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broomdalf
02-05-2009, 02:16 PM
Hey again everybody,

After a long break from meadmaking caused by a stint living in Germany, I have restarted making mead, and am attempting to create a batch of strawberry melomel, after my first batch turned out absolutely delicious.

My only problem was that, with the first batch, the mass of fruit at the bottom of my carboy held enough fluid that, with subsequent rackings for clarity, I only ended up with half the volume of liquid I started with.

Is there any good way of recapturing most of the liquid when I rack? My recipe is roughly as follows:

6 lb light MN wildflower honey
10 lb strawberries in primary
Water up to 3.5 gallons

Yeast: Lalvin 71B

I will be adding another 6 lb strawberries to the secondary


I'd like to end up with a good, 3 gallons of mead if possible.

osluder
02-05-2009, 02:58 PM
My only problem was that, with the first batch, the mass of fruit at the bottom of my carboy held enough fluid that, with subsequent rackings for clarity, I only ended up with half the volume of liquid I started with.

Is there any good way of recapturing most of the liquid when I rack?

Willkommen, broomdalf!

Racking losses are always a problem. Often the only real solution is to just make that much more to offset it. An alternative for melomels is to put your fruit in mesh bags so you can pull them out, let them drain much of the liquid and then rack. Also you could try minimizing the number of "clarity" rackings by using techniques like cold crashing or fining agents to speed clearing. Some people also use filtration. -- Olen

Matrix4b
02-05-2009, 04:10 PM
I have done one strawberry batch. I pureed the strawberries and put in a mesh bag in the primary. Note, unless you want it to dry out then put the fruit in the secondary. Anyway, I have since refined my process, I now puree and run it through a strainer and then take the pulp and freeze it, then thaw and put pectin enzyme in it. Run it through the screens again after the pectin enzyme has had a chance to work on it for a few hours, you can then get a few cups out of the juice. Sometimes I will do the freeze and thaw and screen again. Then I just use the resulting juice. I suppose you could do this and put the remaining pulp in a fine mesh bag and strain it at racking time. This should get the maximum amount of juice out of it. Then just wait 2 or more months for racking for clairifying. You should get more.

Atleast that is the process I do with most of my fruits now. My first attempt was just puree and bag and go. Could have done so much better on the flavor with my new method.

Wolfie
02-06-2009, 02:30 AM
Wow! That is intensive, though it sounds like it would do a lot to get every bit out you can.

I've worked with a couple of methods in a couple of mels--if you have the fruit in primary I've kept the fruit in a grain bag and squeezed the daylights out of it. Works quite well. You can also keep it loose and scoop it into a grain bag to squeeze the daylights out of it. I just did this with my "roll in the Straw-berry melomel" and came out with a better than expected yield.

Another piece of advice that was given to me (an I am inclined to believe) is that you do not need to puree the strawberries to extract the flavor. If you merely halve or (for the ambitious) quarter them and the yeasties will gladly get in there and chew them up.
And if it misses anything, well there's STDLOOI.

Unfortunately there is always loss, our meager donation to the mead spirits, and melomels are known for it. I hope this helps.

Best of luck in all you endeavor
/wolfie

ps-nice to see another Minnesotan on here.

Kee
02-06-2009, 03:22 AM
If you have room, you can always go with a larger batch. If you start with a 7+ g primary and lose 1-2g, you'll still have 5-6g to bottle. I know it probably doesn't help much, but it's easier to deal with mentally than going from 4g to 2.

liff
02-06-2009, 08:48 AM
Loose mesh bag for me. Key on the loose bag. LD Carlson makes a 'jumbo' size and that seems for me to be best for minimizing the racking loss.

broomdalf
02-06-2009, 12:46 PM
Ah, many thanks to all those who have replied; that was quick! It looks like my next batch will have to involve much more labor upfront, at the consolation of reduced frustration at the end.

In terms of using bags, is there any reason why one would not sanitize bags and scoops of sort, and move the strawberries from the must into bags? Would that unreasonably open up my batch to potential for contamination?

And to Wolfie, I am a Minnesotan in both birth and heart, but am unfortunately stuck in exile until my studies down here in IN are complete...

osluder
02-06-2009, 01:05 PM
In terms of using bags, is there any reason why one would not sanitize bags and scoops of sort, and move the strawberries from the must into bags? Would that unreasonably open up my batch to potential for contamination?

You could, but it might. You're better off just letting it be and maybe trying straining or some such when you do your first racking. I've had luck with a woman's stocking attached to the inlet of the siphon to strain the really chunky stuff. Others have recommended a stainless steel pot scrubber attached to the inlet and the woman's stocking at the outlet. All thoroughly sanitized of course. Obviously you don't want to stir things up too much, but, with or without "filters", don't worry about getting the siphon inlet down too close to the lees when you do rack. Even if you pick up a small amount of muck, it will fall out quickly. -- Olen

broomdalf
05-21-2009, 03:46 AM
Alrighty everyone, I'm down to the final clearing before either bottling or bulk aging. I ended up racking off of my (roughly halved) strawberries from the primary, from which I lost significant volume, and later racked it onto somewhere between 12-18 frozen, pureed strawberries in a mesh bag.

I came into the racking session ready to crush the strawberries to get liquid out, but didn't need to. After racking off of that to a carboy for clearing, I was pleasantly surprised that the pureeing of the fruit addition for the secondary actually added what seems to be another gallon of melomel; much less water was trapped in the plant matter than I am used to, and the bag kept my racking cane from getting clogged. While the finished product is now lower in ABV than I would hope, it will work excellently as a lighter, fruitier summer beverage.

As painful of a process as it is, I really like this pureeing fruit idea, and hope my food processor can continue to weather it out with me.

EverGreenman
05-21-2009, 02:01 PM
I really like the washing machine centrifuge idea to compact the lees and get as much liquid as possible. If you're interested in that do a forum search for "centrifuge" and there's a whole thread on it. Basically though you rig an old washing machine by disabling the break mechanism and load up your must in liter jugs set it on spin cycle and let physics/gravity take care of it for ya!

Happy brewing!
~Greenman

shunoshi
05-21-2009, 03:42 PM
I really like the washing machine centrifuge idea to compact the lees and get as much liquid as possible. If you're interested in that do a forum search for "centrifuge" and there's a whole thread on it. Basically though you rig an old washing machine by disabling the break mechanism and load up your must in liter jugs set it on spin cycle and let physics/gravity take care of it for ya!

Happy brewing!
~Greenman

The idea of this frightens me a bit. :o I just have visions of high speed glass shards. I'm sure you'd use appropriate safety measures, of course. ;)

huntfishtrap
05-21-2009, 04:18 PM
The idea of this frightens me a bit. :o I just have visions of high speed glass shards. I'm sure you'd use appropriate safety measures, of course. ;)

It has been suggested by someone on the forum to use plastic, wide neck juice bottles.

Paul

dogglebe
05-21-2009, 06:38 PM
Consider buying a Auto Siphon at your LHBS.

http://www.fermtech.ca/

It's combined racking cane and siphon pump. Should sediment stop the siphon you can easily restart it.


Phil