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Old 02-14-2012, 11:43 PM   #1
Feb 2012
pittsburgh, pa
Posts: 3

I've been researching meads for two days straight and I'm getting some conflicting procedures. This is my plan, if anyone can turn me in the right direction I would appreciate it.

mix honey, warm water, fruit until blended
add to fermeter, shake like a mother
add yeast culture after room temp, stir gently
rubber band coffee filter to top (was told meads need to breath for a week or so?)
stir/break cap 3 times a day and oxygenate for a week (wont the cap mold?)
start using the airlock/bubble lock for 1 more week?
rack it still using air lock (discard old fruit, rack onto new fruit for extra flavor?)
let sit for a month?

That's all I've got... I started a practice 1 gallon batch for my first time brew and the strawberries are at the top and losing color after 3 days. the bottle WAS reddish the first day but now the liquid is brown again. Someone help!

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Old 02-15-2012, 01:04 AM   #2
Sep 2011
madisone, Maine
Posts: 197
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Haha ... You sound like me dude. Every one I ask says to do it a bit different ... Just keep trying and you will get it.

I just put 3lb's honey 1g water an a few cups blackberries. Popped on an air lock waited 3 weeks and transferred it on to some more honey and berry juice ... Its looking and tasting good so far .

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Old 02-15-2012, 01:15 AM   #3
Golddiggie's Avatar
Dec 2010
Posts: 11,995
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From my own experience making a melomel, and what's posted on the Got Mead forums, I would add the fruit post-fermentation.

Also, the 'need to breath' is not really what you're doing. Most of the time, for fruit included batches, you need to get in there to aerate it for the first week (or until the 1/3 break is reached). Then you close it up and insert the airlock.

I would also use nutrient and/or yeast energizer for the batch.

IF you wait until the after fermentation is finished, rack the mead onto the fruit, let it extract what it can, then rack off of it. Taste/sample and decide if it needs more fruit or not.

What yeast are you planning to use? Is this batch also going to be a 1 gallon size? If so, use a 2 gallon bucket and make more. Otherwise, you'll end up with less than a gallon in the end.

Personally, I won't make a mead that's less than 3 gallons now (4-5 gallons being my normal size). I did one batch that was just one gallon and by the time it was done, there was far less that made it to bottles. That's even with topping it off with other mead (I had a couple of traditional batches going, using the same yeast and honey). Right now I have a few 4 gallon batches (4-1/4 and 4-1/2 actual initial volumes) going. I'm planning to make another batch, or three, this weekend. Those will have a target volume of 4 to 4-1/2 gallons each. That way, I KNOW I'll get at least 3-1/2 gallons into bottles at the end. I might get lucky and get closer to 4 gallons for the larger batch.
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Old 02-15-2012, 01:50 AM   #4
TheBrewingMedic's Avatar
Dec 2011
Stanfordville, NY
Posts: 651
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Just made my first melomel (and second batch of mead ever) tonight, so unfortunately I can't really add much advice to help you, sorry.

I used a slightly different method that I read about a few places, and my local "expert" added to. One which has it already airlocked.

My ingredients list:
3 pounds of orange blossom honey
1 pound of red cherries pitted and stems removed
2 long madagascar vanilla beans split
*2 tsp yeast nutrient
*Red Star "Pasteur Red" dry yeast
bottled spring water (my tap water has alot of minerals and off taste)

*= recommendations of that "expert" thats been making mead for 20+ years

started by sanitizing EVERYTHING, even some extra equipment on the "might use" list

mixed 1 cup of the spring water, boiled then cooled to 95 degrees as the package recommended, added 1/4 tsp nutrient and 1 tsp of honey, sealed the container and shook the hell out of it to mix/add oxygen, poured yeast on top and left it alone (again the experts recipe)

Warmed half the estimated amount of water to 90-100 degrees, removed from heat, added honey that had been in a warm water bath to thin out some, used a ss wire wisk to mix, start the oxygenation process

Added nutrient to remainder of water that was sealed and set outside to use for cooling to pitch temp later.

Placed cherries and vanilla beans into fermenter.

Wisked the hell out of honey/water, added half of the nutrient enriched water (I think the fact that not all of the water will be used due to displacement is why extra nutrient was recommended), continued wisking while it got nice and foamy and watching yeast "starter" erupting in the container

Poured cooled and nicely oxygenated must into the fermenter, shook up and poured yeast slurry into fermenter, plugged and shook again.

Placed airlock.

Put it to bed in a dark temp controlled location

I forgot to add the step where my daughter decided the hydrometer looked cool, then tested how well it bounced for me while I had my back to her wisking must...needless to say there is no OG reading so if any of the more experienced people out there would like to give me an educated guess as to where it would be reading, I'd be interested in hearing.

Will post updates, OH YEAH it's exactly 2 hours since pitching and airlock is already starting to bubble.
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Old 02-15-2012, 05:22 AM   #5
Feb 2012
pittsburgh, pa
Posts: 3

My big batch i have planned (if this 1 gallon doesnt crap or mold) is going to use 71b-1122 yeast and I will somehow incorporate fresh dragon fruit as soon as I get a hold of this fruit addition process (pre or post ferm).

I have a 6 gallon carboy, so I'm thinking of buying a larger plastic bucket for the primary and then rack it into the 6g.

I just need to figure this fruit out... everyone says something different. It adds another level of "husbandry" to taking care of the brew (I assume) which is more interactive and rewarding to me.

I have been mixing the cap 3 times a day on my 1 gallon test batch, it smells like sour wet gym socks and the berries are brown, I feel like im doing something wrong. Maybe I will add fruit after fermentation next time, especially since the yeast eats the fruit in initial anyways... sounds artificial though.

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Old 02-15-2012, 05:55 AM   #6
Jul 2010
New Braunfels, Texas
Posts: 68
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I've tried it both ways, and now prefer to add fruit after the primary fermentation is complete. I'll rack the mead onto the fruit or juice, depending on which type of melomel I'm making. The residual yeasts will pick up a secondary fermentation to use up the fruit's sugars, but it's not so vigorous to blow off the fruit flavor and aroma. 4This seems to preserve more of the fruit character in the final product.

Plus, I normally start with 5-6 gallon batches of mead, then rack into smaller vessels. This allows for multiple experimental batches going on simultaneously. A lot of fun, that.

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Old 02-15-2012, 08:35 AM   #7
biochemedic's Avatar
Jun 2010
Carnegie, PA
Posts: 2,205
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The pre/post fermentation thing is an interesting question; I tend to side with Golddiggie and the others and tend to add fruit post primary. The issue at hand is that the active primary will blow off a lot of aromatics and change the fruit character, and can also even scrub out some color. There's nothing necessarily wrong with adding in will just give a different fruit dimension. Think of how wine doesn't necessarily taste like you expect a grape to taste... Some people will do both...some fruit in the primary and some later afterwards to give a mead more depth.
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:20 AM   #8
Insomniac's Avatar
Apr 2011
Oxford, UK
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So far all my melomels have used fruit or juice in the primary with maybe a little extra added in secondary. For next year's batches I will be doing it the other way round I think

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Old 02-15-2012, 04:58 PM   #9
TheBrewingMedic's Avatar
Dec 2011
Stanfordville, NY
Posts: 651
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Originally Posted by enyo View Post
\I have been mixing the cap 3 times a day on my 1 gallon test batch, it smells like sour wet gym socks and the berries are brown, I feel like im doing something wrong.

The reason any fruit in any setting turns brown is oxidation...not oxygenation like you are trying to accomplish with your must but oxygen breaking the fruit down. It could be brought on by using the coffee filter over the top instead of an airlock in the begining phases, be nice to find someone on here that uses the coffee filter method to see if this is something that is expected or if there is something off

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Old 02-15-2012, 05:36 PM   #10
Feb 2012
pittsburgh, pa
Posts: 3

Ive read that the first week needs a lint free towel, or loose lid, over the top. I figure a coffee filter lets air in the same but with zero chance of a hair or fuzzy getting in.

How am i supposed to oxygenate the mead without oxidizing the fruit? And at the same time, prevent mold from forming?

Nothing lines up.

Next time I think I will add the fruit after primary fermentation, that way the alcohol level will basically kill any bad things on the fruit, and I wont have the fruit exposed to air the first week.

Sounds easy to me.

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