I am about to start a five gallon batch of strawberry melomel, my first one ever... I am curious to get some feedback as I've kinda hit information overload doing my research here on the site today and have hit a couple of potential snags. My first question is about heating the strawberries. The strawberries I have had a few in the container that had a bit of mold on them. I have culled these out of the batch and have thoroughly washed the remaining berries. Is it ok to still use the other berries? I've cut them up and am freezing them to break the cell walls. I hear that heating the fruit before adding them can cause proteins to gel, thus making clarification down the road very difficult. Additionally, is 32 ounces of berries enough for a five gallon batch of mead? Also, should I add pectinase to the batch?
I will be kicking this batch off with a seriously healthy starter, using K1-V1116 yeast again on this batch. I do plan on using the standard stepped nutrient addition process as I understand the strawberries do not add enough nutrient to really impact the yeast support as some other fruits. I am also planning on using a fruit bag to hold the fruit durring primary fermentation. Anyway, any input would be greatly appreciated and thanks a bunch for your time.
I think about 3lbs per gallon is what yomama was using for his, and about what they are using at BNektar.
Bees stole my signature file!
Couple of things: Not likely to get a very pronounced strawberry flavor with that amount. I think I put about 15 lbs into my 5.5 gal batch of a strawberry mel.
Second, if you're worried about what might be living on your berries. Hit them with a couplathree campden tablets (I wouldn't heat them). Then let everything sit for about 24 hours before pitching the yeast.
If you do up the amount of strawberries you're putting in, you might want to get some fine mesh bags for the fruit. The strawberries will turn to a large mass of mush on the bottom of your vessel. If you've got everything bagged, you can just pull it all out. If not. You might get a fair amount of mead loss.
There's a pretty popular strawberry melomel recipe that's made the rounds here in the patrons' section. It's pretty straightforward. There might be something close in the bewlog section for the regular forum. I don't want to run afoul of the mods, but I know I've seen it on other boards besides gotmead.
I'm an idiot. I should have looked at your info.
You're a patron. You should check out Yo Mama's Strawberry Pizzaz in the patron recipe section. It's got about 5 pages of posts answering just about any question you could have on a strawberry mel.
Schramm recommends 1-1.5 lbs per gallon for a "MILD" fruit character (1.5-2.5 lbs for medium character and 2.5+ for heavy character) in the book The Compleat Meadmaker". At less than .5 lbs per gallon I would guess that you wouldn't even notice that it was added.
" ...no sense hauling empty carboys around when full ones take up just as much space. " -TheFlyingBeer (on HomeBrewTalk)
And yes, I'd recommend using pectinase, and don't bother heating the berries.
Good call on bagging the berries, you lose a LOT less volume that way.
And you may want to reduce your batch size or get some more berries, unless they're really flavourful, you probably want a couple pounds per gallon. I think I usually go for about 4 lb per gal when I make strawberry wine, and I made a gallon of strawberry JAO variation with about 3/4 lb of California strawberries and it had almost no strawberry flavour to it...
"The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
"When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
"Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
"I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014
Well I'm off to the brew store to get the extra supplies I need and then the store to buy a ton more strawberries. Should be fun. I'll post my brewlogs later this evening or sometime tomorrow. Thanks all for the input. =)