PDA

View Full Version : Orange Melomel



desertwind56
02-03-2011, 05:49 PM
Hi -

I'm a newBee mead maker. Last weekend I bottled a 1 gallon batch of JAOM. Itís not bad, but it has a bitter kind of back taste that is not to my liking Ė kind of like grapefruit.

Iím not inclined to cut up whole oranges again and stuff them in a gallon jug or carboy. And I want to avoid the bitter taste from the white part of the orange.

Iím planning to make a 3 gallon batch, but not exactly like the JAOM recipe. I want to shoot for an SG of 1.090 and an ABV of about 12%. I plan to ferment to dry and then back sweeten as necessary.

I looked at the orange melomel recipes in the recipe sections on this site. In particular, I was looking at this recipe:
http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_rapidrecipe&page=viewrecipe&recipe_id=219&Itemid=459
The recipe is for a 1 gallon batch.

1 Litre orange juice
2.4 lbs honey (med-light colored local wildflower vs. 3 pounds orange blossom as recommended by Acton and Duncan).
8 oz apple juice starter
2 tspn tea (very strong for tannin)
1 tspn yeast nutrient
1.25 tspn acid blend
1 pinch of epsom salt
WYeast Labs liquid "sweet mead" yeast

Has anyone tried this recipe? And what is apple juice starter? Why the Epsom salt?

I was thinking of adding golden raisins instead of the tea called for in this recipe. And adding spices like the JAOM recipe.

Also, Iím wondering how orangey this tastes? It has more orange juice that the other recipes. I want a bit of a taste of orange, but not nasty overwhelming.

Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated.

Connie M.

Shadar Aman
02-03-2011, 06:02 PM
My (inexperienced) thoughts:

That much orange juice is going to be pretty acidic. Adding acid blend on top of that is almost certainly going to stress your yeast. Given that Wyeast's "sweet mead" yeast is known for being finicky and sensitive, I'd be hesitant about using it in this sort of must.

My first suggestion, then, would be to drop the acid blend. It's not needed for most meads, and if you find the final flavor to be in need of acid, it's easy to add then.

My second suggestion is to monitor the PH of this batch closely. Make sure you have something on hand to bring the PH up if it gets too low.

As to your questions...

Apple juice starter sounds to me like apple juice concentrate, but I could be totally off base.

Epsom Salt (or magnesium sulfate) is apparently used to adjust the profile of the water. It would seem to lower the PH a small amount (which doesn't sound good to me) and impart a "crispiness" to the drink somehow.

Spices and raisins are all up to your tastes.

mmclean
02-03-2011, 06:03 PM
Can't help you with the Orange Melomel recipe.

How old is your JAO? The taste is from the pith of the orange. It will go away after a while, but it'll still be very sweet. I put a couple of gallons on oak, and it hide the pithyness very well. It's about 8 mounths old right now.

I will be making more, even though I'm not fond of the sweetness.

AToE
02-03-2011, 06:04 PM
I would get rid of the acid blend (do this for SURE, if it needs more acid you can always add it after aging, but added at the beginning will cause your yeasts grief - this probably means this recipe is an outdated one). Most likely you won't end up needing to add it for taste at all, orange is pretty acidic as is.

I would also get a different yeast, I would personally use 71B from Lalvin.

That WYeast sweet mead yeast is notorious for stalling and being a general pain in the butt to work with!

Epsom salts are nutrient for the yeast, but are in no way necessary for a low starting gravity mead like this. Very few people use epsom salts, and those that do generally just recommend it for high gravity meads.

That amount of tea will probably do next to nothing, I don't think whoever made this recipe did very much experimenting to be honest! I would either add at least a full cup or just skip it altogether.

Starter - skip this, you do not need to make starters for mead, it doesn't really bring anything to the table other than extra steps. If you do use that WYeast then maybe ignore this comment and do use the starter, it will need all the help it can get! If you use a dried yeast pack from Lalvin you will absolutely not need a starter though.


I think the amount of orange juice is probably a good one. It's hard to say for sure how orange-y the finished mead will be, but you can always just backsweeten it a little extra to taste if it is too tart.

EDIT: I see some people are faster at typing than I am!

Shadar Aman
02-03-2011, 06:58 PM
Ok, I like the idea of an orange mead, and this post has me brainstorming recipes. So, if I were going to make this, here's how I would do it....

First, I would use fresh squeezed orange juice. It really is that much better than anything you can get at the store. Personally, I would use either Valencia oranges or some kind of tangerine. Then I would add some blood oranges for color (I don't know if the acid in the orange juice will preserve the anthocyanin color or if you would need to take extra steps). I might add some zest from some of the oranges (no pith) for the aromatic oils.

I would also use orange blossom honey if you can get it. Wildflower can be good, but it's unpredictable. This is an orange mead, so lets use an orange honey. The recipe you linked appears to have chosen wildflower only for lack of orange blossom.

If I were going to add spices, I would add a little bit of allspice and a stick of cinnamon (real cinnamon, not cassia). You could add cloves as well, but I'm told they rapidly become very potent in mead, so you'd have to monitor them closely.

You should also remember that I'm pretty new to meadmaking myself, and I've never made anything like this. So my recipe could turn out terrible. :P

So, here's my recipe:

8lbs Orange Blossom Honey
4lbs Sweet Oranges
2lbs Blood Oranges
Lalvin 71B yeast
Fermaid K/DAP (recommended dosages)
Water to 3 gallons
Spices (if desired)

Juice the oranges, zest a couple of them, and mix the juice and zest with the honey and water. Ferment. If you're using the spices, put them in the secondary until it reaches the spice level you want. Backsweeten if desired.

Medsen Fey
02-03-2011, 09:32 PM
That recipe won't be bad at all.
However, blood oranges do add more bitterness than other oranges (sort of a grapefruit-like character).

I'm with AToE on this one. I'd simplify the recipe and skip the Wyeast Sweet mead yeast. I'd skip the tea - you won't need it for tannins (citrus fruits provide plenty), and I'd skip the acid blend (ditto). 71B is good, K1V would be good, D47 can be good so there are many readily available yeast that will make a nice dry orange mel. You won't need epsom salts either. If you use the dry yeast, you won't need to fiddle with a starter.

I'm partial to Orange Blossom honey, but that is a personal preference.

I like fresh squeezed. If you use 25% of your volume with orange juice, there's a good chance it may end up too phenolic. I'd cut that back to maybe 2 cups if you want this dry. You can add a bit more at the end to perk up acidity and flavor if you find it needs it. You won't need to worry about the pH - orange juice usually comes in around 3.6-3.8 which is perfect for yeast, and it has plenty of potassium for them. Because it provides a lot of acid, it has buffering capacity that prevent sudden pH drops.

At the end of fermentation add the zest of 1 orange to kick up the aromatics. Ferment it cool to keep the orange aroma. You should be able to get something really tasty.

Good Luck! And Welcome to GotMead!

Shadar Aman
02-03-2011, 10:07 PM
That recipe won't be bad at all.
However, blood oranges do add more bitterness than other oranges (sort of a grapefruit-like character).

I drink my grapefruit juice straight, so that's sounds like an excellent quality to me.


I like fresh squeezed. If you use 25% of your volume with orange juice, there's a good chance it may end up too phenolic. I'd cut that back to maybe 2 cups if you want this dry. You can add a bit more at the end to perk up acidity and flavor if you find it needs it. You won't need to worry about the pH - orange juice usually comes in around 3.6-3.8 which is perfect for yeast, and it has plenty of potassium for them. Because it provides a lot of acid, it has buffering capacity that prevent sudden pH drops.


That's really good to know. Should save me some anxiety if I ever get around to making this.

desertwind56
02-03-2011, 10:12 PM
Thanks for the quick replies! ;D

I donít mind that my JAOM is a little sweet. I didnít actually use the bread yeast it called for. I either used cote des blanc or Champagne yeast (donít remember, better notes next time). I started the JAOM back in August and bottled last weekend.

But, I would rather ferment to dry, and then sweeten to taste. More control of sweetness and alcohol that way.

As for the spices, defiantly want to add cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. I like cloves, but it is easy to overpower with them and I may leave them out. I have some clover honey on hand I was thinking of using.

I plan to make a batch of orange blossom honey mead, but that is a little later project. Need to find honey and buy more carboys.

So about 6 cups of fresh squeezed orange juice (think Iím going to have to use navels however) for 3 gallons.
6.75 pounds of honey (more or less) for SG of 1.090 / ABV of 12.3% (If I did the math right)
Donít have Fermaid, or DAP, just have generic yeast nutrient and yeast energizer.
Yeast, depends on what the brewery store has (71B, K1V or D47)
Add spices and orange zest after fermentation is done.

As for temperature for fermenting, my house is about 60 Ė 66 degrees right now Ė hope that is warm enough. (Itís not for me, wearing sweats and long johns until summer).

akueck
02-04-2011, 01:47 AM
60 F is perfect! You can get a nice, slow(er) fermentation that preserves more of the flavor/aroma of your ingredients and produces fewer off-flavors.

You can work with generic nutrients, it's just a little harder to be exact about the amounts you need to add (for Fermaid & DAP we know exactly what is in them). Since you're staring from 1.090, that loss of precision shouldn't be too big a problem.

desertwind56
02-05-2011, 01:52 PM
I'm planning on starting this today, after doing some cleaning in the kitchen. Here's the basic ingredient list:

For 3 gallons
6 cups orange juice
6.75 lbs clover honey (approx. for SG of 1.090)
water to a little over 3 gallons
Yeast - D47
yeast nutrient 1 1/2 teaspoons
yeast energizer 1 1/2 teaspoons
pectic enzyme 2 1/4 teaspoons

After fermentation add:
zest of 1 orange
cinnamon - 3 sticks
allspice - 3 berries
nutmeg - 3
cloves - 3

I've read through the NewBee Guide (ton of info). I won't be boiling the honey. However, I will boil the water and let it cool before adding to the honey.

I'm planning to work on this later this afternoon. Right now, I have a dog demanding to be walked!

Thanks again!

Connie M.

Chevette Girl
02-05-2011, 02:28 PM
That amount of tea will probably do next to nothing, I don't think whoever made this recipe did very much experimenting to be honest! I would either add at least a full cup or just skip it altogether.


Perhaps the recipe was meant to use 2 tsp tea leaves? If I converted that to number of teabags (I use one fat Orange Pekoe teabag per gallon) it comes out sounding a little more sensible instead of completely pointless.

New Improved recipe sounds good!

desertwind56
02-06-2011, 02:42 PM
Mixed it all up and pitched the yeast yesterday evening. It's fermenting nicely this morning. ;D

I did goof up a bit. Last night I got a SG of 1.09. This morning it's 1.097. Opps, this newbee didn't mix in honey well enough. I thought at the time I might be putting too much in. I have about 1 1/3 gal. of must. That includes 6 cups of orange juice. I added about 8 lbs 4 oz of honey (Just now weighed what was leftover). After doing some math and making a rather uneducated guess, I'm thinking I started about 1.100ish and am looking at an ABV of 13.21ish.

Oh well, not going to lose sleep over it. Guess it will be a little stronger than planned. ;D

schlapppy
02-09-2011, 01:24 PM
this sounds really good. I'll have to keep it in ming next time i brew an orange spice mead

desertwind56
02-10-2011, 01:11 PM
This is fermenting pretty slow. I'm having to put my fermenter in a sink of warm water to keep it going.

Last night we broke down and opened a bottle of JAO Mead. It was so good! Still a little bitter aftertaste, but it's starting to fade. ;D We only have three more bottles :( So, I hope this turns out good!

(Note to self: no more gallon batches)

Connie M.

Medsen Fey
02-10-2011, 01:27 PM
What is the gravity now?
Unless if is really cold - below 60F, you shouldn't have to warm it up.

desertwind56
02-11-2011, 12:54 AM
I checked the specific gravity earlier this evening and it was 1.051 and the temp was 74 degrees F. Yesterday at the same time the SG was 1.061.

A couple of days ago it seemed like it stalled at 1.070, so I've been warming it up a little the last couple of days. And of course I forgot to check the temperature before I warmed it up.

desertwind56
02-11-2011, 04:43 PM
Just checked it (12:30 pm) - SG = 1.046, temp = 68. Not warming it today.

I made couple of batches of wine over the summer and they fermented blazing fast! This just seems real slow. But, I will try to be a little more patient.

Thanks!

Connie M.

desertwind56
02-15-2011, 05:11 PM
Specific gravity is at 1.022. Fermenting nice and slow. I hope to transfer it from my fermenting bucket to a carboy in a couple of days (need my bucket!).

I do have a question about adding the cinnamon, spices and orange peal. I hope this isn't too stupid of a question - do I need to sanitize the spices and peal? If so how? Dip in K-meta solution?

Thanks!

Connie M

Medsen Fey
02-15-2011, 06:02 PM
do I need to sanitize the spices and peal? If so how? Dip in K-meta solution?


You don't necessarily have to sanitize them but a quick dip in some sulfite solution certainly won't hurt anything.

Personally, I'd probably leave it in the bucket until it finishes. You can leave a lot of active yeast behind when you rack.

desertwind56
02-15-2011, 09:57 PM
Medsen Fey - Thank-you :) I probably won't worry too much about sanitizing them.

I could leave the mead in the bucket until its dry, but it doesn't have an airlock. With the few wines (3) I've made I've left it in my 5 gal. bucket till the SG was about 1.015-1.010 and then transferred it to a carboy.

Would it be okay in the bucket to finish fermenting? The lid is resting on top of it, and not closed (It's a pain to close). The lid isn't set up to have an airlock.

A larger fermenter with a proper lid is on this weeks shopping list. ;D

Medsen Fey
02-16-2011, 10:24 AM
I often let them finish in a bucket with the lid on loose. If you are concerned, you can go ahead and rack it.

desertwind56
02-17-2011, 12:14 AM
Thanks again! I will just leave in the fermenter until dry. I had to by a larger fermenter for my next project anyway.

;D

desertwind56
02-18-2011, 03:01 PM
Just a little update. SG today is 1.012. It's still slowly fermenting.;D

I took a little taste of it yesterday. I have a hard time tasting around the yeast and the bubbles, but I think this is going to be real tasty! ;D Nice citrus flavor without the bitter pith flavor! Really looking forward to this one!

Thanks again!

Connie

desertwind56
03-18-2011, 11:29 PM
I racked today for the second time. This took a real long time to finish fermenting. Added orange peal, cinnamon, whole allspice, whole cloves and whole nutmeg. Also added sorbate and sulfates. Will be sweetening this a little bit (not a lot). Going to let it age a bit first, before sweetening.

I think this is going to be pretty tasty!

Connie M.

mmclean
03-19-2011, 08:17 AM
Hi Connie,

What was your finnishing SG.

I'm not sure about adding sorbate and sulfates yet. Wayneb recommends adding sulfates first, then adding sorbate a few hours later, then bottle immediately. That's the way I bottled my JAO.

desertwind56
03-19-2011, 10:41 AM
SG was .994 and had been for a couple of weeks.

I added k-meta and sorbate because its the same way I've been doing my wines (not that I'm anything close to an expert making wine. :p ). Sort of a habit.

I'm planning on sweetening, which was why I added sorbate, although I guess I didn't need to add it yet? My understanding is I can add sorbate anytime, as long as it's before adding sugar/honey? After sweetening, I will wait a bit (at least a couple of weeks) before bottling to make sure it doesn't start fermenting again.

I'm not planning on adding much sweeteness, it's just too dry as it is right now.

Connie

desertwind56
03-19-2011, 12:38 PM
Stinky geranium smell! :eek: I did a little more looking at some of the posts about k-meta and sorbate. Seems I need to make sure there is k-meta first. Wait a bit, then add sorbate.

With my wines, there usually has already been an addition of k-meta before adding sorbate and a second addition of k-meta. That would be except for the welches grape concentrate and the "skeeter pee". Both also racked and k-meta/sorbate added in the last couple of days. . . :eek:

Aadding sorbate at the second racking goes back to being habit - I don't have to think about it later on - did I add it or not - even though I do keep notes. Maybe this is not the best process. Maybe after this ages Ill decide not to sweeten. And then I wouldn't have needed the sorbate. ???

jellybelly
03-26-2011, 12:19 AM
Not trying to interrupt the thread but just add to it. I started four JAO batches back on Feb. 5th and just racked off one of the gallons as I saw no noticeable activity. Don't have a hydrometer so just "eye-balling" it as I go. Will probably rack off the other 3 in the next week or so. Tasted the one I racked and was not impressed one way or the other. I could taste the honey and orange, was slightly bitter/sweet but not overly so. Didn't feel any alcohol kick as I started on Bud Light immediately after. Maybe my pallet has been ruined over the years.

I tried to post picks of the jugs in my cupboard, but keep getting error, I guess you have to pay to post pics?

Thanks for all the info I've seen. I have a nice pear tree in the back yard which I will use for my next batch.

:)

wildoates
03-26-2011, 01:55 AM
The file may be too big to post?

Chevette Girl
03-26-2011, 03:52 AM
I can't post photos either, 120 kb jpg is apparently too big, even though the limit's almost 2 MB...

Desertwind, did you actually end up with a geranium-stinky batch? I think if the k-meta dissipates before the sorbate is added, it can happen, which is why I'm assuming most of the time you leave the sorbate out until you're about to backsweeten and bottle, and then you sorbate right after k-meta and don't wait terriffically long (a few weeks to make sure the yeasties have stopped) before bottling so there's still some residual sulphites...

I'm not sure if there's anything that can be done about it once it's happened though.

wayneb
03-26-2011, 09:43 AM
I'm not sure if there's anything that can be done about it once it's happened though.



Actually, there isn't. Geraniol is one of the more stable compounds when it is present in a mead or wine, and there isn't anything that you can add to a wine afflicted with it in order to neutralize the smell, that won't utterly destroy the wine in the process.

jellybelly
03-26-2011, 11:09 PM
The file may be too big to post?
I shrank the .jpg down to 44kb but still no luck. I was thinking, you don't have to be a patron to post pics do you?

Soyala_Amaya
03-26-2011, 11:30 PM
I used a power drill and a scrubbed wall bit to make the hole in my lid bigger when the one they shipped me was too small for my rubber stoppers. You could always measure your stopper, drill your lid, sand it smooth so no uglies get in deep scratches, and viola! Hole for airlock!

akueck
03-26-2011, 11:35 PM
you don't have to be a patron to post pics do you?

Not that I know of...

Easiest is to host your image elsewhere (Picasa, Flickr, Photobucket, etc) and link the image here.

desertwind56
03-29-2011, 12:24 AM
Desertwind, did you actually end up with a geranium-stinky batch?

No - I was just reading about how it could happen. I've been in the habit of adding k-meta an sorbate at the same time. Perhaps in the future I should add k-meta then wait a bit before adding sorbate. After all the time and expense, I would like to minimize the possibility of the batch going bad! :eek:

Thanks!

Connie

Chevette Girl
03-29-2011, 12:36 AM
I think if you're adding them both at the same time you'll be fine, the problems seem to arise when it's been treated with sorbate but there's not enough sulphite present.

That said, I'm sure I've at least once or twice used sorbate with no sulphites and had no problem, but why risk it when you know better...

Medsen Fey
03-29-2011, 06:46 AM
You are fine adding both sorbate and sulfite together at the same time.

desertwind56
04-15-2011, 10:51 PM
Another update - I racked today and removed the spices. I went ahead and added honey to sweeten a little bit. We are currently "testing" to make sure it's okay. ;D Pretty tasty now, but I think give it a year and it will be real nice!

Thanks again!

Connie