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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Backyard blueberry melomel... cool color! (& a question or two..)
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Old 07-11-2012, 02:02 AM   #1
MrSweet
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Default Backyard blueberry melomel... cool color! (& a question or two..)

For my second attempt at mead, I threw some blueberries in from my backyard (super tasty and sweet) to attempt a simple melomel.

The details (5 gallon batch):
----------------------------------------
13 lbs. Orange blossom honey (from Bee-Folks)
Lalvin D47
2 lbs (ish) backyard blueberries, crushed

From what I read about making these fruit varieties, I thought that it would impart a little color and that the blueberry flavor would be almost non-existent when sampling it at the initial rack, man was I in for a surprise...



I think it looks fantastic! I cant wait until it clarifies...

The flavor was quite dominated by the orange blossom-ness of the honey; very sweet with a touch of a sour note on the finish. Absolutely no blueberry to speak of, as I expected from all my research.

Question for the gurus:

In your opinion, what is the best way to impart the blueberry flavor and hopefully a hint of it on the nose?

- Add some blueberries and pectin at the next rack (once most of the sediments and dead yeasties make their way to the bottom)? If so, how long should I let it sit on the fruit? Add anything to make use of the new sugars being introduced?

- Make a blueberry elixir and play with my beaker set, mixing while laughing maniacally like a mad scientist?

- Something else...?

For S&G's, pictures of my first mead - a simple honey only batch (Lalvin D47, Orange blossom - 15lbs):

First rack from the primary



After second rack - I love the soft gold color! Its just over 6 weeks old as of 7/9. Tastes amazing... cant wait to see where it's at in 6 months+. I am going to bulk age it since a significant portion of it will be experimented on with various flavorings and mad ideas.




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Old 07-11-2012, 03:55 AM   #2
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A few thoughts...........

First, is that if you use D47, remember its got a very narrow temp range, and has a habit of making fusels if fermented above 70F (about 21C). Fusels can take a very long time to mellow, if ever.

Fruit in primary, can work, but primary fermentation often blows a lot of flavour out and can "bleach" the colour some. If you want max fruit flavour, put the fruit (just freeze it, then thaw it first) into secondary (with some pectolase).

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Old 07-11-2012, 03:59 AM   #3
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On my wife and I's recent wine tour vacation, we visited a few meaderies. It seemed that they made wines from the various fruits and then blended the wines with the meads. For example one label read.......40% mead, 30%strawberry wine, 30% rhubarb wine. Another tasty one was 70% mead and 30% blueberry wine.

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Old 07-11-2012, 04:20 PM   #4
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@fatbloke

Going off of the gotmead yeast guide and the suggestion for the "rookie" first batch from Ken Schramm's book, I used D47 for my first two batches which suggests that 50-86º F is a good fermentation temp range for that yeast.

Having said that, I whole heartedly welcome suggestions and tips based on practical experience from learned mead-heads!! After quite a bit more reading, EC-1118 is probably going to be my go-to for most basic recipes since its range is much more in line with my environment.

I noticed with my first batch that the fermentation got off to a strong start and then tapered off quite a bit after just one week. Had I known, I would have fed the yeast a bit more...

Sadly, I had not read about the 3 nutrient addition method at this point and I think I missed out on some alcohol content as a result. I can't remember the gravity reading off the top of my head, but I remember being disappointed when I racked it Monday (to the tune of 10%, which is low for this yeast).

This is a mistake I did not repeat with the blueberry however. I am going to try putting the fruit in after it sits for a month or so and clarifies a tad... worst case scenario, I can tool with the flavor at bottling

@roadymi

I like the idea of blending fruit wine with mead! Once I find my groove with mead, perhaps I will broaden my brewing horizons a bit to beer and wine.

This is my first foray into brewing so I am still learning the fundamentals. Anything worth doing is worth over-doing though, so I will probably be making many mad concoctions before too long

Thanks for the feedback!

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Old 07-11-2012, 05:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSweet View Post
I used D47 for my first two batches which suggests that 50-86º F is a good fermentation temp range for that yeast.

That temperature range is accurate from the standpoint that the yeast will work in that range, too cold and they go dormant, too hot and they die off, however some yeasts react differently at the low end of it than they do at the high end.

D47 is one that once it surpasses 68*-69* F it begins producing fusel alcohols along with ethanol, the fusels are the harsher rocketfuelish flavored alcohol that doesnt age out well.


Quote:
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Having said that, I whole heartedly welcome suggestions and tips based on practical experience from learned mead-heads!! After quite a bit more reading, EC-1118 is probably going to be my go-to for most basic recipes since its range is much more in line with my environment.
Be cautious with 1118 it's a hardcore monster, most frequently used for fixing a stuck ferment, it will take most musts bone dry in a hurry, it has tendencies to blow a lot of flavor and aroma right out the airlock.

If you're looking for the high abv and wider temp range try the K1V-1116, it has an even higher temperature tolerance than 1118 but is a slightly slower ferment.

Here is a link to the Lalvin strains with great info about each one.

http://www.lalvinyeast.com/strains.asp
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Old 07-11-2012, 11:05 PM   #6
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Thank you for the info!

Question: how would one detect the presence of fusel alcohols? I am assuming that the flavor will develop to be somewhat unpleasant... but other than that, what are the other indicators? I wonder if this is a foolish question, but in the interest of safety, does this render a mead unfit for consumption?

Sadly, I dont really have a 'cold' place to put my aging product, so I need a yeast that will be friendly in an ambient temperature of 74-76 deg F (at least in the summer, winter is another story though).

Still so much to learn! (and read)

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Old 07-12-2012, 01:38 AM   #7
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Fusels produce nasty hangover headaches......and taste like rocketfuel.

It isn't the aging process that is so critical for temp control (although cooler is always better), but the active primary fermentation stage is when temp control is most critical. This can often be controlled with a water bath, small fridge for fermentation chamber, sitting in the crawl space under the house, One of the vendors on this site has come out with an inexpensive insulated carboy jacket. There are ways to do the job.......be creative.

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