View Full Version : Grapefruit melomel

04-02-2010, 11:13 PM
I have the urge to make a melomel with orange blossom honey and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. Knowing that this will be quite acidic, I was planning to raise the pH to a about 3.3 or so with CaCO3 and/ K2CO3, but my question is: what is the upper limit of Ca and K ions that yeast can tolerate- because I figure it might take pretty much K2CO3 and CaCO3 to reach a PH that the yeast will ferment at. Any thoughts from you experts?

Medsen Fey
04-03-2010, 09:39 AM
Grapefruit can make a very nice melomel, but the acidity is an issue. It may surprise you, but the pH was not so much of a problem. With many grapefruit, the pH isn't below 3.0 (as opposed to lemons or sour oranges). It might not take that much potassium bicarb or calcium carbonate to adjust the pH up to a range to keep the yeast quite happy (around 3.4). I have even been able to ferment grapefruit without adjusting the pH, though I wouldn't necessarily recommend that.

There isn't a specific limit on how much potassium and calcium that can be added, but if excessive amounts are added you may get chalky flavors (in the case of calcium carbonate) or metallic/salty flavors from the potassium.

The problem with acidity in grapefruit comes in the flavor. If you use a lot of grapefruit you will have to balance the acidity (and the astringency) with lots and lots of residual sugar. I made a 100% grapefruit juice melomel once and it needed a gravity above 1.050 to be drinkable. If you want to make something that is a little lighter bodied, you have to keep the amount of juice down. For many winemaking recipes they recommend 6 grapefruit as the amount for one gallon (that would be something like 3 cups of juice). You can go a bit higher but if you exceed it by much, you won't have it drinkable as a dry mead and sweetening will be needed.

I don't think using the whole fruit is a good idea - there's too much bitterness. I think it is better to juice the grapefruit and use the juice. You can add some grapefruit zest to boost the aroma. Also, I would not heat the juice as grapefruit is loaded with pectin, and I would use pectic enzyme with it.

I hope you get a good batch.


04-03-2010, 09:40 AM
With a high citrus fruit like grapefruit I would ferment a traditional most of the way and then add the grapefruit juice.

04-03-2010, 12:29 PM
Thanks for the info. I thought grapefruit juice would have had a lower pH than 3! I will follow your suggestion regarding the amounts to use. I plan to use DV10 yeast and , per your suggestion, will use some pectic enzyme.

Medsen Fey
04-03-2010, 01:22 PM
Sometimes the pH can be below 3.0, but when you check it may be higher. You can use the approach of adding the juice later, but as long as the pH isn't too low, the yeast love citrus fruit and will have a rapid smooth fermentation with it in the primary - faster and easier than a traditional.

04-03-2012, 09:04 PM
I've wanted to do a grapefruit melomel for a while. I particularly like bitter, tart, and very dry tastes in my juices, coffees, teas, and wines. I followed the advice here and used 3 cups of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice for my one gallon experiment. Once I had mixed and aerated the must and then pitched the yeast, about 20 minutes later I was aghast at what could only be described as the deadly agglutination. But I waited to see what happened. Much to my delight and surprise the must evened out to a tannish/opaque color and the fermentation was off to the races!!! Thanks a bunch guys for your thread with help and suggestions. I will let y'all know how this turns out in a month or two!

2 lbs raw honey
3 cups fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
distilled water to 1 gallon
2 packets Red Star Premier Cuvée yeast

04-03-2012, 09:06 PM
Also, my hydrometer broke so I got a faulty and untrue Gravity reading, so I'll have to do a mid-point reading and update y'all then.

Chevette Girl
04-03-2012, 10:18 PM
Hey, welcome to the forum!

I did a grapefruit variation on the JAO recipe and it turned out OK, I'm not sure I'd like it any drier though.

When you replace your hydrometer, you might want to get some pectinase, in my experimentation I've found that more than one orange in a gallon results in a pectic haze. Of course, your mileage may vary. Or you may not care if your mead's hazy, which is fine too :D

04-03-2012, 11:53 PM
Thanks for the welcome Chevette! Well, I'm relatively re-new to mead making. I made some mead in college for a class called Caveman Chemistry (book is same title by Dr. Kevin Dunn...it's on amazon). Anyway since I've gotten back into it I'm still at the no additives stage of things. Seems more natural, although not the Kenelm Digby open fermentation natural. Thanks for the tip, I'll have to start looking into the tannins, pectases and such addtives. Forum with y'all again!

04-09-2012, 01:35 AM

Has anyone considered hydroponic pH up/down additives in wine?

They're at least food-grade acid/base materials, so I was wondering. *grin*

Happy Fermenting! :cool:

04-09-2012, 08:40 AM
I also used a grapefruit in JAOM (actually made a 2 gallon batch using one orange & one grapefruit). I think it came out better (less sweet) than just oranges, but it's still rather new so I only took a quick taste so far.

Bob J
04-09-2012, 02:27 PM
Was also thinking it might be fun to make one of these..... Was thinking to use the basic JAOM recipe except using a pink grapefruit and leaving out the spices and using D47 instead of bread yeast.... Always loved honey on my grapefruit so am thinking this would be a winner.....;)

04-24-2012, 08:15 PM
Man that grapefruit juice got the yeast really excited. My recipe is 10 days ahead of schedule and is already calrified by itself. I think next time I will have to add more honey. For my 1 gallons I've only been using 2 lbs. of honey; definitely gotta bump it up to a 3:1 ratio. Gravity so far is 1.052 or ~7%ABV. I am gonna keep doin' citrus melomels, except lime...no lime.

04-30-2012, 01:18 PM
So my grapefruit melomel is stilled and naturally clarified way way way ahead of time. I'm excited so we're bottling early!

04-30-2012, 01:59 PM
So my grapefruit melomel is stilled and naturally clarified way way way ahead of time. I'm excited so we're bottling early!

What was your final gravity reading? Did you end up adding any more honey like you had mentioned previously?

05-02-2012, 10:54 PM
No I haven't added any honey to it. I've ended up with a FG of 1.052 or ~7%ABV. I think this will make a nice light summertime drink. Bottling Friday!!!

05-25-2012, 11:37 PM
So I was late in bottling. Bottling took place sometime around 20th something of May. Color, smell and taste are great but I need to let it mellow a little bit. Also, I could barely put my finger (taste that is...) on the grapefruit when I tasted it. It was much more of an overall dry citrusy taste and quality. Oh well, maybe it will come out in a little while. My final reading gave me 8%ABV. This was a success!!! Defintely gonna bump up the honey to 3:1 ratio next time and perhaps use orangeblossom or wildflower to either enhance the flavor of the grapefruit or let it come through a bit more. Until next time...