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  1. Default First Attempt Grapefruit Melomel

    Hi there folks. I recently began the process for making my first batch of mead. I got the inspiration from baking, since I'm quite an avid baker and yeast is a familiar 'force'. I've scoured the internet for all the information I could gather before making my batch, but I guess research often can't be a substitute for experience and gradual learning, so I figured I would ask here if there is anything incorrect about what I am doing. My recipe is as follows (sorry about the metric):


    1,I took 1.8kg of honey and mixed it with grapefruit juice from three red grapefruits and I put in a whole sliced grapefruit and added sufficient water to bring the SG down to 1.130 (in about 4 litres of liquid).

    2, I added yeast nutrient as per the instructions of the variant, and I stupidly didn't consider adding pectinase, what with the grapefruit. The fruit I added contained the pith as well, which I hoped would impart some, but not too much of the bitterness. I added the yeast (EC-111 and sealed with an airlock. I did not heat treat the honey or the must.

    3, After about 5 days, I transferred the preparation, leaving the pith behind and replaced it with just the flesh of the grapefruit, without any of the pith, zest or membrane.

    4, After about a week and a half, I measured a gravity of 1.080.

    5, At around 1.050, I will taste test it and see how I like it, and if it isn't too sweet (I love sweet and acidic fruity drinks, and I liked the flavour at even 1.080), I will transfer the preparation and stabilise it. If too sweet, I will try to go down in increments of 0.010, but since I could probably already drink the stuff despite the sweetness, I don't see this as a likely outcome.

    6, After stabilisation, I will measure gravity weekly over a three week period, and if it remains unchanged, I will bottle. I know I'll have pectin haze, but I can live with an aesthetic defect on my first attempt. I'm not sure how much to age it, but I guess I will have to use my willpower and stop myself from drinking it, if I want to age it at all hahaha.


    Does this seem like a good plan of action so far?

    Thank you very much!

  2. #2
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    Default

    If you haven’t heated things up, you may not get much haze.
    EC-1118 is probably going to take this bone dry. It is going to taste plenty bitter unless backsweetened.

    I wouldn’t rush to bottle this after stabilizing. EC-1118 is very strong and can often keep fermenting very slowly. I’d watch it under airlock for at least a couple of months.
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Medsen Fey View Post
    If you havenít heated things up, you may not get much haze.
    EC-1118 is probably going to take this bone dry. It is going to taste plenty bitter unless backsweetened.

    I wouldnít rush to bottle this after stabilizing. EC-1118 is very strong and can often keep fermenting very slowly. Iíd watch it under airlock for at least a couple of months.
    Ah, right, that's useful to know. I was a bit disappointed expecting the pectin haze to remain, but I guess we'll see how it turns out. Aesthetics probably isn't the number one concern for a first batch.

    I had hoped to try to stabilise it, but I guess with the large yeast population, there isn't a reliable way to accomplish this without butchering the preparation. I will probably let it ferment dry and sweeten it as per your recommendation.

    Okie doke. I'll do that - decided to buy a wine thief which can accommodate a hydrometer, so I'll probably take samples without tasting and empty it straight back in after the reading.

    Thank you very much for the feedback.

  4. #4

    Default

    I agree with Medsen Fey. If you like the taste and aren't willing to wait, you could bottle it and keep it refrigerated. That should prevent the EC-1118 from fermenting the residual sugar. But I think you'll be happiest if you can wait until all the yeast has dropped out and it ages for a few months. And I agree that some extra honey sweetness will balance the bitterness and acidity. Of the meads I've done so far, grapefruit has been my favorite.
    Raisins are NOT nutrients for yeast... but french fries ARE!

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Devin Petry-Johnson View Post
    I agree with Medsen Fey. If you like the taste and aren't willing to wait, you could bottle it and keep it refrigerated. That should prevent the EC-1118 from fermenting the residual sugar. But I think you'll be happiest if you can wait until all the yeast has dropped out and it ages for a few months. And I agree that some extra honey sweetness will balance the bitterness and acidity. Of the meads I've done so far, grapefruit has been my favorite.
    Quote Originally Posted by Medsen Fey View Post
    If you havenít heated things up, you may not get much haze.
    EC-1118 is probably going to take this bone dry. It is going to taste plenty bitter unless backsweetened.

    I wouldnít rush to bottle this after stabilizing. EC-1118 is very strong and can often keep fermenting very slowly. Iíd watch it under airlock for at least a couple of months.

    Thank you very much for your response. I realise that it has been a fair while since you initially responded, but I took your advice and decided to wait until I have made some noteworthy progress before replying.

    As advised, I haven't bottled, or even stabilised yet. I think I was a bit too hasty and eager at first, and I really wanted to drink something of my own making, but I just bought some commercial mead instead, and decided to make 11 more batches since the grapefruit melomel hahaha.

    Last I tasted the batch, it was at 1.003, and airlock activity has since nearly ceased, but there is some bubbling on the surface, but the gravity drops only very slowly (as suggested that it would). I guess I made some rookie mistakes initially, as the honey was not added in steps, and nor have I added nutrients, acidity regulators, and nor have I oxygenated the must.

    I am also glad to hear that someone else has an interest in grapefruit. They have been an obsession of mine over the past year and I have been desperately trying to recreate the astringency and acidity of San Pellegrino Pompelmo in a number of ways. All attempts have failed thus far, but they have produced otherwise pleasant drinks.

    Thank you once again for your input!

    The batches I have made since then have all been ph controlled, enriched with yeast nutrients where not naturally incorporated by way of fruit and oxygenated. I have noticed a marked improvement in the behaviour of the yeast as regards fermentation, and I noticed that the perceived 'hotness' or 'booziness' of the the samples at comparable levels of of ABV has significantly decreased, which I am quite glad about.

    I have resolved to let the grapefruit batch age for as long as it needs to as it tastes quite hot. It doesn't burn like spirits, but it has a similar 'abrasive' quality, especially coupled with the bitterness. I think it will be nice with some added honey, once the yeast is toast, but for now it is a fairly harsh drink.

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Medsen Fey View Post
    If you havenít heated things up, you may not get much haze.
    EC-1118 is probably going to take this bone dry. It is going to taste plenty bitter unless backsweetened.

    I wouldnít rush to bottle this after stabilizing. EC-1118 is very strong and can often keep fermenting very slowly. Iíd watch it under airlock for at least a couple of months.
    Thank you very much for the advice. As you stated, things are slowly settling down. I think the process I have used for the first batch was somewhat crude, and fermentation has been really slow. It is still dropping slowly, but I had to get a set of precision hydrometers to see appreciable change with any level of accuracy. There is also superficial bubbling on top, so I can only assume that the lack of oxygenation, nutrient addition, degassing and the high OG have degraded the vivacity of the yeast somewhat, and now it is on life support (well, as long as it gets through it). From what the literature told me, this should yield off flavours, which is consistent with the boozy smell and flavour, bitterness and the perceptible hotness of the concoction, but I suppose it is a first attempt. I have improved the preparation process with subsequent batches, and introduced temperature control, so my comparable alcoholic batches ferment faster and have fewer off flavours. I hope it does take it dry, with what fight the yeast has got. I'd rather backsweeten than wait 6 months to see if all the yeast have collectively bought the farm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Devin Petry-Johnson View Post
    I agree with Medsen Fey. If you like the taste and aren't willing to wait, you could bottle it and keep it refrigerated. That should prevent the EC-1118 from fermenting the residual sugar. But I think you'll be happiest if you can wait until all the yeast has dropped out and it ages for a few months. And I agree that some extra honey sweetness will balance the bitterness and acidity. Of the meads I've done so far, grapefruit has been my favorite.
    I opted for the latter suggestion. I did entertain refrigerating it, but then I felt that it's not a 'clean' product. I want the elegance of suspending a biological process in a sealed environment for the sheer purpose of epicurean pleasure. Sweetening will also be an absolute necessity, I think, because as things stand, it is bitter like one of those quadruple hop craft beer wonders popular nowadays, and I think it might take a bile aficionado to enjoy it dry, hahaha.

    I'm sorry if I responded so late, but I wanted to wait for the next development with the batch, and then I think I got caught by the anti-spam features of the forum. Thank you both very much for your advice.

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