PDA

View Full Version : strawberry mead issue



BellaCrow
05-11-2005, 07:40 PM
Hi,

I've done an experiement and would like to hear feedback.

A one gallon experimental strawberry mead. I used 3 lbs of Mesquite honey and 2 lbs of pureed strawberry and water to fill. Added a handful of raisins and a cinnamon stick. Using Lavlin EC-1118 yeast.

It's really thick and we will have to filter it when we rack it and move it to the secondary fermentation. At that time I want to also add a bourbon vanilla bean.

But last night, a few hours after pitching it, it popped it's top. I heard a big noise and ran in to see strawberry puree on the walls ;-) I've been keeping an eye on it since, but I wonder if I've got too much strawberry puree and not enough liquid.

Would it be possible to add water (and maybe more honey) when I move it to secondary fermentation?

thanks,

Bella

JamesP
05-11-2005, 08:02 PM
The EC-1118 will ferment it dry. You may have to back-sweeten if you want some strawberry taste to be noticable.

Too much strawberry puree? - put it in a covered bucket for a few days, then transfer to carboy allowing some headspace.

Add honey/water to match your target %Alc

Oskaar
05-11-2005, 08:08 PM
Well, I've only done one batch of strawberry so my experience here is pretty limited, but, I'd go ahead and top up with some water at this point, and wait until you rack to see where you are gravity wise.

Your original must was probably somewhere around 1.11 - 1.12 SG and EC1118 will handle that no problem. It should ferment it to dryness at that starting gravity. EC1118 is merciless so if you want it sweet you'll need to add more honey/strawberry or some other fermentable sugar.

Problem is, feeding EC just seems to crank up the ABV as you feed it, so I'd guess if you feed till it stops you'll end up well over 20% rocket fuel.

You may consider dosing it hard with more honey after racking and stopping it at about 1.010 - 1.020 SG if you want it slightly sweet or demi-sec.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

BellaCrow
05-11-2005, 08:38 PM
Well, I've only done one batch of strawberry so my experience here is pretty limited, but, I'd go ahead and top up with some water at this point, and wait until you rack to see where you are gravity wise.



Problem is, feeding EC just seems to crank up the ABV as you feed it, so I'd guess if you feed till it stops you'll end up well over 20% rocket fuel.

You may consider dosing it hard with more honey after racking and stopping it at about 1.010 - 1.020 SG if you want it slightly sweet or demi-sec.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar


ooh thanks! How do you reccomend I stop the fermentation?

Bella

Oskaar
05-12-2005, 12:53 AM
Well, if you have room in a spare refrigerator you can place the carboy in it and crank the cold setting down to 40 - 45 degrees F which will stop fermentation and put your yeasties to sleep. Two weeks at that temperature will send your yeasties into a deep sleep. Upon removal from the fridge rack immediately to another vessel. From there you have a couple of options.

You can add sorbate at a rate of .5 to .75 grams per gallon (125-200ppm) in conjunction with .3 grams of meta-bisulphite (50ppm) per gallon.

You can add sorbate only and continue to bulk age (this presents a risk of an Acetobacter sp. bacterial infection if your pH is above 3.3 - 3.5 and you don't flood the carboy with C02 to ensure an anaerobic environment) Acetobacter is the vinegar bacteria and it can survive in a fairly hostile pH to most bacteria, but it needs O2 to survive, hence the need to evacuate all the O2 and replace it with CO2

You can let the vessel you just racked into continue to age checking the SG regularly over a period of 2 to 3 months to be sure fermentation did not restart, and your SG isn't still dropping.

My favorite method to be absolutely sure there is no change in SG: Drink it . . . FAST! LOL

Cheers,

Oskaar

BellaCrow
05-12-2005, 01:07 AM
Thanks!

So whatever we do we need to chill it first it seems? I'm trying to think where we could put it and coming up empty.

It also seems that we're using a yeast that's not really suited for a sack mead. We tasted our coffee and Maple meads and they are already pretty alcoholic and still fermenting. So that's 6 gallons as well that we need to stop fermentation on.

I'm still new to the Got Mead site, is there a specific page/forum where I can learn which yeast is more suited to what I want in my mead?

Bella

edited "mead" for "yeast" meant to say yeast dangit

BellaCrow
05-13-2005, 04:11 PM
I think I'm going to pitch another strawberry mead this weekend. We got gung-ho about that yeast since it goes up to 20% alcohol and ferments furiously.

However, we're more interested in sack meads. So, I think I'm going to take a reading and stop the fermentation of my current one in a week or two to try and salvage it. (We're having to stop fermentation on the Maple and Coffee ones as well and maybe back-sweeten and/or flavor.)

I'm going to make the new one a 3 gallon mead with maybe 5 -6 lbs of strawberry puree and maybe clover honey. But I'm going to make it in a 5 gallon carboy so there's actually room for something more than the puree in the carboy and it has "room" to work.

Out of all it looks like Ryan's RedLand and my Cyser (Jim's recipe) are working out the best. I think we got off-track with this yeast we were using sadly.

tricky, tricky, tricky and to think I was never big on science

Bella

Steve523
05-13-2005, 08:02 PM
I recently started a batch of strawberry mead. I took two 5 gallon carboys and only filled them up to about 3.5 gallons with the must in order to give them room to move. After two weeks I racked them into 1 carboy leaving as much of the fruit behind as I could. I need to rack it again now that the fruit has settled again. Very hard to get the fruit out, but the two carboy trick is great.

I got the inspiration from the book 'The Homebrewer's Companion' by Charles Papazian. He had a Rasberry Mead recipe that used that procedure.

BellaCrow
05-13-2005, 08:12 PM
I recently started a batch of strawberry mead. I took two 5 gallon carboys and only filled them up to about 3.5 gallons with the must in order to give them room to move. After two weeks I racked them into 1 carboy leaving as much of the fruit behind as I could. I need to rack it again now that the fruit has settled again. Very hard to get the fruit out, but the two carboy trick is great.

I got the inspiration from the book 'The Homebrewer's Companion' by Charles Papazian. He had a Rasberry Mead recipe that used that procedure.


Nifty idea!! Did you take a taste yet? How much fruit did you end up using? Are you using any spices or anything with it? I'm picking a lighter, more "neutral" honey so it doesnt get in the way of the fruit taste. Or at least that's my theory so far.


Bella

Steve523
05-13-2005, 10:24 PM
I used a total of 11 lbs between the two carboys and 23 lbs of clover honey. No I'm not using any spices, just fruit, honey, yeast, and a little nutrient. White Labs Sweet Mead Yeast.

Dan McFeeley
05-14-2005, 03:25 AM
But last night, a few hours after pitching it, it popped it's top. I heard a big noise and ran in to see strawberry puree on the walls ;-) I've been keeping an eye on it since, but I wonder if I've got too much strawberry puree and not enough liquid.

Hello Bella --

There's a couple of ways you can avoid this -- use a larger carboy so there will be lots of head space, about a 6.5 gal carboy for a 5 gal batch. Once it's still you can rack to a 5 gal carboy for further bulk aging.

You can also use a blow off tube in place of an airlock if it looks like the fermentation is going to be particularly violent, throwing off all kinds of gunk. To set this up, run a long piece of hosing from the rubber stopper into a small jar filled with a sanitizing solution of some kind -- the same kind you'd be using in the air lock.

Steve523
06-01-2005, 03:43 PM
Well, I racked the my Strawberry mead after two weeks and then again after another two weeks. It has been another two weeks (roughly six weeks total) and when I checked it last night it had decided to spontaneously clarify. Not completely, but the fruit is clumping up and dropping out.

I figure it is perhaps a variety of things. The alcohol content is high so it may have reached a point that the yeast can not survive at. The temperature has been a little warm lately, about 78-80f. It could just be that time...

It still has a really nice strawberry color and tastes great!

JoeM
06-01-2005, 09:41 PM
Why so much racking? Just curious.

Steve523
06-02-2005, 02:00 AM
Well, just twice so far, but the answer I think your looking for is lots and lots of sediment. I used 12# of strawberries and I used a masticating juicer to break down the strawberries without imparting oxygen like a centrifuge style juicer would do. This leaves it more of a strawberry slush and very hard to extract the fruit solids.

JoeM
06-02-2005, 05:32 PM
Why not wait like 6-8 weeks from pitching until the mead begins to clear and then get the majority of the sediment out in one rack? You lose alot less volume this way.

Steve523
06-03-2005, 03:05 PM
Well, the rasberry recipe by Charles Papazian stated to rack after two weeks so I went with his suggestion there.
The second time I racked? Well I guess I just felt like it. ;D
I started the batch knowing that I was going to lose some along the way. Even after two rackings, I still have 6 gallons.

Gonzo
06-05-2005, 01:18 PM
Hi, I'm in the same boat as Bella,
I'm wondering now that is't so clear, some lees in the bottom of the carboy. What's the advantage of racking to another carboy vs just bottling it?

JoeM
06-05-2005, 06:50 PM
if you have a significant amount of sediment and you bottle it without another rack it is likely that you will end up with some sediment in your bottles no matter how careful you are.

Steve523
06-06-2005, 12:30 PM
Is there a reason I shouldn't rack?

Aside from the issue of losing volume each time?
As long as I am careful and don't oxidate the mead?

JoeM
06-06-2005, 05:21 PM
The things that concern me with frequent/early racking arenít just lost volume and oxidation, but possible stunned fermentation and/or bacterial contamination as well. Donít take what Iím saying wrong; Iím not criticizing you as I know there are a lot of people who rack early and often. I guess the question Iím posing to you and others who do things similar is why? What is there to gain?

Oskaar
06-06-2005, 05:24 PM
Hey there,

From my point of view it's simply that you don't need to keep racking so much after the primary from a practical standpoint.

Once you've made your adjustments in the primary and racked to secondary I think it's a good idea to observe and rack when it makes sense, and not on a timetable. When you rack a lot you, risk contamination, risk oxidation, lose a small amount of mead, have to clean everything up, and generally invest some time that may be better spend observing and annotating your mead's progress. Why upset the stuff so often?

Cheers,

Oskaar

irishoneme
07-04-2005, 02:54 PM
Hi there,
I just went through a bit of the same thing with my strawberry,raspberry,blackberry batch. We used the EC as well and had a violent fermentation. Although we didn't blow the lid, we did notice that we had alot more product when we removed the fruit (water from the berries I suppose). We noticed alot of bottom fermentation after a couple of weeks and were afraid of rocket fuel, so we racked again and that took care of the yeast.

Steve523
02-09-2006, 05:09 PM
I have to post in here again to let y'all know how my Strawberry turned out.

Absolutely wonderful. I did not take a gravity reading and so I can't say exactly where it is at, but it is very strong. I, of course, expect it to mellow with more aging. It has a beautiful red color that stayed with it the whole time and still hasn't faded. There is an aftertaste that makes me feel like I just took a deep breath of a rack of almost overripe strawberries.

I continued to age it in the carboy until December before bottling it. It was tough to keep my hands off of it, it was so beautiful. I handed it out to co-workers and family for X-mas. It was very well received. So well that I think I am going to do another batch and see if I can make it better. I need to wait until strawberry season to get fresh ripe strawberries. I credit the quality of the strawberries I used for my results. I got them from a farm local to my area (San Diego).

My critique however:
Racking - I did rack too many times. I am happy with my initial racking after two weeks as the recipe called for, but I now believe that my follow up racking was unnecessary. I should have just waited until after it had flocculated completely before the second racking. As it was I had to rack a third time. Live and learn. Thanks for the input!

Rocket fuel - I used too much honey and I will try adjusting for that next batch. I am learning with experience that more is not always better.

Yeast - I used WL Sweet Mead Yeast. It's a wonderful yeast, but I am really enjoying the results I am getting with the Belgian strains in some of my other meads. I think I will use one of them this year for my next batch.

CosmicCharlie
02-13-2006, 02:00 PM
I've made strawberry a couple of times - so I'll throw out a few comments. I used to add fruit to the secondary, but now I'm experimenting with adding it to the primary. When I do (I usually make 1 gallon batches) I let it ferment in a 3 gallon carboy. So the original proportion of 3 lbs honey with 2 lbs strawberry should work fine - I usually use at least as much of each ingredient. The problem seems to be adding enough water to fill the 1 gal carboy. It can taste like rocket fuel at first, but aging mellows the harsh flavors. I have just started experimenting with oak chips, and that should also help it mellow out.

Best of luck,

CC