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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > My first mead... is it ok?
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Old 05-06-2010, 08:49 PM   #1
Korben
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Default My first mead... is it ok?

I would like to turn out a gallon batch of a nice sweet mead with a strong blueberry character. Here is what I was thinking:

3 lb. clover honey
1 Gal. water
1/2 tsp yeast nutrient
1/2 tsp yeast energizer
1/2 tsp pectin
1/2 packet red star Cote Des Blancs wine yeast or Lalvin D-47 (really not sure on the yeast)

Let that go for about 2-3 weeks in primary. Next rack onto 2 pounds of well smashed blueberried (that have been already forzen and thawed). Let that go for a ~ 2 weeks then rack to tertiary on top of some stabliziers not sure what I would need (I really want it to be nice and clear).

I am not quite sure how much honey would be need to back sweeten.

Am I on the right track?

Also, how often do you agitate this during primary/secondary?

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Old 05-07-2010, 12:39 AM   #2
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You're on the right track.

You might need to up the honey a bit - maybe 1/4 pound or so. You'll be able to tell how much by using a hydrometer. Shoot for a target gravity of at least 1.120.

Don't add pectin. We sometimes need pectic enzyme to break down pectin and prevent haze, but you never need to add pectin. In this case, I don't think you'll need any pectic enzyme.

Stir and swirl at least daily to keep the yeast in suspension, and be sure to aerate the must until the gravity gets down to about 1.080. After that, you can keep it under airlock and just swirl to keep the yeast up.

I'd try to keep the temp at 70F or below if possible.

I hope you get a good result.

Medsen

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Old 05-07-2010, 01:04 AM   #3
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Really leave an airlock off until the gravity gets to 1.080? I guess I can see the yeasties needing air but no airlock just seems a little scary to me.

Would I need to add nutrient in intervals for such a small batch?
How long do you think it would take to get down to 1.080?
Will this blueberry addition give it a really nice hit of flavor, making this for the lady friend and she loves blueberries.

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Old 05-07-2010, 02:04 AM   #4
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You can actually leave the airlock off and cover with a sanitized cloth and it will work fine. You can keep an airlock on, and just remove it while you stir/aerate it each day then put it back on. Whatever makes you comfortable is okay.

Since you are aiming to keep it sweet and don't need to push the yeast to maximum alcohol tolerance to dry it out, you don't really have to do the staggered nutrients. You can add them all at once if you like.

It is hard to say how fast a fermentation will go. You really have to monitor it to know. Again, as you aren't pushing for maximum alcohol tolerance, if you just aerate it for the first couple of days, you'll be fine.

Flavor preference is tough to predict, but 2 pounds in a gallon will generally give a light berry character. 3 pounds will make it medium; 4 pounds will be strong.

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Old 05-07-2010, 06:27 AM   #5
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Thanks MedsenFey.

I do have another question. what size fermentor will I need I have two 1 gallon glass carboys. However, I don't know if 1 gallon fermentor would be able to handle the liquid plus the fruit. Also, should I leave the fruit whole or smash?

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Old 05-07-2010, 01:49 PM   #6
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Personally, I'd do this in a bucket as that will make working with the fruit a lot easier. You can even use a 5-gallon bucket as the headspace is irrelevant during primary fermentation. If you want to add the fruit into the bucket at the very end of primary you'll be getting the same sort of flavor/aroma contribution as you would by racking onto it. Then when it has extracted what you need from the fruit, you can rack into the 1-gallon jug (and will probably have enough to keep a bit for topping up later).

Freezing and thawing the berries usually makes them soft and mushy enough that you don't have to do much, but if you want to mash them using something like a potato masher that is okay. You just want to be gentle so as not to damage the seeds and get a lot of bitterness released.

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