Strawberry Cabana Mead
This has won some gold medals and it is no wonder. It is worth having a couple batches going. I will be making this as soon as possible as my friend will not part with any more!!
18 lbs Strawberries
4 lbs Bananas
18 lbs Wildflower Honey
2 tsp Yeast Nutruents
1 tsp Yeast Energizer
2 tsp Pectic Enzyme
Add all but one quart of water to the fermenter (3 gallons and 1 quart). Reserve one quart of water to boil - this is used to rinse the honey containers. Add all of the honey to the fermenter. Pour some of the hot water into each of the honey containers and shake to dissolve the remaining honey, and then add this to the fermenter. NOTE 1: Use caution when rinsing the honey containers, as pressure can build up in the containers.
Using the large spoon, wine degasser, or another sterilized tool of choice, mix the must until the honey is completely dissolved.
Add 2 teaspoons pectic enzyme, ¼ tsp yeast energizer and ½ tsp yeast nutrient, and stir well. Now, it is time to add the strawberries. NOTE 2: If you would rather add the strawberries to the secondary, feel free to do so. The recipe will work either way.
NOTE 3: The large amount of fruit will create a significant layer of sludge in the bottom of the fermentation bucket. This will make racking difficult later on. You can use a large grain bag (sterilized by boiling) to contain the sludge, or you can use a sterilized stainless steel scrubby stuck on the bottom of the racking cane to filter the sludge from the liquid during the siphon.
If you are using frozen strawberries, they should be thawed prior to adding to the must. If you are using fresh strawberries, they should be thoroughly rinsed and the caps and any bad spots should be removed. Cutting up the fresh strawberries may help with the flavor extraction. Add the thawed, room temperature strawberries to the mead must and stir well. Take your original specific gravity reading.
Re-hydrate the dry yeast if you have not already done so, by following the instructions on the packages. If you have an oxygenation system, put additional oxygen into the must. Once the yeast has been re-hydrated, make sure the must is between 60 and 70 degrees F, pitch the yeast and stir well; or, cover the bucket/pail with the lid and shake the fermenter vigorously to aerate. Attach the fermentation lock, and add liquid to the fermentation lock. Fermentation should begin within 24 hours.
Yeast Nutrient Schedule
Use the following schedule for adding the remaining yeast nutrient and energizer.
NOTE 4: When adding energizer and nutrient, stir slowly at first, as excessive foaming will occur. Once the foaming has subsided, stir vigorously to encourage aeration. Oxygen addition at this point in the fermentation is a good thing and will only help the final product. The degassing of CO2 from the must also helps with yeast health.
After 24 hours: add ¼ tsp yeast energizer and ½ tsp yeast nutrient and stir well.
After 48 hours: add ¼ tsp yeast energizer and ½ tsp yeast nutrient and stir well.
After 72 hours: Add ¼ tsp yeast energizer and ½ tsp yeast nutrient and stir well.
Fermentation is best when kept at 70 degrees F or slightly lower.
The primary fermentation will last about 4 weeks. Buy the 4 pounds of ripe bananas before you rack to the secondary fermenter.
Transferring to the Secondary
When the activity in the airlock has pretty much stopped indicating the primary fermentation is complete, rack to a secondary fermenter (preferably glass). See NOTE 3 (above) for tips on racking from the primary to the secondary.
Now, it’s time to add the bananas. Trim off any stems that look moldy. Rinse the bananas before peeling them to remove molds and bacteria. Place a sterilized funnel in the carboy neck, and peel and place the bananas in the funnel. Use the end of the large spoon, or a racking cane or other sterilized device to mash the bananas into the carboy. This should break them up enough to extract the flavors and aromas. Attach a fermentation lock to the carboy and leave at 65 to 70 degrees F for 3 to 4 weeks.
After 3 to 4 weeks, rack to another carboy for aging and clarification. (See Note 3 for tips on racking.) Check the mead at this time for sweetness. If more sweetness is needed, add honey until you get the desired sweetness. To do this, add 1 pound of honey to 1 cup of hot water and gently mix this into the mead—do not aerate while mixing. Repeat until desired sweetness level is obtained. Some residual sweetness will be needed to balance the acid from the strawberries. You may want to add some potassium sorbate to inhibit any further fermentation.
This mead is nice either still or sparkling, but seems a bit better when sparkling. You can either carbonate in a keg, or bottle condition. If bottle conditioning, leave the mead at room temperature for a few months, but be sure to try one every few months so the carbonation doesn’t get away from you.
This mead is drinkable after 3 months, very nice at 4 months, and continues to get better with age, peaking somewhere around 1.5 to 2.5 years.
Should it be primed with more honey or corn sugar before bottling?
You can use either but if it is mead I use honey. Just a suggestion, and I know this creates some flack from the traditional mead brewers, but I would suggest you use store bought honey to do this. It is pasturized and doesn't have most of the stuff the organic does. Leaves less fall out!
Heres some I made
Is there a reason you added the bananas to the secondary instead of the primary?
Why add yeast and nutrient in stages? Why not add the yeast all at once?
I guess I can add 1/2 of the Strawberries in the primary and the second 1/2 in the secondary? Would this give a stronger strawberry flavor or does the yeast need more of the berry juice to work with in the primary?
Any thoughts to adding some vanilla (extract or beans)?
I did my second one of these w/o the bananas because it created too much waste when moving to secondary and tertiary. I have been thinking about adding vanilla beans to this one, but it's been mellowing out real nice and I think I may just leave it a lone. They will be a year in August and September, I believe.
Yes, bananas do not part with their flavor near as well as other fruits, adding the bananas to the secondary help get more flavor extracted.
All the yeast is added at the begining! The energizer and nutrients being added in steps has started becomming a much more popular way of brewing in the Mead circles I am in. It seems to assist in less stuck fermentations and improves the yeast health.
Strawberries can be done in any way you like. One thing I found was to just make a 5 gal batch of mead and then pull out a couple gallons when going to the secondary then adding all the fruit to the secondary. The fruit bags work nice from the brew shop to let the flavors come through without 2 gallons of fruit sludge. Just be careful on how long you leave the fruit in.
Adding vanilla or other spices are what gives that little extra. If you are experienced on adding and mixing flavors go for it. Some things a little goes a long way.
Here it is after one year today. Crystal clear, nice carbonation and... fantastic tasting!!! This is one of the best meads I've ever made!
which dry yeast did you use for this?
Variation on adding strawberries
For a 3 gallon batch I use a hand held blender and mix 1 gal of water in a pot with a full flat of very ripe strawberries (pre-cleaned and stem removed) whiz into a pulpy liquid. I bring this to 185 deg for 10 min to sterilize the fruit and cool back to 110 deg before adding to the sterilized fermenting container. When adding to the fermenting container I run the pulp through a fine mesh strainer (I have used a clean and sterilized nylon stocking before, use one with lace at the top for extra sexyness!) If you wash your hands well and scrub with Iodine or other bacteria killing substance you can squeeze the pulp sack to remove more of the liquid from the strawberries. This method will remove most of the solids but not all. It's good to get a mesh fine enough to get all the seeds out. boil another gallon of water and mix in 12 lbs of light honey for a mild honey flavor or 12 lbs wild flower honey for a strong honey flavor. My last batch I mixed 6 lbs of wild flower honey and 5 lbs of cane sugar. (this is the fun part of home wine making, playing with the recipe) Using a sugar meter (if you plan on making wine often get one) I shoot for 25% to 30% Brix for a starting sweetness. I don't think adding the yeast food is necessary in stages mostly because every time you open the airlock it invites bad things into the wine. But if it's working rock on!
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