Very new meadmaker... Orange 'cyser'?

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

Jimmer149

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2016
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Hi y'all...

First, my only experience with making adult beverages was a few Mr Beer kits a decade or so ago, but when I stumbled across the original BOMM recipe about a month ago, I had to give it a try - and it wasn't half bad!

So here I am, thinkin' I know stuff, and I just put together another orange spice quick mead based on a different recipe that called for orange juice (for flavor, and as a means of starting the yeast - I'm using D47 this time, instead of bread yeast... :)

...and I've been reading about cysers. So I surmised that if this recipe calls for a cup of orange juice, what'll happen if I dump the whole can of concentrate (along with 2.5lb of clover honey) in there - a weak, orange cyser, if you will?

So yup, I did it - and after an hour, it's happily bubbling away... My question: what can I expect from this unholy mess?
 

mennyg19

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2016
Messages
280
Reaction score
124
Don't know what to expect, but be sure to let us know how it comes out!!! :)
I would suggest you join the WOTM thread. A bunch of people experimenting with recipes for wine.
Either way Good Luck!!!
 

BernardSmith

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
3,484
Reaction score
1,722
Location
Saratoga Springs
Hi Jimmer149 - and welcome.
I have made wine from oranges a few times and the wine is incredibly tart although I cut the tartness by adding chocolate nibs or cocoa (chocolate orange). But this tartness (from the acidity of the orange without the balance of sweetness from the sugars) may create an additional challenge in a mead. Honey has no buffers so the pH can oscillate from high to very low - so low that the must/mead becomes too acidic for the yeast and the fermentation stalls. Most seasoned mead makers would not add any acidity to a mead must and only add acidity (if needed) before bottling. Using orange juice as the base for this mead suggests that you may be stressing the cell walls of the yeast. If you have a pH meter I would monitor the fermentation and perhaps be prepared to add K-carbonate to help neutralize some of the acidity..But experimentation - in my opinion - is always a good thing. Good luck!
 

Jericurl

The Ferminator
Joined
Sep 2, 2013
Messages
1,302
Reaction score
779
It will probably taste much more like a straight mead and need a wee bit more time to age out until it tastes like something good. Most of mine are questionable until around 6 to 9 months, then shoot up into wonderful rather quickly.

I don't think 1 cup of orange juice will add much flavor overall.
And I second you joining our Wine of the Month club thread.

eta: ok, reading comprehension fail. I just realized you added a whole lot more orange than one cup. HMMMMmmmm.....don't know, this could go either way. How's fermentation going so far?
 
Last edited:

botigol

Beer, mead and wine...oh my! :0)
Joined
Aug 27, 2012
Messages
240
Reaction score
17
...and I've been reading about cysers. So I surmised that if this recipe calls for a cup of orange juice, what'll happen if I dump the whole can of concentrate (along with 2.5lb of clover honey) in there...
Just for clarity, it sounds like you're talking about JAOM, not BOMM on your first batch.

Based on my two experiences using orange, backsweetening will be required, because as Bernard mentioned, it will turn out tart. Contributing to this, D47 will make a dry wine, compared to the semi-sweet to sweet wine left by the bread yeast in your first batch, so the dryness will make the tartness stand out even more.

What size batch are you making? A reconstituted can of concentrate usually results in a half of a gallon of juice, so you multiplied the recipe amount by 8. Based on a quick search, it looks like one can of FOJC contains roughly 5 oz of sugar.
 

bchilders

Taste Tester
WMT Supporter
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
255
Reaction score
84
Welcome Jimmer149, I look forward to hearing how this turns out. I made a spiced mead last year and am planning a basic one for this month, just honey and water. My spiced one is getting better but the jury is still out on if it will ever be drinkable. I have not back sweetened it yet but have stopped myself on two occasions from pouring it down the drain.
 

Jimmer149

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2016
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Thanks all, for your thoughts and comments. Not experienced enough to know what it all means yet, but I'll answer some questions at random.

My first batch was indeed a by-the-book BOMM, taken from the Gotmead website. The half gallon size made the fermentation time a short 3 weeks, in fact, mine was sampled to death at two weeks, so I racked at that point and drank, as is (was).

This new batch is mostly the recipe below with D47 yeast, yeast nutrient rather than raisins, and of course, the whole can of OJ concentrate. I was hoping for another quick (Christmas) mead, so I guess I'm gonna be disappointed?

http://selfreliantschool.com/how-to-make-quick-mead/

Off to join your mead interest group and continue learning... :)

Jim
 
Last edited:

Jimmer149

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2016
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
To add a few things, this present batch is one gallon and is bubbling happily... And in regard to tartness, can't I just rack at the sweetness level I want, add a yeast neutralizer and stop fermentation at that point? What happens further when I do that?

mead2.jpg
 
Last edited:

wineforfun

Still Trying To Make The Perfect Wine and Now Tryi
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
2,707
Reaction score
896
Interesting, have never heard of BOMM. I too thought you were talking about JAOM. BOMM is similar but definitely not the same.
This guy's website has some interesting mead recipes.
https://denardbrewing.com/blog/category/mead/

@BernardSmith he even has a T'ej recipe.
 

BernardSmith

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
3,484
Reaction score
1,722
Location
Saratoga Springs
I liken the idea of stopping fermentation in mid process much like the idea of the magician catching a bullet between his (or her ) teeth , if yer knows what I mean. Nice trick but it is all illusion. How will you stop fermentation at the point when you want to? You can certainly slow fermentation down by dropping the temperature but that is not likely to stop all fermentation (I make bread and cheese and often put my dough and my kefir in the fridge and the cold temperature slows the fermentation but does not stop it... And while brewers certainly talk of cold crashing to force their yeast out of suspension and then (presumably) racking their beer off the lees it is never clear to me whether they do this as fermentation ends - and so simply allows them to clarify their brews or whether they in fact have managed to catch that bullet between their teeth,
I am sure that many folk on this forum might disagree but in my opinion the best technique is EITHER to allow the mead to ferment dry , stabilize and then backsweeten. Gives you almost complete control; OR to feed the yeast enough sugar so that they in fact die of alcohol poisoning - remember that yeast have a limited tolerance for alcohol - and then add additional sugar to sweeten this to the level you prefer. This second technique will mean that you are always working with a relatively high ABV and that often means that the aging time for the mead to be pleasant rather than taste hot (because of the alcohol) may need to be thought of as ... um... extensive.
 

Jimmer149

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2016
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Thanks Bernard - ah, so much to learn.

I was under the impression that campden tablets or Potassium Sorbate stops fermentation in its tracks, but recent reading is telling me orherwise.

So if you're trying to control both alcohol content AND sweetness, what do you do? Fermenting dry will allow you to backsweeten, but then what do you do about all that extra alcohol?
 

Jericurl

The Ferminator
Joined
Sep 2, 2013
Messages
1,302
Reaction score
779
Thanks Bernard - ah, so much to learn.

I was under the impression that campden tablets or Potassium Sorbate stops fermentation in its tracks, but recent reading is telling me orherwise.

So if you're trying to control both alcohol content AND sweetness, what do you do? Fermenting dry will allow you to backsweeten, but then what do you do about all that extra alcohol?
If you keep step feeding until your yeast hits it's max ABV tolerance and dies off, yes you will end up with a higher ABV mead that will need more time before the flavor smooths out enough to not taste like rocket fuel.
I do this if I am making something I don't mind putting away for awhile.

More often than not though, I cold crash, rack, then stabilize, wait a couple of days, then backsweeten. And understand that you still might see your hydrometer move a bit.
If there is a way to exactly hit your ABV right on the nose, I'm not aware of it.
 

BernardSmith

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
3,484
Reaction score
1,722
Location
Saratoga Springs
Thanks Bernard - ah, so much to learn.

I was under the impression that campden tablets or Potassium Sorbate stops fermentation in its tracks, but recent reading is telling me orherwise.

So if you're trying to control both alcohol content AND sweetness, what do you do? Fermenting dry will allow you to backsweeten, but then what do you do about all that extra alcohol?
If you intend to back sweeten there is no "extra alcohol". An example: Let's say your starting gravity was 1.100 . The potential ABV is 13%. You allow that to ferment dry and your ABV is then ... 13%. You stabilize and you add say enough sugar (or honey or ??? ) to raise the gravity 10 points because that is the sweetness level that this mead "wants".. None of that sugar will be converted to alcohol - Stabilization means that you have neutralized or removed the yeast. So all 4 oz of , say , sugar per gallon will remain as sweetener. If you simply add honey or sugar to the mead without first stabilizing the mead then all the sugar WILL become alcohol (and CO2) until the yeast can no longer tolerate the concentration of alcohol but that is not called stabilization or backsweetening.
 

wineforfun

Still Trying To Make The Perfect Wine and Now Tryi
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
2,707
Reaction score
896
Thanks Bernard - ah, so much to learn.

I was under the impression that campden tablets or Potassium Sorbate stops fermentation in its tracks, but recent reading is telling me orherwise.

So if you're trying to control both alcohol content AND sweetness, what do you do? Fermenting dry will allow you to backsweeten, but then what do you do about all that extra alcohol?
So, to control alcohol, first decide how much you want. If you are shooting for a 12%, for example, achieve a hydrometer reading of approx. 1.085 - 1.088.
If you want a 13.5%, achieve a hydrometer reading of approx. 1.100.

With that done, ferment dry, then stabilize and backsweeten to your desired sweetness.

In your particular case with the BOMM, if it ends up with too much alcohol, well, you can either wait it out and hope it mellows over time, or cut the batch and blend with something else. Personally, I would just let it do it's thing and go from there. If it is too "hot" just let it sit for a few months/year.
 

Jimmer149

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2016
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Please forgive my newness - and I realize I should do a lot more reading before I ask what seems like obvious questions - feel free to tell me to RTFM, but if I may...

First off, I'm so new that I don't yet own a hygrometer. My purpose was to throw together something that will be palatable, but won't eat through the glass at Christmas dinner. Yes, I want to get good at this - call the exterminators, the bug has bitten me. :)

But I guess I need to understand terms - like 'stabilization'. I assumed that it was the stopping of the yeast - or what I thought the use of campden tablets/potassium sorbate was for. If I wanted to stop alcohol production at a level that's lower than the yeast's tolerance, then it doesn't make sense to my limited mind to ferment dry. If I end up with 15% alcohol and I only wanted 10%, I may be able to backsweeten to get the sweetness I want, but I still have a 15% brew, yes?

Jericurl, you mention 'cold crashing' (is that bringing down the temp to render the yeast dormant?) and 'stabilizing'?

If you can't really 'catch that bullet with your teeth' and stop the yeast from doing what they do, then what exactly is stabilization?

I'm jis' a little corn-fused... But have patience with me, I'm a quick study!
 

Jimmer149

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2016
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Just reread your message, Bernard... "Stabilization means that you have neutralized or removed the yeast."

Yes, ok. So how do you do that?

With my first batch of BOMM, I would taste every few days, and when it got to the alcohol level and sweetness that pleased my tongue-based 'hygrometer', then I racked it and kept it cold.

I also racked a little into a 12oz bottle, sealed it, and left it out at room temp. And damn if it didn't produce a 'sparkling' mead that was less sweet, but more alcohol than I wanted. Those little beasties kept on keeping on, and THAT was with Fleischman's bread yeast... Lol!

I'm sure this D47 will do a much more masterful job of making alcohol, but I'd like to cap the alcohol at 10-11% AND maybe even make some of it sparkling...

Breaking off more than I can chew this early in my 'career'?
 
Last edited:

Jimmer149

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2016
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Wait... Small light bulb just came on...

Thanks, WineForFun... So total alcohol in finished brew (that's ABV, right?) doesn't depend on yeast tolerance, but in the amount of food (sweetness) you give it AS LONG AS YOU INTEND TO FERMENT DRY. The yeast dies because it runs out of food. It's the best way because you have total control and can backsweeten if you want to. But this method ain't for anybody who's in a hurry...

Quick meads are shortcuts because you try to BALANCE the alcohol with the sweetness. So you sample, sample, sample... and then crash it at the right time and make something drinkable - quickly.

Have I got it right?

Now to get me a hygrometer...
 
Last edited:
Top