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GrantLee63
08-08-2006, 06:27 PM
I just came across some primo ingredients for a Blueberry Mel and would like your opinions:

20 Pounds of raw, unprocessed blueberry honey (thanks kace069 ;) )
20 Pounds of freshly-picked Michigan blueberries
Water to 6 gallons
Fermaid K
Lalvin 71B-1122 rehydrated with GoFerm

My plan would be to do the primary with 10 pounds of the berries and 2 vanilla beans split in half, and then rack onto the other 10 pounds, and another 2 beans split in half in the secondary until clear. Maybe some oak, but still undecided. I'm looking for a slightly sweet finish.

Of course I'll do the aeration, push down the cap thing twice a day for the first 3 days, and the primary will be done in a 10 gallon plastic fermenter until the bubble rate drops to about 4 BPM.

Is there anything you would do different? Is 71B-1122 OK for lees aging? Should I consider a different yeast that would give me more of what I'm looking for?

Comments, suggestions, changes, remarks ALL welcome !!!!! :)

-GL63

insanity
08-08-2006, 06:46 PM
Nice question.

I donít intend to hijack the thread but have thought about the same question in terms of making melomels using varietal honey with their corresponding fruit.

Examples include your blueberry honey and blueberries
Apple blossom honey into a cyser
Raspberry honey with raspberries
Blackberry honey with blackberries

For the most part, I like the approach. However (with 20 lbs of fruit) is the honey really going to offer enough complexity that is distinguishable from the fruit than a different varietal honey?

kace069
08-08-2006, 08:15 PM
Did you pick the Bluberries yourself Grant?
I could have pointed you to the blueberry farm that the bees collected the honey from to pick if you wanted. But it prolly would have been a hell of a drive for you.

Oskaar
08-08-2006, 08:38 PM
Hey GL,

No, 71B is not the yeast to use for lees aging, but it is definately the yeast to use for berry melomels, good choice!

The cap management needs to happen throughout the fermentation which should be completed within 14 days or less. You'll have lots of nutrient from the berry pulp and skins so your ferment should take off like a rocket. Make sure to do the primary in a bucket, and just secure a sanitized cloth over the top of the batch. It will be fine throughout the ferment as the production of CO2 is very high in fresh fruit melomels, and is more than adequate to keep your mead safe. Punch down the cap a minimum of twice a day, remember that you're not only keeping the cap moist, but you're also ensuring your yeast have access to oxygen, and that you break up the heat pockets produced by the fermentation when you punch the cap.

Monitor the gravity often, one of the biggest errors I see meadmakers and winemakers make is letting a ferment that is pretty much done, creep along for too long which allows the stressed out yeast to produce off-flavors.

Best of luck,

Oskaar

GrantLee63
08-08-2006, 08:44 PM
kace069 - You're right, it would have been a helluva ride for me, so no, I did not pick them up myself .... a friend of mine form work who lives near Armada got them from a grower not far from where he lives. It worked out great for me as he delivered them to me at work - kinda' like the honey delivery I got from another friend who picked up the honey from the contact you provided me up with ..... it sure is great to have friends !!! ;D

insanity - I appreciate you chiming in because that is exactly the type of information I'm looking for. Maybe 20 pounds is too much and I should do 5 primary and 5 secondary .... or maybe 10 in the secondary only?

Oskaar - Hey I must be learning something with regard to yeast selection ! Couldn't have done it without the Scott Laboratories Fermentation Handbooks you've posted to the Patrons Only Section of the forum. I'll use the 71B, and make certain to manage the fermentation as you suggest - Thanks!

According to Ken Schramm, for a 5 gallon batch of blueberry melomel, I should add:

5-7 pounds in the seconday for a Mild Fruit Character
7-10 pounds in the secondary for a Medium Fruit Character
11 pounds 'or more' in the secondary for a Strong Fruit Character

20 pounds is definitely more than 11 pounds but perhaps an overkill? Also, as I understand it, fruit in the primary is different in the finished product than fruit in the seconday, so I don't know what is better .... if there is actually a better ....

Oskaar
08-09-2006, 03:46 AM
Ken's recipes are a great reference point if you haven't made melomels (or even if you have) for adding fruit to the secondary. I do both primary and secondary so it's not unusual to add 20 lbs of fruit in the primary ferment. I have 21 lbs of mixed wild and farmed blueberrys waiting for me to turn them into my "Bleu By You" mel, and 20 lbs of mixed dark sweet, light sweet and tart cherries for my "Pop that Cherry" melomel.

Most of the fruit goes into the primary with a small amount in the secondary to enhance the fermented fruit flavor with some fresh fruit character and flavor. I really like having fruit in the primary because it adds tremendous structure and complexity to the finished product.

Glad you like the Scott Labs Handbook. There will be more great material going into the patrons section. And while we're at it, if you or anyone else that's reading this need supplies, use the morebeer ad banner to surf to their site and order your stuff. Each purchase from them motivates them to keep advertising with us, which helps keep the site up and running.

Cheers,

Oskaar

GrantLee63
08-13-2006, 12:33 PM
I'm going to be making this recipe later today .... based on what you said about the must having lots of nutrients from the pulp and the skins of the blueberries, should I still use Fermaid after the lag phase and 1/3 sugar break?

Thanks in advance .....

By the way, your new avatar is freaking me out !!! >:D !!!

- GL63

Oskaar
08-13-2006, 02:18 PM
Honestly I'd say to just re-hydrate with GoFerm and then hit the must with 6 gr of Fermaid K at the end of the lag phase. Remember to punch down the cap multiple times daily, and aerate well to keep your beasties happy. The 1/3 sugar break would be a good idea, but that's a decision point for you to make. If the ferment seems fine, I'd say you're fine without an addition, if it seems sluggish or slowing down, then dose it, aerate it and keep punching down that cap.

Cheers,

Oskaar

GrantLee63
08-13-2006, 05:40 PM
Thanks Oskaar .... gonna' track this one in the Brew Log ..... - GL63

GrantLee63
08-14-2006, 05:43 PM
Oskaar said:
The cap management needs to happen throughout the fermentation which should be completed within 14 days or less.

Just to make sure I understand correctly ..... each and every day throughout the approx. 14 day fermentation, I need to push the cap down ... correct? Should I continue to aerate every day also? I am monitoring my gravity readings twice a day (see the brew log) making sure I do not get any stressed-out yeast off-flavors.

I'm thinking that after the first 3 or 4 days, I DO NOT want to aerate anymore but I obviously want to make sure I am correct in my assumption.

As always, your help is greatly appreciated !!!

- GL63