Citrus Melomel

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

BWRIGHT

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 17, 2008
Messages
398
Reaction score
9
Location
Indiana
I'm really not having any luck finding a citrus melomel, proven recipe. I have no interest in making JAOM. I don't want any spices, just a strong citrus flavor. I'm sure people are hesitant to go too far with just citrus because of the fear of it being to acidic. I understand that concern but surely someone has figured that out. My initial thought is to use mostly oranges that are nice and ripe as the base and use lemon/lime zest to accentuate the orange flavor. I'm not sure about using juice, I figure using peeled, frozen, fresh fruit would be best. Anyone seen anything like this floating around. Grapefruit zest might be interesting.
 

Arpolis

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
2,258
Reaction score
241
Location
Tulsa
I am doing a skeeter "mead" which is a citrous melomel. Just read through the instructions here:

skeeter pee recipe and instructions

Follow those instructions EXACTLY and just substitute the original 7lb of sugar with 8.75lb honey. Then once complete stabilize like the instructions give and back sweeten to taste with honey. May need 2-3 lb of honey to back sweeten.

Even make your own yeast slurry before making this. The yeast slurry is essential. Here is my starter wine recipe:

4 11.5 oz frozen cans of Welch's frozen juice concentrate ( I like white grape peach)
1 tbs black tea (Earl grey is my choice)
1 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1/2 tsp yeast energizer
Water to one gallon
Yeast (I really like Lalvin 71b but any yeast that is not a high SO2 producer will work)

Mix this all and let her rip. some say this recipe was done fermenting in 3 days but can go as long as a couple weeks depending on temps. Then throw the carboy/jar in the fridge. Two weeks later there should be an inch of lees at the bottom and crystal clear wine on top. Siphon off 4 750ml bottles worth off the top trying to not disturb lees. Then just bring the leftover wine and lees to room temp and pitch that at the appropriate time into your skeeter mead. Should take 24 - 48 hours before vigorous fermentation starts but it will get going if all followed correctly.

This skeeter mead has been some of the smoothest mead I have ever made. It is some good stuff.
 
OP
BWRIGHT

BWRIGHT

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 17, 2008
Messages
398
Reaction score
9
Location
Indiana
Well, I have read the entire sketter pee and skeeter mead threads. I was actually planning on doing the mead. I was more thinking orangish, lemon/lime kind of deal. Hell, I don't know. The skeeter mead just seems more of like a hard lemonade or something. Tell me if I'm wrong on that. My original thought was that I'd like to make a nice refreshing melomel that no one would ever mistake for a wine. It seems like most berry meads do have a wine"ish" quality to them. I figured that would not be the case with orange/citrus. I'm thinking I want a big orange flavor along with the zest of all 3 (lemon/lime/orange). I wasn't really looking for sour though. Seems like all that lemon juice would be quite sour.
 

Arpolis

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
2,258
Reaction score
241
Location
Tulsa
I use lalvin 71b yeast & it actually cuts out a lot of the puckering sour. I am sure you can substitute one of the lemon additions for the "real lime" juice rather than real lemon and with the above starter wine there is a orange pineapple cocktail frozen concentrate that they make. Just make the wine with only 3 cans of concentrate and at the 1 week mark when the wine is still fermenting pitch the whole active gallon in the skeeter mead and then add water to the 5 gallon mark.

That will help give you a more of an all around citrous feel to the melomel. This recipe and process is proven to make a very nice drink that goes down smooth. You should not be disappointed.
 
OP
BWRIGHT

BWRIGHT

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 17, 2008
Messages
398
Reaction score
9
Location
Indiana
Fair enough. I'm definitely set on making my next melomel as a citrus orange, for sure. I think I may just enjoy more of an orange taste compared to lemon or lime as what jumps out at you. I wonder if I could stick mostly to the skeeter pee mead recipe but backsweeten with honey and orange juice concentrate? I think the orange zest will be the key to get the most orange essence. Probably add the zest of 2-3 oranges into the secondary. I can't really think of anything better than OJ concentrate to use to get that big orange taste up front. I've been a little apprehensive to use OJ in place of water but if you're getting good results with water and lemon juice, I'm thinking why not? I've just always read that fermented OJ just doesn't taste good. Or I could add a couple lbs/gallon of oranges to the secondary. That may be the way to go for what I'm looking for. I don't know what it is but oranges and orange juice just don't seem to taste quite the same.
 
OP
BWRIGHT

BWRIGHT

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 17, 2008
Messages
398
Reaction score
9
Location
Indiana
So I jumped head first into this skeeter mead on a whim and I think I may have a problem. I was racking a cyser earlier today and I decided I might as well use the slurry to get this skeeter mead going. I failed to realize at the time that using a slurry from this cyser might not be the best idea. The reason being that the cyser was bone dry (.996) and I'm afraid the yeast may get stressed. I used KV-1116 on the cyser and it ended at 10%. I'm just concerned that the yeast may get stressed from already being inactive for a couple weeks and then I added 2 bottles of lemon juice to it. We all know what mead tastes like when the yeast is stressed and I'd hate to revert back to that. I aerated the hell out of it and added some nutrient and DAP. My question is would it be smart to go ahead and just add some different yeast now, hoping that it will take hold? I've got some D-47 laying around.
 

fatbloke

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2006
Messages
2,696
Reaction score
189
Location
UK - South Coast.
So I jumped head first into this skeeter mead on a whim and I think I may have a problem. I was racking a cyser earlier today and I decided I might as well use the slurry to get this skeeter mead going. I failed to realize at the time that using a slurry from this cyser might not be the best idea. The reason being that the cyser was bone dry (.996) and I'm afraid the yeast may get stressed. I used KV-1116 on the cyser and it ended at 10%. I'm just concerned that the yeast may get stressed from already being inactive for a couple weeks and then I added 2 bottles of lemon juice to it. We all know what mead tastes like when the yeast is stressed and I'd hate to revert back to that. I aerated the hell out of it and added some nutrient and DAP. My question is would it be smart to go ahead and just add some different yeast now, hoping that it will take hold? I've got some D-47 laying around.
probably better leaving it to see if it's gonna take off with the K1V, because it's mega competitive and has the "killer" factor so if it does start up Ok it's likely to become the dominant one, which'd be a waste of the D47.......
 

Arpolis

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
2,258
Reaction score
241
Location
Tulsa
Yea I would just aerate twice daily and make sure your not skimping on the nutrients as outline on the Skeeterpee.com website. I once used a yeast slurry that was on a dry white grape peach wine for a few months and it came out well. My last skeeter mead was on a dry white grape peach in the fridge for 2-3 weeks after fermentation was over.

I think you will be just fine. Just give the must lots of care and here within 48 hours it will start to bubble away and be happy.
 
OP
BWRIGHT

BWRIGHT

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 17, 2008
Messages
398
Reaction score
9
Location
Indiana
Time to play the waiting game then. I'll just keep hitting it with the lees stirrer and see what happens.
 
OP
BWRIGHT

BWRIGHT

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 17, 2008
Messages
398
Reaction score
9
Location
Indiana
Success. I ended up with around 72 hrs of lag time but it's going good now. I started at 1.068 and I'm down to 1.052 after about 48 hrs of ferment. I've been degassing regularly and using SNA's. I'm still looking for more of an all around citrus taste to this though. I started with 2 of the 3 quarts of lemon juice initially. I figure I'll be right around 1/3 break tomorrow and I've got another quart of key lime juice for the final addition. Once it goes dry, I'm thinking of racking on top of lime zest and maybe 4 or 5 oranges as well. I plan of peeling the oranges being sure to get as much pith off as possible. Then backsweetening with enough honey to get to around 1.012 or so? I'll have to taste it. Any other suggestions as to how to get the all around "citrus" taste? Also, I never added any tannin or tea. Honestly, I don't have any experience adding tannin at all. Is this addition crucial?
 

Arpolis

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
2,258
Reaction score
241
Location
Tulsa
Sounds like things are going well and you have a good handle on it. Gratz! Adding the zest and 5 peeled oranges in secondary should get you a nice citrusy effect.

It is debated that tannin plays a good role in allowing white type wines/meads to clear. I am not so sure of that myself but there may be a grain of truth to it. This mead of yours will be very acidic in the final product and to balance that you will find yourself with possibly a higher than normal gravity to counteract that. In this kind of recipe I see the tannin as an important additive because it adds a level of bitterness and positive mouthfeel that helps to further balance the mead. If I were you I would add a TBS of black tea now to primary. That is about 3 tea packets if you do not have loose leaf tea. Or to add some bitterness you may think of adding grapefruit juice when you add your oranges. That is not something I have done but just an educated guess on adding a commenting flavor.

Good luck and keep us updated in the results. Sounds like you are doing a great job.
 
OP
BWRIGHT

BWRIGHT

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 17, 2008
Messages
398
Reaction score
9
Location
Indiana
Thanks. I appreciate the insight. I've added tea bags to beers before but I was more looking for a tea taste in a wheat beer and it turned out pretty well. Do you thing adding "good" tea would be more beneficial than adding lipton tea bags?
 

Arpolis

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
2,258
Reaction score
241
Location
Tulsa
It all depends on your tastes. I am no tea expert but dabble in the quality stuff. For most meads I like a more quality earl grey tea which has bergamot oil in with the tea leaves. On its own it has a lavender type taste. I can not pick that out in my finished products but I am sure it helps to add depth to the flavor one way or another.
 

EndlessPurple

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2012
Messages
151
Reaction score
4
Location
Houston
I'll have to follow this to see how it goes. I have a young mead going with orange blossom honey and a 1/4 cup fresh orange juice and a little zest added in secondary. Haven't tasted recently so need to check on it.

Another one I did (still in the ageing process) was with no water but 1/2 gal of orange juice and 1/2 gal of pineapple juice plus 3 lbs honey. A few other spices, sugar and flavorings as well. It fermented down fast and cleared really fast as well. It is tasting good, the pineapple is stronger than the orange though, but a good mix. This one will be ageing quite awhile as it is about 18% Abv.
 
OP
BWRIGHT

BWRIGHT

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 17, 2008
Messages
398
Reaction score
9
Location
Indiana
Well....its definitely bitter and astringent. That beinv said, i havent back sweetened it yet. Just stabilized it tonight. After mixing it with honey to a level that seemed balanced i think i may have to cut the honey with some dextrose. The honey was way too out front for my liking. I think in a couple days im going to mix honey and dextrose to bring the gravity to 1.025ish and throw in more orange and lime zest. Give it a couple more months and see what happens.

Sent from my SPH-D710 using Home Brew mobile app
 
Top