View Full Version : Berry Melomel Racking Question

09-12-2015, 04:37 PM
I started a six gallon batch of mixed berry melomel a couple of weeks ago using 21 pounds of frozen berries I got in the three pound bags sold at Wally Mart (seven of them). The fermentation went great and I hand-squeezed the fruit which was in a mesh bag and ended up with 5 1/2 gallons which I racked into a 5 gallon and another 1/2 gallon carboy. After about two weeks now I noticed quite a bit of sediment on the bottom of both carboys, like about 4" worth on the 5 gallon. I don't know if this will settle further down or not but it hasn't moved any lower in the past couple of days. Assuming it won't, I'm guessing I'll have a total of about 4 1/2 gallons between the two carboys when I rack the next time, leaving the sediment and yeast on the bottom. I'd like to keep the total amount at 5 gallons so I'm thinking about getting a bottle of berry mead to top off during the next racking, which is what I did with a previous batch of mango melomel, but that can get expensive since the store-bought stuff runs around $32 for 750ml. I really don't want to dilute it by adding water to top off because I like it the way it is now, so I'll probably add the additional store-bought mead to top off. My question - has anyone else had a situation where you got that much sediment with a berry melomel? The few previous batches I've made had about an inch or two of sediment but nowhere near what I ended up with this batch. The only thing I did different was made a yeast starter whereas the previous batches I simply rehydrated the yeast and pitched. I liked the results of the yeast starter this go-around because it fermented much more vigorously than the previous batches, and it lasted about three days longer. The previous batches were done in about seven days; this one about 10. I'm speculating the sediment could be due to a higher yeast count from the starter but I don't know for sure. Either way I plan to use a starter from now on but maybe I'll have to make 7 gallons to offset the losses from increased sediment. The only downside to making a seven gallon batch is I'd have to switch to a 15 gallon fermenter (Brute can) since I haven't been able to find any 8-10 gallon food-safe buckets to ferment in. The brew shop's biggest buckets are seven gallons and of course I'll need space for expansion. Of course if it's just sediment from the berries I can continue with making six gallons unless making a berry melomel. If anyone has any thoughts or experience making berry melomels or using yeast starters that resulted in more sediment I'd love to hear.

Thanks, Gene

09-12-2015, 09:46 PM
What I would suggest is to make your own traditional mead. Some dry and some sweet. Then, when you loose volume from racking you can add your own traditional to top off your carboy. If your batch is too dry add a sweeter mead and if it;s to sweet add the dry traditional.

Your starter doesn't increase the amount of yeast you end with. It only gives you a bigger army to start with. You could start with 1 packet of yeast or with ten and you will still end up with the same amount at the end of the day. They will stop budding and go anaerobic once the proper population is acquired.

09-13-2015, 01:30 AM
Thanks Squatchy - that makes sense. I guess berries just leave an awful lot of stuff behind. Great idea with the traditional mead. I didn't think of that.


09-13-2015, 08:40 AM
You could cold crash your carboy and that might compact you Lee's better.