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Old 08-24-2012, 03:11 AM   #1
dougdecinces
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Default The great watermelon mead experiment

I finally got a chance to dig into a watermelon I bought last Saturday at the farmers market and found it to be mushy and overripe. Rather than whine about it, I went ahead and juiced the whole thing to make an impromptu batch of mead. Then I checked my fridge and found the only yeast I had in stock was some washed Belgian Saison and washed Jolly Pumpkin dregs. Rather than let that deter me, I figured I'd give both a shot.

I decided to make two 1.5 gallon batches. Both will be low-gravity (1.060-1.070 OG) To each batch I will add 2 lbs of wildflower honey and 72 oz of watermelon juice. Best case scenario is I have stumbled on something fabulous. Worst case scenario is I wasted $10 on honey. I will keep everyone posted as things progress.

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Old 08-24-2012, 07:28 PM   #2
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Sounds interesting! Good luck and looking forward to progress reports

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Old 08-26-2012, 03:01 AM   #3
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Here is the batch with Belgian Saison yeast. I put it in my unheated guest room where it's bubbling away like crazy at about 85 degrees.

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Old 09-26-2012, 08:11 PM   #4
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Interesting Idea. I'm curious how this will turn out for you and might have to do something similar if its good

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Old 10-08-2012, 09:06 PM   #5
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For the few of you who care, I bottled the portion brewed with saison yeast yesterday. The hot temperature threw off a lot of phenols. So much so that it was pretty much overwhelming. I ended up racking the mead to 1 gallon carboy and dry hopping it with 0.5 oz of Hallertau for 4 days. I carbed it to about 3.5 volumes of CO2. I plan on leaving it alone for a couple months and seeing where it takes me. I think the dry-hopping went a long way towards smoothing this one out. Hopefully it ends up drinkable.

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Old 12-06-2012, 09:56 PM   #6
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It's been a couple months, and I'm curious how this turned out. I've been considering doing a mead with saison yeast, probably Wyeast 3711 French Saison. 3711 dries out a saison nicely, to around 1.003-1.006.

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Old 12-06-2012, 10:25 PM   #7
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A greater experiment would be making the mead in the watermelon like the pumpkin meads made inside the pumpkin!

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Old 12-07-2012, 03:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eulipion2 View Post
It's been a couple months, and I'm curious how this turned out. I've been considering doing a mead with saison yeast, probably Wyeast 3711 French Saison. 3711 dries out a saison nicely, to around 1.003-1.006.
I had my first one of these a couple nights ago. I ended up going a little too wild with the temperature, and fermented it at about 85-90 degrees. It kind of smells like rot (it'll be interesting to see if that mellows out), but it actually tastes pretty good. It's tart, super-crisp, very fruity. I just kind of plugged my nose when I went to take a sip. Doing this again, I would make two recommendations:

1) Go a little easier on the fermentation temps. Maybe scale it up to 85-90 degrees over the period of a week instead of one day.

2) I would also add the watermelon juice in secondary. The watermelon flavor was a little faint. I could almost tell it was there, but was hard to know for sure because of the strong esters given off by the saison yeast.
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:21 PM   #9
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I'm thinking if I go the 3711 route I'll leave it in the upper 60's/low 70's. 3711 works perfectly without the ridiculous ramp-up in temperature as other saison strains. Thanks for the update!

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Old 02-06-2013, 02:47 AM   #10
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I opened another bottle of this up tonight. The horrible smell has receded considerably (though it still doesn't smell like a bed of roses). But the fruitiness is very pronounced and very pleasant. Slightly puckery, tart aftertaste. This has gone from a questionable experiment to a qualified success. I see more meads with saison yeast in my future.

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