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-   -   Possibly ancient, definitely orange mead (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/possibly-ancient-definitely-orange-mead-409212/)

SouthernGorilla 05-05-2013 10:31 AM

Possibly ancient, definitely orange mead
 
I'm lousy at following instructions. So it's no surprise that when my wife and I set out to maze the legendary JAOM we wound up with something almost completely different.

1 whole orange.
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 small box of raisins
4 whole cloves
1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
2 pounds dark local honey
.5 pounds light local honey (just what was lying around)
1 pound caramelized "local" dark honey
Lalvin EC-1118 yeast

I guess other than increasing the spices, adding more honey, caramelizing some of the honey, and changing the yeast it's identical to the JAOM. The orange I used was surprisingly dry. So I'm not sure how much flavor it will contribute. I let the pectic enzyme do its thing for more than an hour while the yeast warmed up. Then I rehydrated and pitched the yeast.

For those who have never tried it, or never heard of it, I cannot recommend highly enough that you try caramelizing some honey. Both the meads I have fermenting at the moment are bochets. And I am reasonably sure that every mead I make from now on will have at least some portion of the honey caramelized to some degree. I bought a candy thermometer last night so I can start monitoring the caramelization better. I want to be able to know exactly what temperature to use for what time to get the degree of caramelization I want. The honey for this particular recipe was cooked just long enough to produce a near-perfect caramel taste.

SouthernGorilla 05-05-2013 11:16 AM

I tried to edit the title of this thread. I want to change it to "orange caramel mead" so people will more easily be able to tell it's something a little different.

Does anybody know if "bochet" refers strictly to burnt or heavily reduced honey? I'm hesitant to call this mead a bochet because only part of the honey has been reduced. And it has only been lightly reduced, not blackened.

Arpolis 05-05-2013 01:19 PM

I hope you have enough residual sweetness from the caremalized honey. Ec-1118 will eat all your honey and run this dry. That is a problem for a whole orange type recipe. When this finishes and clears you may need to stabilize with Camden, sorbate & back sweeten with honey to a gravity of about 1.02 to match a traditional JAOM.

Edit after seeing second post:

I would only call it a bochet if all the honey is caremalize. And it does not need to blacken in order to be a bochet IMO. But all that is semantics. If it tastes like a bochet to you call it what you like.

SouthernGorilla 05-05-2013 02:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arpolis (Post 5168986)
I hope you have enough residual sweetness from the caremalized honey. Ec-1118 will eat all your honey and run this dry.

That's part of the reason I caramelized some of the honey. I knew it would make some of the sugar unfermentable. But, yeah, I'm worried about the finish. Won't the orange also have some unfermentable sugar? I still have some honey left. I may cook it and feed the yeast til they poop out.

I think I'm going to call it a bochet. It just occurred to me that a braggot is a braggot regardless how much malt is used. A melomel is a melomel regardless how much fruit is used. It seems reasonable that a bochet is a bochet even if not all the honey is cooked.

Arpolis 05-05-2013 04:29 PM

The orange just has glucose and fructose and all that will ferment out. Strait orange meads/wines ferment bone dry. You can step feed more honey till the yeast poop out but you will have a 18%+ abv mead. If you can stand to not touch it for 2+ years it will be amazing but will be horid early on.

SouthernGorilla 05-05-2013 07:35 PM

My wife won't mind 18%. So I think I'll have to learn patience. I think when the fruit settles I'll rack to secondary, top off with honey/water, and see where it goes. Then I'll take periodic hydrometer readings til I see it stabilize where I want it.

I'm sure we'll sample it straight out of the primary. And I'm sure we'll be disappointed. But waiting a couple years to enjoy it won't be the worst thing ever.

fatbloke 05-06-2013 12:04 AM

Contrary to Arpolis thoughts.....

That still works out about the same as a JAO.

So with the yeast its likely to ferment dry. Which will focus the flavour on the bitterness from the orange pith, the extra spicing -especially the cloves and possibly the caramelised honey.

Likely residual sugars ? not much, it any.

I'd suspect this will need considerable back sweetening.......

SouthernGorilla 05-06-2013 12:25 AM

Yeah, there really isn't enough caramelization in this one to convince me it has changed a lot of the sugar to an unfermentable form. But it does add an amazing flavor.

I figure I'll rack to secondary at some point after the fruit sinks. Then I'll keep an eye on the SG and keep feeding honey til it stabilizes where I want it. The bad thing is that I wasn't able to get an OG reading. So I won't know what the final ABV is or when the yeast is close to its limit. But a few days of no SG change should indicate it's done. Then I plan to cold condition it for a few weeks. Sort of a halfway mead lager.

SouthernGorilla 05-22-2013 10:38 PM

Some of the orange wedges are on the bottom now. I'm going to give it a full month in primary before I mess with it. That's one of the few bits of the JAOM recipe I'm sticking with.

I'm amazed at how clear it is already. The yeast started dropping a few days ago. I'm a bit disappointed since I had heard EC-1118 was a voracious critter. But the last SG reading was about 1.040. That's a decent OG for some beers. It doesn't taste very sweet though. So I'm wondering if something else is affecting the SG reading.

fatbloke 05-23-2013 02:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SouthernGorilla (Post 5215259)
Some of the orange wedges are on the bottom now. I'm going to give it a full month in primary before I mess with it. That's one of the few bits of the JAOM recipe I'm sticking with.

I'm amazed at how clear it is already. The yeast started dropping a few days ago. I'm a bit disappointed since I had heard EC-1118 was a voracious critter. But the last SG reading was about 1.040. That's a decent OG for some beers. It doesn't taste very sweet though. So I'm wondering if something else is affecting the SG reading.

Orange pith and the spices couldn't possibly have anything to do with that ?........


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