View Full Version : Prep for my next mead -- a first mel

Jim H
08-04-2013, 09:27 AM
Hi all, since I first started posting here, I have learned quite a lot. One of the things I discovered is that preparing for my next batch here is a really good idea. So, here goes.

I would like to try a first mel, and I want to keep it simple. If all goes well, I will go on to try something more far-reaching. I will be starting it in late summer when temps in NYC can still reach into the 90s for a week or two, as a surprise from mother nature.

The general recipe:
- 3 gal
- 12 lb honey, based on my current meth batch
- K1V, because it can withstand the weather, not because I want a strong mead
- a 49 oz can of Vintner's Harvest puree (nothing to strain, nothing to sterilize)
- step feed the honey, so I don't blow it out of the airlock or stun the yeast

So, I need help understanding how to treat the fruit.
- Should I treat adding the fruit like a step-feeding measure? i.e.: add it only when the gravity reaches ___? Or only in secondary?
- Should I reduce the honey to account for the puree? The mead calculator doesn't really budge when I add in 49 oz of fruit....
- Should I use oak, or will the fruit already contribute enough tannin and structure?
- What other additives should I have at the ready? I have pectin enzyme, pH strips and acid blend... though not sure if I will need more acid. What else?

Also, as to flavors, I am undecided if I should go with raspberry (Chevette Girl's go-to flavor), blackberry, or peach. What's your flavor? Are there different methods to use for each of them, based on their sugars or tannins?

08-04-2013, 11:47 AM
Look in the brewlog at my "surprise Blackcurrant mead". It is pretty much exactly what you are planning to do. I used 71B, but there is no reason not to use K1V. Either way it goes dry and is delicious very quickly. I suggest consumption at room temperature much like a red wine.

One more thing. It feels a lot stronger than the ABV suggests.
Bon chance!

Jim H
08-05-2013, 07:21 PM
Thanks for the support on this one. Reading your thread, I couldn't quite tell how much honey you finally put in with the 96 oz can. I know that you had to deal with some wastage, but what would you estimate?

Also, what's the total volume of the batch?


08-05-2013, 10:01 PM
Based on extensive gravity readings, it was 8.5 lbs of Ames farm honey plus 1 lb of orange blossom honey. You could do more since you are using a more alcohol tolerant yeast.

In case you want to know, The 96 oz Blackcurrant juice added 0.024 gravity points on top of the honey. It was a 5 gallon batch.

Despite being spontaneous, I wouldn't change a thing!

Jim H
08-06-2013, 07:12 PM
Thanks! :) Any pH concerns?

Jim H
08-08-2013, 09:10 PM
Question for all: if I wanted to do a peach or raspberry mel, should I use grape tannins, oak beans, or tea for the tannin structure? What's the diff?

If I do a blackberry mel, I am guessing that I won't need to add tannins. Correct?

08-09-2013, 11:05 AM
Generally, I let the meads age first, taste, and then decide about tannins. For the three you listed, tea is probably the weakest and could be used for light flavors like peach. Grape tannins and oak are variable and should be tried in small batches before you treat the whole batch! You will have to suffer and devote an afternoon to drinking tannin dosed mead!

Jim H
08-09-2013, 08:02 PM
Ok, so for acids and tannins, it's best to leave 'till last. Makes sense.

I have oak beans and chips, and sort of have a sense for using them. I will probably give them a shot.

Jim H
08-09-2013, 11:26 PM
In case you want to know, The 96 oz Blackcurrant juice added 0.024 gravity points on top of the honey. It was a 5 gallon batch.

I had a very good email exchange with one of the folks at Vintner's Harvest. According to him, the smaller cans of puree:
Cherry is 18 brix, strawberry is only 8 brix. Raspberry, blackberry and peach are 12 brix. All are 3 lbs. So, the can of peach has an SG of 1.0484.

The puree comes in a 49 oz can versus your larger juice cans. Apparently, at the concentration that I am using (1 can puree per 3 gal batch) the fruit "will shine".