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dogbert
01-14-2014, 07:02 PM
So, in a few simple pineapple and orange meads I've made thus far, I make an infusion by first freezing the fruit, then chopping it into cubes and boiling and crushing it while it's in the boiling pot in a cheesecloth bag. I let it sit at just below a boil for a solid hour, then use the flavored water infusion to flavor the mead. On the whole, the results have been good, but the fruit flavor isn't quite pronounced enough, and is a bit bland.

I've seen some recipes where people add chopped raisins and grated orange peel, but not pith, to the primary. What prevents this fruit from rotting during fermentation, especially the stuff that floats to the top? I'm assuming the alcohol content helps a bit. But what of the stuff floating at the top? Is it just that all foreign bacteria is pushed out with the CO2 and that which remains either dies from the sulphites or is out-competed by the wine yeast?

WVMJack
01-14-2014, 07:11 PM
First, stop boiling your fruits, no wonder they are bland you are loosing all the essential aromas. Fermentation IS spoiling the fruit. Have you glanced thru the beginners sections? How about trying a Joes Ancient Orange Mead, I think it sounds like that would be a good blend of what you are looking for maybe. Good luck and you are correct, beware the pith! WVMJ

dogbert
01-14-2014, 07:31 PM
I'm not boiling the fruits, but first putting them in a cheese cloth bag, crushing it with a potato masher to get a lot of the juice out, and just warming it to under a boil. There are no bubbles forming in the pot. The idea was to do a simple infusion without killing the taste entirely.

Am I correct on the freezing of the fruit first? I had read in a separate post here about it making it easier to extract flavor and sugars from it by means of freezing first, then letting it sit in warm water.

As for the rotting, I should re-phrase my earlier question to "does the environment in the carboy above the water line prevent harmful bacteria from growing". I know that inside the must, the wine yeast will out-compete harmful foreign bacteria, especially if the must has been inoculated with sulfite in advance. But what about the gaseous environment above the liquid? Is it safe to assume that any bacterial in the air that may have gotten in when I installed the airlock and bung is either negligible, or was forced out with all the CO2 being pumped out, or cannot thrive in the CO2-rich environment?

I've tried JAOM to the letter, and it was sweet and tasted decent after 8 months, and not a day sooner. I've gone with the infusion route because It's a pain to get the orange pulp out afterwards unless it's been pureed in advance. The pith taste is also awful, and is probably the reason it needs 8 months just to be bearable.

I swapped out the bread yeast with EC-1118 so I can make it stronger, and I don't backsweeten, but rather just add more honey incrementally until the alcohol effectively renders the yeast ineffective.

Riverat
01-14-2014, 08:15 PM
Do yourself a favor and get a bucket for your primary, a small one if you do one gallon batches but big is easy to grow into and makes aerating, degassing and to your point, punching down the fruit to prevent spoilage, drying out, maximize extraction and general management much easier (and you free up a carboy for aging!)
The freezing is intended to burst the cell walls and the crushing also helps the yeast get into the fruit, if you just freeze, thaw and crush, add some pectinase then before you go to bed toss in a Camden tablet you can skip the warm water bit and still get better extraction.
I'd leave the fruit in the cheesecloth bag with a couple of stainless steel bolts to make racking easier once you have a bucket available.

fatbloke
01-15-2014, 12:39 AM
To go back to the original point.......

Primary fermentation is quite an aggressive process. Not much grows in that environment anyway, but any fruit derision that sits above the liquid gets "punched down", usually daily or twice daily. Or once the ferment has settled down and the chance of "capping" that might hold back the flow of CO2 is reduced then you can often just gently swirl the fermenter (bigger the glass the more difficult), but given for the propensity for carboys to have built in jet nozzles that can aim an erupting ferment just nicely, any batch made with fruit it's generally suggested to use a bucket as it provides a much larger air/liquid interface.

plus after the primary is complete then it's easy to rack Iit off to glass......

Alcohol, once over about 10% has a preservative effect, but generally while it is possible for fruit and yeast to go bad with time, you just employ a few basic techniques to retard that to give you time to extract all the pigment and flavour before removing it.

Chevette Girl
01-15-2014, 11:04 PM
But what about the gaseous environment above the liquid? Is it safe to assume that any bacterial in the air that may have gotten in when I installed the airlock and bung is either negligible, or was forced out with all the CO2 being pumped out, or cannot thrive in the CO2-rich environment?


As long as you stir it ("punch down the cap") regularly so that the same fruit isn't always sticking out of the liquid, you should be fine. During a vigorous fermentation under airlock, you're only going to get surviving bugs that can tolerate a large amount of carbon dioxide, as within a short time after airlocking, that's pretty much what's left in your headspace. A vigorous ferment won't let many other entities live, let alone thrive...

Those of us who brew in buckets tend to bag our fruits for ease of removing the spent fruit. Usually chunked or mashed fruit is fine, I occasionally steam my apples or pears to soften them enough to mash if I don't have room in the freezer, but freezing does a nice job of breaking down the cellular structure to make it easier to get the juice out.

bernardsmith
01-16-2014, 10:26 AM
So, in a few simple pineapple and orange meads I've made thus far, I make an infusion by first freezing the fruit, then chopping it into cubes and boiling and crushing it while it's in the boiling pot in a cheesecloth bag. I let it sit at just below a boil for a solid hour, then use the flavored water infusion to flavor the mead. On the whole, the results have been good, but the fruit flavor isn't quite pronounced enough, and is a bit bland.

I've seen some recipes where people add chopped raisins and grated orange peel, but not pith, to the primary. What prevents this fruit from rotting during fermentation, especially the stuff that floats to the top? I'm assuming the alcohol content helps a bit. But what of the stuff floating at the top? Is it just that all foreign bacteria is pushed out with the CO2 and that which remains either dies from the sulphites or is out-competed by the wine yeast?

Dogbert, Insofar as you write that the fruit flavor "is not pronounced", and "bland" my first question would be , how many lbs or kilos of fruit are you using? Remember that you are converting all the sugars in the fruit to alcohol so the sweetness you associate with the fruit has gone. Then you are diluting the juices you have extracted in a volume of water (albeit with honey)... so you are taking pineapple, extracting juice from it or them (how many? ) and then diluting that juice in a volume of water. I would imagine that the flavor of the fruit diluted in a volume of water many times the original volume of the juice is going to result in a thin and bland taste.

I tend not to use recipes so I have no idea the provenance of the recipe you may be following and I am not a purist when it comes to mead making but I would get rid of the water and add the juice of the fruit to the honey and ferment thataway. That may mean that you may need to measure the pH of the must to ensure that it is not too low and that may also mean that you need to pay extra attention to the fermentation when you use some fruits (is it blueberry or blackcurrant that has sorbic acid? ) that are naturally rich in sorbates (and so inhibit yeast reproduction)

dogbert
01-17-2014, 07:19 PM
In the case of the pineapple, one whole pineapple is enough to flavor and give plenty of aroma to an entire 25L batch, while the oranges seem to need much more in volume.

dogbert
01-17-2014, 07:20 PM
Do yourself a favor and get a bucket for your primary, a small one if you do one gallon batches but big is easy to grow into and makes aerating, degassing and to your point, punching down the fruit to prevent spoilage, drying out, maximize extraction and general management much easier (and you free up a carboy for aging!)
The freezing is intended to burst the cell walls and the crushing also helps the yeast get into the fruit, if you just freeze, thaw and crush, add some pectinase then before you go to bed toss in a Camden tablet you can skip the warm water bit and still get better extraction.
I'd leave the fruit in the cheesecloth bag with a couple of stainless steel bolts to make racking easier once you have a bucket available.

How often do you punch down the fruit, and how long do you leave it in the primary before racking off to a secondary? I give the primary about 6 weeks, as I like to let it sit on the lees for a bit, then I end up racking it twice more as it clears up, and one final time after adding sulfite and sorbate to finally stabilize it.

Honeyhog
01-17-2014, 08:28 PM
I give the carboy a swirl once every few days to keep the fruit moist and agitated a bit. Go ahead, leave it for 6 weeks if you want. You are stressing way too much about it. I had JAOM sit on the fruit for 3 months.

Chevette Girl
01-18-2014, 03:57 AM
I did a cranberry variation on JAO once and I think it took a year for the fruit to drop. And it turned out awesome.

fatbloke
01-18-2014, 05:21 AM
Dogbert, Insofar as you write that the fruit flavor "is not pronounced", and "bland" my first question would be , how many lbs or kilos of fruit are you using? Remember that you are converting all the sugars in the fruit to alcohol so the sweetness you associate with the fruit has gone. Then you are diluting the juices you have extracted in a volume of water (albeit with honey)... so you are taking pineapple, extracting juice from it or them (how many? ) and then diluting that juice in a volume of water. I would imagine that the flavor of the fruit diluted in a volume of water many times the original volume of the juice is going to result in a thin and bland taste.

I tend not to use recipes so I have no idea the provenance of the recipe you may be following and I am not a purist when it comes to mead making but I would get rid of the water and add the juice of the fruit to the honey and ferment thataway. That may mean that you may need to measure the pH of the must to ensure that it is not too low and that may also mean that you need to pay extra attention to the fermentation when you use some fruits (is it blueberry or blackcurrant that has sorbic acid? ) that are naturally rich in sorbates (and so inhibit yeast reproduction)
Which is sort of right Bernard, just that the amount of juice you might develop from a given fruit is relative. There's the well known grape quantity to amount of juice ratio, but with many other fruit, we forget how concentrate the flavour actually is. That's partly why some fruit flavoured products are bulked out with more benign juices, so as the consumer is not only getting something akin to what they expect but also so it's not prohibitively expensive - e.g. Black currant, which as pure juice, whether extracted by steam or just pressing, is very strong tasting and not really that nice and that even with honey wouldn't make for a suitable fermenting medium.

your comment of using pure juice is spot on yet you'd still need to bulk out a lot of juice and honey mixes to make a ferment practical, whether with water or benign juice (apple or similar often being favourite), for both "levelling" the flavour to something palatable or for bulk.

After all, reducing pure honey down with water doesn't only relate to making the honey fermentable, it's also related to assimilation of a grape must but with a different source of sugars to make a wine like product.......

I also don't usually follow recipes, but will look for a country wine recipe to establish a guideline amount of fruit per gallon. Then it's up to me about how I think I want the end product to be........


In the case of the pineapple, one whole pineapple is enough to flavor and give plenty of aroma to an entire 25L batch, while the oranges seem to need much more in volume.
Actually, no, I'd doubt that very much. Yes it may give some aromatics but there'd likely be a huge difference between a batch that has some aroma and the amount required to retain some semblance of the original flavour once the yeast has done it's thing and all the fruit sugars have been fermented out.......

There's a very big difference between the characteristics of each fruit, even fruit of the same genus. Where aroma or flavour actually come from in the fruit, as well as the required amounts needed to achieve a required flavour profile (which is relative and personal to the aims of the maker).

JAO is a good example. Some love it straight away, some find it too sweet, some can always taste the inherent pithy background despite it being masked by residual sweetness etc.

Chevette Girl
01-18-2014, 11:58 AM
To get orange flavour, you pretty much need to include SOME of the zest or it tastes like nothing, same with lemons and grapefruits in my experiences with winemaking as well as jams and jellies. Marmalade made without the zest (citrus jam) has almost zero flavour.