View Full Version : Third Recipe, strawberry melomel

04-19-2007, 07:53 PM
I am a newbie of mead that has been dabbling in the art for the last two months or so, and am going to try a bit harder on this batch, albeit my budget is still rather weak.

Here's my idea:

(1 gal batch)

3 lb Kroger supermarket honey (nothing great...)
2 lb frozen strawberries in primary
1 stick cinnamon
1 cup oolong tea
A small handful of manhandled raisins
Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast

I'm planning on heating the honey with some water to pasteurize it around 145F, adding it to the strawberries (crushed), raisins, and cinnamon, filling to near the top of the carboy with water, and adding the tea. Afterwards, I would be obliged to pitch the yeast and whatnot.

When bubbling slows enough, I hope to rack it onto 2 more lbs frozen strawberries for secondary fermentation. Would this be overkill?

My previous batches, which I made plenty of mistakes on, are a clearing show mead (D47) ~2.5 lbs honey and some raisins, and my second a melomel of ~2.5 lbs honey, 1 lb blackberry/strawberry/blueberry mixture each in primary and secondary (Also D47), which pushed quite a bit of crushed fruit bits into my airlock the first night.

Any suggestions, comments, especially on how I may avoid my airlock being similarly clogged?

04-20-2007, 01:43 AM
Welcome to the forums!

I'm working on a strawberry mead thing of my own. 4lbs of berries does not sound like overkill to me; I added 6lbs to the primary and will add at least another lb to the secondary (1 gallon batch) for mine. So far the strawberry flavor is doing ok. Strawberry is not a super intense flavor, so adding berries to both the primary and secondary will help you achieve the flavor you want.

My suggestion for you is to use a large container for the primary. I used a 6 gallon bucket for the first 3 1/2 days, then moved it to a gallon jug with an airlock. If you don't have a big container, just don't use the airlock for the first few days. Air is good for the yeast in this initial stage, so you won't be endangering the mead. Cover the mouth of the carboy with a sanitized cloth (I put a rubber band around mine to keep it in place) to keep stuff from falling in (or fruit flies from flying in, they love fruit!). You might still get stuff trying to shoot out, so don't fill the jug to the top yet either. Let the major explosive action take place for a few days, then top up with water and airlock once it looks safe--about 3-5 days is probably a good estimate.

I would personally leave out the tea and raisins, unless you're really into it. You don't want to overburden the mead with flavors if you want the strawberries to really shine. If you want tannin, just use some grape tannin powder--available at <a href="http://morewinemaking.com/">morewine</a> or <a href="http://jaysbrewing.com/catalog/">Jay's</a> (I added 1/8 tsp to my strawberry batch to help with color retention, etc). The berries will add nutrients, like the raisins usually do, so you don't have to worry too much about that. I still added 1g of FermaidK to mine on the second day, to make sure everything would be ok.

And I'm sure you've heard this already or will very soon from others, but you don't have to heat the honey, or the strawberries, to kill stuff. Honey is pretty close to being clean as-is (your supermarket honey is probably already pasteurized anyway) and whatever is on the berries probably won't survive the onslaught of your 200 million 71B yeasties. Heat if you must (haha), but you should be ok without it. Less heat = more aromatics retained in your mead.

Again, welcome. Hope your mead is good!

04-20-2007, 06:28 PM
Good advice Aaron.

I'd advise that you don't heat your must. There's no need unless you are hell-bent on doing it, and in the future when you do buy some extra special honey, you'll pretty much cook-off all the reasons you spent extra money for the honey.

Good luck,


04-20-2007, 06:42 PM
Thanks for the welcomes and responses!

I shall try to get started on it tonight, and mayhaps get some sort of a brewlog going for this batch...

First, how does one properly sanitize cloth? Would soaking cheesecloth in bleachwater for a little while, and then rinsing it heavily work?

04-21-2007, 12:11 AM
I just soak the cheesecloth in sanitizer (I use Iodophor) like I would anything else, ring it out, and stick it on. Pretty easy. Bleach would work too I guess but I'd worry about the cloth degrading over time with repeated bleachings. Make sure you don't drip bleach into your mead!

04-23-2007, 10:00 AM
Yeah, I should really get around to getting some Iodophor soon...

But I got started on Friday, mixed everything without heat, measured a sg of 1.141, and, lo and behold, ended up with too little airspace on top (too much liquid) again, and thus put it into a pot so it could bubble through the cheesecloth, which it has promptly done several times since. Smells wonderful though, so it appears I have skirted contamination thus far...

05-03-2007, 01:10 AM
Alright, the fermentation had slowed down quite a bit, so I decided to rack it onto the rest of the strawberries and a little bit more water last night. My hydrometer has broken since I started the batch, so I used taste only to test it, both last night and tonight.

Still a bit harsh, and a bit sweet (Although both appear to be alleviating), but overall much better than I expected this early in the game.

The extra water and strawberries also apparently really excited the yeast too, as my airlock got clogged and shot off again today...Then again, the overflowing of this batch so far has allowed me to taste carbonated strawberries, which seem like a really good idea.

About how soon should I rack this again into a...tertiary? I have heard that dead 71-B is really bad to age on.

05-03-2007, 01:48 AM
About how soon should I rack this again into a...tertiary? I have heard that dead 71-B is really bad to age on.

I'm in a similar situation with my strawberry monster. It's in secondary now with extra berries, but activity is mostly done and it's clearing nicely (racked a week-ish ago). I am going to taste test and gravity check this weekend; racking again may result. In any case I'll be racking within the next two weeks.

The yeast won't die for awhile, so you shouldn't worry too much. In secondary you've already gotten rid of most of the yeast droppings anyway. But once it's done with the new berries and drops some more lees (say a couple of weeks to a month?), you might want to rack again--chilling the mead before racking will help drop the yeast out too.