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klcramer 05-22-2011 12:03 AM

Strawberry mead
I started a batch of Strawberry mead last Sept and wanted to post some updates.

This was a simple recipe I came up with of:
15 lbs clover honey
15 lbs frozen strawberries
water to 5 gal
yeast energizer
staggered yeast nutrient
Yeast EC-1118

I cannot find the notes on starting gravity if anyone has a guess from the recipe please let me know.
the final gravity is .997

I have racked this in November, February and April.

Three days ago I stabilized and today I back sweetened with 1.5 cups of sugar.

Took a sample and this is far better than I expected. I will bottle in a few days and let age for a few months.

If anyone has a guess to the ABV I wouldn't mind having an idea but to be honest the taste is much more important than the ABV.

Very easy and very tasty up to this point ( and very pretty color ).

MedsenFey 05-23-2011 09:21 PM

You are likely at 15-15.5% ABV.

Since you used EC-1118, you may want to keep it under airlock for several weeks just to make sure the stabilization really worked. This strain can be tough to stop.

What did you use to stabilize (how much)?

SpanishCastleAle 05-26-2011 12:35 PM

I just made almost that exact recipe last night except I plan to use LV-1116 after it sits on the campden for a day. I used 15# OB honey and 15# frozen strawberries (sliced in half) that were still partially frozen before I added the warm-ish honey/water mixture. About an hour or so after mixing everything up I measured 1.15. I'm not really sure if or how much the strawberries will affect the gravity after it sits longer, I'm guessing they hadn't released all their juices when I took the hydro sample last night. I plan to measure again tonight when pitching the yeast (edit: measured ~1.14 @ 24 hours later). I added exactly 2 gallons of water to the honey and strawberries to reach 5 gallons.

I'm a little concerned that the fermenting bucket is too small and I'm going to have a red volcano, it's one of those 6.5 gal buckets.

MedsenFey 05-27-2011 02:54 PM

Yep, you need a bigger fermenter.

The formula for estimating the gravity effect of blending is as follows:

Vt*Gt = (V1*G1) + (V2*G2)

Vt is Total volume
Gt is gravity of total
V1 is volume of the first amount
G1 is gravity of first amount
V2 is volume of the second amount
G2 is the gravity of the second amount

So you have 2 gallons of water and 1.25 gallons of honey (roughly) and which will give a V1 of around 3.25 gallons - your gravity was was 1.150, but it theory could have been a little higher (like 1.160).

The Berries will add roughly 1.25 gallons of juice and the gravity will be somewhere between 1.030-1.040.

So you should net out about 4.5 gallons as a Total Volume (with the pulp gone) with an effective starting gravity somewhere in the 1.115 to 1.125 range so if it goes completely dry (as it should) you'll have something like 15.5-16.5% ABV.

Nice and strong. :)
It should be good.

SpanishCastleAle 05-27-2011 04:30 PM

Thanks for the explantion and reassurance. I was wondering if it would be too strong and if I should dilute at any point. I gave it ~60 seconds of O2 early this morning (~10 hrs after pitch). I just stirred and measured the pH and it's already at 3.70 so we're cooking! SG was 1.030. I'm trying to keep the temp in the low 60's. Maybe if I can keep it cold enough and degas frequently/carefully I can avoid a big mess.

SpanishCastleAle 05-31-2011 12:20 PM

No mess so far. pH was at 3.3 so I added a 1/4 tsp chalk and a 1/4 tsp baking soda, then added the last nutrient addition and degassed it one last time. pH was at 3.4 a little after that so I think I'll just leave it be until it's 'done'. OG was 1.085 last night.

Talking with some guys at Meadllenium they mentioned baking soda and 'a couple of tablespoons' in the same sentence and from beer brewing it just didn't compute. So I kept the soda wayyyyy low.

FWIW, BOS at Meadllenium was a mead made with honey/water/cut up pineapple and spontaneously fermented with whatever was on the pineapple skins. It was delicious!

MedsenFey 06-02-2011 01:06 AM

A pH of 3.3 is fine - don't sweat it. Fruit in the primary usually prevents severe pH drops. When you do need to adjust, baking soda ain't the best choice - potassium bicarbonate is better (with calcium carbonate as second). Baking soda can leave it a little salty.

SpanishCastleAle 06-20-2011 01:57 PM

Racked it over the weekend, SG = .996 and pH = 3.45. Not really hot/fusel-y at all and very red.

Racking off all those strawberries was...an adventure but I think I still kept oxidation to a minimum. I was hoping to get somewhat clear-ish mead but very early into the racking my 'mission' had changed...just get as much of this off the berries as possible, I'll rack it again soon to get it off the yeast and small chunks that got through. Only got 4 gallons. And now it's hurry up and wait time.

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