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sbirchenough
10-05-2009, 01:42 AM
Ok, so I am pretty psyched and have been following the boards awhile, but never registered, alas I am here. Thanks for having me!

Long time beer brewer, neewb Mead maker!

Some questions???

1: 15 pounds of blackberries (hand picked, ouch!) and 25 pounds of of wildflower honey (very tasty, but was flash boiled at 160F I am told:()
Looking for a medium bodied in the middle mead, not dry, not sweet, any ideas? I'd love some numbers gallons of h2o # of honey and fruit. Thinking I'll do a three gallon batch.

2: Yeast, Lalvin K1-V1116 ok, I know that this is a white wine yeast, but are there better options for more of a middle of the road mead?

3: I am on the idea of not boiling honey, maybe heat it to get it into solution, but that's it. Good??

4: Fruit after Primary? I am thinking that this is what I will do to get a good fruit taste and nose? I made a blackberry wine this season that I am not sure has a fruit taste at all, just gave it color really.

5: With regards to fruit, should I sulfate the stuff solo 24 hours before pitching it into the must post primary or will the ETOH be enough to kill domestic buggers!


Ok' Ill stop there, I could go on all night...I am gonna go pour a nice Bourbon!

Thanks

Steve's of Maine

Medsen Fey
10-05-2009, 12:02 PM
Welcome to GotMead sbirchenough!!!

You've asked quite a few questions but I'll take a stab at some of them.

K1V is an excellent yeast - one of the most versatile that I know of and it can do wonderful meads and wines (both red and white). One shortcoming (depending on what you want) is that it has very high alcohol tolerance so if you want something semi-sweet, unless you want very high alcohol in it, you usually need to stabilize and backsweeten.

I don't boil my must. Your honey has already been heated so any sensitive volatiles may have already been lost, but I still wouldn't boil it.

The flavor of fermented fruit is different. With your blackberry wine it will taste different than eating a blackberry, just like wine doesn't exactly taste like grape juice. However, give that wine some time to age before you judge it harshly. Adding fruit to the secondary will give a more "fruit like" aroma and flavor.

If you are adding the fruit to the secondary, the alcohol level is usually enough to prevent any wild things from becoming an issue. If you want to add sulfite with the fruit you certainly can.

For a 3 gallon batch, I'd think about using around 9 pounds of honey initially along with water to 3 gallons shooting for a gravity of around 1.105. K1V would be fine to use. This will give you a batch around 14% ABV, but when you rack onto the fruit, that ABV will come down a bit. In the secondary you can add as much fruit as you like, but the more fruit acid you add, the more sweetening it will take to balance. I'd probably start with about 6-9 pounds.

When you rack onto them, if you've made a full 3 gallon batch, you may have some mead left over so put it in a bottle or some other container away from air so that you can use it to top up once you rack off the berries. Let the berries sit until the color bleaches out (a few days) then rack off.

Let it clear, then stabilize with sorbate and sulfite and add honey to get to just the level of sweetness you want.

That would be one approach that should give you a good result. If you don't want to go the route of stabilizing and sweetening, there are other yeast you could use with a lower alcohol tolerance that would remain sweet when finish. 71B would be a good choice to consider.

I hope that gives you some ideas.

Medsen

sbirchenough
10-05-2009, 06:15 PM
Thanks Medsen, Glad to have your input!!!

Thinking more into it, I think I might extract the juice from the berries and then measure gravity so I can get some final #'s on ABV.

Thinking I will not sulfate juice as I am trying to steer from additives, however I guess I might before bottle to heed any other fermentation and stick with a less dry mead???

Alright, some other questions.

1: PH before yeast pitch, should I get technical?? And I guess I am going to add nutrient so I should be fine ahh?

2: Irish Moss or Pectin?? During Juice pitch?

3: I have a 3 Gal carboy, is it ok to primary and fruit addition in a five gallon and then when activity is ended carboy it to the top. I am under the impression that mead/wine is a little more resistant to buggers than brew, but I also don't want oxidation to take place.

wayneb
10-05-2009, 11:10 PM
Tag team - my turn!

1) Ideal pH is somewhere between 3.25 and 4.0. The center of that range is preferred, but not absolutely necessary. That's much lower than the average beer wort pre-pitch pH, but wine yeast like to work in musts that are too acidic for most spoilage organisms to take hold (that's why you shoot for under 4.0). Honey has little in the way of pH buffers, so the pH will drop as primary fermentation really gets going. If things seem to slow for no apparent reason, check pH again and if it is lower than 3.25, correct it with some potassium carbonate or bicarbonate. Use potassium rather than calcium since it is more soluble and will produce a shift a bit quicker than the calcium.

2) No to Irish Moss (will leave a salty - iodine like taste in the mead; far more noticeable here than in beer), but yes to pectic enzyme any time you add juice or fruit, even when fresh, to avoid problems with set pectin haze later. Better added before you pitch, since it works faster before in the presence of alcohol. Still, if you forget, a late addition is better than not at all.

3) I don't understand. If you're asking if it is OK to do primary in a 5 gallon bucket or carboy, then rack to a 3 gallon to keep it topped up, then the answer is yes. ;D

sbirchenough
10-06-2009, 03:30 AM
The answers keep flying! Thanks so much guys. Oh and yes I just meant I don't have a 3-4 gallon ferment, but a 3 gal glass carboy...

Thanks again..

Steve's of Maine

sbirchenough
10-18-2009, 12:31 PM
Update:

9#'s of Honey
water to 3 gal
.5 Tsp of Nutrient
Lalvin 71B
(added all with no boil)

O.G 1.108

Nice Activity two days post!

Plan: Add juice only from 7#'s of Fresh Frozen Blackberries, not sure if I will sulphite prior

Balance PH if needed and add pectin.

Wait to see what happens, and maybe start a batch of Metheglin!

sbirchenough
10-22-2009, 06:13 PM
One more question.

At what SG should I add fruit. It's been a week and ferm has slowed, but I am sure with this yeast strain it is far from bottoming.

??????

Medsen Fey
10-22-2009, 07:13 PM
You can let it finish and then rack it onto the fruit. Once you do, fermentation may kick up a bit, but won't be nearly so vigorous as the yeast are reaching the end.

sbirchenough
10-23-2009, 02:26 PM
So, we would say .99 or something close and or similar????

Thanks all

sbirchenough
11-11-2009, 06:36 PM
Sticky Sweet at this point...

10/16 O.G 1.108

10/28 1.072

11/11 1.018



What do you guys/gals think? It's really sweet. I hope to think it will dry out a bit. I wanted a touch of sweet, but this is like Port.....When will I hit bottom? Anyone?

wayneb
11-11-2009, 06:45 PM
The short answer is let it go until it finishes, i.e. when you see no change in SG over a week or two, minimum. Then you can assess where it is and figure out what, if anything, you want to change about it.

So, patience is called for, even now.... ;D

sbirchenough
12-05-2009, 12:43 AM
So things are coming along


Gravity at this point is 1.010, the 71B really plugs away slowly, not sticky sweet anymore, but still sweeeet! Berries will be added soon, maybe after the new year.

I shook off alot of Co2 for my SG check (small sample) and noticed that I had a difference of 1.020 with action and 1.010 without, do you guys do this.

At any rate, my carboy still shows some significant fermentation.

wayneb
12-05-2009, 01:09 AM
So things are coming along


Gravity at this point is 1.010, the 71B really plugs away slowly, not sticky sweet anymore, but still sweeeet! Berries will be added soon, maybe after the new year.

I shook off alot of Co2 for my SG check (small sample) and noticed that I had a difference of 1.020 with action and 1.010 without, do you guys do this.

At any rate, my carboy still shows some significant fermentation.

Yes, you should take care to ensure that as few bubbles as possible stick to the side of your hydrometer when you take a reading. I usually give my hydrometer a quick flick between thumb and forefinger to spin it as it drops into my test sample, and then I read the gravity as the spinning slows, but before new bubbles form. That way I get a more consistent, correct reading.

sbirchenough
04-19-2010, 04:41 PM
Gonna Stabilize 3 gallons now, any tips?? Amounts, do not do's, etc???

Thanks

Steve's of Maine!

Medsen Fey
04-19-2010, 04:53 PM
On your last update the gravity was 1.010 and you were contemplating racking onto the fruit.

What's happened since then, and where is this batch currently?

sbirchenough
04-19-2010, 05:14 PM
It's been three months since that time. Botom'd out on the fruit.

Medsen Fey
04-19-2010, 05:58 PM
I was kind of hoping for a bit more detail like the current gravity? and how much fruit or juice was added? How much did it bump up the gravity? What type of fruit? What's the pH if you can measure it?

The answers to these questions allow the estimated ABV to be determined and depending on that ABV, you might be able to sweeten without stabilizing it. Also the amount of alcohol and the pH are factors to determine how much sorbate and sulfite are needed if you have decided to use them.

So if you can provide more information, you're likely to get better answers.

sbirchenough
04-27-2010, 02:26 AM
Hey Medsen, sorry about the lack of info:

FG: .990

PH: 2.8 (acidic???)

Juice of 8lbs crushed black rasberry's

Gravity with the rasbery's: ???????? (I wrote down the grav of the juice and tossed it, I think??)

All of this info is from a test 1/2 gallon batch, orig three gal's is in a three gallon carboy up to the neck and airlocked.


Suggestions???

Thanks again all!

Medsen Fey
04-27-2010, 02:11 PM
I'm still scratching my head a bit trying to understand what you did. You added the juice from 8 pounds of berries (was that about 1.5-2 quarts?) to 1/2 gallon of mead? So you have a full gallon now? If this is what you did, then you lowered the ABV to a point where it probably does need to be stabilized before you sweeten it.

With a pH that low, stabilization should be pretty easy. I'm kind of impressed that the 71B was able to plow through it.

1 Campden tablet per gallon should be plenty, and about 600-800 mg per gallon of the potassium sorbate should prevent the yeast from restarting as you add honey.

sbirchenough
04-27-2010, 06:11 PM
Sorry about the confusion.

Orig 3 gallons of mead (no berry), later with + 2 qt's juice. The half gallon bit was what was left over once the two went together, hence my sample batch. I have been pulling numbers and tastes off the 1/2 gallon. The three gallons are sitting untouched. All the same batch still.

sbirchenough
04-27-2010, 06:15 PM
Also, at this point I really feel no need to back sweeten. The mead is not cloying, but still has a hint of sweetness.

So would you say just 3 campden tabs, or is it necessary.

Yeah, I also thought that the ph was low and that 71b did get the job way done! It's strong, but the test batch is seeming pretty good.

Medsen Fey
04-28-2010, 06:36 PM
Orig 3 gallons of mead (no berry), later with + 2 qt's juice. The half gallon bit was what was left over once the two went together, hence my sample batch.

Ahh! I understand now. Thank you for the clarification. So you added 1/2 gallon of berry juice to what was a 14% ABV mead. Depending on the gravity of the juice, your resulting mead ABV is probably around 12.5% so it probably is wise to stabilize if you do want to sweeten.

3 Campden tablets for the big batch, and a 1/2 for the left over. If you want to try to sweeten the smaller batch without stabilizing just to see if the yeast will start up again, that would be an easy way to test it.

sbirchenough
05-01-2010, 08:33 PM
So no need for campden if I am not going to back sweeten? Just bottle emm up?

Thanks Medsen!

Medsen Fey
05-02-2010, 08:25 AM
Even if you are not planning to sweeten them, treating with Campden tablets (KMeta) may still be a good idea. The antioxidant properties tend to allow fruit wines (and melomels) to last longer without signs of oxidation - especially with sub-optimal storage conditions. They may also protect against unwanted malolactic fermentation, or spoilage organisms in some cases.

For stabilizing to sweeten, you need both Campden tablets and sorbate.

teejay58
06-12-2010, 02:33 PM
This mead sounds like one I'd like to make. It'll be my second attempt ever, at fermenting anything (the first is still fermenting in the pantry). Thought I'd consolidate the recipe and all the answers to make a clear picture so just in case I misunderstood something, it can be corrected.

Make a plain mead with:
9 lb honey
3 gallons water
Lalvin 71b yeast
O.G. = 1.105 to 1.108

When fermentation stops, rack onto 8 lbs crushed berries.
Let this sit for a few days til the berry color bleaches out, then rack off.
F.G. = .990
pH = 2.8

Possibly add Potassium Carbonate to adjust pH. (Not sure what would make me wanna do this. Tips solicited.)

Let it clear, then add Campden (KMeta) tablets to stabilize (1 tablet per gallon).

If it's not sweet enough and you want to backsweeten, sorbate needs to be added to prevent the fermentation from starting again.

This will make about 3.5 gallons of mead, so best to have a spare 1/2 gallon carboy and airlock available when you add the berries.

Somebody mentioned adding pectin to prevent fruit haze. Is this only when you use berries in the primary? I am seeking a semi-sweet blackberry mead with a LOT of blackberry taste in it. I had one once that tasted like a liqueur. The flavor was intense. And I'd like to make one like that. Do I need to put berries in the primary as well to get that intense flavor?

AToE
06-12-2010, 11:08 PM
This looks like a good plan, it will not be semi sweet though, probably dry - but that might be awesome. I would go ahead with this plan, and then after 8 months or so of aging I'd see if it needs more fruit and then you can always add more as you feel necessary.

Chevette Girl
06-13-2010, 06:20 PM
I am seeking a semi-sweet blackberry mead with a LOT of blackberry taste in it. I had one once that tasted like a liqueur. The flavor was intense. And I'd like to make one like that. Do I need to put berries in the primary as well to get that intense flavor?

My standard blackberry sweet mead is a variation on Joe's, I add 3-1/2 lbs honey and 2 - 6 oz containers of blackberries, squashed, plus a teaspoon of bread yeast, fill up to a gallon... if you started with 3 lbs in a gallon rather than 3 lbs plus a gallon, and bread yeast, you'd probably get something with some residual sugar but not as much as a typical JAO recipe...