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Old 11-06-2008, 06:34 AM   #1
larrybrewer
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Default Mead Cranberry Melomel

I'm about a week into fermentation on a mead recipe. 12 pounds of clove honey for a 5 gallon batch. I got 1.091 OG.

The yeast is Wyeast – Dry Mead #4632, did a starter, the batch is bubbling away just fine. I have two questions about this, #1 - there is no krausen head, #2, I also don't see a yeast cake in the bottom of the fermeter. Is this normal?

I want to rack on top of about 5lb of crushed cranberries. What is the best procedure for this, to sanitize the fruit?

THANKS!

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Old 11-06-2008, 08:17 AM   #2
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ive been getting very little krausen with my meads, have about four going at the moment. as for the racking onto the cranberries id recomend racking onto them with some crushed campden tabs or you can soak your fruit with campden prior to. lets wait to see what some of the more expiernced brewers say.

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Old 11-06-2008, 01:31 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by larrybrewer View Post
I'm about a week into fermentation on a mead recipe. 12 pounds of clove honey for a 5 gallon batch. I got 1.091 OG.

The yeast is Wyeast – Dry Mead #4632... I have two questions about this, #1 - there is no krausen head, #2, I also don't see a yeast cake in the bottom of the fermeter. Is this normal?
Assuming you did not fill the primary fermenter to the 5-gallon mark (leaving some headspace), your OG is close to my calculation.

Regarding your questions, I would suggest that when making mead you do not rely on beer-making indicators such as krausen. Instead, learn to use your hydrometer (or refractometer - my personal choice) to assess the health and progress of a mead fermentation. Aside from the use of yeast and water, they are somewhat different "animals"...

To learn more, I would recommend that you read the Mead FAQs (sticky topic) in this forum. Then if you have questions, start a new topic related to the question and I will help clarify the issue(s)...
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Old 11-06-2008, 01:42 PM   #4
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I want to rack on top of about 5lb of crushed cranberries. What is the best procedure for this, to sanitize the fruit?
I assume the berries are fresh, or fresh from the store whole berries? I'll also assume 5 lbs of berries occupy about 1 gallon in volume.

If so, about 36-48 hours before you intend to rack onto the berries, I would add a small amount of water to ensure the berries are evenly moist, and then add 2 crushed Campden tablets (or 0.75g of KMETA - potassium metabisulfite) - stir well to dissolve into solution.

Wait 36 hours after adding the Campden (or KMETA) before racking your mead on top of the berry slurry.
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Old 11-10-2008, 05:37 AM   #5
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Thank you for the tips. I checked out the Mead FAQ as well.

I'm using fresh from the store whole berries which I froze (I read that this helps burst the cell walls and releases more juice when I crush it). I will wash toughly before crushing.

I'm hesitant to rely on Campden tablets or any sort of chemical in my processes. Is there an alternative, like heat the crushed berries to 185F for a half hour to sanitize?

Second question, would the Campden tables halt fermentation?

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Old 11-10-2008, 02:09 PM   #6
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...I'm using fresh from the store whole berries which I froze (I read that this helps burst the cell walls and releases more juice when I crush it).
Yes, it does as the cells are comprised of water, and we know water begins to expand as it is cooled below 4°C (39°F)
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...I will wash toughly before crushing.
For routine sanitary purposes, I keep a covered, 3 gal., pail of StarSan in my brew space. It is not that expensive and lasts a couple of months.
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...I'm hesitant to rely on Campden tablets or any sort of chemical in my processes. Is there an alternative, like heat the crushed berries to 185F for a half hour to sanitize?
Like you, I limit the amount of chemicals I use when brewing. Unless, I understand the need to use them. I would not heat fruit as it would set the pectin and make clearing very difficult, and may alter the flavor profile. Alternate methods involve the use of radiation or intense UV light.
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Second question, would the Campden tables halt fermentation?
Short answer: Yes, it can. Long answer: The purpose for using metabisulfites depends upon when it is used in the brewing process. When used up-front on fruit (or crushed grape musts), it is used to "kill-off" any wild yeast (or other contaminants) to prepare the must for the yeast strain of choice - gives it a better chance to become the dominant fermentation strain. This is why we wait 24-36 hours before pitching after treating a must with KMETA / Campden - allows the sulfite levels to drop.
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Old 11-13-2008, 01:08 AM   #7
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sanitize the fruit in cheap vodka. then wash off with water.

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Old 11-13-2008, 03:35 PM   #8
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sanitize the fruit in cheap vodka. then wash off with water.
What's the point of sanitizing, then rinsing with non sanitized water? A touch of vodka won't hurt anything....it's a NO RINSE sanitizer in my brewery.
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Old 11-13-2008, 08:07 PM   #9
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What's the point of sanitizing, then rinsing with non sanitized water? A touch of vodka won't hurt anything....it's a NO RINSE sanitizer in my brewery.
I was waiting for someone to pickup on that...
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Old 11-14-2008, 08:19 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the help thus far. I think I will go with the Campden route.

Its been about 2 weeks, and I'm seeing very little yeast on the bottom, and it is still bubbling 5 times a minute or so. When it settles down, should I expect to see a lot of sediment in the bottom? I'm just curious what you have experienced when racking because at this point it seems like very little would be left behind.

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