Sweet Orange Mead ?'s
My neighbor and I put together this recipe for a "sweet orange mead". I've got a few questions on it though before the purchase.
Recipe 5 gallons:
15lbs Orange Blossom Honey
2oz yeast nutrient
WL Sweet Mead Yeast wlp720
5oz Sweet Orange Peel
3oz Cinnamon sticks
Would the honey out-compete the yeast and carry over the "sweet" flavor we're looking for? Does 5oz of sweet orange peel, and 3oz of cinnamon sticks seem like enough to even bring flavor to the party?
I love the historical significance of this amazing beverage, and can't wait to create some myself. This would be our first attempt at it, so any suggestions to help make this seem better would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!
I personally think if you are labeling this an "Orange Mead"..you need more orange. A sweeter orange possibly, like some tangerines, or similar. THe orange blossom honey is excellent, but is a very lightly flavored honey..so you need some "orange' notes from something else.
My two nickles
I am thinking you will have a very light flavored mead. The only flavor I see is the orange peel and I'm not sure thats the flavor you want to bring to the party.
3 OUNCES of cinnamon? That sounds like a lot. How many 4" sticks is that? 8 or 10? Unless you REALLY like cinnamon, I think I'd cut that down to a max of three 4" sticks in 5 gallons. I'd guess 2 or 3 four inch sticks would be under 1 oz. Regards, GF.
I'd do the cinnamon last, in secondary, and maybe one to three sticks until you get the flavor you want.
I've never made a sweet orange mead, so I'll let the others speak to the orange part of the recipe.
Well, the first thing I'd think about doing is using a different yeast. The liquid sweet mead yeast from both Wyeast and White labs can be finicky (especially the Wyeast). I'd consider Cote des Blancs, Lalvin's 71B or ICV-D47 among others.
15 pounds of honey is going to produce a starting gravity of about 1.105, and it is likely that any of these yeast will take it dry. You may want to bump up the honey to get a gravity of at least 1.115 (probably slight more than 16 pounds).
I'd probably add the juice of at least 5 oranges just to provide some acidity for flavor and also to help buffer the pH.
2 oz of yeast nutrient (if it is DAP) is WAY too much for a 5 gallon batch - that's more than 10 grams per gallon! I'd use a combination of DAP (about 10 g total for batch) and a yeast energizer like Fermaid K (about 20 g).
I hope that helps.
If you can get them try Jaffa/Shamouti oranges. We used to juice them where I worked in college and they are much sweeter than normal juice oranges. I would juice them and add them to the secondary if you want a really strong orange taste.
So I adjusted the recipe due to some more research, and all your super helpful input :) This is what I'm thinking..please feel free to add your $.2!! I need all the advice I can get.
Sweet Cinnamon Orange Melomel (would it be considered a Melomel, or a Metheglin?)
16.5lbs Orange Blossom Honey
1/2lb OB Honey (give or take for back sweetening if deemed appropriate)
2 grams of Potassium Sorbate (before back sweetening)
12 grams Nutriferm Energy (added to yeast starter)
10 grams DAP
20 grams Energizer Nutriferm Advance
Juice of 6+ oranges
5 cinnamon sticks
Okay, and here's the process.
1. Rehydrate the dry yeast with 12 grams Nutriferm Energy/170ml H2O
2. Add 2gallons of H20 to my primary, followed by a thoroughly stirred heated (115degrees) mixture of 16.5lbs of honey and 2gallons of H20.
3. Mix in 1/3 of nutriferm advance & DAP, and stir some more.
4. Once cooled, pitch the yeast slurry and stir.
5. At active fermentation (around 2-3days?) add another 1/3 of nutriferm advance & DAP.
6. At mid fermentation (4-5 days?) add the rest of the nutrients.
7. Wait until ~1.0 SG Rack into secondary and add the Squeezed Orange Juice, and Cinnamon sticks.
8. After 2-4 months add 2 grams of potassium sorbate, wait a couple days, and back sweeten if desired,
9. Wait another month and bottle away!
Damn! I'm excited..So what do you all think? A few more questions to go along..
Would you do sliced oranges or the juice? Am I adding the fruit at a good time? Is it okay to let the cinnamon sticks sit in the carboy for months without imparting off flavors?
Most importantly of all; does this look like a halfway decent recipe, and how about the process/steps, do they look right? Thanks SO much for all your amazing help. Such a blessing to have stumbled upon this amazing forum!
I would skip the heating in step #2 no need to heat the honey.
You might want to make a 6 gallon batch to start with if you have a 5 gallon brew bucket. (mine has enough head room to do 6 gallon batches) That way you have enough mead to fill a 5 gallon carboy to the top when you rack off the secondary. I assume you want it to be crystal clear, so that why I would add that extra racking. The blood orange mead I just made with 71b has a layer of yeast at the bottom which can lead to off tastes if you leave your mead on it.
Juice the oranges and leave the peel out of your creation. If you put the peel in you will get a pithy taste that really blows chunks. I know some people love their JOAM but trust me there will be less aging time before it is drinkable if you leave just use juice.
Gook luck on your creation, keep up updated as to how it turns out.
I wouldn't use potassium sorbate without some sulfite (KMeta). For one it is not reliable to prevent renewed fermentation by itself, and also, if lactic acid bacteria metabolize it, it produces a bad geranium odor that cannot be eliminated. Sulfite will prevent these issues. With this yeast and the amount of honey you are using, you probably will not need anything to prevent further fermentation because the alcohol content will be high enough to inhibit the yeast.
71B is quite good a functioning in a low nutrient environment, and to further reduce the need for stabilizers, you might scale back the nutrients a little to keep the yeast a bit hungry (let's say use about 8 grams of DAP and 10 grams of the energizer).
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