View Full Version : Fruit in general =(

09-23-2007, 08:22 AM
Ok, so while lurking here in the forums and reading all sorts of exciting topics and recipe ideas I have been going a little hog wild over the summer with mead making and experimenting with various concepts and mead batches. Most of my exuberance was probably from discovering I really love mead but I dont have any to drink and its sooo darn expensive in the stores so I'll make my own but it takes too long to ferment/clear/age and become drinkable and I still dont have any to drink so I'll start another batch, etc. Compound that with apparently I didnt really know what I was doing at first and so my first batch or two was not the greatest quality blah, blah...

Sorry for the ramble but the point i think is I thought I was finally on the right track and getting as much pointers from GM posters as possible, I decided to go balls out and try some big melomels. Lurking around I found some good ideas for a Mango Mel and a Plum Mel so I made a 6 gallon batch of each. I'll spare the recipe details unless you really want them, but the main point is the fruit addition.

For the Plum Mel: 24lbs of fruit (before destoning) in primary

For the Mango Mel: 15 lbs fruit in primary, 5 lbs in secondary

This is mainly based on the fact that I love big flavors and my main complaint with commercial meads is that they taste "weak". This also seems to be Oskaar's MO so I figured I couldn't go wrong...

...then it came time to rack. Obviously, i noticed beforehand a huge sediment layer on the bottom of the bucket. Like about 3gallons-worth.

Previously, I made a berry mel with a similar amout of fruit and racking was pretty easy since the berries mostly stayed intact and I used a colander/meshbag combo to keep my racking cane from getting clogged, then juiced the berries that were left afterward and still got a good 5+ gallons into the secondary.

But for both of these, once i got down to the sediment layers, my meshbag/colander combo proved useless. The sediment and fruit is about the consistency of a cross between applesauce and babyfood, there is no way to rack around it. And since I dont have any kind of specialized equipment I don't see how I can filter the solids out to get the goodstuff into secondary. Basically, 3 gallons of precious mead wasted in each batch which x2 equates to a whole 6 gallon carboy of mead that had so much potential right down the garbage disposal!!! :sad2:

Have you guys had this problem too? I know there must be a better way, but i don't know what it could be. How do you guys deal with the fruit residue? I'm so depressed... :sad10:

09-23-2007, 08:39 AM
In a pinch, a stack of coffee filters (or even better a reusable metal coffee filter) could help get some more liquid out of the slush.
Anyway, it'll take time, be messy, aerate the liquid a lot (not good at this stage), and might carry lots of lees off flavors/taste so by all means don't mix it with the rest, keep it apart. If it turns good, it's nice, if not, you've only lost that part.

09-24-2007, 04:58 AM
Perhaps just a little more patience in the primary is called for a better settling.

If its because there is lees getting stirred up as you rack then i could give some advice specific to that.

The only other option is to use a clearing agent that wont interfere with your secondary im afraid im not that knowledgeable on fruit, fruityness, or fruit bags for that matter.:tongue3:

09-24-2007, 11:55 PM
I had it in primary for a little bit more than a month, and used Lalvin 71B yeast so I was a little afraid that any longer would give off flavors from the lees. Can you use fining agents in primary? I mean i guess that's a stupid question, it's homebrew so I guess you can do whatever you want! :drunken_smilie: I've never tried it, would that compact the fruit sediment?

09-25-2007, 12:37 AM
I racked the sediment from my plum mead (about 2 gallons) into a couple of jugs and cold crashed them. I took the cleared top off and put it back in the fridge to settle more. I also would rack into smaller and smaller bottles. I got it down to where I only tossed about half a gallon. It doesn't aerate the mead as bad as some other processes.

sorry if this is unclear, I am wiped out



09-25-2007, 01:16 AM
I let my fermentations sit for much longer on my lees about 2 too 3 months. So you may just need to wait a little longer for a good settling of your cloudy pulpy miso like cloudy stuff in to a more compacted lees.

09-25-2007, 08:20 AM
You can rack multiple times. The first time would be getting it away from the yeast. Then you have more time to let the fruit drop. I not cold storing mead drops the yeast so I would imagine it would do the same to fruit. At any rate you have a lot more time in the secondary.

09-25-2007, 11:11 AM
I am starting to experiment with keeping all of my fruit in a steeping bag while it is in the must. I had a similar experience to the one being described when I did a couple of batches last year using 2 1/2 gallons of grape seconds that had been mashed pretty good when they were juiced before I got them. I ended up with "about 3 gallons worth of sludge" and racking was a nightmare.

My most recent batch of Lady Morgaine's Poison, I kept the grapes in a steeping bag so I could easily extract them from the batch. It also makes it very easy to wring the remaining juice/liquid from the fruit as they are removed from the batch. And while the fermentation was only 10 or so days old when I racked the first time (from plastic bucket into glass), I only had a very light dusting of grape sludge on the bottom of the fermenter. The layer of lees in the bottom of the carboy now as the fermentation slows to a stop is a more typical 1/2 to 3/4th's of an inch. Much more manageable...

I believe that I am going to order 3 or 4 more fine mesh steeping bags so that even if I am putting in several gallons of fruit, I still can have it all bagged. The only downside is that fermentations with fruit will need to occur in fermenting buckets so that the steeping bags can be extracted.

The Blueberry Melomel I am starting this week will be my first attempt at using this technique. I plan on having some crushed fruit in the primary, then rack into a carboy, removing the fruit after a couple of weeks, then allow fermentation to near completion, then rack back onto more fruit or puree for a secondary fermentation. Stay tuned to the brewlog for results...

BTW, you are smart to rack off of the 71B-1122 after a month or so IMHO...

09-25-2007, 12:22 PM
I have been using paint straining bags that I get at Sherwin Williams to hold fermentables. They are much cheaper than grain bags and about the same thing - a fine nylon mesh. I am about to start a batch of plum mead where I put the fruit in the bags. I'll let you know how it works.


09-25-2007, 07:10 PM
Basically, 3 gallons of precious mead wasted in each batch which x2 equates to a whole 6 gallon carboy of mead that had so much potential right down the garbage disposal!!! :sad2:

Dont feel so bad, considering the amound of fruit you had in there it was probably more like 4 gallons of mead
oh wait, thats still pretty sad.... :sad2:

I know the feeling, I made 2 batches of blue berry melomel and I think that after racking I have 5 gallons total or less.
But for that one I'd used purees--I dont think a mesh bag would save me there...

09-26-2007, 11:00 AM
But for that one I'd used purees--I dont think a mesh bag would save me there...

I am going to be using purees as well and am still hoping that the steeping bag will take out the larger chunks, leaving the smaller stuff which I hope will pricipitate out into a more compact layer of lees.

How did your Blueberry Mel work out when you used the purees?