I originally wanted to join in on the group brew but due to lack of available ingredients (dried cherries) and cherry juice being outrageously expensive here ($8/32oz) I had to opt out. I've come up with the following recipe and would like some input and comments. Also, due to fermaid-k, go-ferm and D47 yeast not being available at any LHBS, I've had to order everything from morebeer.com - $20 in merchandise is going to end up costing me $60 due to $20 in shipping and $20 in brokerage.
This is my first mead attempt other than a modified JOAM so I'm hoping to get it right the first time. here goes:
Cherry Vanilla Melomel
Brewlog - Post#7
12lbs of clover/alfalfa honey (no weight listed – it’s in a 1 gallon pail)
10lbs of sour cherries – frozen
Enough water up to 5 gallons
- Mix and dissolve honey in primary fermenter with warm water to total 5 gallons.
- Thaw and mash/blend 5 lbs of cherries and add to must.
- Rehydrate yeast @ 104F with Go-ferm for 20min – pitch yeast when must and yeast are around 75F.
- Stir daily until 1/3 sugar break. Gently swirl primary to suspend yeast to 1/2 sugar break.
- Staggered nutrient additions at inoculation, 1/3 and 1/2 sugar breaks
- After primary fermentation is complete rack onto 5lbs of thawed and mashed cherries.
- After approx. 1 month rack onto vanilla beans
- After approx. 1-2 weeks (or longer based on taste) rack and start bulk aging until its clear and tasty
- Once clarifying/ageing is complete I’ll plan to ask for advice on backsweetening if needed and on carbonating and bottling ½ and leaving the other ½ still
All methods and procedures will follow hightests mead making FAQ’s. Fermentation will happen in my basement - average temperature is 60-65F
In conjuring up this recipe and trying to educate myself as best as possible I have a few questions specific to my recipe:
1) Is 10lbs of cherries divided equally into the primary and secondary going to result in an overpowering cherry flavour? I don’t want this to turn into really expensive cough syrup =)
2) Along the same lines as #2, would anyone recommend something other than a 50/50 fruit split between the primary and secondary? Or more/less fruit?
3) Is pectin necessary in the primary or secondary?
4) Some people state adding camden tablets to the thawed/mashed fruit @ 1 tablet per gallon of fruit mush and letting it sit for 24hrs in order to sanitize the fruit. Is this necessary? If it helps the fruit will be purchased already frozen from last years harvest from a local organic fruit farm. I’m hoping they are already pitted.
5) Is 5 minutes of vigorous stirring per day sufficient for aeration? I don’t have an oxygen stone or lees stirrer.
6) Is 1 package of D47 sufficient? I’ve seen some recipes use 2, others use 1.
7) Would 1116 or 1118 be better suited for this mead? I may have to use one of these as I don't have much hope that the d47 made it through shipping.
8 ) How much mead loss would be expected due to racking? Ideally I’d like to end up with 5 gallons of mead. Will 5gallons of must (honey/water) and 10 lbs of cherries give me around 5 gallons in the end?
Any other comments or suggestions are appreciated. TIA!