The beauty of this recipe is there is no recipe. I was at my grandmas and heard a friend of the family just came across 20lbs of fresh tart cherries. We decided to make some wine. My mom and our friend Joe decided to try to wing it but I recommended they try to follow some basic ingredient guidelines I quickly found online. We used a 5 gallon carboy.
Paul Grayson’s Recipe is as follows:
- A 6 gal bucket with lid and spout
- An airlock
- 18 lb frozen cherries
- 10 lb sugar
- 2 tsp tea leaves (optional)
- 8 tsp acid blend
- 5 potassium metabisulphite (campden) tablets
- 1 packet Montrachet yeast
- 4 gallons of carboys (glass jugs)
Aside from using paul’s recipe as a sugar->water ratio guideline, we pretty much winged it, here is our recipe:
- 5 Gallon Glass Carboy
- Glash Airlock with Cork
- Candle Wax
- 20lbs frozen cherries
- 12lbs sugar, refined
- packet of wine yeast
While watching them put all this together, it was apparent their concern for sterility was virtually non-existent. They rinsed and cleaned a bit, but it was nothing like what is recommended in any brewing how-to. Their defense of this was when they were in the mountains of Poland they didn’t have no-rinse.* And apparently they got plenty drunk in those days.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying sterility is a minor issue. They last thing you want is to lose $80 worth of brewing ingredients due to a bad batch. If you have the time and resources, by all means get as steril as possible.
Anyway, back to putting it together, here’s what they did:
- Mix sugar and water together, while someone else jams the cherries into the carboy. This is best done while enjoyed some homebrewed wine or beer.
- Fill it up till your carboy starts looking like ours.
- Someone crack a joke along the lines of “Is it ready yet?”
- At this point we realized our yeast was 7 yrs old, and wasn’t bubbling in our little yeast starter cup. We opted to get some proper yeast from a local polish deli on archer in Chicago
- (Day 2) We let the carboy sit overnight while waiting for some yeast. Upon receiving the yeast, we added it.
- Put cork and glass airlock on, seal cork to carboy by dripping wax around it.
Everything I have learned about home brewing says this batch of Cherry wine will be a miserable failure. But then again, I grew up seeing my mom mash grapes from our own garden with her barefoot for wine. Something tells me she knows a thing or two about this guerilla style of brewing. We’ll see.