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nkurz
10-06-2015, 12:09 AM
If I had several 3 gallon batches of mead started, and I wanted to experiment with some different flavoring possibilities, what would be the best time and method to split it into sub-batches? In particular, if I wanted to add fruit to half of each batch and keep the other half traditional, what should my approach be?

I started out with an intentionally low SG. I was thinking that I might step feed honey a couple times, rack off the top two gallons into a 3 gallon carboy, add some oak and vanilla, and keep feeding honey until refusal.

Then to the remaining 1 gallon plus yeast, I'd add about a gallon of fruit/juice/puree to reduce the ABV to sub 10%, and hope/expect the fermentation to continue/restart. (Then I'd fix the stuck/slash key on my/keyboard.)

Other than the particulars of the fruit and the amounts to add, is there a better way to go about this? More details about the current state: http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/24999-Critique-of-plan-for-step-fed-meads?p=248541#post248541

Stasis
10-06-2015, 04:51 PM
Ideally, add fruit before the 1/3 sugar break to avoid possible oxidation problems. Personally I add fruit upfront and spices at the very end... probably not more than a month before bottling.
The reason for this is that I dislike the actual taste of fruit and prefer the fermented taste of fruit in mead. Some people prefer to have at least some fruit in secondary. If you're not adding a lot of fruit you might want to add some to secondary to ensure that at least some fruit taste will be present. However, since you're doing such small batches I'd recommend not holding back on the amount of fruit. Spices on the other hand tend to mellow out and sometimes disappear altogether with age. This is why I add spices at the very end so as to keep all those herbs and spices balanced and present in the end product.

Btw, according to oskaar (and some of my limited experience), try to minimize the amount of times you step feed since step feeding seems to cause fusels which need long aging times to mellow out. I heard this in one of the gotmead live radio shows