Friday, December 19, 2008

Stevo's Cantaloupe Melomel

I could find no reference to cantaloupe mead on the Internet. Hopefully that's just because nobody had thought of it and not that it can't be done! My son, Stephen, came up with this idea, and I'll try to age some of it for his wedding or some other special occasion. Also, I'm only using 2 lbs of honey in this batch in hopes of making a drier mead that Linda and other dry wine lovers will enjoy.

2 lbs Rice's Lucky Clover Honey
1/2 of medium, peeled, un-ripe cantaloupe (diced and thrown into the must)
1/2 of a peeled tangerine, with sections cut in half
30 raisins
1 gal of distilled water
2-1/4 teaspoons of yeast

Estimated Bottling Date: 3/26/2009

12/14/2008 @ 8:00PM

Made must and pitched yeast

12/15/2008 @ 5:30AM

Fermenting... vigorously. Poked a second hole in the balloon.

12/16/2008 @ 7:00AM

The Cantaloupe Melomel doesn't smell as good as the Biscuit Mead. I'm wondering if it is going bad. Will Kalif said that he uses a campden tablet to kill anything in fruit that might take over. He said if I smell it every week or two it would be obvious if it is going bad. Of course, it may not smell as sweet as the Biscuit Mead because it has less honey in it and the cantaloupe was not ripe at all (and thus not sweet). I hope it all works out. Otherwise I'll have to convince my wife to let me spend more money for ingredients!

12/17/2008 @ 7:45AM

Well, it doesn't smell worse this morning; it is about the same -- not bad, just not sweet. So, hopefully, everything is OK. The fermentation is still very aggressive, and only the slightest brown residue is left on the bottom of the jug from the 2 lbs of honey. It's amazing how quickly the yeast devours the honey; by tomorrow, there will be none left. That's about three days less time than it took the Biscuit Mead, which is about right since I'm using a pound less honey in this batch.

I just learned two cool things from an online article: 1) Fruit contains micro-organisms that can cause an infection and spoil the mead. I'll be using campden tablets in my next batch of melomel -- whether or not this batch succeeds; 2) You can make a liquor by freezing a portion of your mead overnight and then removing and disposing of the frozen ice in the morning and re-bottling the unfrozen portion (which has a much higher alcohol content).

12/19/2008 @ 8:55PM

This stuff is really smelling good now. I think I slipped the noose on any infection.

01/01/2009 @ 4:45PM

I squeezed the air out of the balloon today for a sniff. It smelled great, but the balloon never recovered, so I decided it was time to rack it. My wife, Linda, helped me with it. She commented that it smelled good. We had a taste of it. It is definitely pretty dry, so that is going as planned. However, my wife also commented that she could not taste the cantaloupe.

I think it may have a cantaloupe essence, but I didn't really pay much attention to it. I lost very little of it while racking, so I can afford to drink a little more of it in a couple of weeks when I check on it again. I'll pay more attention then. The cantaloupe probably wasn't ripe enough on this batch. Live and learn, I suppose.

Linda said she would rate it as a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10. She clarified, though, that a wine she recently tasted -- and liked pretty well -- would have received a 7 out of 10 in her opinion. So, I guess that's not too bad. She said it didn't seem very strong -- "kind of watery". Hopefully it improves with age.

01/11/2009 @9:50PM

Tasted it today. It tastes like a slightly sweetened, watery, rubbing alcohol. There is no cantaloupe taste or essence, probably because the cantaloupe was un-ripe and bland. I've asked for help on the gotmead forums. Hopefully someone there will have a way to save it. Otherwise, it will be great for fueling a Bunsen burner.

01/17/2009 @ 1:00PM

I got a lot of good feedback on the forums, everything from letting it continue aging to racking it onto fresh cantaloupe. Haven't made up my mind yet, though; I've got plenty of time to figure it out.

01/25/2009 @ 5:30PM

I purchased a cantaloupe tonight. It isn't ripe, but there are no ripe ones to be had around here this time of year. I'll keep it in my closet in the dark for a while and hope it ripens. Then, I think I'll blend it (and possibly filter it) and put the juice into the mead. I *think* the fermentation is completely finished. Hopefully the yeast isn't just dormant. If fermentation fires up again after I put fruit in, it may just burn off the cantaloupe again.

02/03/2009 @ 6:00PM

Well, here is now *not* to do things. Tonight I put 3/4 of my VERY ripe (on the verge of being bad?) cantaloupe into the blender and pressed "liquefy." Then I poured a little of the mead out into a wine glass (to make room for the cantaloupe juice) and dumped the juice into the mead -- with a small prayer that the alcohol in the mead would counteract anything in the cantaloupe juice that might cause trouble.

The mead now has a bunch of pulp floating on top of it and is hazy. Hopefully it will clarify before too long. Hopefully it will not get an infection. Hopefully fermentation will not start back up.

Oh yeah, then I tasted the mead that I had poured into the wine glass. The taste had improved 100%. It tasted almost like a delicate, dry, white wine! Oh, no!!!!

02/04/2009 @ 8:30PM
Looks like fermentation has started back up. So, it will probably not get sweeter. But if it manages to maintain a cantaloupe essence, I'll be happy. Some of the pulp has gone to the bottom. Hopefully that is a tiding of good things to come.

02/06/2009 @ 6:00AM
About half of the pulp has sunk to the bottom. I'm happy about that, but I've got a think of a good way to strain that junk out and re-rack it soon. I've got to come up with a better way of making cantaloupe mead. This batch is nerve-racking.

03/01/2009 @ 4:00PM
Bottled it. Quite frankly, it isn't worth the bottles. It tasted *almost* acceptable with chicken and fried potato wedges.

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