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Thread: First mead, a Blueberry Melomel

  1. #1
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    Default First mead, a Blueberry Melomel

    Greetings, all!

    I've begun my first ever experiment in mead-making, and did so before I found this forum, much to my dismay. I'll be researching throughout the forum, to learn as much as possible, but I thought I'd post my process here, just in case I have made/am about to make any mistakes! Please feel free to offer critiques and advice, with my thanks! =)

    Blueberry Melomel

    2 pounds Orange Blossom Honey
    Three pounds Blueberries
    Spring Water
    Red Star Montrachet yeast, half packet

    I boiled some of the water, and added the honey to melt it, then poured all but a pint of the mixture into a glass carboy (from a gallon of wine I drank with some friends, just before. ;]) I smashed two pounds of the berries, and poured it into the carboy, shaking it up a bit; I froze the rest of the berries to add, later. I then added about half of the yeast packet, and added more water to fill, with some headspace. I put in the airlock, and tucked it away. The next morning, the airlock had popped off, I assume from getting berry flesh stuck in it, blocking it up. I cleaned it up, and reinserted, and have had no problems since. So, it's been sitting, bubbling, for three days, and I'm planning on racking it off after two weeks, adding the frozen berries in a mesh bag (for easy removal after another two weeks), and some of the remaining honeywater, to backsweeten, if necessary. I plan on racking it off one more time, after three months, letting sit another three months, then bottling.

    So, that's the plan, and I'm hoping it comes out well! Any advice or critique is welcome! Thank you! =)

    GrayBee
    You are never to old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream. - C.S. Lewis

  2. #2
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    Default

    In addition to newbee guide, check out meadology series on YouTube.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Don't forget to punch the cap down. The fruit will tend to form a cap on top of the mead which will prevent CO2 from escaping. Also, it can dry out just enough to make the perfect environment for mold. You should stir the fruit back into the mead twice daily (which also adds to aeration and degassing) through 1/3 sugar break. From there just swirling it up in the bottle to break it up, keep it from drying out should be sufficient.

  4. #4
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    I find that, if the inside neck of the carboy is wet, the airlock will eventually squeeze out. Making sure that the plug and/or the inside neck area are dry (clean paper towel), usually keeps it from happening.

  5. #5

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    I wouldn't rack it for a much longer time. WHat are you wanting to achieve by racking it so soon? My bet is it won't even be finished by then.

    I think you probably wounded your yeast or out right killed a good bit of it. You also probably way under pitched. You need to feed your yeast some nitrogen as well as control your temps.

    How much water did you have when you added the honey?
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  6. #6
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    Well, I've read that you should rack it off the fruit after a couple of weeks, which is why I was going to do a couple of racks. I'm kind of nervous about leaving the berries in for longer... I used about a liter and a half/two liters of water, to fill the carboy, so I didn't measure very well. The yeast seems to be quite happy, it's still bubbling away, but what type of nitrogen would you recommend? I've never home-brewed, before, so I'm learning on the fly! Thank you!
    You are never to old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream. - C.S. Lewis

  7. #7
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    Ooh, thanks! I'll watch that, today, before work! =D

    Update: I'll watch a couple of episodes, before work! Didn't realize they were 25 min episodes!
    Last edited by GrayBee; 04-30-2017 at 01:43 PM.
    You are never to old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream. - C.S. Lewis

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrayBee View Post
    Well, I've read that you should rack it off the fruit after a couple of weeks, which is why I was going to do a couple of racks. I'm kind of nervous about leaving the berries in for longer... I used about a liter and a half/two liters of water, to fill the carboy, so I didn't measure very well. The yeast seems to be quite happy, it's still bubbling away, but what type of nitrogen would you recommend? I've never home-brewed, before, so I'm learning on the fly! Thank you!
    A huge portion of what you read on the web is misinformation, so I understand the difficulty of trying to weed through it all. If you rack so soon you will be removing your biomass before the ferment is finished. This will, a lot of times, cause a stalled batch, or, stress the yeast and cause off flavors. The alcohol in the must will help to preserve the fruit. And if your keeping it in the low 60's the temps will help as well.

    You will have to learn a little bit, and quite franklu it's too late for this batch. But you need to feed your yeast some nutrients, (YANN= yeast assimilateable nitrogen). The best would be Fermaid-O. Second best would be Fermaid-K. Your LHBS will have Fermaid-K but not Fermaid-O. (most likely). They may not even have Fermaid-K but have something similar in a repackaged fashion, called yeast nutrient. I would order online from "Morewine"

    In the mean time you might benefit from buying some Flieshman's bread yeast from the store. Boil a little water and add a package of that to the water to kill off the yeast. Let it cool and then add it to your must. They will cannibalize it.

    Keep your must as close to 62 as you can and rouse (gently stir) the yeast for a couple weeks. Then stop stirring, put it in the fridge for a few days. Then rack it.

    In the mean time stick around here and learn some.

    Lastly, welcome to the best mead forum in the web.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    A huge portion of what you read on the web is misinformation, so I understand the difficulty of trying to weed through it all. If you rack so soon you will be removing your biomass before the ferment is finished. This will, a lot of times, cause a stalled batch, or, stress the yeast and cause off flavors. The alcohol in the must will help to preserve the fruit. And if your keeping it in the low 60's the temps will help as well.

    You will have to learn a little bit, and quite franklu it's too late for this batch. But you need to feed your yeast some nutrients, (YANN= yeast assimilateable nitrogen). The best would be Fermaid-O. Second best would be Fermaid-K. Your LHBS will have Fermaid-K but not Fermaid-O. (most likely). They may not even have Fermaid-K but have something similar in a repackaged fashion, called yeast nutrient. I would order online from "Morewine"

    In the mean time you might benefit from buying some Flieshman's bread yeast from the store. Boil a little water and add a package of that to the water to kill off the yeast. Let it cool and then add it to your must. They will cannibalize it.

    Keep your must as close to 62 as you can and rouse (gently stir) the yeast for a couple weeks. Then stop stirring, put it in the fridge for a few days. Then rack it.

    In the mean time stick around here and learn some.

    Lastly, welcome to the best mead forum in the web.

    Thank you so much! I have bread yeast in the fridge all the time (I bake bread weekly), so I'll definitely add some of that, until I can get some nutrient. Hopefully I'll get something at least drinkable out of this batch, but if not, c'est la vie! A valuable learning experience! =)
    You are never to old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream. - C.S. Lewis

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrayBee View Post
    Thank you so much! I have bread yeast in the fridge all the time (I bake bread weekly), so I'll definitely add some of that, until I can get some nutrient. Hopefully I'll get something at least drinkable out of this batch, but if not, c'est la vie! A valuable learning experience! =)
    Don't toss it. Just age it for a while. CHeck it every 3-4 months.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  11. #11

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    Any consensus among members here on sterilizing/sanitizing fruit for melomels? Seems like some people just throw in, some freeze first (which as i understand doesn't sanitize but breaks it down a bit), some soak in vodka, some heat, some wash in sanitizing solution, etc.
    I've only ever done show meads but was going to try a few melomels this Summer when berries are in season in the Chicago area. Any tips/suggestions are appreciated.

  12. #12

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    I would suggest to treat the fruit in what ever way you would if you were going to eat it. Then freeze it until you're ready
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  13. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by stilts1007 View Post
    Any consensus among members here on sterilizing/sanitizing fruit for melomels? Seems like some people just throw in, some freeze first (which as i understand doesn't sanitize but breaks it down a bit), some soak in vodka, some heat, some wash in sanitizing solution, etc.
    I've only ever done show meads but was going to try a few melomels this Summer when berries are in season in the Chicago area. Any tips/suggestions are appreciated.
    What I did for my blueberrie mead I put all the fruit in a big bowl with baby sanatizing fluid (very weak dilution) left it for 5 mins and strained and rinsed with tap water and left to dry for 20 mins and then used them

    Sent from my F8331 using Tapatalk

  14. #14

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    Curious about any thoughts/techniques for avoiding temperature shock when pitching yeast into a melomel that uses frozen fruit. Do you typically let frozen fruit thaw before making up the must? Just made my first batch of blueberry melomel earlier this evening and, although I tempered the yeast/Go-Ferm slurry before pitching, I was concerned about pitching right onto what is essentially 4lb of floating blueberry ice cubes. No activity yet, I can always re-pitch in the morning if nothing happens overnight. Just curious how to potentially avoid such a problem in the future.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    A huge portion of what you read on the web is misinformation, so I understand the difficulty of trying to weed through it all. If you rack so soon you will be removing your biomass before the ferment is finished. This will, a lot of times, cause a stalled batch, or, stress the yeast and cause off flavors. The alcohol in the must will help to preserve the fruit. And if your keeping it in the low 60's the temps will help as well.

    You will have to learn a little bit, and quite franklu it's too late for this batch. But you need to feed your yeast some nutrients, (YANN= yeast assimilateable nitrogen). The best would be Fermaid-O. Second best would be Fermaid-K. Your LHBS will have Fermaid-K but not Fermaid-O. (most likely). They may not even have Fermaid-K but have something similar in a repackaged fashion, called yeast nutrient. I would order online from "Morewine"

    In the mean time you might benefit from buying some Flieshman's bread yeast from the store. Boil a little water and add a package of that to the water to kill off the yeast. Let it cool and then add it to your must. They will cannibalize it.

    Keep your must as close to 62 as you can and rouse (gently stir) the yeast for a couple weeks. Then stop stirring, put it in the fridge for a few days. Then rack it.

    In the mean time stick around here and learn some.

    Lastly, welcome to the best mead forum in the web.
    Listen to Squatch he knows what he's talking about!

    In the meantime, and if you're new to fermenting look at the JAOM recipe and make a gallon of that. Too sweet? Get some commercial cider and mix your sweet mead with that. Trust me... it will start you down a dark, horrible path of making wonderful cyser and will consume many a weekend! Obviously I'm being flippant.... it's not a dark path....

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by stilts1007 View Post
    Curious about any thoughts/techniques for avoiding temperature shock when pitching yeast into a melomel that uses frozen fruit. Do you typically let frozen fruit thaw before making up the must? Just made my first batch of blueberry melomel earlier this evening and, although I tempered the yeast/Go-Ferm slurry before pitching, I was concerned about pitching right onto what is essentially 4lb of floating blueberry ice cubes. No activity yet, I can always re-pitch in the morning if nothing happens overnight. Just curious how to potentially avoid such a problem in the future.
    yes, let the fruit thaw.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by stilts1007 View Post
    Curious about any thoughts/techniques for avoiding temperature shock when pitching yeast into a melomel that uses frozen fruit. Do you typically let frozen fruit thaw before making up the must? Just made my first batch of blueberry melomel earlier this evening and, although I tempered the yeast/Go-Ferm slurry before pitching, I was concerned about pitching right onto what is essentially 4lb of floating blueberry ice cubes. No activity yet, I can always re-pitch in the morning if nothing happens overnight. Just curious how to potentially avoid such a problem in the future.
    I usually add my fruit after the yeast have had a few days to get going strong. It's good to freeze all fruit before you use it. Freezing help to break the cell walls from the expansion. And as Dadux has said thaw it before you add it
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  18. #18

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    Thanks for the tips guys! Mead is bubbling (slowly) so hopefully we are good to go. It was a little bit of a rush job last night, lessons learned I suppose. Adding fruit later is an interesting consideration, though I'm not sure how that would affect nutrient needs (TOSNA 2.0 says to cut Fermaid-O in half if using fruit, presumably from the start). Will be more thoughtful on brewday going forward for sure.

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