Author Topic: Trying a Wild Plum Melomel  (Read 1757 times)

Offline 1vertical

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Trying a Wild Plum Melomel
« on: November 28, 2010, 09:37:14 AM »
I calculated the O.G. at 1.096
3 quarts of wild plum juice from our tree
2 quarts of Light clover local honey ....I mean light!
1 Lb of Jaggery
and 2 quarts of water
Yeast nutrients
Pectic Enzyme
and Lalvin  Bourgovin RC 212

Only gonna make a couple gallons but I did not want to waste the
plum harvest since SHMBO did not really get it together to make jelly like
we usually do.

Edit: It's In the fermenter.  Pitched 3 packs of dry yeast rehydrated in warm water
got a LONG  lag it seems like...slow to launch
« Last Edit: November 28, 2010, 09:48:44 AM by 1vertical »
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Offline alikocho

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Re: Trying a Wild Plum Melomel
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2010, 12:26:15 PM »
Sounds good, and I'm interested in what the jaggery will give as a flavour after being in India earlier this year.

You say it's slow to start. Did you heat the plum juice? If so you will likely have activated the pectin and it could be cagulating around the yeast. Some pectic enzyme will address this if it's an issue, and also aid in clearing.
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Offline nicneufeld

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Re: Trying a Wild Plum Melomel
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2010, 02:56:15 PM »
I thought about doing a coconut/jaggery brew myself to serve with Indian food, a sort of palm wine mockup thing.  Interesting!

Plums are fantastic for beverages (recently converted devotee of slivovitz, here!), and this sounds quite interesting.  Not that I could duplicate it, without a wild plum tree, but still.

THREE packets of yeast in TWO gallons?  I hope that it gets started or something must be wrong, because thats a LOT of yeast, there.  I used to use two packets but recently I've been using 1 packet per 5 gal, for wine, cider, or beer.

Offline 1vertical

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Re: Trying a Wild Plum Melomel
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2010, 10:32:01 PM »
Nic,
I know that sounds like a lot, but there is a LOT of sugar for them to chew thru.
And I plan on doing the SNA a few days from now... BTW, It has started to ferment
not vigorously, but going none the less.

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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Trying a Wild Plum Melomel
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2010, 10:51:15 PM »
Why did you turn the plums into juice rather than fermenting the whole fruit?  I'd think you'd lose some color without the skins.

My melomels start fermenting within hours.  Melomel ferments always seem to get going so much faster because of the nutrients already in the fruit.  They shouldn't be slow.  But I use GO-FERM with the yeast (71B for something like a plum melomel) and use a stir-whip to aerate the must before adding the fruit.

You shouldn't need pectic enzyme with plums unless you heated them.  Have you previously had clarity problems?  My plum melomels and cysers drop bright without them, but I use the no-heat method for all my meads.

Last year, my daughter picked 30 lbs of plums from a friend's tree and brought them back to me to make mead.  After sorting through them, halving them, and pitting them, I probably had almost 25 lbs of fruit.  Froze/thawed them and tossed them in my big melomel bucket.  Made 5 gallons of (finished) mead from it.
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Offline 1vertical

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Re: Trying a Wild Plum Melomel
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2010, 11:02:15 PM »
Gordon, these were at first planned to become jelly. That fell through and so
they wound up being heat extracted.  I am not concerned with the pectin as
I added pectic enzyme and I am willing to give it all the time it needs to clear.

Also what I found when I pulled the juice out of the fridge and let it come up to
room temp, was a wild yeast in one of the jars that was fermenting like mad.
So to avoid waisting that quart of juice, I heated it ...to kill the wild yeast and
then against my better judgement went ahead and added it to the mix.
So that made one quart out of three that got heated...the rest did not except
to extract jelly juice...
 These have such thin flesh that you would be hard pressed to pit them
and have anything left...
I may not have given enough O2 either as I did not want to put my beer equipment
(oxygenator stone) in this must.

So this is a mead of necessity, made so that I could rescue the work we already
had put into the fruit from this tree....I almost just let the deer have them as they fell.
They were visiting every night...the smell of ripe plums was wafting thru the autumn air.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2010, 11:16:04 PM by 1vertical »
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Trying a Wild Plum Melomel
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2010, 07:51:12 AM »
OK, that makes sense.  Figured there was heat involved somewhere.  Bonus points for coming up with a save for some other project.

FYI, if you don't want to put your oxygenator stone in the must, get a mix-stir and use it with your cordless drill.  I find this the most indispensible tool for meadmaking, particularly if you do the cold method (which you should really do).  Nothing else mixes honey into the water like a mix-stir.

Curt Stock had a really good article on making melomels in BYO a few years ago.  We linked to it on the BJCP web site; look under the mead exam references.  He turns out great melomels in a few weeks.  It's pretty amazing.
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Offline kenschramm

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Re: Trying a Wild Plum Melomel
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2011, 11:34:55 PM »
Any update on this?  I am intrigued.
bright red cherries against a blue sky, fresh and ripe, preserved through time...

Offline 1vertical

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Re: Trying a Wild Plum Melomel
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2011, 12:24:44 PM »
Ok, that wine yeast is SLO and the sp.gr. today was 1.060 ish.  I racked it into another fermenter
and added some polyclar ...hopefully not too much. But initial impression is this may need some
big time help to finish.  It is like the yeast has given up Cloudy as all get out and sweet beyond cloying.
 :-\
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Offline kenschramm

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Re: Trying a Wild Plum Melomel
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2011, 08:49:52 AM »
My guess on your OG would be way beyond 1.096.  With that much honey, a lb of jaggery and 5 quarts of additional liquid, 3 quarts of which (the plum juice) would have probably been around 1.050, I'd say your OG could have been as high as 1.180+, and certainly well above 1.150. It may be really sweet, but you may be completely done at this point.  I'm not sure how well RC-212 can get going at that high a gravity, but it sounds like you asked it to do some especially heavy lifting.  If you started >1.170 and it got the must down to 1.060, you may have really lucked out.
bright red cherries against a blue sky, fresh and ripe, preserved through time...

Offline 1vertical

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Re: Trying a Wild Plum Melomel
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2011, 09:24:54 AM »
Well please yeild input on this idea...
Thinking I may try freezing this to extract the alcohol that has been produced.
Then If I am able to do that, since there is so much residual sugar,.....could I re-innoculate
with yeast and expect fermentation to contiune with decent results????????
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Offline nicneufeld

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Re: Trying a Wild Plum Melomel
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2011, 03:26:09 PM »
Another idea you could do if it is just too sweet as is; fortify it and treat it like a liqueur.  Plum brandy might be an expensive fortification agent but it would at least be somewhat novel and certainly in keeping with a plum melomel.  I've had a few meads finish too sweetly for my taste, and sometimes fortifying them turns them into a port-like concoction that is more suitable for sipping in small quantities.

By the way...Ken Schramm?  As in, "the" Ken Schramm?  Six years ago I read your book cover to cover (a few times), and I have you to thank for my (admittedly now not as common as I'd like it to be) meadmaking!  Thanks, and cheers!

Offline kenschramm

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Re: Trying a Wild Plum Melomel
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2011, 07:31:54 PM »
Yeah, that Ken Schramm.  I am glad you liked the book.  Thanks.

I don't know if I would go to the trouble of freeze distillation and then trying to re-ferment the leftovers, but it's your mead.  I'd be tempted to make a dry mead and blend them, or just make it a limited consumption mead. I've made a few that came out a bit over-sweet, and I've mixed them with soda water over ice in the summer.  With the bite of high carbonation, they are refreshing and highly quaffable on a hot July evening.
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Offline 1vertical

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Re: Trying a Wild Plum Melomel
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2011, 10:39:39 PM »
Ok,
Freezing this produced a thick, sweet, (but not as sweet as the source) alcoholic apertif like thing...
It has a bit of the tart plum in the background of the sweet honey. Color is amber
aroma is off somewhat to my liking kind of a musty aroma...the flavor is golden sweet
and really did salvage this I got 14 ounces of liquid that did not freeze from the 1.75 ish
gallons of liquid that I started with.  Interesting and unique.

Ice Melomel
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