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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    479

    Default Grapefruit melomel

    I have the urge to make a melomel with orange blossom honey and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. Knowing that this will be quite acidic, I was planning to raise the pH to a about 3.3 or so with CaCO3 and/ K2CO3, but my question is: what is the upper limit of Ca and K ions that yeast can tolerate- because I figure it might take pretty much K2CO3 and CaCO3 to reach a PH that the yeast will ferment at. Any thoughts from you experts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    The Fusel Shack, in the swamp west of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    Posts
    8,771

    Default

    Grapefruit can make a very nice melomel, but the acidity is an issue. It may surprise you, but the pH was not so much of a problem. With many grapefruit, the pH isn't below 3.0 (as opposed to lemons or sour oranges). It might not take that much potassium bicarb or calcium carbonate to adjust the pH up to a range to keep the yeast quite happy (around 3.4). I have even been able to ferment grapefruit without adjusting the pH, though I wouldn't necessarily recommend that.

    There isn't a specific limit on how much potassium and calcium that can be added, but if excessive amounts are added you may get chalky flavors (in the case of calcium carbonate) or metallic/salty flavors from the potassium.

    The problem with acidity in grapefruit comes in the flavor. If you use a lot of grapefruit you will have to balance the acidity (and the astringency) with lots and lots of residual sugar. I made a 100% grapefruit juice melomel once and it needed a gravity above 1.050 to be drinkable. If you want to make something that is a little lighter bodied, you have to keep the amount of juice down. For many winemaking recipes they recommend 6 grapefruit as the amount for one gallon (that would be something like 3 cups of juice). You can go a bit higher but if you exceed it by much, you won't have it drinkable as a dry mead and sweetening will be needed.

    I don't think using the whole fruit is a good idea - there's too much bitterness. I think it is better to juice the grapefruit and use the juice. You can add some grapefruit zest to boost the aroma. Also, I would not heat the juice as grapefruit is loaded with pectin, and I would use pectic enzyme with it.

    I hope you get a good batch.

    Medsen
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    479

    Default

    Thanks for the info. I thought grapefruit juice would have had a lower pH than 3! I will follow your suggestion regarding the amounts to use. I plan to use DV10 yeast and , per your suggestion, will use some pectic enzyme.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    The Fusel Shack, in the swamp west of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    Posts
    8,771

    Default

    Sometimes the pH can be below 3.0, but when you check it may be higher. You can use the approach of adding the juice later, but as long as the pH isn't too low, the yeast love citrus fruit and will have a rapid smooth fermentation with it in the primary - faster and easier than a traditional.
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

  5. Default Grapefruit melomel

    I've wanted to do a grapefruit melomel for a while. I particularly like bitter, tart, and very dry tastes in my juices, coffees, teas, and wines. I followed the advice here and used 3 cups of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice for my one gallon experiment. Once I had mixed and aerated the must and then pitched the yeast, about 20 minutes later I was aghast at what could only be described as the deadly agglutination. But I waited to see what happened. Much to my delight and surprise the must evened out to a tannish/opaque color and the fermentation was off to the races!!! Thanks a bunch guys for your thread with help and suggestions. I will let y'all know how this turns out in a month or two!

    2 lbs raw honey
    3 cups fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
    distilled water to 1 gallon
    2 packets Red Star Premier Cuvée yeast

  6. Default

    Also, my hydrometer broke so I got a faulty and untrue Gravity reading, so I'll have to do a mid-point reading and update y'all then.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    8,394

    Default

    Hey, welcome to the forum!

    I did a grapefruit variation on the JAO recipe and it turned out OK, I'm not sure I'd like it any drier though.

    When you replace your hydrometer, you might want to get some pectinase, in my experimentation I've found that more than one orange in a gallon results in a pectic haze. Of course, your mileage may vary. Or you may not care if your mead's hazy, which is fine too
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  8. #8

    Default

    With a high citrus fruit like grapefruit I would ferment a traditional most of the way and then add the grapefruit juice.

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