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Thread: Batch #2 Blackberry Melomel

  1. Default Batch #2 Blackberry Melomel

    First off, hello! I've been reading and researching quite a bit regarding home meadmaking and decided to try it. I've already successfully made a batch of simple short mead but found it lacking in flavor but otherwise alright. Now, I'm trying for something with lots of bold, rich flavor, a 1-gallon blackberry melomel. I'll describe my process here, I would appreciate any feedback and would like to see if I'm at least on the right track. I'm someone who prefers to keep things as simple as possible, so there's less to mess up.

    Ingredients: 3lbs raw local honey, 3lbs blackberries (frozen), 1 packet Lalvin 71B-1122, 1 gallon spring water

    Process: (I'm going to skip over sanitation since we all know that already).

    1. Crushed 1.5lbs thawed frozen blackberries in plastic bag, placed into primary fermenter with about half of the spring water.
    2. Added 3lbs honey, after taking a bath in warm water to ease pouring.
    3. Filled with additional spring water, leaving an inch or two of head space.
    4. Attempted to take first hydrometer reading, but it was way too low. Used the handy calculator here to determine that SG was probably 1.118, suspect that fruit pulp in must threw off the reading or I just didn't do it right.
    5. Pitched yeast.
    6. Shook the jug like I meant it to aerate must.
    7. Placed a poor man's airlock on mouth of jug, cheap balloon with holes poked in it.

    What I'm planning to do is as follows:

    1. Crush/puree remaining 1.5lbs of blackberries, strain it, add to secondary fermenter.
    2. Rack into glass secondary through strainer.
    3. Wait a few months before bottling/drinking.

    My questions are open-ended...did I screw anything up or miss anything? I wanted to get the best of both worlds for adding fruit to primary or secondary so that's why I decided to go that route. What I'm shooting for is a semi-sweet, fruity, flavorful mead. Is that likely, based on what I've described, to be what I end up with? I would love to do 5-gallon batches but, due to space and financial limitations, I'm sticking with small mead batches for now. Does anyone have any suggestions for aging? More specifically, how long should I let the must sit in the primary before racking? My concern is excess tannin from the blackberry seeds. I just checked on my mead and the balloon is already inflated, just 5 hours after pitching the yeast! Thank you in advance!

  2. Default

    I have made a five gallon variant of JAO using blackberries in place of oranges. I put just 5 pounds of fruit in the primary and none in secondary. It was perfect. Although your method will be completely different, that sounds like a LOT of fruit. Blackberries are pretty tart.

  3. #3

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    Did you rehydrate your yeast or dry pitch. Friends don't let friends dry pitch!!!

    Also, will you plan to feed your yeast? You will benefit greatly if you do.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    Did you rehydrate your yeast or dry pitch. Friends don't let friends dry pitch!!!

    Also, will you plan to feed your yeast? You will benefit greatly if you do.
    I've read much of the fierce debate around dry pitching vs. dehydration and I dry pitched since it seemed to work alright with the short mead. It doesn't seem to have hurt things too much since there's a pretty vigorous ferment going on not even 12 hours after pitching. I'll definitely consider re-hydrating my yeast in the future, though.

    I figured the blackberries would provide enough nutrition for the yeast; was I mistaken? What should I use for additional yeast food?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin16 View Post
    I've read much of the fierce debate around dry pitching vs. dehydration and I dry pitched since it seemed to work alright with the short mead. It doesn't seem to have hurt things too much since there's a pretty vigorous ferment going on not even 12 hours after pitching. I'll definitely consider re-hydrating my yeast in the future, though.

    I figured the blackberries would provide enough nutrition for the yeast; was I mistaken? What should I use for additional yeast food?
    Use TOSNA or TiOSNA: http://www.meadmaderight.com/tosna.html or http://www.meadmaderight.com/tiosna--inorganic-.html.
    Both recommend using half the calculated amount if fruit are present.

    If you can't get Fermaid-K or Fermaid-O, yeast energizer is similar (but not identical) to fermaid-K and use the TiOSNA protocol. It wont be exact, as the protocol was meant for Fermaid-K but it gets you in the ball park.
    Should you add more or less is a good question.
    Maybe someone else can help out with that.

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