Orange Dreamsicle Experiment

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stromam

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Hey everyone,

I have a little experiment in mind and would love to get some second opinions.

I just made up a 4 gallon batch of straight mead, just honey, water, nutrient and yeast, OG 1.070. I plan on splitting it into 4 one gallons after primary is done. I know what I'm going to do with two of them, kind of. I want to add one orange to each, just juice and zest as well as 1 split vanilla bean to each. The difference between those two will be Madagascar bourbon vs. Tahitian vanilla beans to see what the difference is. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the other two.

I'm thinking I might want to play with the difference between just juice and juice/zest, or maybe juice/zest vs. juice/whole peel. I think i'd like to stay with the orange/vanilla theme. Does anyone else have any suggestions, either for the dreamsicle batches or for the other two experiments, or does anyone else have anything they would like see? Thanks for the feedback.
 
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stromam

stromam

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I'm thinking I might try out some different types of oranges. I just got a bag of these "Cuties" which are mandarin oranges i think. They are a bit sweeter than the standard naval oranges, but they also have less of that amazing orange punch I know and love. Does anyone have any recommendations on types of oranges I might try? Or maybe other fruits that would go well with vanilla?
 

LightningInABottle

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Jaffa oranges would be nice to try. They are much sweeter than normal oranges.

Blood Oranges give mead a nice dark color, but they taste like normal juice oranges.

What ever you do leave the pith out. Juice the oranges and zest the oranges, but do not put the peel in your mead. It will take longer to age out the bitter pithy taste if you do.

I have 6 gallons of blood orange mead in the primary now. I plan on racking off 5 gallons into carboy to bulk age. And 1 gallon into a jug and hitting it with some vanilla bean. or I have some Madagascar bourbon on hand and I could do the 5 gallon batch up with the Madagascar....

I do like the recipe with out the vanilla, but I can see how it would really add to the over all flavor.

What yeast are you planning on using?
 
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stromam

stromam

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I am using D-47 and it has been fermenting in the primary for about 3 days. After it is done I was gonna split it up and add the juice/zest to the secondary. Do you have any recommendations about the number of oranges/gallon i should use. I was thinking probably 1 or 2 normal size oranges, more if they are small. Also should I use all the zest from the oranges?
 

LightningInABottle

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On my current batch I used 5 very small blood oranges per gallon, but that was in the primary. 2-3 per gallon sounds like a good number to start with.

I usually zest around 3/4 of my orange unless is has a discolored spot or something that does not look right.
 

Matrix4b

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I actually have a 5 gal batch of my take on Orange Creamcycle. I have it on 2 vanilla beans now and need to oak it then wait til it settles.

I used 2 frozen concentrate OJ (organic) in it. First I did my basic Sweet Mead:

20 pounds alphalpha honey
2 packets of D-47
1 tblspoon yeast energizer and 1 of yeast nutrient.
Watered to 5 gallons.

Primary went, racked onto OJ concentrate. Should have balanced it because I think that it killed most of the yeast and the Pulp settled to the bottom in a couple of hours.

Then racked off of the pulp after 1 month, racked on to 2 split vanilla beans and put in 1 pound of Lactose for some more milky texture. I also added the zest of one full navel orange.

It has been languishing on the vanilla for about 2 months. Need to rack on to the oak for a few weeks then rack till clear.

It is tasting wonderfull.
 

Matrix4b

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I am using D-47 and it has been fermenting in the primary for about 3 days. After it is done I was gonna split it up and add the juice/zest to the secondary. Do you have any recommendations about the number of oranges/gallon i should use. I was thinking probably 1 or 2 normal size oranges, more if they are small. Also should I use all the zest from the oranges?
From my earlier post. I suggest that you balance the acidity that you are about to add to it. Since you are going one gallon batches, I suggest you try one balancing it and one not. Oh, and check the gravity, I bet that they will end up very diffrent.
 
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stromam

stromam

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What do you mean balance the acidity?

Also I talked the idea over with my LHBS and they recommended a low gravity (1.070) because I would like it to be drinkable in a few months rather than a year. Would the lactose help out with the sweetness/mouth feel without adding aging time? How much lactose should I add per gallon for a subtle effect? Could I use something other than lactose (in case I want to give some to the intolerant), I think I've read about maltodextrin.

I like the idea of oak and i think i have finalized my plan, but how much oak would you add to one gallon (I was looking at the Midwest Supplies website and they have a daunting selection). My final plan is:

1 gallon with naval oranges, Madagascar bourbon vanilla

1 gallon with naval oranges, Tahitian vanilla

1 gallon with mandarin oranges (they are easy to get and sweet), Madagascar bourbon vanilla

1 gallon with naval oranges, Madagascar bourbon vanilla and oak chips.

I'm also thinking I might want to brew up another one gallon batch for topping off my various other batches (none of them come all the way up to the neck). What would be a good all around recipe for topping off a variety of other recipes? I'm thinking a standard honey/water mead with an OG of 1.100. I need to top off a batch of: Joe's Ancient Orange, Sweet Raspberry, and inevitably 4 batches of my dreamsicle experiment.

Thanks for the help guys.
 

Fletch78

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I like the idea of oak and i think i have finalized my plan, but how much oak would you add to one gallon (I was looking at the Midwest Supplies website and they have a daunting selection).
Thanks for the help guys.
Based on what I've read at supplier websites and reading the pro's opinions on gotmead:

It depends.

Oak Powder- popular in wine kits
Oak Chips- oak flavor infuses pretty fast, different flavors.
Oak Cubes-oak flavor infuses less fast, different flavors.


Light Toast- more time to develop, different flavor
Medium Toast
House Toast
Dark Toast- less time to flavor, different flavor, more vanillin

High ABV: Faster oak infusion, not always a good thing
Low ABV: Slower oak infusion, not always a good thing.

French Oak- Popular in France
Hungarian Oak- Popular in Hungary
American Oak- Not popular anywhere, considered lower quality flavors, or good for aging other things like whiskey, but looked down upon for aging wine.

Different flavors come out over different amounts of time depending on the oak species, toast level, ABV of the must, and which format you use (barrel, cubes, etc.)

Ultimately, you should go with the medium toast cubes French Oak from Midwest. Pay no attention to the directions on the package. It calls for 10 x more than you should actually use, in my opinion. My experience with that brand: 10 cubes in a gallon of ~10 ABV cyser= heavy oak flavor in one week.

There's also many different ways to sanitize them before adding to the must. For that cyser, I microwaved them. I don't know if it worked, the cyser is aging and I won't know if it's infected for a while. The last batch, I soaked them in a solution of crushed cambden and sorbate, then rinsed really well before adding to secondary. One thing they say not to do is boil them, it will ruin their flavors. Good luck!
 

Matrix4b

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What do you mean balance the acidity?

Would the lactose help out with the sweetness/mouth feel without adding aging time? How much lactose should I add per gallon for a subtle effect? Could I use something other than lactose (in case I want to give some to the intolerant), I think I've read about maltodextrin.
Well, I figured it out. I used 1 pound of Lactose for the 5 gallon batch. Looking up amounts and the like it is 10% of the lactose that is in milk. Lactose is a sugar that is non-fermentable. So it shouldn't affect your brew times. Breaking down the recipie I think that a cup and 1/2 should be plenty. Now with the oak, I am going to use 1 oz for the 5 gal and put it in for 1 month. You could use for 1 gal say the same oz but only leave in for 1-2 weeks. 1 oz of oak chips is about 1/2 a fist size.

I used Lactose for mouth feel, to give a creamier feel. Add a little sweetness. Maltodextorin should give the same effect. Don't know how much to use.
 

Fletch78

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I think adding an oz of oak to a gallon of near-finished mead for two weeks is a recipe for a great cooking wine or vinegar for bbq sauce, E NC style.

When you say "oak" are you talking about powder, chips, or cubes? What kind of oak? What toast level?
 

Matrix4b

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I think adding an oz of oak to a gallon of near-finished mead for two weeks is a recipe for a great cooking wine or vinegar for bbq sauce, E NC style.

When you say "oak" are you talking about powder, chips, or cubes? What kind of oak? What toast level?
Well, I had light toast chips. I admit that I don't know that much about oaking but I heard that chips have lots of surface area and extract quickly. So maybe go with 1/4 oz and test it every day, take out immediately when you think that it is enough.

I used 1 oz light toasted chips in a 5 gal batch. Kept it in for 20 days.

Worked out great in my sweet show mead.
 
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stromam

stromam

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I just racked to my four secondaries last night. I did 3 gallons with one cup juice and one ounce zest of California navel oranges, and one gallon with 1 cup (no zest, it was impossible to get) of Mandarin orange juice. I think the mandarin one is going to turn out amazing.

The mandarin got 1 split and scraped Madagascar bean.

Two of the navels got 1 split and scraped Madagascar bean each. One of these will get an oak treatment after i reach the desired vanilla flavor.

One of the navels got 1 split and scraped Tahitian bean.

How often should I check these batches for vanilla flavor? Is this something I should check daily or weekly?
 

Fletch78

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If it was me, I'd leave it until it looked like it needed to be racked again or bottled, then procrastinate another 3 weeks. And if the vanilla was too strong in the final product, I'd make a note of it and do something different the next time.
 

krud

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I'm making mead from Buckwheat honey, what can I do to sweeten it up because I know it's going to finish dry! The lactose for a creamy feel sounds good, but I want something everyone who drinks mead will generally enjoy. Orange in Buckwheat? I've already fed it some lemon, and apple juice in small amounts for yeast nutrients.
 

Baabaadoo

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Reviving. I love experiments like this, but why no post on the outcome? Cmon!

Stromam, how'd this turn out?
 

Baabaadoo

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I'm aware. I'm not crossing my fingers. Nothing wrong with trying tho.
 
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stromam

stromam

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Back from the dead.

Unfortunately this is one experiment that died on the vine.

When i added the vanilla beans there must have been some wild bugs that took hold and turned the batches sour, and not in a good way. Sorry for not posting my results sooner, too many other things going on.

If it were to repeat this experiment, i would use my home-made vanilla extract, which i make from good quality bourbon (higher alcohol and better tasting than vodka).
 
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