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butterpants
07-18-2013, 11:25 PM
Hi, I'm doing a little flavor experiment and need some advice. In the end I'd like to have a cherry melomel recipe that I personally enjoy and can repeat ad nauseum.....but this whole adding fruit thing scares me.

Where I'm at today:

6 gallons of mead made (brew date early April)
All individual 1 gal glass jugs at the moment (secondary)
The recipes are an amalgam of 3 or 4lbs, clover or orange blossom, D47 or 1118

I would like to add various amounts of cherry flavor to these individual batches, record it then test my findings. I do prefer a sweeter mead and have plans to even carbonate.

My questions.....

(1) I'm not down with fruit in primary, even though I use buckets. Just seems messy and lots of possibility for contamination, SO we are talking about adding fruit to secondary...and my secondaries happen to be 1 gallon glass jugs with small openings (no tossing a gigantic muslin bag with pounds of fruit in there). So I'm thinking a fruit juice or puree from the LHBS. What liquid amount is a good starting point?

(2) I've read a few books that talk about the ratio of tart to sweet cherries. I'll be dammed if I can't find any tart cherry puree locally. Is a 50/50 ratio critical? Lotta sugar in there already, seems like a bad idea to only add sweet.

(3) Have a friend who mixes imitation flavoring with real fruit and has good results. I snagged a bottle...it's clear and smells like sweet cherries. Anyone care to chime in? I have no reservations for the use of extracts, chemicals, whatever...just want yummy mead.

(4) Stabilize or not? Obviously if I wanted to carb some naturally this is out of the question, but I'd imagine there is a significant amount of fermentable sugars in the fruit puree. Let this stuff slowly ferment out (if it even will) or drop some sulphites and enjoy the sweetness added?

Thanks for the help!

B. Goldwater
07-19-2013, 12:02 PM
When I am doing a melomel i will typically start a traditional and a few days later add previously frozen then thawed fruit in a muslin bag, that way fermentation is vigourous, alcohol has started to increase and my chance of contamination is limited. It is way easier to add fruit and take it out in a bucket then in a carboy.

Fruit juice works well for color and some flavor, again you can add juice to primary and more to secondary for more robust flavors and color. But you wont get any of the tannin from the pits of whole fruit if you want more aof a mouth feel so you might have to add tannin during aging.

I stay away from puree, as it my past experience it takes forever to clear and depending on the fruit (strawberry come to mind) it can add bitterness from the ground up seeds.

I cant speak directly to the 50/50 cherry split as i just go with whatever ripe cherries I can get my hands on. The experimenting is half the fun, try whatever you have and tweak it next time.

extracts can work out well, but most of the time real fruit is better. again try it to see how you like it.

without gravity readings and recipe info cant really tell where you are at in the process, or what your abv is...but with 1118, if there are sugars present and your ABV is under 18% they will eat it up.

butterpants
07-19-2013, 01:33 PM
Thank you for your input!

Tannin I plan on adding to taste at bottling, so no worries there.

Interesting about the puree and clarity. Pectinase and a fining agent didn't help?

I'm well under 18%....prolly 12-14 but don't have my brew notebook handy at the moment.

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B. Goldwater
07-19-2013, 01:57 PM
Thank you for your input!

Tannin I plan on adding to taste at bottling, so no worries there.

Interesting about the puree and clarity. Pectinase and a fining agent didn't help?

I'm well under 18%....prolly 12-14 but don't have my brew notebook handy at the moment.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 4 Beta

Pectinase and fining will help but you will be left with alot of racking losses because of the amount of lees that drop. So have plenty of reserve to top up with.

at 12-14 % 1118 will eat through the sugars in the puree easily i would imagine...if you want sweet mead, you will either have to keep step feeding till the ABV gets high enough to kill off the yeast or add your kmeta and ksorbate then back sweeten.

butterpants
07-19-2013, 04:10 PM
copy that

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mannye
07-19-2013, 08:31 PM
I don't know how you're going to do it, but that mead sounds AWESOME. I want some!

WVMJack
07-20-2013, 04:23 AM
Do you have any hippie foodstores around? They will usually sell some organic 100% cherry juice concentrate, tastes pretty good and of course you have to think about how adding different amounts of fruits to each of your test batches also adds a different amount of acid as well as sugar which you may or maynot want to balance for each test bottle, probably not though as they would all have to be equal to the highest ratio and in that batch you might not like all the acid added by the concentrate. We have tried Tree of LIfe brand and it tastes pretty good.

I also vote for 50/50 sweet and tart, one year we picked sweet and tart, made a batch of wine from each plus a batch with the fruit together at the start and it turned out better than the individual batches.

WVMJ

butterpants
07-20-2013, 07:38 AM
Do you have any hippie foodstores around? They will usually sell some organic 100% cherry juice concentrate, tastes pretty good and of course you have to think about how adding different amounts of fruits to each of your test batches also adds a different amount of acid as well as sugar which you may or maynot want to balance for each test bottle, probably not though as they would all have to be equal to the highest ratio and in that batch you might not like all the acid added by the concentrate. We have tried Tree of LIfe brand and it tastes pretty good.

I also vote for 50/50 sweet and tart, one year we picked sweet and tart, made a batch of wine from each plus a batch with the fruit together at the start and it turned out better than the individual batches.

WVMJ

Yep, WholeFoods is 10 minutes away. I will check there, thanx..... silly hippies.

butterpants
07-20-2013, 07:39 AM
I don't know how you're going to do it, but that mead sounds AWESOME. I want some!

me either..... hah

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