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Old 01-21-2009, 03:28 AM   #1
patrick767
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Default Fruit additives - Whole, dice it, mash it, pulp it, juice it?

I'm getting impatient while my first ever batch of mead (JOAM of course) clarifies. So reading through other threads here, I decided to do a couple more small, experimental (for me) batches. I bought a couple more 1 gallon carboys and a vial of White Labs sweet mead yeast.

I'm thinking I'll do 1 gallon with fruit in the primary fermentation and one gallon with the fruit added in secondary. Other than that the meads will be the same. I'll get a better feel for what I like and precisely how the flavors are different based on when you add the fruit (not just the obvious that the fruit flavor is more pronounced if you add it later). I'm thinking strawberries.

So... should I just throw in whole strawberries or should I mash them up or juice them or what? What do you usually recommend for fruit additives?

Also, this $6 vial of yeast is designed for a 5 gallon batch. I've got some nutrient too. Can I get away with just pouring part of the vial in each gallon batch and saving some in the fridge for later too?

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Old 01-21-2009, 10:41 AM   #2
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A couple of suggestions: Why not compromise and cut the strawberries in half (removing any green leafy material first)? Also, instead of using expensive liquid yeast made by a manufacturer of beer yeast strains, why not spend $1 and use dry wine yeast packets that most experienced mead makers prefer for mead? I know the liquid yeast strains for meads are popular among HBT forum members but they really aren't used that much by people who have been making mead for a while. You'll find far more variety, less expense, and more precise information with the dry wine yeasts.

Mead is, after all, far closer to wine than beer. I'm not criticizing your liquid mead yeasts, just suggesting you give the dry yeast a try sometime.

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Old 01-21-2009, 12:45 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by summersolstice View Post
A couple of suggestions: Why not compromise and cut the strawberries in half (removing any green leafy material first)? Also, instead of using expensive liquid yeast made by a manufacturer of beer yeast strains, why not spend $1 and use dry wine yeast packets that most experienced mead makers prefer for mead? I know the liquid yeast strains for meads are popular among HBT forum members but they really aren't used that much by people who have been making mead for a while. You'll find far more variety, less expense, and more precise information with the dry wine yeasts.

Mead is, after all, far closer to wine than beer. I'm not criticizing your liquid mead yeasts, just suggesting you give the dry yeast a try sometime.
Well I've already bought the yeast, so I'll be using it at least for now. It was just a strain I saw mentioned here that would leave some residual sugars so I don't have to back sweeten to have some sugars in the mead. I'm open to suggestions of dry yeast strains that will do that job too and I'll try them another time.
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Old 01-21-2009, 01:25 PM   #4
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Good commonly available yeast choices by Lalvin would include D47, K1V1116, EC1118, and RC212. Red Star yeasts would include Pasteur Red, Cotes des
Blancs,Premier Cuvee, and Montrachet.

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Old 01-21-2009, 03:40 PM   #5
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When I've used berries in mead or wine I mash them. Once cleaned strawberries should be pretty easy to crush.

As for the yeast. I would use atleast 1/2 a package for each gallon batch. I would not try to divide it more than that.

Dry yeast is much less expensive and as mentioned produces good results. Lalvin seems to be the most popular with Red Star also being used. I think D-47 is very popular and have heard good things about using RC212 with dark fruits.

Craig

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Old 01-21-2009, 05:22 PM   #6
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Good commonly available yeast choices by Lalvin would include D47, K1V1116, EC1118, and RC212. Red Star yeasts would include Pasteur Red, Cotes des
Blancs,Premier Cuvee, and Montrachet.
These will leave some residual sugars? When I mentioned mead at the local homebrew shop, the first thing the owner offered me was a champagne yeast that she specifically warned me would eat all the sugars. I'd have to back sweeten if I wanted any sweetness at all. That's obviously doable, but not my first choice. So when I read about the WLP720 here, I got some.

I'll take CBBaron's suggestion and just divide the yeast vial in half for the gallon batches. So yeah, especially if I'm going to do more such small batches, cheaper yeast would be nice. I do like the idea of the small batches since it'll allow me to experiment more. I'm very interested in taking a "what happens if I do this?" approach to it.
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Old 01-21-2009, 06:03 PM   #7
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D47 will leave some sugars, and will also let the strawberry shine through. I use D47 for pretty much any of my "light fruit" meads such as strawberry, pear or anything with delicate flavors.

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Old 01-21-2009, 06:39 PM   #8
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The key to figuring out how much sugar will be left is your starting gravity. If your starting gravity is 1.050, then just about any yeast will take it completely dry. But even strong wine yeasts will leave residual sugars if the must contains enough sugar. D47 can be taken to 12%, but treated right will go to 14%. I like it because it really lets the fruit characters stay strong. I also like 71b for similar reasons.

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Old 01-22-2009, 02:37 AM   #9
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Good to know...
So should I go with a less "delicate" fruit with the White Labs yeast? A friend I talked to with a little mead and fruit wine making experience thought my plan for a batch with strawberries added in primary would completely wipe out the strawberry flavor. He hasn't experimented with a variety of yeasts though, just a champagne yeast for his mead.

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The key to figuring out how much sugar will be left is your starting gravity. If your starting gravity is 1.050, then just about any yeast will take it completely dry
oh, and I guess I should finally buy a hydrometer, hmm? I was going to use at least 3 lbs of honey per gallon though and I'm guessing that will give me a sufficiently high OG.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:35 AM   #10
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You can always add more strawberries in the secondary to get the strawberry boost your looking for.

As for the hydrometer - yes, buy one before you do anything else! While it may be possible to make a decent mead without one you'd never be able to duplicate the recipe if you do get lucky.

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