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Old 07-25-2011, 01:27 PM   #1
Crimsonwine
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Oct 2010
Chicago, Illinois
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I am fermenting my first attempt at Mead. I am doing a black raspberry.

My LHBS owner owns his own Meadery and sampling some of his stuff really got me interested in trying this.

I added 3# of orange blossom honey to a gallon of water and one cup of raisins. I pitched 2.5g of Red Star Cote des Blancs and had an OG of 1.095.

I pitched the dry yeast right into the must. I also aerated for 20 min. before pitching. Within a couple hours I had airlock activity, and I also noticed the raisins started floating to the top.

On his reccomendation...
- he suggested I use yeast energizer or a cup of raisins (I used raisins - he said raisins would give it more body)
- he suggested to ferment the honey only must out first...said it would take a couple weeks, then rack onto a pound or two of raspberries depending on how much taste i wanted for another 2-3 weeks.
- add potassium sorbate and back sweeten

He never mentioned anything about adding more nutrients to keep fermentation going. I did tell him I wanted a sweet mead...

So my question is...
Do i need to worry about adding nutrients in three steps for a 1 gallon batch?

He also suggested I might want to add tannins...



 
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:52 PM   #2
MedsenFey
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Jan 2010
Florida
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It is not an absolute requirement to add nutrients in stages, however, the experience most of us have had is that staggering the nutrients in addition to other good management practices seems to help producing cleaner, better meads. Using raisins is, in some fashion, a staggered nutrient as the nitrogen gets released as the raisins get swollen and attacked by the yeast, so it may achieve a similar effect. Still, Côte des Blancs tends to be a nutrient hog so hopefully you have enough there to keep it from getting stinky.

The problem with adding a cup of raisins to a one gallon batch, is that you will have a raisin flavored mead. If you want a mead that shows only the aroma and flavor of the honey, raisins aren't the best way to provide nutrients. It just comes down to personal preference.



 
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Old 07-25-2011, 10:00 PM   #3
Matrix4b
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Nov 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedsenFey View Post
The problem with adding a cup of raisins to a one gallon batch, is that you will have a raisin flavored mead. If you want a mead that shows only the aroma and flavor of the honey, raisins aren't the best way to provide nutrients. It just comes down to personal preference.
I agree with this entirely. Sometimes the rasins can add a needed flavor but if your goal is to show the honey flavor, particularly if it is a good variety then your best option is to use Yeast Nutrients. Mostly the Step nutrient method is to ensure good clean fermentation and reduce the "Hot" alcohol flavor initially, what is called fusel alcohols. And to reduce any off flavors.

You have it started so I wouldn't worry about it. I would freeze and thaw and mash up the raspberries a bit though, some pectin enzyme wouldn't hurt either. But all in all it sounds like a yummy mead. Don't be supprised if it ferments dry and then you may need to back sweeten it a bunch.

I did a Red Raspberry Thyme mead and it went dry fast, stablizing and back sweetening was a must. But oh god the smell was wonderfull. Waiting for this to age but I could smell the Thyme and the Red Raspberry clearly. I have high hopes for it. So Black Raspberry should be incredible too. I would go with 3 1/2 to 4 pounds. And possibly 1 1/2 to 2 pounds for back sweetening.

Let us know how it turns out. I would age it for at least 8 months, though a year would be best.

Matrix

 
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:31 AM   #4
Crimsonwine
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Oct 2010
Chicago, Illinois
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Thanks for the feedback...

I always wondered if raisins lent flavor....but since I want this to be black raspberry then I am sure the raisin flavor should be overcome. I figure this would take a long time to produce as well...sucks waiting a year..but if this turns out like i think it will...yum! it will be worth the wait...

When you say 1.5 to 2 pounds to back sweeten..you mean honey? or raspberries.....

I figured this would ferment dry...which is fine....since it seems to be the majority opinion that it is easier to back sweeten then to try and hit your sweetness during fermentation...

 
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:28 PM   #5
BryanThompson
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Louisville, KY
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Yes, honey for the back sweeten. You could add some more raspberries if the flavor isn't strong enough when you are done.

 
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:30 PM   #6
BryanThompson
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One question I have about the three step is do you divide the recommended amount of energizer by three?

 
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Old 07-26-2011, 01:55 PM   #7
MedsenFey
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Florida
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I often just use two additions - one at the end of lag and the other around the 1/3 fermentation point. I will use 1/2 or sometime 2/3 of the nutrient for the addition at the end of lag phase. If you are going to separate it into 3 or more steps, it may be a good idea to match it somewhat to the growth curve of the the yeast. They grow and divide very rapidly at the beginning, so you may want your nutrients front-loaded a bit. Using 50% at the end of lag, then 1/4 and 1/4 as later additions would be my suggestion.

 
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:33 PM   #8
commonsenseman
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Feb 2011
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I would not add nearly that much honey to backsweeten, that would raise your gravity by 50-70 points. Far too sweet for almost any palate. To backsweeten (after stabilizing), the best method is to take a measured portion, add a little bit of honey until you get to your desired sweetness, then scale it up to the whole batch. That way you don't end up way too sweet, since without blending it's very difficult to make it less sweet.

Keep in mind that as it ages, it will require less residual sugars to taste good. So if you backsweeten while it's still young, it may be too sweet a year later.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:08 PM   #9
mccann51
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Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commonsenseman View Post

Keep in mind that as it ages, it will require less residual sugars to taste good. So if you backsweeten while it's still young, it may be too sweet a year later.
Pay heed to this advice!

 
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:41 AM   #10
Crimsonwine
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Oct 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mccann51 View Post
Pay heed to this advice!
Good to know!!



 
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