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Old 10-04-2013, 09:53 PM   #1
bhsquirrel52
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Default huckleberry mead

Anyone have some experiences with being a huckleberry mead? I'll be starting a 5 gallon batch soon and wanted any tips possible. Going for a semi sweet. Thanks in advance!

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Old 10-05-2013, 06:20 AM   #2
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Well it would seem that they're rare enough not to have had much consideration.....

So I would suggest initially you find a country wine recipe for either the hucks or a similar fruit for guideline fruit quantity per gallon.

Don't think on how you want it finished just yet.

Work out about what sort of gravity you need to start at, say 1.100 to 1.110. Plus your yeast of choice.......I'd likely go for 71B as its good with fruit....

Then think on the level of fruitiness you want as I generally like a more fruity finish, so I'd split the fruit (many melomels and fruit country wines use 3 to 4lb per gallon) either 1/3rd primary 2/3rd secondary or half each...

Then just start the batch with an appropriate level of nutrients etc and ferment it dry. Rack off the fruit and lees onto stabising chems and secondary fruit, leave for 2 to 4 weeks to extract flavour/colour from the fruit, then re-rack to clear - then taste for sweetness, and maybe back sweeten at that point to achieve your desired taste......

Well that's how I'd manage it anyway.....

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Old 10-05-2013, 06:26 AM   #3
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I just made a huckleberry mead, or started anyway. I used 3 lb wildflower honey in 1 gallon and standard yeast nutrient with d47. I picked my huckleberries around mt hood I'm Oregon and the berries were plump and delicious. I only had 2 lbs to add to secondary because I used about a lb making jam. Hopefully it will be enough to impart some huckleberry flavor. The jam is awesome but I wish I had picked a couple more lbs.

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Old 10-05-2013, 08:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urkelbot View Post
I just made a huckleberry mead, or started anyway. I used 3 lb wildflower honey in 1 gallon and standard yeast nutrient with d47. I picked my huckleberries around mt hood I'm Oregon and the berries were plump and delicious. I only had 2 lbs to add to secondary because I used about a lb making jam. Hopefully it will be enough to impart some huckleberry flavor. The jam is awesome but I wish I had picked a couple more lbs.
See, having just read your comment, I had to google them. So they are available here, but a little more infrequently.

D47 is Ok but I wouldn't have used it, as it's better for "whites" and also carries the caveat that it needs to be fermented below 70F/21C, otherwise it's known to produce fusels, which can take a long time, if ever, to mellow out.

A better choice would have been RC-212 which is better for "reds", but it's a bit of a nutrient hog, so has to be watched to make sure you don't get any H2S/rotten eggy smells - but it does an excellent job. The 71B I've already alluded to is one that needs to be racked off the lees/sediment within about 2 months of the ferment finishing, as it's not known to be good for ageing on the lees a.k.a. sur lie ageing/batonage......

finally K1-V1116 would also do a good job, as it's a robust yeast and has the "K"/killer designation and would stop the issue of any possible wild yeast issue/presence by becoming the dominant yeast - it's an 18% yeast too so would likely ferment dry and need back sweetening.

There's a few others too, but they're harder to get (the above ones are part of Lalvins "usual suspects", available in home brew sized packs). So I won't bother mentioning those.......

If you've added or going to add, to secondary, you will find that you retain much more of a fruity taste, especially if you add them to secondary and then add the appropriate amount of pectic enzyme (pectolase here) to the brew. Not only does it help by sorting out any possible pectin hazes, but also with flavour and colour extraction........
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Old 10-07-2013, 01:11 PM   #5
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You can use any recipe that calls for blackberries or blueberries & just substitute huckleberries instead. They're little flavour-bombs & you should vary the amount depending on how much honey you want to come through. I'd keep it under 3lbs of fruit/gallon in primary, under 2lbs/gallon in secondary; otherwise those hucks can overpower the honey, depending on the varietal of honey.
Regards, GF.

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Old 10-07-2013, 03:42 PM   #6
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I literally just purchased huckleberry seeds so next year I can make some huckleberry mead!
Going to try and grow them in my apartment here in Texas.
Please post whatever you end up going with.

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