First Mead recipe, what do you think?
I've kind of based this on some recipes I've seen at Got Mead, tell me if you think it will work.
15 lbs. clover honey
96 oz. can of Vintner's harvest blackberry
half a lemon
water to make 5 gallons
2 packets champagne yeast
I'll probably do a short boil just to be safe. A month or so in the primary, then several in the secondary.
1. should I use yeast nutrient? If so, how much?
2. Any idea what my ABV will be?
3. Will the champagne yeast make it incredibly dry, or will there be a bit of sweetness left?
4. Is the Lemon necessary? I've heard you need some citrus in there. At the least would it do no harm?
5. Should I add some fresh blackberries to the secondary?
6. Can I make it without a fruit bag? They're 7 bucks!
1. Honey does not have the nutrients that grain does, definitely use the yeast nutrient for a cleaner/quicker ferment. My bottle has a recommended dosage, which I think is 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons, I'll have to double check later.
2. Depending on the yeast you use the ABV will vary widely. I use dry wine yeast and end up with about 85% attenuation. With champagne yeast you will probably end up with 90-95% attenuation. Meaning plan on anywhere from 11% to 13%.
3. Champagne yeast will dry that right out. Think of the driest chardonnay you can imagine, that is what it will be like. I don't like using it because it strips almost all the honey flavours right out of the mead. However, you will have a quick ferment with almost 0 chance of it getting stuck.
4. The lemon is added mostly for the acid. Grain naturally brings the pH down to a level that yeast enjoy, bees change the pH of honey to inhibit yeast growth. A little bit of lemon or a powdered acid work equally well. It will definitely do no harm and will again lead to a quicker/cleaner ferment.
5. I have limited experience using fruit, most of the meads I have made are traditional. However, adding the fruit to the secondary seems to be the universally accepted answer. Just like beer, the active fermentation seems to strip out some of the aroma.
6. The only advantage I can see to the fruit bag is ease of removal. Otherwise you have to rack from underneath the fruit layer and move it to a secondary/tertiary.
I really don't recommend boiling the honey. Heat it up a little to improve viscosity, but there are flavours and aroma lost in a boil. Remember that bees treat the honey to inhibit bacterial growth, ancient Egyptians used it to disinfect wounds. It may not be sterile, but it is pretty close.
Sorry, I can go on about mead for days.
People who do use champagne yeast tend to either stop fermentation at a certain point with metabisulphate or dose the mead after fermentation is done and add additional sugar to sweeten it up.
I hope you enjoy the mead, the longer you wait the better it becomes. The guy who taught me waits a minimum of 3 years before adjusting the flavour. He frequently will find mead he forgot and is now 10+ years old.
I boiled my blueberries when I made my melomel, then added the honey when it had cooled a bit. After racking it to my carboy, I took the leftover blueberries, threw them in the blender and dumped them in the carboy. No use in not getting those sugars and flavors, right?
Smells and tastes wonderful, but I still haven't thrown in any nutrient. I really need to do that sometime soon. My plan is to keep it in the primary until it gets below 1.0, then rack to secondary and let it sit for about 4-6 months, then bottle it for 2-3 years.
Hey, thanks for the replies. I was afraid no one would be able to help me there for a while.
I want one that has a bit of sweetness left. I think I'll go pick up a couple of packets of wine yeast instead. I want to carb it.
What kind of bottles do you use? I've been saving Fischer's bottles, but have recently been thinking why should I take my flip tops out of circulation on something I'm going to hold onto for several years. I'm thinking about just using pry off bomber bottles.
So it sounds like lemon should go in the primary for quick fermentation and blackberry in the secondary for a good flavor.
I'm pumped about having something I made that I can age for several years and it actually keep getting better.
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