Melomel

Discussions of interest about making wine, cider and other fermented beverages

Melomel

Postby tonyhibbett » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:05

A mead made with fruit. I made one with orange juice and another with strawberries and blackcurrants. Once clear, I put each into small oak casks (5.5 and 7 litre) to mature and forgot about them. 10 months later I found that each had lost about 40% in volume and tasted unpleasantly acidic. Too much air had got in to replace the water lost through pores in the wood and acetification had been taking place. It's not supposed to happen in oak casks as the pores are too fine to admit bacteria, which must have been already in the wine and just needed the oxygen to do their evil work. What I should have done is initially added sulphite to the wine in the casks, kept them topped up and then bottled the wine after 3 months.
The wine doesn't taste or smell like any vinegar I know, so I attempted to salvage it by adding potassium bicarbonate until the unpleasant acid had been neutralized. When the pH reached 6.0 the wine was drinkable but somewhat mediocre. This is no bad thing as I can use it for topping up in future.
Small casks lose much more liquid because the surface to volume ratio is higher. By comparison, my 65 litre cask only lost 10% during a year. In order to mitigate this, I have now varnished the ends of the staves, through which most of the water vapour escapes. Rather than risk any more wine, I have filled them with water and will monitor the volume.
User avatar
tonyhibbett
Brewer
 
Posts: 945
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2014 18:05

Re: Melomel

Postby oldbloke » Mon Nov 05, 2018 00:46

Blimey. I do melomels because I can't afford really good honey. I do it like a mixed berry country wine, but with honey (and maybe some golden syrup!) instead of sugar, and designed to be stronger. And I rack/stabilise/fine/bottle as I would for a wine.
User avatar
oldbloke
Moderator
 
Posts: 1274
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 23:26
Location: Todmorden, Wet Yorkshire

Re: Melomel

Postby tonyhibbett » Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:00

They can turn out well. I opened a 1 year old grape and orange melomel yesterday. It was very dry and slightly sparkling with a slight bitterness from the orange. I hve also made pure mead and cyser (apple mead) which turned out ok.
Varnishing the cask ends seems to have solved the problem. Initially I had to top up with 250 ml of water because the wood had dried out and shrunk at the top. Thereafter the level remained constant, so I have filled the casks with new wines adding a dose of sulphite to be on the safe side.
User avatar
tonyhibbett
Brewer
 
Posts: 945
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2014 18:05


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest