The second batch of mead that I ever made was a grapefruit orange melomel. At this point you may be asking yourself what the hell a melomel is, and that’s perfectly reasonable. The way I’d describe it is that mead is fermented honey water. Under the umbrella of mead, each thing that you add to that honey water mixture is called something else.
A melomel is simply adding fruit to the powerful honey and water mixture. Adding fruit adds more sugar and a more complex taste.
After our initial experimentation with a blackberry melomel, we decided to turn it up with a grapefruit orange melomel. The result was fantastic.
5 Gallon Grapefruit Orange Melomel Recipe
When initially deciding on our next project, the duke and I posed the question, “what should we do next?” Before I could even utter a word, the Duke chimes in and says, “how about grapefruit?” This was no where near the top of my list of mead projects, and yet he was strangely insistent on doing grapefruit.
I then remembered that I’m in this for the long haul and need as much practice as possible. WHY THE HELL NOT? We then proceeded to go a little crazy with how much orange and grapefruit we threw in this batch.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 5 gallon brewing kit
- 5 gallon stainless steel Brew Ketttle
- 15 lbs Clover Honey
- 1/4 gallon of fresh pressed orange juice
- 1/4 gallon of fresh pressed grapefruit juice
- 1 grapefruit
- 1 orange
- D-47 yeast
- Fermaid K
- 5 gallons of water
For the fresh pressed juices, I just bought them at Whole Foods. You could also buy them at the regular supermarket or just juice your own.
For the actual fruit, take the skin off and cut them into fourths.
I’ll tell you what I did for this mead as it made a really beastly mead, and you can go from there.
- Cut your fruit the night before into fourths. Place the fruit in ziplock bags and put them in your freezer.
- Put 3 gallons of your water in the fridge over night to keep it cold. You’ll want cold water to bring the temperature of your must down.
- Get your brew kettle out and put about 2 gallons of water in.
- Pour your 15 gallons of honey into the water.
- Bring your kettle up to a boil and boil your honey water mixture for 15 minutes. Use a large spoon or ladle to mix the honey into the water while boiling. You want to get all the honey dissolved the best you can. Otherwise, you could experience some burnt honey on the bottom of the pot. So mix good and you won’t have to deal with this.
- While your mixture is boiling be sure to not allow it to boil over as you’ll have a sticky mess everywhere. If it starts doing that, just turn the burner down and allow it to go back down.
- After the 15 minutes is up, take 2 gallons of water from the fridge and dump it in the fermentation bucket.
- Now, take your 1/4 gallon of grapefruit and orange juice and pour it in with the water in the fermentation bucket.
- Carefully take your must from your brew kettle and pour it in with your cold water/juice mix.
- Take your large spoon and mix everything together for about 5 minutes to aerate it.
- Get the temperature of your mix down under 80 degrees to be able to pitch your yeast. One way to do this is to use a wort chiller. This is very effective but can be a bit unweildy to the beginner brewer. Another method that I have used in the past to great success is freezing water in huge ziplock bags, and then taking them out of the freezer and dunking them in your must. Usually two bags works best and will work in about 5-10 minutes.
- Get out your hydrometer and take a reading at this point.
- Once your must is under 80 degrees, take your D-47 out of the packet and sprinkle one packet in. Stir gently to make sure it’s all absorbed into the must.
- Take your DAP and Fermaid K and make a mix of 1 teaspoon of Fermaid K and 2 teaspoons of DAP. Separate this mix into 4 equal parts and add one part to your bucket. Save the other 3 parts for later additions.
- Take the fruit from the ziplock bags in your freezer and gently place them in the must.
- Place your lid on the bucket and attach an airlock.
- Store at room temperature.
- After 24 hours, add in a second Fermaid K and DAP nutrient addition. Take a little of the mead out and mix it with the Nutrient addition in a sanitized bowl, then pour it back into the bucket. Take a moment to mix the ingredients with a spoon and break up the layer of fruit that should be at the top.
- Another 24 hours later, repeat the last step.
- Another 24 hours later, repeat the last step.
- After about 2 weeks, take a hydrometer reading. If primary fermentation is over, syphon the liquid into a 5 gallon glass carboy. Make sure you just syphon the liquid, not the solid fruit layer or spent yeast at the bottom.
- Once you have your mead transferred to your glass carboy, attach an airlock to the top and let it sit for 2 months.
- After 2 months, take a hydrometer reading. If you are satisfied with your readings, syphon the mead into bottles and cork them.
- Let your mead age for another month at least in the bottles. Mead seems to get better with time, so try to age some longer.
- Pop open a bottle, and enjoy!
This yielded an incredible Melomel for me to enjoy for years to come. I still have a bunch of bottles and am letting them age.
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