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AeroEngy

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I just started my very first mead. I have my own beehives and blackberries so figured a blackberry mead was in order.

I'm using a 1 gallon wide mouth jar. I took about 3 cups of blackberries that I froze last year. Brought them to a light boil and gave them a slight mashing. Then put them in a cold brew bag to contain the bits. I am using my tap water which is from a well. I have a good water and a decent filtration system but boiled the water for 10 minutes anyway.

Once it cooled a bit I added 2 1/2 lbs of honey to the warm water and shook it up. Then used 1/2 packet of 71B yeast that I hydrated in warm water. Initial gravity is 1.100.

I plan to add some Fermaid O in 2 doses ( tomorrow then about 1/3 sugar depletion). After primary and racking I was thinking about adding a fresh batch of blackberries but haven't decided yet.

It has only been about 4 hours since I added the yeast but there is already an airlock bubble ever few seconds...
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bushpilot

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I get great joy from fermenting my own honey and berries. Your plan sounds like it will work well. Freezing the berries (to break up the cells and release juice), and pectic enzyme (to reduce haze)in the pimary are also helpful.
 
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AeroEngy

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I get great joy from fermenting my own honey and berries. Your plan sounds like it will work well. Freezing the berries (to break up the cells and release juice), and pectic enzyme (to reduce haze)in the pimary are also helpful.

I forgot to mention I did add pectic enzyme with the berries.

Also, the fermentation picked up really fast. This pic is about 7 hours after pitching the yeast. It started bubbling up out of the air lock and made a bit of a mess. I guess I didn't leave enough head space. Part of the problem was the brew bag floated up to the top and acted like a balloon.
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JP_BeerFan

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Yeah, that's pretty full up, especially with a bag.

How warm is it where it's been sitting? I did some ciders in the house at 72-74F room temp with 71B and they got pretty frisky. Had to find a container to put the carboys in for the overflow for a few days, and I had no bags and a lot of headroom. It would run a bit slower if you have someplace cooler, assuming it's in a 74F kitchen or something now... would end up tasting better with a cooler fermentation.

I forget what the temp range for 71B is, probably below 72F. Ideally, if you could put it someplace cooler but not really cold, it would improve the results. I just did the same cider recipe again as a test, now that I put together a ferm chamber, fermented it at 68F, and even just a week out of fermentation, I can tell its a lot better. Better taste thru lower yeast stress...

Other thing to do, find a length of tubing that fits in the grommet, (there is a size that should work) and make a blow off tube. (section of tubing to a jar with StarSan, as the airlock) Then it can burp to its hearts content into the jar until it slows down, and at that point return to the bubbler airlock.

Something for next time, look for some kind of weight to hold down the bag, something unreactive and easy to clean and sanitize, like a weighty piece of glass, would help keep it from rising up and blocking the airlock.

Hope you didn't find out what can happen if you dump too much nutrient too fast into a not degassed enough mead... :)

Keep us posted!
 
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AeroEngy

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Yeah, that's pretty full up, especially with a bag.

How warm is it where it's been sitting? I did some ciders in the house at 72-74F room temp with 71B and they got pretty frisky. Had to find a container to put the carboys in for the overflow for a few days, and I had no bags and a lot of headroom. It would run a bit slower if you have someplace cooler, assuming it's in a 74F kitchen or something now... would end up tasting better with a cooler fermentation.

I forget what the temp range for 71B is, probably below 72F. Ideally, if you could put it someplace cooler but not really cold, it would improve the results. I just did the same cider recipe again as a test, now that I put together a ferm chamber, fermented it at 68F, and even just a week out of fermentation, I can tell its a lot better. Better taste thru lower yeast stress...

Other thing to do, find a length of tubing that fits in the grommet, (there is a size that should work) and make a blow off tube. (section of tubing to a jar with StarSan, as the airlock) Then it can burp to its hearts content into the jar until it slows down, and at that point return to the bubbler airlock.

Something for next time, look for some kind of weight to hold down the bag, something unreactive and easy to clean and sanitize, like a weighty piece of glass, would help keep it from rising up and blocking the airlock.

Hope you didn't find out what can happen if you dump too much nutrient too fast into a not degassed enough mead... :)

Keep us posted!
It sat in the kitchen for the first 1/2 the day (~70F) then I moved it to the basement where it is normally cooler (62-64F).

I'm using a cold brew bag whose hole /filter size is very small. Probably use something with a larger mesh next time. I was thinking about what I could add to the bag to make it sink. A glass paperweight does sounds about right. Easy to clean and a won't react with anything. Thanks for the tip.

I was warned about adding nutrient from reading a lot of posts before I started. At 24 hrs after pitching I degassed with some stirring and then slowly added 1/2 the Ferm-O. However, I wasn't fully prepared and it very nearly foamed over. I'm going to add the other half the Ferm-O at the 1/3 sugar break. Any guesses on when that might be? I was going to take a reading either this evening or tomorrow and see how it is coming.
 

Murph4231

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I like making Blackberry Melomels. I get good results by allowing the mead to ferment for up to a week before racking it on top of the fruit placed in a secondary. I do freeze the berries to expedite braking down cell walls but I find no need to heat them. The yeast takes it from there. I also feed the yeast nutrients at least twice over the next couple of weeks. The honey and the sugar from the berries will overcome the yeast without help from nutrients. Once fermentation stalls I transfer again to an aging/conditioning keg. Then it's a waiting game. I generally age them up to a year before considering them finished. Melomels always benefit from long cool aging.
 
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AeroEngy

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I like making Blackberry Melomels. I get good results by allowing the mead to ferment for up to a week before racking it on top of the fruit placed in a secondary. I do freeze the berries to expedite braking down cell walls but I find no need to heat them. The yeast takes it from there. I also feed the yeast nutrients at least twice over the next couple of weeks. The honey and the sugar from the berries will overcome the yeast without help from nutrients. Once fermentation stalls I transfer again to an aging/conditioning keg. Then it's a waiting game. I generally age them up to a year before considering them finished. Melomels always benefit from long cool aging.
I thought about doing something similar and not putting berries in primary. I'm still undecided if I'll add more berries once I rack into secondary. Maybe I'll make a second batch that way and see how it compares. I have a standup freezer full of berries and plenty of honey ... So why not?

I mostly heated the berries out of fear of contamination. Have you every had any problems with that or has freezing been good enough?
 
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AeroEngy

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Just a quick update. It has been 1 week and the gravity has dropped from 1.100 to 1.048. So a little over 1/2 way through the sugars. It has definitely slowed down. I went ahead and took the bag of blackberries out. I'm going to give it at least another week before racking and probably adding some more berries in secondary.
 
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