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heathd666
03-05-2016, 08:19 PM
so i am wanting to make a blackberry mead. i bought a can of Vintners Harvest Blackberry fruit wine base (96 oz) i want to make 5 gallons of mead using the calculator i am thinking of adding 15 lbs of honey and adding water to 5 gallons. i have yeast energizer yeast hulls fermaid k to add as well but i have to do more research on it but as it stands ill add 1 tsp yeast hull every other day to maximum of 5 tsp. the off day ill add 1 tsp fermaid k at beginning of the fermentation. ive read alot of comments on how blackberry mead is tart but the honey has a sweet edition to balance the mouthfeel? / flavor out. i have no idea how to do this. i believe ill add some frozen blackberries to the secondary to rack onto after the primary fermentation is over. ive been listening to the radio station ive downloaded the episodes so im even more confused now lol. alot of the recipes ive found all contain frozen fruit and since i am using a wine base im not sure how to change the recipes around to fit mine.

1 can vitners harvest blackberry wine base
1 tsp fermaid k
5 tsp yeast hulls
15 lbs clover honey
up to 5 gallons of spring water
yeast is a toss up of nottinghams ale yeast or cotes de blancs.

any critique would be appreciated or advise

Farmboyc
03-05-2016, 09:34 PM
You need to take a look at the potential ABV of your must from the calculator and then look at the alcohol tolerance of your yeast.
Nottingham is an ale yeast with a medium to medium-high alcohol tolerance. Probably only expect to mske10-12% before the yeast gets drunk and quits. Likely will leave a very sweet mead.
I have never used cotes de blanc but I believe it has a better chance of fermenting the 15 lbs of honey to dry if that is your goal.

Have no idea about the vintner harvest puree. I would use more Fermaid K 5tsp at least.

Squatchy
03-05-2016, 11:02 PM
I'm not sure about what you are looking for but here are some thoughts.

You need to add tons of fruit up front if you are looking for very much fruit flavor on the back side. Your 96oz in 5 gallons is not very much at all. You could double that and still have a fairly modest flavor profile in 5 gallons. I like to get a good base with melomels by adding a pretty substantial amount in primary. Then, once the yeast have croaked add fresh/frozen to get the jammy fresh fruit profile. So adding the jammy /fresh on top of the base is a good mix for me. If you let it get semi clear before you even add the fresh/frozen in primary you have a better feel for how the finished product will end up. Many times I split a batch and make some dry or off dry with just the fruit source in primary. I make that for what I call light and easy summer drinking stuff. Then, I add more fruit to make a heavier "fruit bomb". I might even fortify some of the "fruit bomb" to make a port style as well. By doing this you sort of have 3 different things that all came from the same work. You can also blend all of the above to push/pull things in any direction you want to go.

heathd666
03-06-2016, 01:30 PM
so if i adjust the recipe thus

15 lbs frozen blackberries
5 tsp fermaid k
5 tsp yeast hulls
15 lbs clover honey
up to 5 gallons of spring water
cotes de blancs yeast

add into secondary
1 can vitners harvest blackberry wine base 96 oz

does this sound like a better recipe than?

Squatchy
03-06-2016, 05:18 PM
Personally, I would use the base up front and the frozen on the back end

EbonHawk
03-07-2016, 08:55 AM
Personally, I would use the base up front and the frozen on the back end
Bingo! That's what I'd do, having seen what the Vintner's Harvest stuff looks and tastes like. Syrupy sweet with minimal fruit flavor. Not saying it's a bad product, just that it's not as fruity as I would like, and I'm going to supplement any Vintner's Harvest stuff from now on with whatever fruit the bases are made of. And I'd want my quality (freshest, whole fruit even if it was frozen previously) stuff to go into the secondary fermentation, like Squatchy said.

It's been my experience, and from stuff I've been reading, that a vigorous ferment and all that CO2 "scrubbing" that goes on in the first few days to a week of active fermentation, that's what drives off a lot of the complex fruit flavors. Fruit added up front tends to get diminished considerably, and you end up with a more wine type flavor, than if you add it in secondary later and preserve more of that complex fresh fruit flavor. It makes a huge difference to my tastebuds. It's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just what do you want the final product to taste like? Wine, or a fruitier tasting mead? I like both, depending on what mood I'm in.

I would say the Red Star Cote des Blanc with plenty of nutrients would be the best yeast option.

heathd666
03-09-2016, 08:49 PM
i really want to get rid of this can of wine base as i have had it for probably close to 2 years now

10 lbs frozen blackberries
1 can vitners harvest blackberry wine base (96 oz)
5 tsp fermaid k
5 tsp yeast hulls
15 lbs clover honey
up to 5 gallons of spring water
cotes de blancs yeast

add into secondary
5 pounds frozen blackberries

is there another yeast that is low alcohol tolerant than cotes de blancs that you would suggest? alot of people talk about stopping the fermentation with cold crashing using sorbates etc ( may not have been sorbates i dont remember) but i was kind of hoping to use a yeast that would compliment the fruit but also let me keep some of the sweet ness from the fermentation. i dont want to back sweeten with honey, nothing is wrong with it its just not something i want to do :) originally i had thought of using nottinghams ale yeast due to it being a lower alcohol tolerant yeast 12% i think. but i have not been able to figure out how to use the calculator to figure out a lower alcohol tolerant yeast. i hope i am explaining it right. thanks in advance.

Squatchy
03-10-2016, 12:00 AM
You need to go look at the yeast charts from the manufacturer to find the stats for all the different strains. I can't tell you what you want. So many have differents contributions.

http://www.scottlab.com/product-52.aspx

heathd666
02-05-2017, 12:15 PM
so this is what i wound up doing

Blackberry Mead started 3/13/16 @ 3:40 pm

15.7 lbs honey
1 tsp fermaid k
3 tsp yeast hulls
11 lbs frozen blackberies pureed.
96 oz vitners harvest blackberry wine base
4 gallons kroger brand spring water

Started out weighing honey out and mixing with kroger brand spring water. Weighted out 6.5 pds, than 6.5 pds, and finally 2.13 fro a total of 15.7 lbs of honey and added 4 gallons of water. Heated up honey in dutch oven just until it liquified and than Mixed a little honey with water in blender and blended for 30 seconds. Did this until all the water was used. Started blending 11 packages of 1 lb frozen blackberries that I defrosted over night. Mixed a little water with blackberries and blended for 30 seconds. Used a paint strainer bag that I sanitized and put 1 - 96 oz can of vitners harvest blackberry wine base in and than added the pureed blackberries for a total of 15 lbs. Not all of it fit removed a gallon of the blackberrys i pureed I am storing in a 1 gallon jug in fridge to add to the secondary. Added 3 tsp of yeast hulls. And 1 tsp fermaid k. ph before adding fruit was 4.2. 1.092 was gravity before adding fruit. Will recheck tomorrow after it has sat over night with the fruit. It is close to 7 gallons in bucket. Temp was 74 degrees f.

3/13/16 @ 12:20 pm bubbling very good temp is 72 deg f

3/14/16 @ 7 am bubbling vigouresly

3/15/16 stirred and added 1 teaspoon of yeast hulls. Moved 1 gallon from freezer and put into fridge. 72 degrees main fermentation bucket.

3/17/16 @ 5 pm stirred 73 degrees. Stirred and flipped bag of blackberries over. Also dunked them

3/18/16 bubbles are slowing down 72 degrees

3/19/16 @ bubbles still mayby 1 every second 70 degrees

3/22/16 @ 6:15 72 deg f. Stirred and flipped bag of blackberries over. Also dunked them. Mayby 1 bubbles every 3 seconds.

3/29/16 @ 8:15 pulled berries out and checked gravity of main fermenter 1.002 64 deg f

4/5/16 racked into a 7.9 gallon fermentation bucket onto tsp Potassium Metabisulphite. 3.8 ph temp 64 degrees f.

4/7/16 added 3 tsp of potassium sorbate to 50 ml of spring water added to bucket. gravity 1.000

5/8/16 @ 9:00 pm checked gravity 1.000 added 1 gallon of frozen blackberry puree to secondary 64 deg f before addition.

5/24/16 removed blackberries

6/5/16 racked into carboy

1/22/17 checked gravity 1.000. added 3 pds of honey to this. FG 1.020 and put into the refridgerator for a week.

2/1/17 pulled out of fridge and let sit for a week or so in closet. Gravity 1.020 ph 3.6 temp 64 degrees

2/5/17 8:30 used star san to sanitize bottles. Made up fresh batch of 5 campden tablets and 5 gallons of water to sanitize tubes/pump for filter bottles etc. Sulphited all the bottles. Ran 5 gallons of sulphited water through pump. Mixed up 2 teaspoons citric acid and 1 gallon water and soaked coarse filter pad in it. Ran 1 gallon distilled water through pump and #3 filters. Started filter process at 10:21 am. PH 3.6 installed #2 filters and ran distilled water through pump and filter to wash citric acid solution out of #2 polishing filters in pump. Gravity is 1.020.

sorry to revive this old thread but instead of making a new one with the same recipe i figured i would add to this. my question is this. is the ph of 3.6 going to balance out the tartness of the blackberries as well and the sweetness. if not how do i fix it. i apologize im not very knowledgable when it comes to pareing tart versus sweet to find the proper mix. thanks in advance for any advice.

Squatchy
02-05-2017, 02:31 PM
First off, great job bud. You did well to document so nicely. You haven't mentioned anything about the overall perception of the product in it's current state. I would suggest in the future to taste things all along the progress trial. Taste you must. This way you , over time will get an idea of what fresh must will taste like in a few weeks after it's been fermented. Taste along the way. This helps you to get a feel for the difference between sweet, semi sweet and dry. Also You can detect if something starts to go awry.

I would add you might do well to take readings more often. Not sure of what you did. But fruit in a bag, as you know floats high on the must and if the bag is very big it traps CO2 and heat under it and cause stress to the yeast. Make sure to turn your bag a lot and to squeeze it a lot and to punch it down to the bottom of your vessel some. All of this is to allow the heat and gasses to escape and to keep your bag constantly moving so funk won't grow on the top of an unturned bag.

pH is good to monitor. But always let your tongue be the final judge. Numbers mean nothing if at the end of the day you are not happy with your product. So you may find, depending on what adjustments you need to do that your polished mead may get a bit hazy. My advice would be to wait for the final filtering until you are completely finished.

Describe your overall impression of this mead and then tell us where you feel it needs to go to find that sweet spot (no pun intended) so we can help you tweak it if need be.

heathd666
02-05-2017, 02:59 PM
for the fruit in the bag i use a plastic strainer from walmart i put the bottom of it on the fruit bag and the top rests on the lid of the frementer so it pushes the bag and fruit under the must. not pretty but it works and than i dont have to punch the fruit down over time.

Squatchy
02-05-2017, 03:37 PM
for the fruit in the bag i use a plastic strainer from walmart i put the bottom of it on the fruit bag and the top rests on the lid of the frementer so it pushes the bag and fruit under the must. not pretty but it works and than i dont have to punch the fruit down over time.

LOL. I do the same thing just with a different approach. So what's your mead taste like?

heathd666
02-05-2017, 05:57 PM
well taste wise i grew up orthodox and during communion we dipped the body (un levened bread or is it levened) of Christ into his blood (wine) before partaking. it tastes like that. it has a nice sweet but not to sweet but not a tart taste. i think i can taste some tannin? i dont actually know what tannin tastes like since my pallete is used to stuff from the hills of bowling green and scottsville KY. but its a likable taste definitly reminds me of church lol.

Squatchy
02-05-2017, 08:14 PM
So is it what you like? How would you want to influence it if you are not satisfied? I think different churches used different juice for communion.