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Old 08-06-2009, 03:22 PM   #1
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Default So I want to try making some mead, what else do I need to know?

Keep in mind I have never made a mead before but have been reading up for a little while now.

Here is the plan so far. I want to get about 5 - 1 gallon jugs to use for multiple small batches since I have to wait for the results, I want to have many going at any time. I figure I can leave one jug empty to do transfers.

I have gone through the FAQ section and through the How to make a Basic Mead and preparing your starter and Staggered Nutrient Additions.

I am hoping that I can get everything from morebeer, it doesn't seem like they have a great selection of dry yeast and none of the ones I have seen mentioned here. Out of the following yeasts which would be the best for a semi-sweet mead or a Melomel mead?

Redstar Premier Cuvee
Montrachet
Dry Wine Yeast - ICVD254
Dry Wine Yeast - MT
Dry Wine Yeast - D21

The other thing is that the Staggered Nutrient Additions guide said to use Diammonium phosphate but morebeer does not have this, is Fermaid K a good substitute?

I would like to do a Melomel mead and and not sure how, when, quantity of fruit should be added. I have read that people have frozen fresh fruit then crushed it and added to the fermenter. I have read to boil it. So what is the best solution for fruit additions?

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Old 08-06-2009, 06:00 PM   #2
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MoreBeer has what you want, but you'll sometimes have to search the "MoreWine" website. They're the same company, but do business through two specialty websites that aren't cross-linked. Maybe someday they'll get around to it!

Anyway, if you search MoreBeer using the term DAP (instead of diammonium phosphate) you'll find it: Yeast Nutrient (DAP) (2 oz) | MoreBeer

The Hightest SNA (staggered nutrient addition) protocol uses BOTH Fermaid-K and DAP. You really do need both, since DAP supplies the bulk of your yeast's nitrogen needs and Fermaid supplies both a little more nitrogen, and other yeast nutrients. The reason you'll need supplemental DAP along with the Fermaid, is that Fermaid is formulated specifically to add to average grape wine musts, consisting entirely of grape juice. Grapes supply much of the nitrogen that yeasts need naturally. Honey has no significant quantities of nitrogen compounds in it. So, you need the DAP, too.

You'll find almost all the yeast strains talked about here on either MoreBeer or MoreWine. Personally, I like D47 or D21 for traditional meads, and D254 for red-fruit melomels. K1V-1116 is also good for traditionals, or for that matter, for almost any mead or melomel recipe. It is a good all-around yeast, but its high ethanol tolerance means that it will take most recipes to dryness.

Oh, and don't boil anything. If you are really concerned about your fruit, then treat it with metabisulfite a couple of days before pitching yeast instead. You'll end up with a far "fresher" fruit flavor, and have far fewer problems with pectins, if you sulfite instead of boiling.

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Old 08-06-2009, 10:13 PM   #3
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Thanks for the great information. So would you put the fruit in at the beginning of fermentation and what is the percentage usually, something like 25% weight in fruit or something?

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Old 08-06-2009, 11:42 PM   #4
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I know people that don't add any fruit until after 1 year. He claims that during the fermentation you lose some of the subtleties of the fruit taste and aroma, so really it's up to you.

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Old 08-07-2009, 04:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talenos View Post
I know people that don't add any fruit until after 1 year. He claims that during the fermentation you lose some of the subtleties of the fruit taste and aroma, so really it's up to you.
That's a good idea. Like a secondary after a super long primary.
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Old 08-07-2009, 04:59 PM   #6
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Schramm kinda dances around the subject in his book - but if you read it carefully, he's more of a secondary or later fruit-adder, FWIW.

He talks about making a bunch of batches of show mead in the winter/spring that are then "ready" for fruit additions when ripe fruit is in season.

<---------------this was a primary addition of only 24 oz. of fresh raspberries in a 3 gallon batch.

He's not against primary additions, but brings up some of the downfalls: sanitation issues with fresh fruit (wild yeast, bacteria), losing lots of flavor/aroma during active fermentation, etc.

For my upcoming cherry mead, I'm planning on both though. I'll do ~1/3 of the fruit in the primary; rack it off after 2-3 weeks, age for a while, then rack onto the remaining 2/3s of cherries and bulk age for several month; rack off again until clear...

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Old 08-07-2009, 05:44 PM   #7
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The fruit in primary vs secondary camps will likely be at war about this issue long after you and I have made our final batches of mead. Still, I'll weigh in with my preference, and an explanation of why. For most of my melomels I like the majority of fruit in primary (2/3 to 3/4 total weight) and the rest in secondary just as a flavor enhancer -- fruit in primary does lose much of its "fresh juice" character, but so do grapes in grape wine. If I were making juice spritzers instead of melomels, I'd put all my fruit in secondary -- or maybe I'd just mix vodka with fruit juice directly!

But what you lose in fresh juice flavors during primary fermentation, you generally gain in complexity. In fact, these days when I use dark red, tannic fruits (such as blackberries or currants) I put all of the fruit in primary, and I make sure that my mead is off the skins and seeds after a maximum of 7 days. That way I get wonderfully complex and rich fermented fruit character in the melomel, without getting a huge dose of fruit tannins that would take unduly long to age out.

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Old 08-10-2009, 06:51 AM   #8
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+1 on wayneb's last comment. I will have to try that next time.

I made a melomel almost a year ago, bottled it around the six month mark. I hope that it gets better with age. I used the Oregon seedless fruit concentrate (Blackberry) in the primary. I left it in primary for two weeks, and it is potent with tannins. It will be a long time before this mead mellows out to a good balance, if ever. It is not bad but it is not good either. Probably should have added pectic enzyme or potassium bicarbonate. Not sure what would be best.

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Old 08-11-2009, 07:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayneb View Post
But what you lose in fresh juice flavors during primary fermentation, you generally gain in complexity. In fact, these days when I use dark red, tannic fruits (such as blackberries or currants) I put all of the fruit in primary, and I make sure that my mead is off the skins and seeds after a maximum of 7 days. That way I get wonderfully complex and rich fermented fruit character in the melomel, without getting a huge dose of fruit tannins that would take unduly long to age out.
Question: You rack it off this fruit while the mead is still fermenting? Do you take the yeast cake with you, straining the fruit somehow? I was under the impression that the mead needs to sit in the primary until it has finished, but I understand that you wouldn't want fruit in for too long for the reasons you explained.
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Old 08-11-2009, 02:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenbirds View Post
Question: You rack it off this fruit while the mead is still fermenting? Do you take the yeast cake with you, straining the fruit somehow? I was under the impression that the mead needs to sit in the primary until it has finished, but I understand that you wouldn't want fruit in for too long for the reasons you explained.
I lot of people will rack with it gets down to ~1.020. If you follow proper staggered nutrient additions (see hightest's FAQs) you'll be fine. There's enough yeast in suspension to finish the job.

So you can rack around 1.020 and then again everytime there's 1/4 or more of lees (usually 1-3 more times), then bulk age until at least clear (preferrably months longer)
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