Author Topic: Citrus in meads  (Read 904 times)

Offline erockrph

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Citrus in meads
« on: March 03, 2016, 04:33:21 PM »
Does anyone have any recommendations for the best way to use citrus in meads? I've always been afraid to drop the pH too low and have the yeast stall out on me. Is it better to wait till secondary to add the fruit? Any suggestions on the best way to add the fruit, and/or how much? I'm planning on a tart, slightly sweet lime mead with a hint of ginger, in the 8-10% abv range. I'm looking for a big lime flavor.
Eric B.

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Offline mchrispen

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Re: Citrus in meads
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2016, 05:22:03 PM »
I have tried a few. The ones that I really felt worked featured zest and some late juice additions, rather than fermenting on the citrus juice or skins. You can go pretty heavy with the zest after primary and it doesn't seem to take much time to get the flavor/oils out. Personally, I would probably make a ginger/lime tincture(s) and dose to taste once you have back sweetened your base mead.


I had one fermented out on blood oranges and it was just a disaster... sharp sourish acidity back sweetened heavily with raw honey.


I have some cyser that I might try this with. I have a few fresh limes on the counter.

Offline jeffy

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Re: Citrus in meads
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2016, 05:32:46 PM »
I made a key lime mead once, substituting fresh juice for some of the water, I think about a quart.  I heated the water to 160, added the honey (orange blossom) and the juice, chilled and fermented with Cal. Common yeast. 
At least that's what I remember right now, but I am not in front of my brewing log.
It turned out well - I think it won some medals.  I don't think I ever checked the pH, but the fermentation was fine.
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Offline mchrispen

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Re: Citrus in meads
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2016, 05:39:19 PM »
Eric - just pulled 400 ml of an orange blossom trad. Split it into 200 ml samples. Added zest of 1 lime to the first, and the juice of the lime to the other. Will update in a couple of days.


The juice made the crystal bright white traditional turn milky immediately.


It's a bone dry mead, so will need to back sweeten a bit to see how it comes out.

Offline pete b

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Re: Citrus in meads
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2016, 06:26:22 PM »
I have not made one but I will and plan on adding the fruit as primary finishes. I recently discovered a great way to add fruit. I have a juicer similar to this but it only cost $200. http://www.omegajuicers.com/juicers/juicer-nc800hdr.html
The important thing about this type is that it forces the fruit or vegetables down a corkscrew type gear that crushes it with a lot of pressure rather than shredding it. I recently put a grapefruit through, just washed and cut up small enough, skin and pith and all and the juice that comes out has all the essential oil from the skin plus the juice. The flavor must be 5X or more, its incredible. The best thing might be that because your getting virtually 100% of the flavor and aroma oils you don't have to add a lot of volume so not as much effect on ph. In fact I want to try skimming of the oils after letting it sit for awhile and just adding that without the juice.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Citrus in meads
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2016, 07:08:14 PM »
Eric - just pulled 400 ml of an orange blossom trad. Split it into 200 ml samples. Added zest of 1 lime to the first, and the juice of the lime to the other. Will update in a couple of days.


The juice made the crystal bright white traditional turn milky immediately.


It's a bone dry mead, so will need to back sweeten a bit to see how it comes out.
Awesome! Looking forward to your results.
Eric B.

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Offline Scot (one T)

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Re: Citrus in meads
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2016, 07:27:17 PM »
Fresh squeezed lime into the secondary.  Add to taste.  It's better to start with a sweeter base mead as the acidity of the limes will dry out the perception. 
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Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: Citrus in meads
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2016, 03:56:50 PM »
Ken Schramm made a pineapple mead for one of the conference presentations that was so good. Lots of pineapple.
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Offline mchrispen

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Re: Citrus in meads
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2016, 06:54:44 PM »
OK the results are pretty clear. Reminder: 2 x 200 ml samples. One sample got the zest of one small lime. The other got the juice from that lime.


These were clearly overdoses for 200 ml. You would want to workout some possible ration for your batch size, but I would guess that depending on the intensity of the lime fruit - 1 -2 limes to gallon would be a good starting point. If I recall, the lime yielded 25 mg of zest, and about a tablespoon of juice.


I filtered both samples through a coffee filter and sampled at room temperature.


The Juiced sample was awful. Clarity and color shifted with the additional acid from the juice. There was very low to no lime aromas - keeping the light orange blossom honey character. The flavors went very sharp and acidic, almost astringent. The acidic aftertaste was very long and pretty unpalatable. Maybe with just a much smaller fraction of the juice some complexity and acid balance could be preserved. Perhaps using the juice in the primary, but you would need to buffer that acid - or expect a very long maturation process.


The Zest sample was pungent and smelled of fresh zest turned to 11, overpowering the honey character. The clarity and color of the traditional mead remained unchanged, while the zest went from dark green to a grey (much like lemon zest in limoncello). The flavor added a low bitterness that might be considered astringent, but maybe perceived as a spice note. Otherwise, this was pretty close to the original orange blossom dry mead, with a little additional perceived sweetness, which maybe a trick of the retronasal. This was drinkable, but barely. Very intense lime smell is overwhelming.


Here are a couple of pictures:









Offline erockrph

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Re: Citrus in meads
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2016, 05:08:54 AM »
Thanks, Matt! I wonder what the same meads would taste like in the 1.015-1.020 range. I imagine you need quite a bit of sweetness to balance out the lime.

So, maybe I could use the juice in primary with some potassium bicarbonate added as a buffer. Then maybe I'll add zest to half in secondary, and taste. I can then blend the lime down with the unzested half if I overshoot. If I need to adjust the acid, I could always use a few of those True Lime packets.

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Offline erockrph

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Re: Citrus in meads
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2016, 05:26:22 AM »
One more thought - I might take some photos and gravity readings on something like Simply Limeade just to have a frame of reference.

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Offline mchrispen

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Re: Citrus in meads
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2016, 06:11:58 AM »
I thought about back sweetening, but the Juice threw off my stomach. There was enough sweetness in the zest, but the intensity of aroma left me confused how to proceed. Those doses in 1 gallon makes more sense.

I think your plan makes a lot of sense if you can control the acid sufficiently.

Cheers!

Offline Scot (one T)

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Re: Citrus in meads
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2016, 03:45:09 PM »
You need a fairly sweet mead to balance the acidity of the limes.  I used juice squeezed from limes added to the secondary.  Won BOS at Kansas City and 2nd BOS in Milwaukee.  It cleared to brilliant using SuperKleer. 
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