Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Make it up as I go" Melomel!

So, just before crimbo, I got the instruction from "erindoors" that I needed to do something with all the bits of fruit that I'd gathered up in the freezer.

In total, it was about 4kg of fruit, that was actually about 2kg of raspberries, 1.2kg of wild plums and 800 grammes of mixed strawberry, grapes and blueberries.

So I put the lot in my steam juice extractor and switched on the gas.

I didn't know how much it would yeild, so initially I started filling a largish jar, that had previously held 1.3kg of honey. Ha! fucked up there, because in the end, the master plan was to add it all together in a gallon "demi-john" jar, but when it came to trying to open the honey jar, I found that as it had cooled, the lid had vacuumed on. So I've just put the jar in the fridge with the intention of either adding the content to the secondary ferment or to use it for back sweetening. I'll have to wait and see.

Anyway, what you see in the picture, is the rest of the fruit juice (including an odd 1/2 litre of red grape juice that happened to be in the fridge), which had about 1.2kg of honey added to it, along with a campden tablet to provide sulphite and then it was left for a couple of days.

Yesterday, I managed to get to the HBS, for a tub of Pectolase and a tub of "Precipitated Chalk" a.k.a. calcium carbonate. The pectolase is to deal with any pectins released during the steaming of the fruit and the calcium carbonate to increase, what I suspect, will be revealed as quite an acid pH measurement.

I added 2 teaspoons of the pectolase (pectic enzyme) and after about 4 hours, the sediment shown in the picture started to drop out. I'm not really worried about the sediment, it's not been fermented yet. I'm guessing but I suspect it's fibre that was contained in the wild plums that has come out of the fruit into the juice during steaming.

I've yet to make any pH or gravity measurements, as I intend doing that when the juice/must is moved to a bucket for primary fermentation. I'm not worried if the gravity is a little on the high side, as I'm intending to aerate the must on a daily  basis until it gets to the 1.030/1.020 area, before it gets moved to a demi-john for secondary fermentation.

I'm also going to rehydrate the yeast (I've chosen to use Lalvin's 71B as it will metabolise some of the malic acid I suspect is present in the fruit juice element) with some red grape juice and some GoFerm (lalvins yeast rehydration nutrient), which isn't necessarily required but as there's a high level of fruit, and consequently fruit acids, I figure there's no harm giving the yeast every chance of success.

Then, once the ferment shows signs of having started, I'll add some Fermaid-K (lalvins fermentation nutrient) and some DAP (Diammonium Phosphate). Then I'll probably add a bit more Fermaid-K at the "half sugar break" (if the gravity was 1.100 and we take it that 1.000 is finished, then the half break will be 1.050).

That's about it for the moment so I'll leave it there...


No comments: