the excess i bottled into standard bottle and ordered some more pet bottles and was going to transfer it once they had arrived. anyhow two days later they exploded shattering glass everywhere in the garage. as said i will upload link to all the videos i have done and i you will see the finished product. it has now cleared well in the bottle. also the video is in there of the exploding bottles. it is not an exact science but i have got it pretty well down to a tee the last few years. yes dont think it would travel well, might explode en route and the proverbial might hit the fan :unhappy:

 

let me know how yours goes and as said will send you a small sample down when ready.

 

atb 7diaw

Edited by 7daysinaweek

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just a quick question please...tried making some blackberry gin last year stored it at the back of a dark cupboard....found a jar of it that had not sieved etc...the only thing was the seal on the spaghetti jar had 'popped' off...it smells and tastes ok...does it harm it in any way if it is left open for any length of time....any info appreciated....atb...misser

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just a quick question please...tried making some blackberry gin last year stored it at the back of a dark cupboard....found a jar of it that had not sieved etc...the only thing was the seal on the spaghetti jar had 'popped' off...it smells and tastes ok...does it harm it in any way if it is left open for any length of time....any info appreciated....atb...misser

hi misser.

if it smells and looks ok it probably is. if it is mould free it is probably ok and seeing you have already tasted it is a good sign. ethyl alcohol the alcohol which is the drinkable alcohol which is found in drinking spirits is a natural preservative and blackberry would be preserved in this. problems can arise from certain moulds produced by grain products, wheat, grains as certain harmful toxins can grow on these even if preserved in moderate levels of alcohol. what you must bear in mind is that for hundreds of years ethyl alcohol has been used as a preservative. you are effectively compounding the alcohol by changing its characteristic. i only choose to cover or compound my brews of alcohol to keep airborne rubbish out, flies, dust etc, as long as the fruit contents are generally below the surface they do not have to be matured in a sealed sterile enviroment, just as long as you start off with everthing clean and sterilised you should not have a problem. how many bottles of whisky or other alcohols have sat at the back of that old cupboard for years upon years. in my father in laws drinks cabinet he has a couple of bottles of whisky, one with a lost top that is about 10 years old and he says it tastes fine. that all said it is your call, if you think there is a risk to your health it is your choice if you wish to drink. if you have had a taste you would know i the next 24 hours if there was any problems but i would not think so.

 

let me know how it goes

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hi 7 days...thanks for the comprehensive reply...there was no mould on it, it smelt and tasted ok...and im still here a good few days after the event...lol...alcohol kills most things as you say so I will process it as per the others and just mark it as such...cant waste it after all..am quite getting into this brewing malarkey, planted a few fruit trees so hopefully in the future plenty more experiments to come.... atb....misser

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last year planted a couple of varieties of pear apple and plum...along with about 200yds of blackthorn hedge....got a lot of wild blackberries as well so will see what happens,,,if they bear fruit your more than welcome to some....atb....misser

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last year planted a couple of varieties of pear apple and plum...along with about 200yds of blackthorn hedge....got a lot of wild blackberries as well so will see what happens,,,if they bear fruit your more than welcome to some....atb....misser

that is a very kind offer, if you get an over abundance i would take some that is great can always try out some new stuff. apples hey, i have been tempted to make some cider but never get round to it. a couple of years ago one of my friends made 500 gallons of scrumpy, yes 500 gallon on his smallholding, all the apples come out of the woods on a local shoot, needless to say it did not last long i was told. i myself am not a cider drinker. i recall once drinking scrumpy from a farm down in the black country, anyhow after recovering for the best part of a week i decided it was the very devil to me and have avoided at all costs since. let me know how things go. as you are local to me if i can ever help you with anything let me know, can always pop over ( i spend quite a bit of time at edgehill ). i cannot always say i will have an answer for your query but will help if i can. may even bring you a bottle of elderflower champagne over to try.

 

atb 7diaw

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