A friend found this old recipe for Peach "Brandy" (which is really more of a peach wine since it's not distilled) and I decide to give it a shot.
I didn't want to make a full five gallon batch of something that might not work out so I scaled it down to a mere gallon and made a few adjustments based on my experience and what I had on hand.
- 9 cups water
- 2.5 cups peaches (skinned and pitted)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 pounds granulated sugar
- 1/2 packet of [Red Star Pasteur Champagne] yeast
- ~13 ounces raisins
I found that three ripe peaches (skin & pits removed, chopped) generated about 2.5 cups of peach flesh. Since I bought seven, I ate one and put the other three in the freezer in case I want to make another batch of this.
I chopped up the three peaches and put it in a pot with the water, lemon juice and sugar and started to boil it. After fifteen minutes I realized there was no point in boiling it so I stopped. I wanted to puree the peaches so I stuck an immersion blender in the pot but the peach to water ratio was so low it wasn't effective. I ended up pouring the mixture into the blender, a few cups at a time, and pureeing it that way. If I do this again, I'll just puree the peaches with a cup of water before adding the rest. I might still heat it up a bit to get the sugar dissolve.
Anyway, after making a complete mess of my kitchen I finally got the peach, water, lemon, and sugar mixture into my one gallon jug. Cooling it down to pitching temperature took a long time. Patience prevailed in the end. I decanted a cup to measure the specific gravity and it came out at a whopping 1.121. So this is probably going to be pretty sweet when it's done.
At the beginning of the process I found half a packet of Red Star Pasteur Champagne (the yellow packet) in my fridge and got it started in some warm water with some yeast nutrients. The only reason I choose this variety is because that was what was in my fridge.
Finally I pitched the yeast and stopped up the jug. Within a day it was bubbling away. The original recipe suggest waiting a week and then adding raisins, so I'll probably do that. Two weeks after that... it should be peach wine!
[Update 12Aug24] Per the original recipe, I added 13.5 ounces of raisins precisely seven days later. It's still bubbling.
[Update 12Sep10] Twenty-three days after beginning, I have bottled this concoction. I was supposed to bottle it two days ago but I was busy all weekend. I poured the brew through a sieve to remove the raisins and the larger bits. I started to also strain it through a coffee filter but that was taking way too long. As I drink the cup I used to measure the final gravity I realize it's not as bad as I thought it was going to be. It tastes like it sat on the lees for a couple weeks which, of course, is what it did. If I were to try this again (or if you wanted to give it a shot) I'd recommend racking it to a secondary container after the first 7 days. Furthermore, chilling the bottles should help hide the more undesirably flavors exposing more of the peach sweetness.
Final gravity reading was 1.020 @ 76°F, yielding 13.3% alcohol by volume.