I have found conflicting information on what constitutes a pyment versus a mulsum. Overall, the majority of information seems to agree that a pyment is honey and grapes or grape juice fermented together. The mulsum is grape wine fermented to completion and honey added for sweetness. I have made both, but my mulsum has not aged long enough for a proper tasting (although it is damn good already).

Here are a COUPLE OF MY RECIPES I have successfully made:

ZimLow (This was a basket of grapes I received from some friends, it was a variety of four different types of grapes including Concord; some champagne grapes; probably a Pinot; and some sweet, purplish, seedless eating grape). I imagine you can do the same thing finding a variety of grapes in the fall.

I simmered the grapes as low as I could for 20 minutes, loosely strained the juice, leaving some stems and flesh in and let it cool. The juice itself had a SG of 1.085. It made about 1 1/2 gallons. I then added:

  • 3 C Wildflower honey
  • 1/8 t tannin
  • 1/2 t each of yeast nutrient and energizer
  • Red Star Montrachet yeast reconstituted per packet directions

I then added water to bring the OG to 1.110, and the pH was 3.2 (the grapes were late this year, which tends to produce more acidic grapes). It was fermented to dryness (SG .999) within a month, and I racked into a secondary. I stabilized with:

  • 3/4 t potassium sorbate
  • 1/4 t potassium metabisulfite

I let it sit for four months until clarified then racked again and added:

  • 1/4 C organic sugar
  • 1/8 C wildflower honey
  • 1/8 t meta

This only brought the SG up to 1.003, which I thought was fine at the time, the realized the ABV was 14.8%, so I would want it sweeter. It still hadn’t clarified at all by the next month, after the addition of the honey. I then added 3/4 t pectic enzyme and let it sit. Two months later I racked again and added:

  • 1/3 C wildflower honey
  • 1/8 t tannin
  • 1/8 t meta

At this point the SG was 1.010 and it tasted well balanced to me. The pH was 3.2 and the tart went well with the higher sweetness level. The taste is phenomenal. It has a sweet fruity aroma, and the honey only comes into play as it warms when you are drinking it. Excellent! It pairs well with peppered steak or spicy Asian food…

ZimLow 2.2 (this was a dryer version)

  • 3 liters of the ZimLow juice
  • 1 C fireweed honey
  • Red Star Montrachet yeast reconstituted per packet directions
  • 1/4 t tannin
  • 1/2 t each yeast nutrient and energizer

The pH was 3.3 and the OG was 1.092. I wanted the OG to be a little lower because this will be a semi-dry wine at the end. It fermented to SG .996 and a pH of 3.2 in five days! I racked it and stabilized and backsweetened at the same time:

  • 3/4 t sorbate
  • 1/4 t meta
  • 1/4 C fireweed honey

Then I topped with water. The ABV was 12.8% and the FG was 1.002. This was a crisp, dryish wine that went very well with dinners. The grape was outstanding over the honey as fireweed is a very light honey. However, it did come across as the wine warmed.

Purple Pyment (Welch’s Concord Grape Juice Mead)

I saw many recipes on the internet for Welch’s wine, so I had to try some. Here’s my recipe. I also used up leftovers of honey for this recipe…

  • 3 cans of 11.5 oz Welch’s Concord grape juice concentrate (NO sulfites added)
  • 1/2 qt chopped flame raisins
  • 1 family Lipton tea bag steeped in 2 C boiled water
  • 1 3/4 C raw clover honey
  • 1 1/3 C raw wildflower honey
  • 3/4 C organic sugar
  • 1 t each yeast nutrient & energizer
  • 1/2 t acid blend

This made two full gallons of must. It tasted great, like really sweet grape juice. The OG was 1.092 and it was too purple for me to use my pH strips. I racked it at two weeks and the SG was 1.002. I racked again three months later and the SG was 0.999, so the ABV was 12.4%. I stabilized and sweetened at the same time:

  • 1/4 t tannin
  • 1 1/2 t potassium sorbate
  • 1/2 t meta
  • 2/3 C wildflower honey

This sweetened it to SG 1.010. I bottled it at six months old. I drank some at 16 months and it was really good. I wouldn’t call it great, but it is awesome for paring with burgers or other plain food. I think next time, I might use more grape juice and a little less honey. The honey overwhelmed the Concord a bit (not necessarily a bad thing). I think I would also add some acid, as the bite dissipated as it aged.


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