orange mead

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

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

NeverDie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
1,432
Reaction score
400
Location
Austin
I had read so many threads on homebrewtalk that were extremely negative about fermenting orange juice that I thought it was a practical impossibility. Then today I stumbled across something which, on its face, sounds like it might be a mead which has accomplished that:
https://www.dancingbeewinery.com/citrus-tango/

I'm aware that JAOM has an orange in it, but I presume this is a lot more than just that.

Anyone aware of any other orange mead examples, or, better yet, have good recipes?
 

bmd2k1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2017
Messages
1,303
Reaction score
376
Playing bit of devil's advocate --

Why not just make your best "plain" mead & then blend with some fresh oj or other citrus blend? [emoji111] (like others do for cider mimosas...)
 

CKuhns

Everything learned in Kindergarten still applies!
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
1,236
Reaction score
623
Location
MN & WI
Oranges peeled in secondary work great and add amazing flovor. Sweetening with OJ concentrate works well too. I rarely do juice in primary. It works, but IMO typically for higher ABV meads does take a long time to age out.
 

bernardsmith

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2012
Messages
5,526
Reaction score
1,966
Location
Saratoga Springs
I wonder if the real secret is using oranges that have been harvested at the peak of ripeness. Are the oranges we get in NY harvested weeks before they are fully ripe? Are the companies that sell orange juice using perfectly picked oranges? I don't know, but I do know that many years ago when I was living abroad and we had freshly harvested oranges their flavor was nothing like the flavor of oranges we routinely ate in Scotland.
 

Blacksmith1

Captain Cheap
Joined
Nov 30, 2018
Messages
1,503
Reaction score
490
Location
Volusia county
Living where they grow I can tell you that the giant cage looking semi trailers full of oranges here during harvest season contain many that have green on them as well as fully ripe. I figure since they're all one type the packing house must grade them on looks and will they ship without rotting.
The ones getting juiced don't need to be pretty or last till someone buys them at a store.
 
OP
NeverDie

NeverDie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
1,432
Reaction score
400
Location
Austin
When it comes to buying orange juice, instead of oranges themselves, what I've read suggests that the juice mfg's juice the oranges, then pump the juice into large vats where it may sit for as much as a year. Why? Because people want orange juice year round. When sitting in the vat it loses almost all its flavor. So, just before packaging, they mix in what are called "flavor packs" that, they claim, restore the flavor. For some reason, the mfg.'s aren't required to report this on the orange juice container, so even for premium orange juice if it says something like "nothing but pure orange juice," it's typically almost always a lie. How do we know this? Because a range of premium orange juices were tested for the chemicals found in flavor packs, and they all measured much higher for those chemicals than what are typically found in true authentic orange juice. There's a youtube video which explains it all.
 

Blacksmith1

Captain Cheap
Joined
Nov 30, 2018
Messages
1,503
Reaction score
490
Location
Volusia county
I can't speak for other places but at tropicana they cook the oranges down into a concentrate. You can smell it for miles. Then they store this pasturized concentrate to use later.
 

DevilDogmeadguy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
66
Reaction score
24
A local asian food market sells a delicious honey citron jam. I suppose I could try fermenting that, as per: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/jelly-jam-wine.662526/#post-8551609 Or maybe just backsweeten with it instead? Not sure which would be better.
I added 1.5 liters of orange juice to a 5 gallon blackberry Mead in secondary ferment and it turned out awesome. I used the brand "simply orange" orange mango blend. It's delicious and I had no problems what so ever. I also have a juicer which filters out alot of pulp and use that to make fresh juice with produce from farmers markets, but that tends to be a bit more pricey. Either way, I've not yet had an issue using fresh oranges or orange juice. I used EC-1118 yeast in the above mentioned batch with Blackberry honey OG of 1.12, FG 1.02.
 
OP
NeverDie

NeverDie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
1,432
Reaction score
400
Location
Austin
I added 1.5 liters of orange juice to a 5 gallon blackberry Mead in secondary ferment and it turned out awesome. I used the brand "simply orange" orange mango blend. It's delicious and I had no problems what so ever. I also have a juicer which filters out alot of pulp and use that to make fresh juice with produce from farmers markets, but that tends to be a bit more pricey. Either way, I've not yet had an issue using fresh oranges or orange juice. I used EC-1118 yeast in the above mentioned batch with Blackberry honey OG of 1.12, FG 1.02.
Makes sense. Doesn't it taste like a mixed drink though, like a mimosa for instance?

Nonetheless, that may be better than the alternative of fermenting orange juice. From what I've read, most of the people who have tried fermenting orange juice say it smells like vomit.
That said, I'm not sure how JAOM manages to avoid that, so maybe there's more to it than that.

Seems like the middle path way to do it is to use orange rind but no orange juice at all. When it works well it's supposedly great, but if it fails it reportedly tastes bitter. Not sure what decides which of those two outcomes it is.
 

DevilDogmeadguy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
66
Reaction score
24
Makes sense. Doesn't it taste like a mixed drink though, like a mimosa for instance?

Nonetheless, that may be better than the alternative of fermenting orange juice. From what I've read, most of the people who have tried fermenting orange juice say it smells like vomit.
That said, I'm not sure how JAOM manages to avoid that, so maybe there's more to it than that.

Seems like the middle path way to do it is to use orange rind but no orange juice at all. When it works well it's supposedly great, but if it fails it reportedly tastes bitter. Not sure what decides which of those two outcomes it is.
No it tastes like blackberry with orange zest lol. Also orange peel is bitter not sweet. I think maybe the higher alcohol content helps preserve flavors better. You could also just buy powdered citric acid and add that as well.
 
OP
NeverDie

NeverDie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
1,432
Reaction score
400
Location
Austin
That looks delicious
It definitely is. The local asian foot-mart sells these jars for just $6 each. That's $6 per kilogram. Far cheaper than amazon. I picked up a couple jars this evening to experiment with for backsweetening.
 
OP
NeverDie

NeverDie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
1,432
Reaction score
400
Location
Austin
Reporting back: This evening I tried backsweetening a mead with the above honey citron tea, and it worked out very well. :yes: It doesn't actually require much of it either to have a large impact on flavor.
 
Top