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scottyd74
12-27-2011, 03:35 PM
Here is my recipe:

5 kg honey (from grocery store, nothing fancy)
4 kg fresh blueberries
20 L distilled bottled water
Lavlin EC-1118 X2 packets
2 teaspoons of yeast nutrient

brought 2 gallons of water to a boil then reduced heat to 160 degrees. added all honey and brought back to 160. kept it there until all the honey disolved and then an additional 30 mintes.

While waiting I put frozen berries ( 3 of 4 kg) in the blender and set aside. I held back a kilo of berries thinking I would add to secondary fermenter.

When honey and water finished half hour at 160 degrees I placed the pot in the sink filled with cold water. After 15 minutes I poured the berries, yeast nutrient and must (?) into my primary fermenter and moved it to my basement before adding remainder or water. ( basement maintains a steady 18-19 degree temp)

I started yeast in 2 cups of water with a teaspoon of honey from the cupboard and pitched when contents of primary fermenter reached 22 degrees. OG 1.065
Over the next 60 hours I stirred the must vigorously a few times a day. Have now tranferred to a glass carboy in hopes of removing most of the berry skin and seeds ( huge pain in a$$!!)

solid start to fermentation and must is deep red colour with no funny smell or flavour.;D

I was wondering if I should use the rest of the berries and would it be okay to bag it and place it all back in my primary fermenter?? ???

What should I expect for a FG????

JohnS
12-27-2011, 05:59 PM
Being somewhat new to mead fermentation, I can only suggest that adding your fruit to the primary would be the way to go. Racking that stuff will be a pain in the a.. I learned that the hard way.

Racking can be done in one or two ways. First, is wait until the hydro reads close to 1.00 (FG), at which point all the initial sugars have been eaten up by the yeasties. At that point you could rack using the racking cane just above the lees. This will leave a small bit of mead in the bottom of the fermenting pail, but it will also be easier then repeat racking.

Another way is to get a hop ball and add your fruit to that, or a hop bag. Google it and you can see what it looks like if you don't already. Again after your hydrometer reads close to 1 (or there are no more bubbles) rack to your secondary ( I am starting to leave my primary sit for a month now).

About whether to add flavor to your primary or secondary I believe (others may correct me on this point) its better to add your fruit, or any other flavors like spices or whatever is suitable to the primary and then take a sample after a month or so.

Between racking/s its possible to add more flavoring at that time according to taste.

Also if you have bought honey at the store it may not be necessary to pasteurize it. 160 degrees for 30 minutes might be a bit long. I would pasteurize if the honey is raw from someone that has a honey farm. The higher the temperature and the longer the honey is in the water, the less flavor the honey will have in the final product

I hope this helps you.

BTW, without the chart in front of me I think the ABV will be about 7 or 8 percent (guessing).

Medsen Fey
12-27-2011, 06:29 PM
Welcome to GotMead!

Your final gravity should be just below 1.000 when it is all done.

I'd add the berries. You can't have too many blueberries as far as I'm concerned (though I like heavy, fruit-centric meads). However, I wouldn't blend the berries as the blender can crack the seeds and give bitterness. Just gently mash them with a potato masher or something like that and you'll get better results.

One way to make racking and pressing easier is to put the fruit in a nylon bag. Folks around here sometimes debate if is better to let your fruit float free.

And of course, if you do more reading around here you'll find most of us wouldn't heat our honey.

Good Meading!
Medsen

scottyd74
12-28-2011, 11:22 AM
Thanks for the advice. In future I will mash the fruit. I will wait until My SG reaches 1.000 before making any further decisions on extra berries. I will try mashing the Blueberries that are going into tonights Stout recipe. I realised that I had heated the Mead for too long after I had done it. The heating will be a hard habit to break. I will make some more must (unheated) to top up secondary fermenter.

fatbloke
12-28-2011, 11:41 AM
Thanks for the advice. In future I will mash the fruit. I will wait until My SG reaches 1.000 before making any further decisions on extra berries. I will try mashing the Blueberries that are going into tonights Stout recipe. I realised that I had heated the Mead for too long after I had done it. The heating will be a hard habit to break. I will make some more must (unheated) to top up secondary fermenter.
There's a number of ways of making meads, but it's worth remembering that meads are more closely related to wines than beers.

IMO, any heat is too much. Even if the honey is crystalised, then at most, the bucket/can/jar/etc just needs to be put in hand hot water (put it in new water when the old stuff has gone cold, etc etc) or you can just scoop/spoon it out the container and blitz it in a liquidiser, which will break the crystals down into the water, while at the same time, aerating (yes, adding air/O2 - something else to remember, as I believe it's not normal to do that with beers) it just nicely.

Adding fruit, rather than mashing or squashing, which can be messy as hell, just freeze it for a couple of days, then defrost it and put it straight in the mix.

With that in mind, because you have heated the honey already, and that you say the starting gravity was 1.065 (VVV low for most meads), then having used a champagne yeast, it will probably make for a very dry mead.

I would suggest that it might be worth while, let it finish the ferment, then add the fruit and back sweeten it. It should make for a more fruity tasting mix that is ready to drink sooner.

So, I'd let it finish, then rack it off the fruit debris that's already in the mix, onto sulphite and sorbate to stabilise it, then add the remainder of the fruit, but with some pectic enzyme. Leave it for 2 or 3 weeks, then take it off the fruit again and rack it for clearing.

If you are thinking of back sweetening it with honey, then this point would be the ideal time. Take a measurement of it with the extra fruit juice/flavour and then just back sweeten it to "medium" i.e. IRO 1.010-1.015, then just clear it as normal i.e. time/ageing, racking if necessary etc.....

Just my tuppence worth.

scottyd74
12-28-2011, 01:48 PM
FatBloke,

Thanks for the advice. I should have mentioned that I wanted a dry mead but a very dry was not my goal. I have read a few posts about back sweetening with unfermentables but I am inclined to roll with what I have. This is my first Mead everyone has different seems to have an "Ideal" mead. I do not have this as I have had limited exposure to Mead. There are two brewpubs in my area that produce mead and I enjoy both. One is( my guess) medium sweet and the other a blackberry Mead produced once a year that is dry. I plan on making this into a sparkling mead and am not using forced carbonation. My calculations were off for the amount of honey. I had planned on a 10-11%ABV product but somehow fell short. Live and learn I guess. Either way I will enjoy the finished product next Christmas.

Cheers!!

scottyd74
12-29-2011, 12:49 PM
Thanks for the advice!
I calculated the ABV% to be 8.6 if finishing gravity is 1.000 [ABV%=133(OG-FG)]. I racked again to remove last of fruity bits and topped up with fresh must. hope this will give me another 1.6-1.8% ABV to the finished product. I did find nylon bags used for extracting fruit juices. I will use this next time for sure. I used one for adding blueberries to a stout recipe and will make life so much easier. It will sit and ferment undisturbed for the next few weeks and I hope it turns out all right. Reading thtough the posts on the forum "wait and see" seems to be a popular option ;) Worst case scenario I start from scratch, use a local honey and look for more advice.

CHEERS!!

ken_schramm
12-31-2011, 05:31 PM
Should I add more fruit?

Answer (edited for television): Yes.

Soyala_Amaya
12-31-2011, 08:21 PM
Answer (edited for television): Yes.



You make me smile so much Ken. But yeah, I think for a 'good fruit flavor' it's recommended between 3-4 lbs of fruit per gallon. You have about 1.5 pounds for roughly 5 gallons. (Yeah, I'm American, I convert)

For you, I'd at least another 6 kgs of berries to have a 'light fruit flavor' of roughly 10 kgs total, or 1 pound fruit per gallon.

scottyd74
12-31-2011, 08:28 PM
Thank you for the advice! I was not sure where to start. This forum has been very helpful. I will add more fruit now that I know I am well short of tasting much in the finished product.

scottyd74
01-02-2012, 05:11 PM
Here is a quick update on my first Mead/Blueberry Melomel.
I added another 4 kg (8.8 lbs) of blueberries. There were frozen then thawed, mashed gently and added to must in nylon bags. total fruit now 7 kg (15.4) lbs. that is now just over 3lbs per gallon. I transferred it all back to the primary (had to kick blueberry stout out first) and SG= 1.022 after berry addition.
no off tastes or smells. fermentation still progressing. Half hour after the transfer too a peek and top of must is all bubbles and headspace is all CO2. I am off to Cuba for a week and hope to see a SG near 1.000 when I get back.

Cheers!!

scottyd74
02-03-2012, 10:49 AM
All is well.
Fg=.992 :o:icon_thumright: I like dry wines so hope the fruitiness helps out.
It is now sitting in the storage space under the stairs at a temp of around 15 degrees celcius. I will leave it there to bulk age and will bottle (sparkling) in May.

I make sure I read the forums daily and have bought Kens book too. I don't think I will be making multiple small batches at a time but Mead will be on my yearly 2brew list. Thanks for all the advice :color:


Cheers!!

scottyd74
10-09-2012, 11:53 PM
Well, it has been close to 10 months since I started this fine beverage. I bottled it this evening. I primed with 200g of corn sugar but stole a small glass before adding adding the sugar. Great colour, smells good. tasted a little thin and is plenty dry but this was not suprising thanks to the comments from the more experience people on this site. I withheld about 500ml from bottling and the more I drink the more I like it. Thank you for all the advice and I am sure I will look for more for my next mead which will be started this christmas season. I already have my honey lined up from a local supplier.


Cheers!!