View Full Version : Planning a Peach Melomel

06-30-2016, 08:05 PM
I want to make a 5 gallon batch of peach melomel, I want a strong, but not overpowering, peach flavor. So I plan to add 16 pounds of fresh peaches in the secondary fermenter. I have 15 pounds of orange blossom honey. I am using 71B yeast and SNA feeding with Fermaid-K and DAP. Not planning to boil or add pectic enzyme. I'm in no hurry.

I am shooting for a semi-sweet still mead with a final ABV of 15-16%. I think the FG should be about 1.02, based on numbers Iíve seen for show meads. Iím not sure if the same correlation between FG and sweetness applies to melomels.

My questions:
1. If I was doing a show mead, Iíd mix the honey with a gallon of hot water, then add more water until I hit the 5 gallon mark. But Iíve got these 16 pounds of peaches, with an estimated water volume of 1.7 gallons. So do I subtract that from the water I put in the primary, and only fill my primary vessel to 3.3 gallons (for a total of 2 gallons of water in the primary)?
2. If I add 15 pounds of honey (about 1.3 gallons) to 2 gallons of water, I get an OG of 1.16. Does that mean that I have a max ABV of 22.66%, and my 14% yeast will stop working when I hit 1.063?
3. Should I wait until the SG hits 1.063 to rack it over the peaches in the secondary fermenter? Will the yeast then get back to work and keep fermenting until the SG drops to 1.02? And if it does, will I have lost the supposed advantage of not adding the fruit to the primary fermenter?

Iím probably making things too complicated. I tend to do that. Thanks for your help and patience.

07-01-2016, 12:23 AM
So there are many different means to the same end. And, as you know many different ends can be had as well.

I have made around 15 gallons of peach mels. Not a ton admittedly. But enough to feel like I have a path I would take on my next batch when peaches come in this fall.

It seems from your post you understand the difference between fermented peaches and peaches added on the back end. Peaches are very delicate and can easily be overcome with other things. I make batches in trash cans and usually do 2 things (or sometimes more) when I make a batch. As my taste become more defined with meads I have found I really like light, easy drinking summer wine type meads with the fermented fruit up front. I have always liked fruit bombs and that is what I started making at first.

So now that I like both I normally make a 12 gallon batch with tons of fruit in the primary. Because it changes the fruit flavor quite a bit when you run it through the fermentation process I have found it takes a good bit of fruit to get the fermented taste strong enough in flavor and round enough in mouthfeel to hit the mark. So I do the whole batch with a good bit of fruit up front. Then I separate it to keep half (or more) as a lighter, drier table wine.

Now I can take the remainder and add fruit to it once it's stabilized to get the fresh, jammy fruit bomb. When you already have a good fruit base from primary and add fruit to that base it really gives it much more complexity than it would have if you just add fruit to a traditional. Of course you can add other adjuncts to both the drier mead as well as the wetter fruit bomb and that's where the fun begins and that's what also will set your stuff apart from random, generic tasting meads.

Now on to the more technical piece.

A show mead is made without adding any nutrients. So by adding DAP and K, you no longer are making a "show mead" I'm thinking you may have meant to say a "traditional". !020 is considered a sweet mead category. That is pretty sweet and not many people will drink more than one at that gravity unless perhaps you are at a much higher ABV. And then, at a much higher ABV most still won't drink much more than one. I would suggest starting out a little drier first to see if 1020 is really what you are shooting at. You may well find you want it drier. You can always add more honey later. If it ends up too sweet then you need to have a drier mead on hand to add to dry it up some. If you do it this way now you start to dilute the flavor profile.

In my opinion you are way short on fruit. Peaches and apricots, and strawberries really take a boat load more than you might think you should need. You will loose a lot to racking with peaches so it's good to have more than what you want to have, when it comes to aging a said amount.

When you add the fruit you are adding more liquid content so you will actually be diluting your ABV. You wont ever want to start at a gravity of 1160. That is so high you hardly stand a chance of even getting off the starting block. And, if you happen to finally get it going you will be marching forward with wounded warriors and it will cause tons of problems latter on. I would suggest not starting above 1020 until you have a good bit of success at that, and understand what precautions you would need to be successful when starting at an even higher gravity. If you were to use a yeast than can chew through more than 1120 points start it off there and add the rest of your left over honey after you have given your yeast a chance to chew your gravity down some. That super high gravity crushes the yeast cell wall and it inhibits how things pass across the membrane. This is called "osmotic shock". Think scuba diving at really deep depths.

So this is what I would do without going into all the specifics.

I would make a 6 gallon batch and add all of your honey. I really think you would want even more honey as well. Start the 6 gallons off at 1120. Let it get going for a while. After it has dropped in gravity add more honey, and add your peaches. Run your yeast into the ground untill they die of alcohol poisoning. Then, either split it like I do to have some dry and some wetter. Or, continue forward with your fruit bomb by adding more fruit. You will need to stabilize. Otherwise you will restart the fermentation because you diluted the ABV below your yeast tolerance level by adding the fruit/juice.

Now , latter down the road you can let it clear some on it's own. Normally I can't ever get peach mels to clear on there own so I use bentonite to clear it. Once you have it clear yo unow can add different adjuncts based on personal preference. I like to add vanilla beans, cinnamon, allspice, maybe a bit of clove, and maybe oak if you like that as well.

I know that's a lot of scoop. Hope it helps. Make sure you understand how to rehydrate with Goferm. How to manage your temps, both at re-hydration/attemperation and then while ferment is underway. You will also need to understand and employ a feeding schedule.

It's pretty easy to mess things up as a beginner unless you understand all of these pieces. All to often people get on here and ask for help. More experienced mazers can prevent you from errors if you run things past us before you get going.

07-01-2016, 03:48 PM
My experience with peaches: use a lot of peaches, skin them first (the skins are bitter!) and use a lot of pectinase or it will never clear, even with superkleer.

07-01-2016, 04:13 PM
It's pretty easy to mess things up as a beginner unless you understand all of these pieces. All to often people get on here and ask for help. More experienced mazers can prevent you from errors if you run things past us before you get going.

I really appreciate your thorough response. You provide a lot of useful information. However, I still have some basic questions. Looking at my original message, I think I could have been clearer. So...let me try again.

First of all, here's my plan:

I have 15 lbs of OB honey and 16 lbs of fresh peaches.
I have a 5 gallon glass carboy and a 6.5 gallon fermenting bucket.
I will be using two 5 gram packs of 71B yeast.
I will be starting the yeast with Go-Ferm and feeding it with Fermaid-K and DAP.
I plan to use SNA and aerate the must.
I am going to start the mead in my carboy. I am not adding fruit to the primary.
After a period of time (4 weeks?), I am going to rack the mead over the peaches in the bucket.
After another period of time (4 weeks?), I am going to rack the mead back to the carboy and leave it there for a few months.
I am targeting an ABV of 15-16% and an FG of 1.015-1.02.
I do not plan to boil.
I do not plan to add stabilizers or fining agents.
I could backsweeten if necessary, but I'd like to plan this to minimize that necessity.
I could get more ingredients and supplies if I really need to. What I'm looking for now, however, is not tweaks to my recipe, but a better understanding of the process.

I basically have 3 questions:
1. How much honey should I use?
2. How much water should I use?
3. When should I rack on to the peaches in the secondary?

Basically, if I start with all 15 lbs of honey and water to 5 gallons in primary, I'll have more than I can fit in the bucket, and the peach flavor will be diluted. I suppose I could start with 5 gallons of mead and rack over the peaches to a total of 5 gallons in the bucket, then rack the remaining mead to a separate container and age that as a traditional, but then I'll finish with 5 gallons of melomel that contain only 10 lbs of honey...unless I add more honey to the secondary.

But if I start with 15 lbs of honey and only 3.3 gallons total in primary (based on an estimated liquid volume of 1.7 gallons for the peaches), I'll have a really high ABV in primary.

And if I start with 10 lbs of honey and 3.3 gallons in primary, reducing the honey in proportion to the total volume in primary, the ABV in the primary should be fine, but again, I'll finish with 5 gallons of melomel that contain only 10 lbs of honey.

As far as the timing is concerned, I'm not sure if I should rack it over the peaches before fermentation is complete or after I reach a stable SG. If I wait until the SG is stable, will fermentation restart when I rack it over the peaches - and is that desirable?

Again, thank you for your help!

07-02-2016, 08:49 AM
Will you freeze the peaches for a couple of weeks before using in secondary?

07-02-2016, 12:22 PM
Will you freeze the peaches for a couple of weeks before using in secondary?

Yes. They will be pitted, peeled, cut into chunks, frozen, and thawed.

07-25-2016, 08:33 PM
I'm replying to my own thread, posted nearly a month ago. Squatchy provided me with some very useful information offline, answering questions I hadn't even thought to ask. But I have to admit I'm still confused about the effect that adding a significant amount of water when racking onto peaches (or any fruit) in secondary has on the alcohol content, fermentation process, and flavor of the mead.

I now have 18 lbs (minus the weight of skins and pits) of peaches sitting in my freezer. I've peeled and diced them, and I plan to thaw them, then add about a third of them to my primary fermenter, and the rest to a secondary fermenter after I hit my target SG.

Anyhoo, it occurred to me that if I put the peaches in a juicer and make a concentrate before I put them in the secondary fermenter, the dilution issue I was worried about will be somewhat mitigated. I don't know how concentrated I can get it, but I estimate I can increase the % of sugar from 8.5 to at least 20, following this process: http://www.instructables.com/id/Juice-Concentrate-from-Fruit/
I'd welcome any thoughts on this approach, or anything else I've asked in this thread. Thanks!

07-25-2016, 08:52 PM
I haven't tried this but I'm thinking it's not the same as the juice in the article. I doubt you could change it much at all but I would love to hear of your results. Not sure you can reduce the peach juice without leaving all the flavor behind. More liquid volume means more mead :).

The added water will dilute the ABV. No bigger add some Vodka!
The water will dilute the ABV and most likely will restart the fermentation. No biggie, stabilize it first.
Use a higher ABV tolorent yeast and max it out. Then stabilize. The dilution will bring you back down to wine level ABV