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Old 11-10-2010, 01:42 AM   #1
klcramer
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Default Strawberry mead.

Been thinking of starting a strawberry mead and here is what I'm thinking.
15 pounds clover honey
15 pounds frozen strawberries
Staggered nutrient
water to 5 gallons.


Was actually thinking of splitting this into 2 batches so I don't have a mess until the initial fermentation is finished then combining into one batch.

Not sure what yeast to use. Normally I use EC1118 but I have recently been told that 1116 is better for fruit flavors.

This recipe seems almost to easy.
Suggestions?
Comments? Concerns?

Thanks

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Old 11-10-2010, 01:49 AM   #2
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Why make mead hard?

Aside from using different honey, it's not like beer in the myriad of small ingredient changes that truly change a beer from being a mild to a IIPA.

Most recipes are that easy. Amount of honey, type of honey, fruit additions, nutrients, and yeast.

Sounds good. I don't know how well the strawberry will come through though. I know that I had to use 2-3#/gallon in beer to make it really tasty...I don't know if you might need to use a little more strawberry in secondary to bring out some additional berry flavor.

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Old 11-10-2010, 01:50 AM   #3
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Try RC 212, it tends to accentuate berry flavors. What type of strawberry contribution to the mead are you looking for? If you want lots of strawberry aroma, consider setting some of the berries aside and adding to the secondary after primary fermentation is done.

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Old 11-10-2010, 01:53 AM   #4
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I was thinking 1/3 of the strawberries would go into the secondary. I could put all 15 pounds in the primary and still add more to the secondary if the general consensus thinks I will needs it. I want this to have a pronounced strawberry to it but I also don't want this to sweet.

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Old 11-10-2010, 05:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jezter6 View Post
Why make mead hard?

Aside from using different honey, it's not like beer in the myriad of small ingredient changes that truly change a beer from being a mild to a IIPA.

Most recipes are that easy. Amount of honey, type of honey, fruit additions, nutrients, and yeast.
Hey! Them's fightin' words.
Since beer is just water, malt, hops and yeast, the range of flavors in beer is no where near as great as what you can get in mead. A mead can taste like a beer (braggot); it can taste like a white wine; it can taste like a red wine; it can taste like a lot of different fruit; and of course it can taste like honey (many of which have very different flavors). It can be bone dry or syrupy sweet; still or carbonated; oaked or plain. The variety of flavors that even small changes in fermentation practice can make is enormous.

You don't have to make it complicated, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a lot of variables that can be adjusted.

Just in a strawberry melomel, there are several different ways to approach it. You can put all the strawberries in at the beginning and use a yeast like RC212 and get a very wine-like but light-colored result. You can ferment the honey with an ester producing yeast like 71B that will have a fruitier aroma and then add the strawberry into secondary to give a much more direct strawberry aroma and flavor, and perhaps hold more color. If you ferment it cool, you're likely to keep it more fruity and keep more of the strawberry. If you ferment it warmer, you'll get more tannin and possibly more color. Pectic enzymes may aid the color extraction. There are a lot of ways to tweak it to get what you are aiming for.

Klcramer, for your batch, I would not use EC-1118. It will blow off more of the aromatics and may be more bitter. K1V is a better choice. If you ferment it cool (less than 60 F) if will preserve more of the esters. For what you are describing, I'd mix up the must and add about 5 pounds of berries in the primary. I'd add 10 pounds to the secondary (or into the very end of the primary). More fruit will give more aroma an flavor so adding another 5 pounds will give it more strawberry - I'd say if you have it, use it. Even if you don't want it sweet, a touch of residual sugar will make the strawberry flavor pop out more.

The 15 pounds of berries will add about 1 gallon of liquid so when you are done you should have around 5.5-5.75 gallons.

The big question is what honey will you use. Strawberry aroma is somewhat delicate, so I'd suggest a light, mild honey. I stay away from dark, bitter wildflower honey, and other really dark honey.

I hope you get a great mead.

Medsen
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klcramer View Post
I was thinking 1/3 of the strawberries would go into the secondary. I could put all 15 pounds in the primary and still add more to the secondary if the general consensus thinks I will needs it. I want this to have a pronounced strawberry to it but I also don't want this to sweet.
I agree with adding strawberries to the secondary for more flavor. As for yeast I agree that 1116 brings out nice fruit flavors. I've won most of my ribbons and medals from meads made with 1116. I also have used 1122 and D47 yeasts with great results. However, unless you have your initial SG set very high, or you stop the fermentation using sulfite and sorbate (my usual way of retaining flavor and sweetness), the 1116, 1122, or D47 yeasts will run the mead pretty dry.
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:59 PM   #7
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going to start this today. Here the plan.
15 pounds clover honey
5 pounds strawberries in primary
staggered nutrients

adding 5 more pounds of strawberries at first racking and another 5 pounds at second racking for a total of 15 pounds.

using Lalvin K1-V1116 yeast

My question is I know I can measure my gravity with a hydrometer but that will not take into consideration for the sugar in the strawberries. How do I figure my ABV? Not really a big deal as long as it tastes good and I don't see why it wouldn't. Any thoughts before I take the first steps?

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Old 11-11-2010, 09:48 PM   #8
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Your SG reading will be pretty accurate with everything mixed together well (just try to let the solids of the strawberries settles somewhat, so you're floating the hydrometer in just liquid). Another way you can do it is to mix everything up to include 1/2 teaspoon of pectic enzyme per gallon, and let that sit for a whole day. That will cause the strawberries to break down more and release more of their natural sugars. Your SG reading after doing that should be even more accurate. Regardless of which method you use, I would add the pectic enzyme to the recipe, as it definitely helps in clearing your mead later on.

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