Kiwi melomel

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Perpetuating my reputation as a total piss artist, here’s another mead recipe. A melomel is mead flavoured with fruit juice, added before or after fermentation depending on taste and how strong you want the result to be.

This recipe is based on one for Kiwi Wine previosuly published online by the Hop Shop (their brewing equipment is reasonably priced and they deliver overseas) and produced a very good, crisp white mead practically indistinguishable from a good white wine. You could try a sparkling version if you like; I suspect it would be a great success.

Ingredients for 5 litres

  • 1.2 kg honey minimum (gives a dry to semi-sweet result. You may prefer sweet, in which case it’s 1.5 kg)
  • 1 kg very ripe kiwifruit
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 litre pure grape juice
  • pectolase (dose according to instructions)
  • yeast nutrient
  • GP wine yeast (I used Brouwland’s Bioferm aromatic)
  • up to 4 litres water

Method

Rinse the unpeeled (the peel contains tannin) kiwi fruit in 2 pints of cold water with 2 crushed Campden tablets dissolved in it. Drain. Don apron, roll up sleeves, crush the kiwifruit by hand in a mashing bucket. Dissolve the honey in a litre or so of hot water. Allow to cool to around blood heat, remove any scum, then mix the grape juice, dissolved honey and lemon juice together and pour the lot over the mashed kiwifruit. Add the pectolase, wait two hours for it to act, then add the yeast and nutrient. Cover the bucket loosely, and leave for 5-7 days, stirring occasionally.

Admire the vigour of the primary fermentation. You did remember not to fill the bucket more than half full, didn’t you?

After 5 to 7 days most of the initial fuss has died down, so filter (don’t press) the must into a demijohn, top up with cooled boiled water leaving the usual generous 1″ space for frothing, and fit an airlock. Leave to ferment for a couple more days. Then top up to 5 litres with more cooled boiled water and allow to ferment out.

When fermentation is finished and the must has begun to clear: rack, add a Campden tablet and a dose of wine stabiliser, and leave to clear completely. Rack again and bottle.

The Result

Remarkably like a light, dry white wine of known parentage. Most palatable and highly drinkable, practically straight after bottling. Obviously, it’s better to wait a bit after bottling, but sometimes these things are just not possible.

Next year we double the quantities and try to keep some back for the summer.

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