Saturday, 14 January 2017

Peach Melomel - Tasting & Bottling

Three months have passed since I racked the peach melomel to let it clarify. Passive clarification was effective in this case. The melomel was crystal clear at the time of bottling.

I siphoned the melomel into a sterilized carboy, and stirred it vigorously for about ten minutes. This was to remove residual carbon dioxide. I actually did a taste test before and after stirring, and it was easy to detect the reduction in carbonation. I also took a specific gravity reading, and found it unchanged from the previous measurement.

Bottling was a snap. The three gallon batch is a good size for my purposes. This yielded 14 (and half) bottles in the end. Some volume is always lost in the racking, but that's fine.

Bottles of peach melomel.

I like the taste of this batch. The taste is light and reminiscent to some dry white wines. It has a mild honey aroma, and the honey taste seems most noticeable at the front and middle. Then, a gentle fruit flavour emerges at the end. The acidity is just right. But the odd thing is that I have a hard time identifying a peach flavour!

Fruit flavours come from organic compounds called esters, and the pure compounds have very specific tastes and aromas. One of the fun things about esters is that they are easily transformed into other esters, under certain chemical conditions. That means you can transform an ester with one particular flavour into another ester that has a totally different flavour. All you have to do is mix up the ester with a little acid and an alcohol compound (the alcohol that we drink is an alcohol known as ethanol).

So, here's one hypothesis: peach flavour comes from "linalyl" esters. In the presence of ethanol and acid, these could be converted to the corresponding "ethyl" esters. The ethyl esters in question are present in bananas, lemons, pineapples, and strawberries. When I sip this peach melomel, I taste hints of all of these. (Caveat: this is just a hypothesis.)

Another, perhaps more likely, scenario is that the peach linalyl esters decomposed into carboxylic acids, which do not have fruit flavours at all. :(

"Peach" Melomel. More like "Fruit" Melomel.