View Full Version : 1st post, 2nd mead, Couple of questions

11-12-2009, 05:14 PM
Well, I am happy to be here and think I have found a new and exciting twist to my wine making hoby. I have only made a one gallon batch of JAO last year which turned out okay. After reading everything athat I could get my hands on and asking many questions on two other forums I found a recipe that got me excited, so on September 17 of this year I finally got going on my first melomel. That recipe came from one of your own, Wayneb and this is what I did with it.

12 pounds of frozen Elderberries
12 pounds of frozen blueberries
5 pounds of frozen black currants
22 pounds of honey (12 orange blossom, 10 clover)
starting gravity 1.130
Lalvin RC 212 yeast 10g

Day one (9-17) I put fruit in stainless 10 gal. pot and covered with 1 gallon H2O and added .25 grams Kmeta, 2 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme and let it sit overnight.

Day two (9-18) Warmed 22# of honey in 2 gallons of warm H2O and added to ferminter. I stirred and aireated extremely well. Rehydrated 10g Lalvin RC 212 in 85ml H2O at 104 degrees and pitched yeast. I used the propper amounts of DAP and Fermid K as detirmined by the Hightest Calculator and used the Staggared Nutrient addition. Kept in high 60's to low 70's as far as temp goes.

Day four (9-20) Ph was at 3.4, SG 1.080.

Day 33 (10-20) Fermentation seemed to have stopped at 1.005. Racked to clean carboy and started ageing process.

Today 11-12-09 I checked SG and it is still at 1.005. A couple of weeks ago I added 2 Oz. of medium toast French Oak. Taste is bitter but good. I hope the bitterness is to be expected and will fade. My two questions are this. Is the bitterness normal and secondly, there seems to be 1/4 inch of sediment on the bottom of the carboy. Shouldn't I rack it again NOW and how often should I rack in the future ageing process. I plan to bulk age for one year. I don't think that I need to add k-meta or do I? I think that I would like for it to be slightly sweet and was wondering if I shouldn't hang on to a little of the Orange Blossom honey to back sweeten with? I guess I had more questions than I thought.

I owe much to Wayneb for his help up to this point. I might also mention that I have chosen my next project which will be Christmas Spice Metheglyn. I have already ordered all of the spices that I will be needing to do this from Penzeys. When I decided to do this recipe I didn't know that it too, belongs to Wayneb. Thanks again......... (pwillie)

11-12-2009, 07:23 PM
Hey Pwillie and welcome to Gotmead.com.... Glade you found your way here!

Looks like your fermentation should be about done. The RC 212 has an alcohol tolerance up to about 16%. I'd give it a couple more days (weeks?) and see if it goes to 1.000, then rack. And keep the oak in.....theive a sample after a month and see how it tastes.

Honestly, it looks to me like you've done everything right, man! It's time for patients. Rack it and let it age. I usually add Potassium Bisulfate and Sorbate at 4 months, to stabilize and again about a week before bottling to help prevent oxidation.

Wanyes Christmas Spice Metheglyn is awesome! Just follow the directions.... and let that one age. I started a 10-gallon batch last February and it's unbelievable. It truned the corner around the 6 month mark and has just gotten better.

11-13-2009, 12:01 PM
Hey, pwillie! Glad you made it over here, and welcome to the "Gotmead?" community!!

Gee... I'm all choked up! Thanks for the compliments, guys!!

But remember, the recipe is only ONE part of the process. The meadmaker's skill and patience play a much bigger role - so pwillie, please consider this batch to only be just started at this point. The real secret to its success is proper aging, since as you've noted there are bitter and tannic components from the elderberries (especially if you happened to include some stems), that will take time to age out. But, oh, when they do... you're gonna like the way this batch tastes, I guarantee it! ;D

It is time to rack off of those lees, and if you have enough volume to fill your bulk aging carboy completely then you don't yet need to worry about sulfites or sorbate. And I agree with Al - bring over the oak, or add a little fresh (perhaps another ounce, if you choose to add new). Rack again only if you see additional lees build up over the course of the next year. I'm reasonably sure that even if the act of racking kick-starts the fermentation again it won't last long and the gravity will not drop much further. The option of sulfiting when you bottle is always your choice. I typically don't add extra sulfite to my "big" red batches, because I find that they hold up well without the need for any additional oxidation or infection protection. But you're always free to use it as additional insurance against problems if you want. If you choose to backsweeten, then I would use K-meta as well as sorbate, of course.

Before you backsweeten, let it age that full 12 months. Absolutely wonderous things happen to this recipe when it has had adequate aging time! A wonderfully fruity aroma will develop, and the honey aromatics will combine with components of the fruit to give you an apparent "sweetness" that is not evident in the mead when it is young. Of course everyone's tastes are different, but if you like big, bold dry red wines then I'm thinking that you might just want to leave it as-is, once you taste it again next November!

And enjoy the Christmas Spice, too! It will finish up faster than this berry batch did, but still won't come into its own until (like Al said) after a minimum of 6 or so months bulk aging. Still, if you get on it right now you can enjoy some come Christmas 2010... but it'll be even better in '11 and '12!!

11-13-2009, 03:00 PM
Wayne, you can rest assured that I will follow through exactly as you have suggested and yes, I do have enough extra to top up a clean carboy with so I will have it off those lees yet today. I will also jump on that Christmas Spice Metheglyn as soon as the spices that I have orded arrive. I thought I would like to have the ceylon cinnamon to go in this one plus I wasn't able to find any whole nutmeg, so I just ordered all fresh new spices. I will post as soon as I get started on it because I am sure that I will need some assistance. You have no idea how much I am looking forward to the big red melomel. I am pretty proud of the way that I THINK it is going to turn out.