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View Full Version : looking for simple recipe - strawberry melomel



SirGlugsalot
03-03-2011, 10:53 PM
i know such a mead-making endeavor is probably chump-change for the many mead-jedis here, but having made a buncha beers back in the day (and a mead that turned out so-so) i'm looking for a straight-forward recipe to crank out a good strawberry melomel.

so far, i've got 12 lbs of raspberry honey (was planning on doing 5 gallons) and White Labs (liquid) Sweet Mead Wine Yeast (WLP720).

any suggestions for recipes, racking methods for the strawberries (primary, secondary, both?), nutrients/energizers, etc? obviously i'd like it to come out good, but i'm not trying to go overboard and win any awards either. (without sacrificing too much quality), simplicity is my ally. thanks a bunch!

Chevette Girl
03-03-2011, 11:47 PM
Hi, Sir Glugsalot. Welcome aboard!

A couple things I'll mention before the heavy hitters get on...

1) the search function is your friend. Even when you want to scream at it. A search for "strawberry melomel" gave me two strawberry mel hits on the first page, it's a good start. Someone with better search-fu will be able to help you narrow it down a little better.

2) If you want your fermentation to go smoothly, it's worth spending a couple of bucks on a baggie of yeast nutrient and a container of yeast nutrient. You might also want to get some chemicals to stabilize your mead if you want it to be sweet, potassium metabisulphate or campden tablets, and potassium sorbate.

3) You might want to check your yeast's listings to see whether it'll take this bone dry, if I'm using the mead calculator correctly 12 lb honey will give you around 11% alcohol, and there should be a little more sugar coming from the strawberries especially if you ferment them in primary. I haven't used that yeast myself, I don't know how reliable it is and how likely it is to stop early or keep on trucking past its stated tolerance. In short, you might want more honey, or you might want to hold a a pound or so in reserve, so you can stabilize it and backsweeten later in case it goes too far...

4) Decide whether you want to ferment on the strawberries in primary fermentation or add them in secondary - if you're using a bucket for primary fermentation, putting the strawberries in a mesh bag in a bucket is FAR easier than letting them roam free in your carboy.

wayneb
03-04-2011, 12:19 AM
Welcome to "Gotmead!" First, an endorsement. Hands down the best strawberry recipe on the site is Yo's Strawberry Pizzazz (put together several years ago by 'Yo Mamma,' one of our semi-regular contributors). But I think that the only way to see the original is if you are a patron, since I think he posted it in the Patron's Recipe section.

There are other strawberry recipes out there, but none that I've tasted in recent memory come close to Yo's for fresh strawberry presence, and it is also relatively easy to put together. So you might consider the price of a Patron's membership to be worth considering.

Next, a caution. I HAVE used that Sweet Mead strain of yeast, and I wholeheartedly recommend not using it. It tends to be a problematic strain, often sticking at a relatively high final gravity and leaving you with a cloyingly sweet result that tastes more like watered down honey than mead. After much trial and error, I've become an advocate of fermenting dry, stabilizing, then backsweetening either with a little more honey or with some super-sweet mead. You'll get much more consistent results that way, and you won't have to worry about whether your yeast will poop out before your mead is done.

wildoates
03-04-2011, 12:38 AM
And read the newbee guide. :)

RightHookCook
03-04-2011, 06:52 AM
also, and this is a thought that i had, is there is one single way to make good mead everytime. wrong.

there is a billion differents methods , recipes etc out there.

the only correct method is if it tastes good to you then who gives a crap! ;D

think thats right isnt it guys? :p

SirGlugsalot
03-04-2011, 09:22 AM
first of all - many thanks for the immediate replies. i wouldn't say i'm nervous about putting it all together, but i definitely (without going insane) want it to be as good as possible!



the only correct method is if it tastes good to you then who gives a crap! ;D
think thats right isnt it guys? :p

heh - i think this kinda sums up my overall philosophy - i want it to be tasty but not lose sleep over tiny details.


Next, a caution. I HAVE used that Sweet Mead strain of yeast, and I wholeheartedly recommend not using it.

gotcha (dang it, now i'm irked i already bought that yeast!) - any suggestions on a yeast? i've got a great little brewshop about a half-hour from here (Jay's Brewing in Clifton, VA) that i'm headed to on Saturday. and while i'm at it, any suggestion on nutrient/energizer? back in the day i just threw water, honey, and yeast together and let it rock. but these days i'm happy to get a bit more detailed if it means a better product.

many thx again - i really appreciate the active/warm nature of the community!

mmclean
03-04-2011, 09:36 AM
GoFerm Rehydration Nutrient

Fermaid K

DAP

moonie
03-04-2011, 01:19 PM
I'm new around here and I'm really enjoying the site. In the few batches I've made (4th one I mixed up last night). I've used Lalvin ICV D-47 and Lalvin KIV-1116. They seem to be recommended quite a bit on here.

wayneb
03-04-2011, 06:26 PM
gotcha (dang it, now i'm irked i already bought that yeast!) - any suggestions on a yeast? i've got a great little brewshop about a half-hour from here (Jay's Brewing in Clifton, VA) that i'm headed to on Saturday. and while i'm at it, any suggestion on nutrient/energizer? back in the day i just threw water, honey, and yeast together and let it rock. but these days i'm happy to get a bit more detailed if it means a better product.

Sure - I'd use a yeast strain known for being good with preserving fruit aromatics, and one that might even add some fruity esters during fermentation, one like Lalvin's K1V-1116 for example. (Yo is probably either snickering or cringing at that suggestion!) ;D

And from personal experience, since I like to add "just enough" nutrient for my yeast to be happy without overdosing, and since only one nutrient manufacturer actually publishes quantitative data on how much of every nutrient is contained in their formulas, I'd recommend Lallemand's GoFerm for rehydration and Fermaid-K (perhaps with a little additional DAP) during the fermentation.

SirGlugsalot
03-04-2011, 07:57 PM
I'd recommend Lallemand's GoFerm for rehydration and Fermaid-K (perhaps with a little additional DAP) during the fermentation.

so ... i'd use the Lallemand's GoFerm while rehydrating the dry yeast, and when i actually add the yeast to the water/honey/berries, use the Fermaid-K? would there ever be a need after the initial addition of both to add either again?

*broken record* many MANY thanks!

mmclean
03-04-2011, 09:23 PM
One way you could do it is rehydrate with GoFerm. Add half of the nutrients at the end of lag and the other half at the one third sugar break.

SirGlugsalot
03-04-2011, 10:55 PM
excellent!

as for the whole aeration of the must ... do i wanna airlock it right after combining everything, or give it some time "sitting in the open" before airlocking it after it's racked?

Chevette Girl
03-04-2011, 11:11 PM
Some folks just cover their fermentation bucket with a sanitized towel for the first little while. If you're reasonably sure nothing is going to get into it (hair, dust, pets, fruit flies, construction debris, herds of wildebeest, etc), it should be OK to leave it open for the first bit of primary fermentation, but once you rack it to secondary after most of the fermentation is done, you probably want to limit its exposure to oxygen.

mmclean
03-04-2011, 11:11 PM
You can just cover it with a cloth or loose lid until the 1/3 break. Just make sure no bugs/cats/dogs or whatever can get to it. Seal it up and install the air lock after the 1/3 sugar break.

After it's sealed up, you can stir up the yeast by gently rocking the bucket/carboy.

Edit: CG beat me to it.

SirGlugsalot
03-04-2011, 11:24 PM
you guys raaaaawk - when i meet you all in Valhalla, first round is on me!

as for the re-hyd on the dry yeast, is the Go-Ferm sufficient, or will i need to chuck some sugars in there for the yeast?

and speaking of yeast ... i've seen some peeps mention using a couple packets of yeast. i'm planning on making 5 gals of the stuff (using approx 12 lbs of honey and [at least for the primary] around the same weight of strawberries). will one packet do it, or should i double it up to max the results?

thx!

Chevette Girl
03-05-2011, 12:21 AM
as for the re-hyd on the dry yeast, is the Go-Ferm sufficient, or will i need to chuck some sugars in there for the yeast?

and speaking of yeast ... i've seen some peeps mention using a couple packets of yeast. i'm planning on making 5 gals of the stuff (using approx 12 lbs of honey and [at least for the primary] around the same weight of strawberries). will one packet do it, or should i double it up to max the results?


Don't use sugar when rehydrating yeast. If there's too much, it will cause problems with rehydration. Although I think some folks use apple juice, I just use water.

One packet should do it (they ARE designed for 5 gal batches) but two won't hurt.

SirGlugsalot
03-05-2011, 12:26 AM
i've been doing a good bit of reading of the Compleat Meadmaker, and he only mentions adding fruit to the secondary racking, mentioning that a lot of the character of the fruit is lost if added to the first.

is it better to do fruit in the secondary only? does it hurt to do it in both? i def want a big strawberry flavor to come through (though, without it tasting like strawberry kool-aid and/or completely losing the honey/mead qualities!)

Chevette Girl
03-05-2011, 12:54 AM
You'll find people who generally only put fruit in primary (like me), those who generally only put fruit in secondary, and some who put fruit in both.

My background is fruit wines so if you don't ferment the fruit or at least its juice, you're sort of defeating the point. ;D But I guess that really depends on whether you're making a mead flavoured with fruit, or a fruit wine with honey as your primary fermentable.

I also find it easier to manage the fruit in a mesh bag in my primary bucket, rather than trying to deal with the mess and racking losses of having loose fruit in my carboys.

But hey, there is no one way.

capoeirista13
03-05-2011, 04:45 AM
I'd say look at Yo Momma's Strawberry pizzazz. I've heard only good things about it, and plan on making it myself sometime soon.

SirGlugsalot
03-05-2011, 09:30 AM
I'd say look at Yo Momma's Strawberry pizzazz. I've heard only good things about it, and plan on making it myself sometime soon.

i would but (having just joined and NOT having a lot of bucks) i can't view the Recipes area (Patron's only, i think) :(

TheAlchemist
03-05-2011, 10:05 AM
No one here is gonna endorse this approach, even I can't endorse it yet, but I used some of my first batch of mead, with a little water, to rehydrate my beasties for the second batch. At the moment, Betelgeuse is bubbling away happily.

schlapppy
03-05-2011, 12:50 PM
The Patron membership is worth it. Thats where all the really good info is ;D

wayneb
03-05-2011, 01:17 PM
Right - the clear message here is that there is no one way, as CG noted. However, for rehydration of dry yeast I think it is a good idea to follow the manufacturer's recommendations. Lallemand want you to rehydrate in plain warm (104F) water, or water that has some GoFerm added to it. The yeast will do well enough in plain water for most uses, but GoFerm adds just enough of the right organic nutrients to allow them to beef up cell walls as they rehydrate, which allows them to deal with the osmotic shock of being plunged into a sugar water bath that much more effectively.

Some other yeast manufacturers (notably DSM in Europe) recommend rehydration in a mixture of water and some of your must, and I'm pretty sure that LeSaffre (makers of Red Star) still say that pitching dry directly into a "wine strength" must (around 1.090 SG) is OK. Alchemist is correct - I can't endorse the approach of rehydration into finished mead with water added. ;) But the bottom line is this - yeast are pretty resilient little critters, so as long as you follow an approach that makes some sense and it doesn't stress your yeast too much, you'll have a successful fermentation. I usually follow the Lallemand instructions to the letter (including use of GoFerm), because I want to make sure that I have as many viable and healthy little yeasties in my must as possible. Perhaps I'm a bit anal; I like to think that when I treat my yeast well, I'm helping them to overwhelm any competition, and I'll end up with cleaner ferments (with fewer chances of infection) that way.

AToE
03-06-2011, 04:43 AM
My main tip would be simply to use as many pounds of strawberries per gallon as is possible (based on cost and primary bucket size), and then if it turns out too acidic after 5 or 6 months of aging simply stabilize and backsweeten. I think one or two split vanilla beans would probably do wonders to round out a strawberry mel and make it really sing too.

Medsen Fey
03-08-2011, 10:32 PM
i've been doing a good bit of reading of the Compleat Meadmaker, and he only mentions adding fruit to the secondary racking, mentioning that a lot of the character of the fruit is lost if added to the first.


Not if you use enough fruit! :)
- I think that's an Oskaar quote from someplace


No one here is gonna endorse this approach, even I can't endorse it yet, but I used some of my first batch of mead, with a little water, to rehydrate my beasties for the second batch.

Rehydrating yeast properly means you get the greatest number of active yeast in your pitch, and that improves the odds of success. While yeast can tolerate all sorts of harsh environments, there is no advantage to rehydrating yeast in a stressful situation. Mead is usually acidic and has alcohol - a very clear yeast toxin. Pitching dry yeast into a stuck fermentation with a reasonably high alcohol level usually fails as the alcohol stuns the rehydrating yeast. While you can certainly rehydrate yeast in a dilute mead, it has the potential to reduce the number of active yeast and will not provide any advantage in fermenting your batch.

AToE
03-09-2011, 12:41 PM
Even in what I consider to be (relatively) small amounts for fruit per gallon I've never seen this "lost" character from adding fruit into primary, they always come out more or less exactly how they should.

wayneb
03-09-2011, 03:16 PM
The aromatics from delicate fruit (peaches, for example), can be lost if a relatively small amount of fruit is added, and an aggressive strain of yeast (such as EC-1118 ) is used in the fermentation.

AToE
03-09-2011, 07:35 PM
Delicate fruit it totally makes sense to me, I've just found with most other fruit that the "loss" of fruit character seems to be more from my tendancy to ferment to dryness and certain fruit losing their normal character without the sweetness. I've gotten the impression with stuff like strawberries that if I backsweetened it would go back to being much more fruity...

Chevette Girl
03-10-2011, 01:00 AM
Even in what I consider to be (relatively) small amounts for fruit per gallon I've never seen this "lost" character from adding fruit into primary, they always come out more or less exactly how they should.

My cherry wine. Lovely colour, no cherry aroma, no flavour at all. 5 lbs cherries for a gallon. I should try it again to see if it's come back...

AToE
03-10-2011, 02:37 AM
My cherry wine. Lovely colour, no cherry aroma, no flavour at all. 5 lbs cherries for a gallon. I should try it again to see if it's come back...

That's decent pounds per gallon too. I was going to mention my dry cherry mead was junk, but I figured it was just due to being dry cherries (the sweet cherries rather than tart).