blueberry melomel help

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andrew101

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im am wanting to do 1 gal blueberry mead, i have 1.5 lbs of blueberries and 2 lbs of honey. Im thinking of boiling the blueberries and pressing and add the juice to the honey in the primary and trashing the remaining blueberry.
 

sweetcell

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i wouldn't boil the blueberries. you'll set the pectin, resulting in a hazy and slightly thickened mead. will also make the fruit flavor more like blueberry jam instead of the fresh fruit (but maybe you want that?)

personally - just my opinion - YMMV - etc. - i would do one of the following:

A. cold-press: freeze berries. press the berries and use the juice to dilute honey. pro: maximizes yield, as almost everything in the 1-gallon jug will be final product (just some yeast you'll wanna leave behind). cons: won't be getting benefits of soaking whole fruit in the mead (ex: tannins, more complex flavors, etc).

B. whole fruit: freeze berries. start fermenting honey by itself (along with nutrients, etc.) leaving enough space to add berries later. once honey-only primary fermentation starts slowing down, add thawed berries to fermenter. swirl fermenter at least once a day to re-wet/re-submerge floating fruit (equivalent of "punching down the cap"). wait for berries to be fully fermented, then cold-crash to sink them. rack mead off top, leaving berries behind. pros & cons: opposite of cold-press approach.

if you are concerned about the fruit causing infection, you could always soak/spray them with star san, or blanch them (drop into 180*F water for just a few seconds - be quick, don't leave them long enough to cook!). i wouldn't worry about it, never caused any issues for me, but different strokes...

i use the whole fruit approach as i believe it yields the best flavors, gets the most fruit into the mead, etc.
 
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andrew101

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thank for the input, im leaning towards option 'A' for simplicity this time around.
other question, regarding secondary. what exactly is it? still fermenting? do i add more sugar (fruits, honey)?
any other things you think a beginner needs to know.
Thank you
 

CKuhns

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Secondary is when your mead (Melomel) in this case is almost finished.

You rack from primary when you are pretty near complete (I rack off the lees and fruit at about 1.010 SG) and let it finish in secondary.

Secondary is where I add additional fruit, tannins or acid to round out the favor.
 

sweetcell

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thank for the input, im leaning towards option 'A' for simplicity this time around.
cool! seems to me like option A is more complicated due to the need to press the fruit, as opposed to just adding it as-is, but whatever works for you :)

other question, regarding secondary. what exactly is it? still fermenting? do i add more sugar (fruits, honey)?
so this gets a bit muddled, since folks can talk about two different but related things when they say "secondary": secondary fermentation vs. secondary fermentor.

secondary fermentation is when you have a second round of fermentation after the initial - or primary - round. for example, if after you've fermented a beer with a standard ale yeast, you then add brettanomyces and let that age out, the brett will be responsible for your secondary fermentation. adding fruit to a completed fermentation will also kick off a secondary fermentation.

a secondary fermentor is simply another fermentation vessel (jug, carboy, conical, etc.) that you transfer your beverage into. for example, after fermentation of wine is complete, you can clarify the wine by letting the lees drop to the bottom then racking the wine to a secondary vessel. wait a few weeks or months, more stuff will drop out, and you rack to a tertiary vessel, etc, until you have a cleared wine (there are also clearing additive you can use to speed up clarification). some folks do this with mead, too: ferment in a 6.5 gallon carboy, once it's done and some lees has dropped out you rack to a 5 gallon secondary carboy and let it bulk-age in there.

secondary fermentation can be done in a secondary fermentor, but it doesn't have to. also, you can move your beverage to a secondary vessel without having a secondary fermentation (see example at end of previous paragraph - the mead will not re-ferment in the 5 gal carboy). complications arise when people use "secondary" without being clear what they mean by it: fermentation, vessel, or both?

any other things you think a beginner needs to know.
nutrients: you need them. honey and a little fruit juice will not contain enough nutrients for the yeast to complete the job (at least not well). as a starting point, look up "TOSNA" (tailored organic staggered nutrient addition). adding nutrients is the difference between having something drinkable in weeks, vs. months or a year+.
 

CKuhns

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It all depends on your personal preference. Some of the meads i produce i believe are better refrigerated others not.

Had some friends over last night had a cherry kegged and carbonated and of course refrigerated and a still lemon i like on ice but both my friends prefered it room temp.

I would refrigerate for storage only if i had some residual sugar and didnt, remove or pasteurize. (I dont add the chemicals to inhibit..) Slows down the remaining yeast but believe it or not in 3 to 6 months they still will very slowly eat a bit of the sugar. Lalvin D47 and Red Stars Cotes Des Blanc tend to do that. Omegas Hot Head ale yeast doesnt.
 

sweetcell

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when should i refridgerate my mead?
not until all fermentation is done. once your air lock produces no more bubbles, wait another 2-3 days, then you can cold-crash your mead: by putting in the fridge, or anywhere colder than it was for fermentation, the yeast will flocculate and other gunk (collectively known as lees) will drop to the bottom of your fermentor. the colder the mead and/or the longer you wait = the clearer the mead. when you're ready to package, carefully rack the mead off the top and leave the lees behind.

once you're ready to serve your mead, refrigerated or not is a personal call. i like my meads lightly chilled but not as cold as beer. YMMV.
 
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andrew101

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Question on nutrients, can i use the lees or yeast tcake as an added nutrient, is it helpful? if so how would i do it?
 
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