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Old 06-19-2013, 02:33 AM   #1
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Default First Ever Mead/Melomel, Looking for Info

Hey all, thanks ahead of time for any feedback. I started my first mead yesterday, it's a pretty basic 1 gallon batch of strawberry melomel. I just have a few questions for you guys. First, the basic info:

3 pounds Clover Honey
2 pounds strawberries (frozen for one day with stems removed)
1 gallon of Spring Water
Lalvin 71B-1122
Doing a regular SNA schedule with Nutriferm and a Yeast Nutrient the guy from my LHBS suggested
OG: 1.080
Fermentation started in under 9 hours, was at one bubble per 7 seconds and was down to about 3 seconds at 17 hours.
Also, I'm planning on adding a pound of strawberries (and removing the first 2 pounds obviously) when I rack to my secondary.

My first question is, does an OG of 1.080 seem a little bit low? If it only gets to a FG of somewhere between 1.010 - 1.020, that's only roughly 8 or 9% right?

My second question is, I didn't use any campden.. Is it really necessary for a strawberry melomel? Do you think I should use it when I rack to my secondary or is it something I shouldn't be too worried about?

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Old 06-19-2013, 02:46 PM   #2
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With an OG of 1.08 and using 71b yeast this will probably ferment dry getting to .998 - .996 and be closer to 11% ABV. So I don't think the gravity is too low at all. Plus unless you want the long haul 2 year aging process I say keep the ABV close to 10%. The alcohol hot that is common with mead ages out more quickly at the lower ABV range.

I do not use Camden in my meads before primary and do not have issues. But do suggest 1 crushed Camden tablet per gallon with racking. It not only keeps bacteria out but acts as an anti oxidant.

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Old 06-19-2013, 02:51 PM   #3
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Given the strawberries, I probably woudl have used camden or other metabisulfate source. Others may disagree. My concern woudl be wild yeast on the fruit. Heating the fruit first (quick pasturization) would solve that.

As to gravity, mead is more like wine, not like beer. There are a lot of non sugars (eg protiens I think) in beer so it doesn't ferment all the way. But wine has notably less, and will almost always go below 1 for FG. So I'm thinking the .998 to .996 is about right. I think my meads both finished below .995 from a 1.085 start. (no fruit)

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Old 06-19-2013, 06:08 PM   #4
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Thanks guys! That was exactly what I needed to know. I won't worry about the OG, and I'll use campden come racking time.

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Old 06-21-2013, 08:56 PM   #5
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Just took a SG reading, came out at 0.994. So it seems pretty much done at this point, which is a lot faster than I expected (5 days since pitching the yeast). Did a taste test, very minimal sweetness and thankfully did not taste like gym socks, woohoo.

The strawberries haven't completely lost their color yet. I wasn't planning on racking for at least another week, but I was also expecting fermentation to take a few more days. When should I rack this?

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Old 06-21-2013, 11:07 PM   #6
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Give it another week to clear a little more and leach out more color/flavor from the strawberries. Then feel free to rack.

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Old 06-30-2013, 08:47 PM   #7
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Just racked to the secondary with some campden and a pound of strawberries in a mesh bag. FG ended up at .990 on the dot. Thanks for the help!

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