View Full Version : red wine smell on melomel?

03-20-2013, 12:52 AM
Working on a blueberry/jasmine melomel. Fermentation was slow to get started, I suspest due to possible preservatives in blueberry juice, I added more honey and yeast and it took off quite quickly. First rack nice taste and strong alcohol content. Added a little more honey and a little more yeast (Lalvin 71B11-22), but no visible activity. Second rack had a very strong and distinct red wine smell, perhaps even a cheap red wine smell. And I hate red wine! Taste is a little different, but not bad.
This is my second batch working with blueberries, I never had this the first time around. I imagine this smell might be some sort of infection? Another concern was my apartment is tiny and I think one night this batch was too close to my apartment's heater.
Can anyone tell me what might have happened?

03-20-2013, 06:38 AM
Hard too tell. With fruit based brews, if you use "juice", care is needed as it can have many other ingredients. Other base juices to stretch it to a reasonable quantity at a price people will pay for something that tastes like they think it should plus any number of the usual suspects.....preservatives, anti-oxidants, artificial sweetners etc etc.

While your honey will vary from batch to batch, even if its the same varietal. Its a natural product and you can't tell the bees which plants and flowers to visit can you.

Its one of the main reason that I use the whole fruit, when its in season, rather than these so called juices. That way I control all the ingredients and poor results can only be blamed on one person.....me !

Its like using grape juice instead of crushed grape pulp. With juice you can get a half decent brew but with the crushed pulped fruit its more wine like with the extras provided by the honey.

My pyment from last year is quite wine like but also there's enough honey character for anyone to tell that its not just a sweet red wine.

Medsen Fey
03-20-2013, 10:00 AM
If you provide more information and detail on your recipe and process folks may be able to say more.

However, fermented berries often produce aromas and flavors that are similar to red wines. If you don't like red wines, making berry melomels may prove frustrating.

03-23-2013, 12:21 AM
Thank-you both for the reply.
Fatbloke the first time around I worked with blueberries the melomel turned out fantastic. But I was amazed at the huge volume of blueberries I had to add in order to get a blueberry taste, when I had been using only raw fruit as you suggested. I thought I might be able to take a short cut by using blueberry juice, which was a high quality organic product. I live in Asia, and I honestly can't read the labels on most of what I buy, but I'm sure some sort of preservative agent was within it. I take it with melomels there is quite an art to getting the fruit taste in the mead. I previously worked with rasberry (turned out nice), pomegranate juice (turned out very nice), but I've never had anything rapidly alter in odor and taste like this had. This is my eighth mead now. I've also currently got a cherry melomel going, which has been very weak on cherry taste, even though I have bought out all the canned cherries from local stores, I ended up ordering mahlab from the U.S. and it's starting to get interesting. I purchased a proffessional cherry melomel last month, and found it disappointing, weak on cherry taste.
I can have the sense memory of the saturating full taste of eating certain fruits, and wanting to recreate that in the mead. I don't know if there is a technical term for it or not, but different fruits seem to give up their flavor better then others. I made a rhodomel 2 years ago, and added only a touch of cranberry which is very present behind the rose. But a friend requested something with strawberry, and I don't imagine they would easily give up their taste unless I used half an orchard, given the cost of them here I'd probably spend $100USD per bottle to get enough taste.
Thank-you Medsen of the Fey, my process is generally chaotic and inspired, I approach mead like a Jackson Pollock painting, not knowing the destination and making adjustment along the way until I am satisfied. It's more art then science, which I'm sure has certain risks. Were it to become more scientific, which process is the most neccesary, PH levels perhaps? I'm not too worried about figuring out the exact alcohol percentage, etc. Generally I think, if the ancients could do it, so can I, and as a result all of my equipment is improvised as well...homebrewing is not popular here, if I wanted to purchase order in all the right equipment it would cost ten times more. As example, a single air-lock sells for $10 USD here. I see them online 3 for $1 USD in the U.S.
Have yeast, will travel.

Medsen Fey
03-23-2013, 08:24 AM
Fermented blueberry juice has a different flavor than fresh blueberries (or fresh juice). It will have more "wine-like" character. If you want your mead to taste more like fresh fruit, you can concentrate efforts to add the fruit after fermentation is done (and even stabilized). Also, keeping it sweet helps make the fruit flavor more easily identifiable.

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03-24-2013, 11:11 AM
Great, I gotcha. Thanks Medsen