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Old 02-10-2009, 02:22 AM   #1
Poobah58
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Default Group Brew: Cherry Vanilla Melomel 2/22/09

***** Added Note: Hightest has graciously offered to track the progress of the group brew. See his post #12.
See Post #22 for the requirements to have Hightest track your progress. Post #22 will list all those that have agreed and contains the post # of their brew log. *****


Ok I'm starting a group brew on Washington's Birthday. In honor of his honesty we will be brewing a Cherry Vanilla Melomel. I propose we all brew on or around February 22nd. Should give us enough time to get the ingredients. If you modify the recipe below, please post. We can even keep a brewlog on this post. If you decide to do a brewlog, please go back and edit your original post with the updated information. This will keep the posting down to a minimum. Feel free to bottle still or sparkling. Sometime down the road (maybe 2/22/10) we should revive this post and do a swap. We will figure out those details at a later date.
I am posting a 3-gallon recipe below. You should scale to your liking. I propose feeding the must based on Hightest's Staggered Nutrient Addition schedule. I use a bucket for my primary fermentation. It's easier to aerate/stir daily. This is why I like to add my fruit to primary. Keeps the secondary rather clean. Feel free to add to secondary if you like. Or even some in primary and some in secondary. I'm also using dried fruit because it's easier for me. You can also use use fresh, frozen or even jarred fruit. If using fresh cherries, you should add some pectic enzyme. NOTE: Make sure the fruit and juice contain no sulfites or other preservatives.

I Cannot Tell A Lie Cherry/Vanilla Mead
O.G. 1.120-1.130
2 to 3 gallons Cherry Juice
Water to 3.5 gallons
8-9 lbs Meadowfoam Honey (has a vanilla/marshmellow taste)
1 lbs Dark Sweet Cherries, Dried (Trader Joe's)
8.0 oz Tart Cherries, Dried (Trader Joe's)
2 Whole Vanilla Beans (Secondary)
1 Pkg Lalvin D-47 or 71B rehydrated w/Go-Ferm
Fermaid-K and DAP
Pectic Enzyme ???

Step 1 (Feb 21): Put 1 qt Cherry Juice in sanitized vessel. Add dried cherries and soak overnite. I use juice made from concentrated Cherry Juice (68 Brix) from Ostbaum Orchards. Trader Joe's also has straight cherry juice. Also if you prefer to use pectic enzyme, now is the time to add it.
Step 2 (Feb 22): Coarsely mash the berry mixture with hand blender. Add Cherry Juice, honey (Flying Bee Ranch) and water to make at least 3.5 gallons . Mix and aerate well. You will need about 3.5 gallons in primary to get 3 gallons in secondary after the first rack. Add Fermaid-K + DAP. Pitch yeast (consider Hightest's new method) and cover with sanitized cloth or lid.
Step 3: Check must every 6-8 hours for end of lag phase (foaming). At end of lag phase add Fermaid-K + DAP.
Step 4: Aerate daily until 1/3 sugar break.
Step 5: Once past 1/3 break, stir the must daily (as opposed to aerating) until the 2/3 sugar break.
Step 6: At 1/2 sugar break add Fermaid-K + DAP and mix well.
Step 7: Rack to secondary when finished (2-3 weeks) and add vanilla beans. Top off with cherry juice. I use whole vanilla beans. If you like to split and scrape, you might want to try one and give it a taste after sitting a month.
Step 8: Rack after 1-2 months. Taste for level of dryness/sweetness and vanilla. Adjust if necessary.
Step 9: Rack every 2-3 months until clear then bottle.
Step 10: Let's swap!
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Last edited by Poobah58; 03-10-2009 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 02-10-2009, 03:58 PM   #2
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Sounds good...I am IN! Once I get the ingredients rounded up.

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Old 02-10-2009, 04:18 PM   #3
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That eBay seller has some bada$$ pricing! ~$25 shipped for 5 lbs. of honey. Wish they had mesquite though.

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Old 02-10-2009, 04:19 PM   #4
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A great company to order Vanilla beads from is The Organic Vanilla Bean Company LLC Home Page
Some great deals. I got 3/4 a pound of vanilla beans for under $30. That's nearly 100 vanilla beans. I did 1/4 Tahitian and 1/2 Boubon. I have lots, I was thinking on doing a Cherry Vanilla in fall. Carboys are full up till late spring.

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Old 02-10-2009, 08:20 PM   #5
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I cant wait to get this started. Cherry and vanilla sound so good together.

Now i need to free up some carboy space

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Old 02-10-2009, 08:26 PM   #6
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Matrix...how well do vanilla beans store? how long can they be kept?

Dan

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Old 02-10-2009, 08:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matrix4b View Post
A great company to order Vanilla beads from is The Organic Vanilla Bean Company LLC Home Page Some great deals.
I'll second that!
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyweed View Post
Matrix...how well do vanilla beans store? how long can they be kept?

Dan
They store well. Their website recomends that you store them in a airtight sealed glass container. Also putting small groups in plastic wrap. Airing out every 2-3 months. Now they menton that vanilla beans keep at peak freshness or what ever that is, but good for at least 2 years. Personally, I wouldn't keep them longer than 5. Something else grocery stores don't want you to know is that it is EASY to make vanilla extract.

Take 6 vanilla beans, (about 6 inchers), and split and scrape. Then chop up the husk into small peices, seal up with a cup of vodka, rum, or other alcohol about 30-40% ABV, shake once a day for a week, then leave alone for 2 months. Strain and then you have vanilla extract. The extract will keep on the order of decades and it will be much higher quality than store bought. 2 months is for full extraction of flavor, by the way. But I am going to do this with some white rum that I have handy.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyweed View Post
Matrix...how well do vanilla beans store? how long can they be kept?

Dan
Dan, from that site\:

Life Span – Correctly stored beans may be kept for up to 2 years. However, we recommend buying quantities of beans that you will use within one year.

And Matrix, thank you SO much for this. After spending $20(30?) on vanilla extract for a 6 gallon batch of mead, I figured I should make my own with vodka and beans and save some money. Was looking for a good local source of beans, but no one is going to beat that price here, so I'll just order.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:34 PM   #10
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Definitely get beans online, I have yet to find any stores that can compete. I use cheap vodka to make my extract, turns out quite well. Make sure you shake it for a week like he recommends, otherwise it can take forever to get good stuff. Some people also like to sweeten it up with just a bit of sugar, but that is totally personal preference.

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