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Weights and measures

A drink made of wine and honey. Someone please explain how it is done in the Roman style.

Venator scripsit: Herein I will give a recipe for Pyment, which is a brewed drink made from grapes and honey. This is a little more modern than Mulsum, but will give one a good flavor, I believe.

Any good beverage does take some bit of work and time; this is nothing different. While can brew good ale in as little as 3 - 4 weeks, wines and meads do take much longer.

I use red Zinfandel juice as recent information indicates strongly that this is a modern version of the Roman grape known as "Primitivo," which is still grown in Italy.

The word "Must" herein refers to the mixture of juice and other sugars, before the yeast is added. The word "lees" is the layer of sediment, which collects at the bottom of the fermenting vessel. When using an airlock, check it ever 2 - 3 days to make sure it hasn't dried out.

Also, it will look like a lot of carboys are used for one batch. But, 1 primary fermenting vessel (7 gallon, polythene vat) and 2 glass carboys (6 gallon) will suffice.

I will write another article detailing winemaking-brewing equipment, methodology and terminology.

Pyment (6 gallon batch in the primary fermentation - fermentation room air temp should be 65F - 70F for the primary)

Yeast starter: 1 pckt dried red wine yeast, 2 c warm water, 1 c fresh apple juice, 1/4 c honey, 1 B-1 tab - crushed

Do this the day before you are going to make the Pyment Must: In a 1 qt bottle use the warm water to dissolve the honey and B-1, add-in the apple juice and shake vigorously for several minutes to aerate the liquid. Sprinkle in the dried yeast, cap the bottle with an airlock and let this work away, building a nice colony of yeast cells.

Ingredients for the Must: 4 1/2 qt Red Zinfandel grape juice concentrate, 1# pitted, dried dates - chopped, 6 qt Hot water, 3 1/2# wildflower honey, 6 vitamin B-1 tablets - crushed, juice of 1 med lemon, 1 Tbsp strong tea, Cold water sufficient to top off the primary fermenter to 6 gallons, plus 1 pt extra grape juice, water as needed, 2 pckt unflavored gelatin

Place the grape juice and dates in the fermenting vessel, pour half of the hot water over this, stir until the juice is blended into the water. Add in the honey, B-1 and the balance of the hot water. Stir well until the honey is dissolved. Stir in the lemon and tea. Top off the primary to 6 gallons. Check the temperature; once the must is between 75F - 80F, stir it well to aerate the liquid, and then pour in the yeast culture.

Cover the vessel with a loose plastic sheet, tie it around the base. After 24 hours check to make sure that fermentation has started. Stir down the foam cap and floating fruit twice a day for 2 weeks.

Scoop out the dates into a fine mesh nylon bag, squeeze them as dry as possible into the fermenter. Siphon the working Pyment into a 6 gallon glass carboy, leaving as much of the lees behind as possible. Topoff with room temp, 1/4 strength Zin juice to the 6 gallon mark. Cap the carboy with an airlock and let this work away for 4 weeks in a 60F - 65F room.

Siphon the Pyment off the lees to another carboy. Topoff with room temperature water to the 6-gallon mark. Replace the airlock and let the Pyment work in the 60F - 65F room until all activity ceases (4 - 8 weeks).

Siphon the Pyment off the lees to another carboy. Boil 2 cups of water and dissolve in the gelatin. Add this to the Pyment, top off with cool water to 6 gallons and airlock the carboy. The gelatin will help the pyment clear. Let rest for 4 weeks.

Siphon the Pyment off the lees to another carboy. Top off with cool water to 6 gallons and replace the airlock. This is the bulk aging step in the life of the Pyment. After 3 - 4 months, taste the Pyment; it will taste "young," but should be ready to bottle, let it age 6 - 9 months in the bottle.


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