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Old 06-11-2013, 10:43 PM   #1
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Default Semi-Dry Tart-Cherry Melomel

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: Lalvin 71B
Yeast Starter: Rehydrated in a half cup of warm water
Additional Yeast or Yeast Starter: no
Batch Size (Gallons): 1Gal
Original Gravity: 1.142
Final Gravity: 1.022
Boiling Time (Minutes): 0:00
Color: Dark Red/burgundy
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 1 Month, 70-75F
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 8 Months
Tasting Notes: nice honey character, just enough tartness.

Semi-Dry Tart Cherry Melomel:
3Lbs. Clover Honey
3 Liters Organic Cherry Juice
one packet of Lalvin 71B
1 Tsp. Yeast Nutrient (staggered additions of .5tsp on day 1, .25tsp. on day 3 & 5)
Water to 1Gal.
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Rehydrate yeast in a half cup of warm water, with .5tsp of yeast nutrient.

Warm 1L of organic tart cherry juice to just under simmering, and add honey. stir until completely disolved. add to fermentation vessel, then add remaining 2L of cherry juice, cap and shake vigorously to mix and oxygenate must. pitch yeast, and put on your airlock.
OG 1.142

Cap and shake daily for first week to degas/oxygenate, adding .25tsp of yeast nutrient on days 3 and 5 (dissolve nutrient in a couple ounces of warm water before adding to must in order to avoid foam-outs).

Rack to secondary after 1 month (my gravity was at 1.024), let rest/clear in secondary for as long as you have patience. I bottled after 8 months of secondary at FG 1.022
------------

Tasting Notes:
Pretty much exactly what I was looking for when I started it. plenty of honey character, nice cherry flavor, and just a bit of tartness. to my taste, it is sweet but not syrupy or feeling like it's going to give me instant diabetes.

------------
what I learned from this recipe:
#1: staggered nutrient additions were easy to do, seemed like primary went smoothly.

#2: Lalvin 71B seems to be a yeast much more to my liking than Redstar Pasteur/Champaign, and with an estimated 15.5%ABV, it's plenty strong but tastes very clean without having either alcohol bite or yeastiness.

Picture at bottling (bottles on left with 'C' tags)

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Old 09-13-2013, 06:25 AM   #2
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Hey, first time mead maker and I had a couple questions. The scale of this recipe is for 1 gallon? Also, how do you think the addition of fresh cherries in the primary would affect the mead. Any help is appreciated.

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Old 09-15-2013, 01:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewseeker View Post
Hey, first time mead maker and I had a couple questions. The scale of this recipe is for 1 gallon? Also, how do you think the addition of fresh cherries in the primary would affect the mead. Any help is appreciated.
yes, this recipe is for 1 gallon, as it was, I bought out every bottle of tart cherry juice my store had (I've since found a store with a really good supply and I'm aching to make it again on a larger scale). out of the 4 batches of mead I've finished, this is by far the favorite of every who tastes it (except for me, I love all my meads equally...), very smooth, just a bit of tart pucker, with a good balance between the dark fruit of the cherries and the honey, several people have accused me of adding chocolate or tootsie-rolls (I didn't, but I can taste what they mean).

I don't know how adding fresh fruit to to this would effect the outcome, but if you do plan on doing it, I would say to make sure to use "tart" cherries, too sweet and things end up tasting like cough-syrup. in case you've never added fruit to a brew, this is how I would do it: de-stem and cut them in half (leave the seeds if you want to, I'm not sure if I would or not), freeze them for a day or two before brew day, thaw on brew day and mash them up before adding to your fermenter.

one reason I lean towards NOT adding fresh fruit is how simple this recipe was to put together with just juice, and I lost nearly nothing to racking VS. how much I lost when using fresh blueberries on another batch of the same size. we'd never get anywhere if nobody experimented with stuff, so please feel free to do your own thing and let me know how things turn out
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Old 09-16-2013, 12:55 AM   #4
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Hey, thank you for the reply, I going to stick to the original recipe for my first mead. My only other question is the yeast nutrient additions. Will the the mead be at risk of oxidation like beer every time I remove the airlock and add nutrients?

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Old 09-16-2013, 02:22 PM   #5
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Oxidation is not really a concern with step nutrient additions since you are adding them during the active phase of fermentation, adding oxygen during the active phase of wine/mead fermentation is actually a good thing as the yeast need Oxygen and the Nutrients you are adding, in order to reproduce.

as with every step of brewing, you still need to be careful of sanitation every time you remove the airlock. I like to keep a mason jar of my sanitizing solution (star-san) in the fridge, this way it's ready to go and I can dip/wipe down everything I use between the larger "brew process days"

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Old 09-17-2013, 12:27 AM   #6
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Thank you for all your help, I made this last night and the yeast is really starting to take off. I'll add nutrients in a couple days, this stuff already smells amazing. Thanks again

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Old 09-17-2013, 09:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewseeker View Post
Thank you for all your help, I made this last night and the yeast is really starting to take off. I'll add nutrients in a couple days, this stuff already smells amazing. Thanks again
you're welcome, let us know how it goes. when I was just getting started I did a lot of reading on this forum and a couple others, happy to pass along some of what little I know. good luck, I really enjoy how this tastes at a year old, I don't think it's going to live long enough to reach two... I'm just going to have to brew a bigger batch in the near future.
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Old 10-16-2013, 05:00 PM   #8
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Hey, I wanted to give an update and I had another question. I racked to my secondary and I'm would like to let it sit for 8 months to a year before bottling per recipe. My only other question concerns bottling. When bottling mead do I add a small amount of priming sugar to give it a mild carbonation or do I leave it alone. Thank you

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Old 10-17-2013, 05:33 PM   #9
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I've never intentionally carbonated mead, I think you would need to add sugar/honey while the yeast is still active (before reaching it's tolerance, or clearing completely), and bottle condition.
If you let it clear in the carboy, it will be still at bottling like mine was.
I say "intentionally" because I bottled my first batch ever, before it was fully clear and there was a slight amount of carbonation.

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Old 12-29-2013, 08:20 PM   #10
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Hello, I am using a variation of this recipe and I had a couple of questions.
I used 2 lbs 5 ounces of clover honey
32 ounces tart cherry juice
Lalvin ec-1118 5g
Go ferm 5g
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1/4 tsp acid blend
I started this last night, how important is it to aerate this melomel? This is only my second batch to try brewing. Another question is it better to have the temperature in the lower 60's for the
duration of the primary fermentation?
Any answers would be great.
Thanks

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