Blackberry and Black Raspberry Melomel

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pj777

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Hey, long time lurker here. I've taken a lot of advice and recipe ideas from this forum, so I figured it's time I give something back. There's a few recipes I have but this one's probably what I'd consider my best. This is my third time making it and it has always turned out really good. I call it Wild Berry Mead.

-2 gallon batch
-Est. 12% ABV
-Est. OG 1.086
-Est. FG 0.996
-Aged 3-6 months

Ingredients:

-2.5 lbs Blackberries
-2.5 lbs Black Raspberries
-2 lbs Clover Honey
-2 lbs Raspberry Blossom Honey
-1 tsp Yeast Energizer
-2 tsp Yeast Nutrient
-0.5 package (5 g size) Lalvin 71B-1122 Yeast

So the berries are the big thing here. Blackberries you can get anywhere but black raspberries are a little harder to come by. Both grow naturally in my area (Western PA, USA) and were foraged from the woods around me. You can buy them online, but they're a little more pricey, or just say screw it and go with normal store bought raspberries. I don't know how that differs with flavor, so I can't comment on it. Half of homebrewing is adapting recipes for your specific needs though, so do what you gotta do.

Honey is bought locally and water is either filtered from a local stream or just regular tap water. All depends on flavor.

-Berries are measured, mashed, and added directly to the primary. This is to get more flavor from the fruit and also acts as additional nutrient for the must. No boil, just mix the honey with water to 2 gallons for this recipe and add to the fermenting bucket/carboy.

-I'll add the yeast using the recommended pitching instructions and amounts of nutrient and energizer are added as suggested by the package. I'll usually stagger the amount over a few days totaling to the amount recommended (ex: first day I'll add 0.5 tsp of energizer, then the next 0.25 tsp, then the last 0.25 tsp at 1/3 sugar break if needed).

-Primary ferments for about a month and is then racked to secondary. I'll add 1 campton tablet per gallon of must to prevent any bacteria growth. You also want to consider adding glass marbles to bring the must up to the neck of the carboy to limit air contact. Rack every month after.

-One thing I started doing is letting it ferment and age at a much cooler temperature. Before I would leave them in my kitchen where the temp ranged anywhere from 69-74 F. I noticed with leaves some strange flavors in the mead. I began with my last few batches leaving them in my basement where it sits at 65 F on average. I tasted a few of them and the flavor is much more crisp. If you can I'd recommend fermenting at the lower end of the yeast's temp range.

-I'll usually age between 3-6 months depending on %ABV. <10% and 3 months is normally fine. More than that and you normally want to go at least 6 months. My last batch came out to about 9.5% ABV, but this one will likely come out to 10% or more.

-I'll stabilize and backsweeten the mead to 1.021 SG before bottling using raspberry blossom honey.

I'm not good at describing flavors, the best I'd say is that it comes out light, crisp, and a little tart if that makes sense. It's semi-sweet and probably my most complimented mead to the point that people are always asking me if I have extra. I just started a batch a month ago and racked it to the secondary.
 

bernardsmith

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Nice one... but those berries must be packed with sugar if your SG is 1.086. The honey would give you about 70 points per gallon and the 4 pounds of berries are giving you about 32 points across the two gallons which is about 11 oz of sugar overall.
 
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pj777

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Sorry I suppose I should've clarified that point. The estimated numbers were taken from a few online sources, which are about as exact as you can expect. I had to do it that way since the exact ingredients weren't in the program I use to document this stuff (Beersmith). The actual OG that I measured ranges between 1.072 and 1.078. What I wrote down in the OP was taken directly from the first page which is all estimated measurements, which is why it's off.
 

kimajy

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Nice. Black raspberries are what they use to make Chambord liqueur and they do contribute a really lovely flavour. If you're in to spirits at all, try using them in an infused vodka which you can hold back on the sugar with. Very nice indeed !! Can't get them round here any more, sadly the only place they grew was built on and they were casualties along the way :rolleyes:
 
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