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-   -   Off-dry Blackberry Mead Help! (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/off-dry-blackberry-mead-help-366113/)

DaSwede 11-07-2012 05:04 PM

Off-dry Blackberry Mead Help!
 
Hi all! I visited Starrlight Meadery here in NC about a month ago and tried their off-dry blackberry mead and it was the best thing in the world (off dry, tangy, medium body), but also very expensive (almost $30/bottle!). Talking to some of the employees, these are the ingredients I got from them:
Honey
Blackberry JUICE (not store bought, but home made) INSTEAD of water
Yeast Nutrient
Yeast

Now a few questions:
1) It seems all the berry mead recipes use whole fruit so is it even viable to use the blackberry juice?
2) What kind of yeast would I use for this? Wine yeast?
3) What quantity of honey would be ideal? Blackberries don't seem to have a lot of sugar content so maybe around 11 lbs.?

Thanks in advance!

huntingohio 11-07-2012 05:51 PM

1. yes you can ferment blackberry juice
2. yes wine yeast, maybe something like red star cote be blanc or lalvin d-47
3. That would bepend on the gravity of the juice, Someone who is bbetter at calculating gravity could help you more

Golddiggie 11-07-2012 05:59 PM

Since fruit can have a range of sugar content from crop to crop, and sometimes even plant to plant, it's best to determine the SG of the juice BEFORE adding the honey. It's actually pretty easy to do if you have a refractometer. :D

Brewkowski 11-08-2012 07:15 PM

I've seen advertisements for Blackberry Juice in Winmaker magazine, I think Walker's out of New York somewhere if you're interested, or if you have access to a fruit press. I'd probably just go whole fruit, depending the strength of flavor I'd go 4-5lbs of fruit per gallon and 3-4 lbs of honey per gallon, but I have no idea how it tasted so you can increase/decrease based on your feeling.

gratus fermentatio 11-09-2012 12:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DaSwede (Post 4566765)
Hi all! I visited Starrlight Meadery here in NC about a month ago and tried their off-dry blackberry mead and it was the best thing in the world (off dry, tangy, medium body), but also very expensive (almost $30/bottle!). Talking to some of the employees, these are the ingredients I got from them:
Honey
Blackberry JUICE (not store bought, but home made) INSTEAD of water
Yeast Nutrient
Yeast

Now a few questions:
1) It seems all the berry mead recipes use whole fruit so is it even viable to use the blackberry juice?
2) What kind of yeast would I use for this? Wine yeast?
3) What quantity of honey would be ideal? Blackberries don't seem to have a lot of sugar content so maybe around 11 lbs.?

Thanks in advance!

Instead of juice, you might try this:
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/blackberry-vintner-s-harvest-puree.html
Though you might still want to add a bit of water to it; or not, your choice.

As for the yeast strain, I think I'd go with one of these:

"Lalvin RC212 (Bourgovin) : This yeast is traditionally used in the Burgundy region for full red wines and is a favorite of home winemakers seeking similar big reds. Naturally, it is perfect for Pinot Noir. It has good alcohol reach (14-16%) and high temperature (68-86° F.) tolerance and excellent color stability. This yeast requires high nitrogen nutrient additions to avoid the potential development of H2S. It is quite suitable for use with non-grape black and red fruit (plums, prickly pear cactus fruit, pomergrantes) and berries (blackberries, raspberries, dewberries, mulberries). It is quite tolerant of concurrent malolactic fermentation."

"Lalvin 71B-1122 (Narbonne) : This yeast metabolizes more of the malic acid during fermentation than most other yeasts and should be considered for wines which are high in malic. It is noted for producing "fruity" reds such as vin nouveau and works well with high-acid native North American grapes, producing rounder, smoother, more aromatic wines that tend to mature quickly. Because it is also known for making blush, rosé and semi-sweet wines with a tropical fruit character, it promotes these styles with Cabernet Franc, Gewürtztraminer and Riesling. For obvious reasons, is often the yeast of choice for a great many malic fruit and berries and for vegetable-grape concentrate blended wines. Alcohol toxicity is predictable at 14% and its temperature range is 60-85°. F."

I've had some good results using Cote de Blanc for blackberry wine, I'd think it would do well in a melomel with proper nutrient additions.

"Côte des Blancs : Formerly known as Epernay 2, this is another slow fermenting, very low foaming and low flocculating yeast tolerant of low temperatures. It tends to bring out floral and fruity qualities in wines and can be useful in both grape--especially fruity German style whites-- and non-grape wines--such as peach or raspberry--where a bouquet is especially desired. This yeast will not push alcohol production over 13% in a cool fermentation but has a range of 12-14%."

Now for honey quantity. This depends on your batch size & what you want for an end product. I'm thinking you want to clone the Starrlight melomel. I'd go with the Cote des Blanc yeast, 1-2 can(s) of blackberry puree, 12 lbs honey & water to 5 gallons for a 5 gallon batch. Ferment @ 60-62*F. Be sure to use yeast nutrient/energizer & DAP. You might follow SNA as well:
http://home.comcast.net/~mzapx1/FAQ/SNAddition.pdf

That's what I'd do. Hope this info helps.
Regards, GF.

DaSwede 11-09-2012 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brewkowski (Post 4570542)
I've seen advertisements for Blackberry Juice in Winmaker magazine, I think Walker's out of New York somewhere if you're interested, or if you have access to a fruit press. I'd probably just go whole fruit, depending the strength of flavor I'd go 4-5lbs of fruit per gallon and 3-4 lbs of honey per gallon, but I have no idea how it tasted so you can increase/decrease based on your feeling.

Thanks! I found this calculator:
http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=745&Item id=16

How does the attached look?
http://i.imgur.com/GTXoi.jpg

EDIT: I got the sugar content from the Walker's website about their blackberry juice.

Golddiggie 11-09-2012 02:38 PM

I wouldn't advise using 71B or RC-212 for your initial mead batches. For one thing RC-212 is VERY nutrient needy, and can easily go to 16%. 71B typically needs to be watched closely and removed from primary once you confirm fermentation is complete. Lalvin D47 would be my suggestion for a first shot yeast strain. Goes to 14% reliably and has the "E.V.C.: ENHANCES VARIETAL CHARACTER" sensory effect. Something what you're making will benefit from. While it's temperature range (listed) is 59-68F, you should be able to keep it there if you're brewing ales.

DaSwede 01-07-2013 02:48 PM

Thanks for all the feedback, I really appreciate it! So here's what I'm thinking:
- 12lbs local honey
- 2 cans of blackberry puree (from Midwest Supplies)
- Lalvin D47 yeast (10g, doing a starter with GO-Ferm)
- Ferm-K and DAP

Is the process the same as a basic mead? (e.g: heat water, add honey + puree, top off with water, cool down, follow SNA)

Golddiggie 01-07-2013 02:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DaSwede (Post 4756488)
Thanks for all the feedback, I really appreciate it! So here's what I'm thinking:
- 12lbs local honey
- 2 cans of blackberry puree (from Midwest Supplies)
- Lalvin D47 yeast (10g, doing a starter with GO-Ferm)
- Ferm-K and DAP

Is the process the same as a basic mead? (e.g: heat water, add honey + puree, top off with water, cool down, follow SNA)

Pretty much except do NOT heat the must above 100-110F. Simply put, there's zero need to do so. Also, a single yeast pack is good for up to about 6 gallons. If you're making a 5 gallon batch, then a single, rehyrated pack will be fine.

DaSwede 01-07-2013 02:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Golddiggie (Post 4756498)
Pretty much except do NOT heat the must above 100-110F. Simply put, there's zero need to do so. Also, a single yeast pack is good for up to about 6 gallons. If you're making a 5 gallon batch, then a single, rehyrated pack will be fine.

Thanks. I was going to heat ~2 gallons to 110 before adding the honey.

I'm really looking forward to making this ever since I found a supplier of unprocessed, local honey! :)


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