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doxitimire
10-21-2016, 03:22 PM
Hi! I made a prickly pear/apple melomel that is currently fermenting beautifully. I have some questions about the process that I want to get some opinions on before I move forward.

My plan is to let the melomel ferment till the yeast reaches capacity. Right now, I have 1.33 gallons in a 6 gallon carboy for ease of processing, but once I remove the fruit pulp in a few days, I want to transfer it to a small carboy. My questions are:

First: I don't plan on stopping fermentation short, so is it best to transfer the whole batch, lees and all, and leave it for a couple months before racking? Instead of siphoning of the lees at the end of fermentation and then racking? This is the impression I get, but I'm confused as to when it's best to remove the yeast scum. I want to save as much of the melomel as I can since it is such a small batch. Again, I planned the SG and yeast so that I won't need to remove the lees early to slow fermentation.

Second: If I get a two gallon carboy with 1.33 gallons of liquid, will the headspace be too large for long term aging? If yes, what solutions would you recommend?

Thanks!!

Masbustelo
10-22-2016, 03:40 AM
I would rack into a gallon and then whatever smaller bottle for the rest. Put an airlock on both and let them finish fermenting. When all is still, rack off the sediment and use the smaller bottle to top off the gallon. Move the top off bottle into a smaller bottle. It might help to stir daily after the initial rack while it is finishing fermenting.

Squatchy
10-22-2016, 06:40 AM
What reason do you have to rack so soon? I would suggest stirring up your batch every few days to keep the yeast in suspension until it's finished fermenting. Personally I keep mine that way for a few weeks after my gravity stops moving. Then I cold crash for a week or two and then do my first rack. The yeast will actually clean up some of the left over mess through assimilation and absorption. This in turn will cause your mead to become drinkable sooner.

doxitimire
10-23-2016, 04:00 PM
Hey, thanks for the replies!

Squatchy, my thoughts were to move the melomel to a smaller container once fermentation ends to reduce oxygenation risk. Since it's only 1.33 gallons in a 6 gallon carboy, and I have been reading that once your ferment stops producing CO2, headspace becomes an issue. But I was also thinking of just transferring everything after I remove the fruit pulp, lees and all, so I wouldn't be removing the yeast just yet. I am hoping to let the yeast do its thing for a while after fermentation as well. Does that make sense as a plan?

Masbustelo, thanks for the recommendation! I think I will try that, just got to figure out the right timing.

Squatchy
10-27-2016, 06:40 PM
I see. That would be a good move to contain less headspace. I think in general, people are in too much of a hurry to rack things. You will do well to move everything over once you remove the pulp. I usually leave my fruit in the must for at least 2 weeks. Even longer when I'm in secondary and in cooler temps.

BTW, I'm generally not very concerned about oxidation. Pyments recieve just a little bit more oxidation care than everything else. There are lots of adjuncts one can add at different times along the way to help to keep those types of things at bay.