Rhubarb Pie with Vanilla Sauce Small Melomel 7%

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

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

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Label design, mead, cider, wine, kombucha
Jun 23, 2019
Reaction score
Stockholm, Sweden
I am still new to brewing but as an avid cook I cannot stop myself from jumping off the deep end and crafting recipes right from the start. I do have a couple questions sprinkled throughout.

I was inspired by this recipe https://www.reddit.com/r/mead/comments/buhe6h/breakfast_orange_milkshake_mead_10_days_bottle/ which I did my best to convert to metric and cut from 4 gallons to 5 liters.
And I had some bag-in-box locally pressed rhubarb drink which I have already partly used up in a Spiced Apple-Rhubarb Saison Cider (also my own recipe). So I came up with this. Constructive criticism appreciated although it is already put together with Campden and pectic enzyme waiting for yeast pitch.

Rhubarb Pie with Vanilla Sauce Small Melomel (catchier name tbd)

SG 1.060
Est final ABV 7%
Ferm temp 20C


55 g rolled oats
151g honey + 222g honey
114.5g lactose
57 g xylitol
3.7L Värmdö Musteri Rabarberdryck (rhubarb drink made from pressed rhubarb, sugar, water, lemon juice and vanilla bean, Brix 10)
4.5 g bittering hops pellets (I used what I had on hand. 2g WGV, 2.5g Citra)
1g Campden
25g chopped unsulfited golden raisins
8-10ml pectic enzyme

Toast oats in a heavy cast iron dutch oven until golden. I originally started with 151g but I was afraid it would just turn to oatmeal so I cut the amount. Remove oats. Boil 1L water, 151g honey, 114.5g lactose. Add bittering hops in a hop sock and boil 30 minutes. In the last 5 minutes add the oats. Remove hop sock. Turn off heat, let cool to 40-50C and keep there for 30 mins to denature the gumminess of the oats.

Add 3,7L rhubarb drink. Add 222g orange blossom honey (I used cheap generic honey for the boil). Add 0,9L water to 5L and SG 1,060.
Add 1g Campden and 25 g chopped raisins for body. Add 57g xylitol (I think I should have waited to post-fermentation to add... did I screw up?). This amount was determined because I saw advice to add 2:1 lactose:xylitol in ciders for backsweetening for body:sweetness respectively.
After 15 hours add 8-10ml pectic enzyme. (this is where I am now)


1 packet Nottingham yeast
6,25g Go-Ferm
1,7g Fermaid K, divided in 2
3,2g DAP, divided in 2
20-25g aroma hop pellets for dry hopping (50% Citra 50% WGV)
?g vanilla bean
2smashed green cardamom pods
?g medium toast French oak chips

Dissolve Go-Ferm in 110ml boiling water. Cool to 35C, add yeast. Let it get foamy, temper with must then pitch.
24 hours post pitch: Add 0,85g Ferm K and 1,6g DAP acording to Mead Batchbuildr instructions.
48 hours pp: Add 0,85 g Ferm K, 1,6g DAP. In a weighted hop sock place aroma hop pellets.
5 days pp: In a separate weighted hop sock place vanilla, cardamom, and French oak chips.

?g rosehip shell tea
?g vanilla bean
?g tonka bean
1 crushed green cardamom
60g priming honey
Zest of 1/4 lemon
Additional lactose and xylitol if needed

10 days pp or when SG reaches 1.000 (will it though, since there is lactose and xylitol already added?): Simmer the above in ?cL water for about 45 minutes. Strain and add to bottling buckey, add must via hose to bulk prime.
Bottle into 33cl fliptop beer bottles and wait to carbonate.

So a couple more questions. What would happen if I added glucoamylase enzyme? Would it make a difference in body? Would the oatmeal taste disappear? Would a DME be a good addition, and if so what kind? I do try to keep my carbs low in my diet for health reasons.

Any suggestions for amounts which I have marked with ”?”

Rhubarb is quite acidic on its own so I have opted not to add any more but maybe that will need tweaking, if so I will adjust with tartaric acid post-ferm.

I am really hoping to get some pie flavors from the toasted oats, spices, and oak. I am undecided on adding fresh frozen rhubarb to secondary. I would like that jammy cooked flavor but am worried about pectins. The finished product is meant to be hazy from the oatmeal though? Do I just add more pectic enzyme to the rhubarb before adding it then? I suppose I would cook it with some honey then too?

Thanks for your thoughts and advice!
No comment on the overall flavor profile but only because I can't imagine these flavors all together in my mind. Here are a few things that jump out for me though in one way or another.

Why use bittering or aroma hops in this recipe at all? Only asking because it seems like you put them in as if they were a necessary part of a recipe, nothing in the flavor description (Vanilla Rhubarb Pie) or the style (Melomel) says this needs hops.

Why use an ale yeast (Nottingham) instead of a wine/champagne yeast?

I love the idea of toasted oat flavor in a mead like this. Would recommend adding more oats after fermentation if the oat taste doesn't survive primary fermentation. If this were me I wouldn't bother with adding oats at all until after fermentation.

Back-sweetening ingredients should be added after fermentation, you won't get to 1.000 with these ingredients already in the mix but it won't ruin anything. Did you choose xylitol to sweeten with because you intend to bottle carbonate? If not there are much better/tastier options.

Why do think you need or want to use DME?
Thanks for the reply. I chose to use hops because I based the recipe on the one on reddit that I linked. Ditto for the ale yeast. I was aiming more for a braggot feel I suppose, with the oats and hops. I did not end up adding dme (although maybe I will try it in a future batch just to get more of a true braggot, though maybe a crushed malt which gives tones of cookies or pie crust would be better?). As for the flavors, rhubarb pie with a vanilla custard sauce is a very common home-style dessert here in Sweden and since I had the rhubarb drink and the inspiration to use oatmeal (as in the crust) from the reddit recipe that's where that came from.

I actually tasted it today. Three days ago I added citra, wgv, cardamom and vanilla bean in a hop bag. I removed it today. The flavor was really nice. The hops were present without being overbearing and the finish was a clear presence of toasted oats. The rhubarb is up front, with the tartness of fresh rhubarb. I was very pleasantly surprised how good it was. It was lightly beer-like without being heavy if that makes sense. It reminded me of hopped, lme-added kombuchas I have made in the past. A nice hybrid feel. I am thinking I will rack onto some cooked rhubarb with added pectic enzyme for a jammier flavor, and maybe a bit more toasted oats, but honestly it's really nice the way it is now and it isn't super necessary. Maybe I will try half on half without and see which is better.

It's at 1.012 currently. Fermentation seems mostly done. I think I'll just let it get as dry as it wants to get and see if it even needs backsweetening. I generally prefer things dry but i think this needs a bit of sweetness. I will be bottle carbonating, with honey, and I use xylitol just because I like it, I don't want to pasteurize, and I prefer lower sugar in the final product. I am interested in your alternative suggestions though!
I hope you don't think I was questioning your taste, I just wanted to understand why you would use hops and an ale yeast for this.

Good to hear the flavors are coming through as you like. I am going to absolutely try some rhubarb pie the first time I get the chance!

PROCEED WITH GREAT CAUTION bottle carbonating mead or cider that isn't bone dry is tricky and can result in bottle bombs. Use an online calculator to see if 1.012 is "done" based on the fermentable and non-fermentable sugars and that yeast. Consider using plastic bottles or pasteurizing or safely drinking it flat if there is any doubt at all.
No problem :) I wasn't offended, I assumed you were curious because it is an odd recipe.

I use flip-top homebrew beer bottles, I have bottle carbonated kombucha in them before and never had a bomb. Is there more danger from mead or cider? I do use online priming calculators but my first cider batches haven't carbonated fully yet so I don't have as much experience with anything other than kombucha (which I usually prime/flavor 10-15% with a flavored homemade sugar syrup and age for at least 3 months). It seems like the tops release gas without exploding but should I be worried?

I tasted again today. Down to 1.008. Definitely more sour, I do think I preferred it yesterday at 1.012 for a more balanced flavor. More beerlike today though. Maybe the hops are popping through more without the sweetness to balance. I'll continue to taste and when it stabilizes I will probably rack onto cooked rhubarb.

What priming sugars were you going to suggest?

As for rhubarb pie I suggest making a nice buttery pie crust (If I remember correctly Alton Brown has a good one, so does Smitten Kitchen) and make it just wet enough to press into a form with your fingers, try to keep it very cold for a flakier crust. Rustic is good. Mix some chopped rhubarb with sugar to taste and vanilla bean, cook it on the stove with a splash of water until it thickens, maybe ten minutes. Prebake the crust to light golden brown then add the rhubarb and bake until thick and bubbly and caramelized at the edges. Vanilla sauce is basically a creme anglais with plenty of vanilla bean, easy to find a good recipe online using egg yolks and heavy cream.