View Full Version : Help with some recipes

02-21-2013, 02:48 PM
Hello all! This is only my second topic here, you all previously helped with me my JAOM. Thanks for that. I currently have 2 JAOM batches going, Joe's quick grape mead, and a blackberry mead. I have more supplies, but I'm not really sure about a recipe for them.

I have 44 oz of blueberries, 24oz, of raspberries, and a gallon of pure cherry juice. Also 16 lbs of honey. I'm only wanting to make 1 gallon batches as I'm still trying to figure out which recipe I like the taste of most. I've been looking a lot but I have been having trouble finding recipes for raspberry mead. I've decided to try a JAO variant using blueberries with the following mixture:

2.5 lbs of honey
16oz of blueberries
1 clove
25 raisins
1 tsp of fleischmanns yeast.

I don't want it to be so sweet so I cut back on the honey rather than using 3.5 lbs. I was considering using the same recipe for the raspberries, but maybe a little less of them seeing as their taste is a lot stronger than the blueberry.

I also have Lalvin EC-1118 at my disposal too. But if I'm making a JAO variant I don't want to change the yeast because it's to my understanding that's the worst thing I could do. I understand this breaks the warranty btw.

Those seem decent enough to me, but I'm having trouble finding a cherry mead that would use cherry juice rather than whole cherries. I suppose I could use that instead of water but I'm afraid that would be much too sweet.

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

Marshmallow Blue
02-21-2013, 02:58 PM
well Ec-1118 has a much higher than tolerence ~6-8% more. So its not changing yeasts in a recipe that's the worst thing you can do (I'd say dropping a glass carboy of finished mead is). However with such a higher tolerance then what your starting gravity will be, you may experience trouble getting it how you want it.

My guess would be is that if you had only the bread yeast, and the Ec-1118, Id go with the bread yeast. With a pound less honey it should be noticeably less sweet by the end. If you have other yeasts, Cotes Des blancs by red star or Lalvins D-47 could be good.

02-21-2013, 03:13 PM
Hi! I'll give you my opinion for what you're trying to do with what i've learned by myself or by the great tips that i got from the nice people here!

When doing a melomel you basicly have 3 ways of attempting it:

1: introducing your fruits in the primary
2: introducing your fruits in the secondary
3: introducing your fruits in the primary AND the secondary (crazy i know!)

Adding your fruit in the different stages will give you different flavors from what ever your using.

(Personally so far i've always put my fruits in the primary but that's because i want to experiment how it taste that way and the next ones will be in the secondary.)

So depending on what you want to do/try it's all up to you and experiment.

I've been recommended by Chevette Girl to use Lalvin K1-V116 when using fruits as it's gentler with them than it's cousin EC-1118. (both goes up to 18% and has high tolerence in temperature)

Since both of those yeast goes high % wise your mead will probably go dry. Make sure you have the % that you want by using the super easy mead calculator on this site. And after the fermentation is done you can always add more honey or fruit juice to sweeten it.

Oh btw another of Chevette Girl tip for fruit is that if your using fresh fruit it's helps if you wash them, freeze them and unfreeze them when your about to use them and crush them before adding them to your must. This will help to get as much of the flavor out of them as possible.

I hope this help. I find that most of the fun of making mead is in experimenting and hope it'll come out good!

02-21-2013, 03:23 PM
Ok! Thanks for all the suggestions so far. I can see what you mean about EC-1118 being more rough with the fruit. However for these batches, seeing as I'm only making a gallon each and that I don't already have that specific yeast, I think I'll just stick with bread yeast for the time being. Maybe if I really like one of these meads and want to make a 5 gallon one I'll use that yeast :D.

I was worried the EC-1118 would make it too dry, seems I was right o.0

02-21-2013, 03:51 PM
I was worried the EC-1118 would make it too dry, seems I was right o.0

Well if your mead is supposed to go to 12% and EC-1118 goes up to 18% the chances are that it'll eat most of the sugar in your must leaving little sweetness after...But you can always backsweeten afterwards, that's what great with making your own and adjusting it to your own taste

02-22-2013, 05:15 PM
Well I think that for the cherry I'm going to attempt to change "Joe's Quick Grape Mead" by simply using cherry juice instead. I'm not sure how that will work out, hopefully it doesn't end up being jet fuel lol

02-24-2013, 08:48 PM
Be sure to go with a "tart" cherry juice or you'll end up with cough syrup.

02-27-2013, 05:48 PM
Hmmm....I may end up with cough syrup then lol.

I have another question I could use help with. I attempted to make "Poor Man's Cyser" last night, and it just does not want to ferment. All the yeast is at the bottom doing nothing.

2lbs honey
2 teabags
gallon apple juice
4oz lemon juice
3 packs Fleischmann's active dry.

I'm not even sure why 3 packs were used, but it called for it. Any idea as to what I should do?

EDIT: After looking at the lemon juice I used, it had a nice little ingredient in it called Sodium Metabisulfite in it....so yea....that may be the problem. Thoughts?

Marshmallow Blue
02-27-2013, 08:26 PM
How long in between adding the yeast and the sulfite? I've heard you have to wait like 24 hours or something, but I could be talking out of my butt. If it goes another day without any activity I'd pitch another yeast pack. How old we're the yeast packs you used?

02-27-2013, 08:32 PM
Maybe less than an hour. I didn't even know there was sulfite in it. I was using one of the bottles of lemon juice that say "100% concentrated lemon juice" or whatever.

The yeast I just bought last month.

Marshmallow Blue
02-27-2013, 09:09 PM
Oh my mistake I thought the lemon juice and sulfite a were separate additions, but yeah it's probably the sulfite a stalling the yeast. Pitch another yeast after 24 hours since the lemon juice was added. Don't worry about removing the yeast if thief dead as the healthy yeast will eat the, as nutrients

02-28-2013, 08:49 PM
I guess I'm going to end up dumping that down the drain. Waited 24 hours and pitched more yeast, looks like they died too...

02-28-2013, 11:45 PM
Be sure to go with a "tart" cherry juice or you'll end up with cough syrup.
Even with tart cherry juice you can end up with Robitussin if you get the alcohol content too high. I was hoping to end up with an off-dry to semi-sweet cherry melomel at ~ 14% ABV. But I guess I treated the yeast much too nice and they overshot their "maximum" alcohol tolerance. It ended up at just over 16% ABV and it literally tasted like cough syrup.

After 2+ years it's finally getting to be drinkable. Hopefully in another two years it will actually be "good". My experience has taught me to give the yeast enough sugar for around 12% ABV and then back sweeten, rather than count of the yeast to stay within their "limits". They will break your heart every time.

Chevette Girl
03-01-2013, 01:00 AM
I guess I'm going to end up dumping that down the drain. Waited 24 hours and pitched more yeast, looks like they died too...

Oh, don't give up so easily, this is a learning experience! :)

Have you been aerating the bejeebus out of it? That'll help with the sulphites.

Another possible culprit could be your apple juice, if it's got potassium sprbate in it, that could be another problem... or perhaps with the lemon juice the pH is too low.

I'd try an acclimated starter if another pitch and some aeration continue to fail. Rehydrate the yeast in warm water for 15 minutes (1/4 cup) and then add 1/4 cup of your must and see if it gets started, you should see foaming by the time another 15 minutes have gone by... if it does, give it an hour or so and add 1/2 cup more must... continue doubling the volume like this every couple of hours till you've got about 1/4 of the total volume of your must in the starter, then add it to the must and it should be good to go. If hte yeast doesn't get started, get some new yeast :)

03-01-2013, 10:26 PM
Thanks for the advice Chevette Girl, well, everyone actually. I hope it doesn't end up tasting like cough syrup lol

I actually didn't have to do what you proposed, Chevette Girl. I was going to just leave it over night and dump it if it wasn't working. I live in the middle of nowhere so making a run to the store just for bread yeast isn't likely. But, I looked at it this morning and it was going really good. Probably bubbling more than any other batch.

I thought it could have been the apple juice too, I looked on the bottle though and it only listed apple juice and water. So I think I'm going to list the lemon juice as the culprit.

Chevette Girl
03-03-2013, 11:06 PM
Glad it kicked up for you, probably was just sulphites coming out, just needed some time...

As a general rule, unless you're doing something along the lines of a JAO, don't bother with lemon juice if you're using honey... and if you're using lemon juice, squeeze them yourself if at all possible. If you want a hint of lemony flavour you'll want to include some zest along with the juice.

03-05-2013, 01:00 AM
Thanks! I'll keep that in mind. Definitely not going to trust "100% Lemon Juice" unless I juice them myself lol

I had a question about smell of the must. I have a batch of Joe's Quick Grape mead going, I've followed the directions exactly and all that. I recently did the backsweetening part, however it smells pretty rough. I'm thinking it's the yeast though. I have a variant of that going using cherry juice instead and it smells rather similar. So is it just the EC-1118 then?

03-06-2013, 04:01 PM
I really hate to make a double post but I have another thing I'm concerned about.

I just decided to open up the "Poor Man's Cyser" and have a smell, as I did I noticed some black dots floating. I decided to pour it through a cheesecloth and when I was finished, there were about 5 little black bugs in the yeast pile. I'm quite sure they where bugs because I used a magnifying glass. I have no idea how it got in there. The juice I used was bottled, the honey was processed. I'm confused. :/

As far as I'm aware none of the other batches have had this problem.

Marshmallow Blue
03-06-2013, 04:55 PM
sounds like a few fruit flies snuck in there. What have you got for airlocks on it? But if all the bugs are gone, I think Ive seen some posts about you being okay as long as all the bugs are gone and it doesn't taste off.

03-06-2013, 05:06 PM
I have a tube going from the lid into a mason jar with water. Like I said, it's worked really fine with the others *knocks on desk*.

I'm not sure about fruit flies. But I think they are called "weevils". It's the same little black bug that can get in your rice. I'm not sure where they came from in the mead though. I did end up using a REALLY old pack of Red Star bread yeast since the remaining 3 packs of fleischmann's I had were killed by the campden. Though the pack wasn't open....

Chevette Girl
03-08-2013, 12:20 AM
I'd suspect the tea then <shudder>

If you strain the little !@#$'s out and hit it with campden, it's perfectly safe, if you can stomach the thought of drinking something that's had insects in it... I've done it, although I did run it through a wine filter first...

03-08-2013, 12:28 AM
Acceptable bugs parts per pound of cereal, or gallon of mead... :)

As long as they didn't introduce anything funky you are probably still good to go.

03-09-2013, 01:00 PM
I'm still really confused about where they came from. Maybe it was the tea. I've made tea since then just for the purpose of looking for them, to no avail. But there was only like 5 of them in the must anyway. Usually they're in an abundance. Once it's finished I'll put some campden in it and then run it through a cheese cloth.

Has anyone tried this recipe? "Poor Man's Cyser"? It seems close to being done, but it doesn't really look that appealing. Definitely nowhere near "clear".