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Hangy

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So, I am about to start my first brew and it's going to be a mostly traditional mead but I wanted to add blueberries. I am working with fresh blueberries and what I am wondering is if I should chop/crush/muddle my blueberries before adding them or not. Any input is appreciated.
 

RM-MN

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My thought is that you start with a completely traditional mead so you learn the process and have an idea of what it should taste like in case your process has a glitch. You will then know if your process is good. Then you make the blueberry mead, knowing that any off flavor is due to the addition of the blueberries, not the process.
 

DBhomebrew

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A freeze/thaw or two will do the job passively and won't risk crushing seeds. It'll also make it easy to preserve the berries until it's time to rack to secondary.
 
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Hangy

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I appreciate all the feedback. I am following a recipe that calls for pre-packaged frozen which is why I was curious. I do think that, under normal circumstances, having my first batch be purely traditional would be a good idea, however with the recipe I have, I think I will just follow it. If it turns out good or bad, it will still be a learning experience. I will get to freezing my berries now, and maybe tomorrow I will start the batch.
 
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Hangy

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So, are there any early warning signs that I should know about for this first batch? I am kind of concerned that my mead may be doing something odd already. It's kind of separating. There is a more clear layer below the berries, and then a kind of chunky almost mucus looking layer below that, and then cloudy like I would have expected. It's very strange looking to me. Mind you, this is a brand new batch, and my first, so I have no real frame of reference.
 

bernardsmith

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Hiya Hangy and welcome.
You also want to add nutrient to any and all mead you make. Honey has no nutritional value for yeast , so they have no way to repair cells and with difficulty they reproduce (bud). On a separate note, usually better to ferment in food grade buckets rather than glass or plastic carboys sealed with a bung and airlock. You want to be able to stir the fruit into the mead and not allow the top layer of the fruit dry out - as that will result in mold. A bucket loosely covered with a cloth is perfect. Mead ain't beer , and honey ain't grain... and yeast need oxygen during the first days of active fermentation. Wine makers don't have apoplexy at the idea that their mead or wine will "sour" . A) lactobacteria don't go for honey of fruit the way they glom onto grains and B) our wines and meads tend to have a pH of around 3.0 not 4.5 -5 like a beer. Wine and mead is made to be acidic... (but honey has no pH buffers so you do not add acids until active fermentation has ended. A pH of less than 3 can stall the fermentation).
 
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Hangy

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Admittedly, that's a lot of information to digest. While I appreciate the feedback, sadly, I am not a text based learner. I need to process large volumes of data visually and audibly. That is the reason I rely on youtube and other video sources for most of my information. Sadly nothing I came across told me anything about stirring the fruit, nor did it mention anything about ph levels and such. As I said, I was following a recipe, so I just went with it. If that first batch turns out bad, I will just have to try again with a pure traditional, but not until I have a lengthy conversation with someone that can help fill in some of the clearly evident knowledge gaps I have.
 

bernardsmith

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The problem is that many of the folk on youtube are self-professed experts who are online to make money. Others freely admit that while they are teaching you they really know as much as those they are teaching.. zilch. In communities like this one you will have people who have been making award winning wines for sometimes decades. And as an edcator, I do sympathize with you when you talk about how you need to process information. All that aside, in my opinion, most recipes are one time experiences of the creator that may or may not have any real relationship to what they actually did. Recipes are - in my opinion - great for making cake, not so useful for baking bread and a waste of time when it comes to writing novels or making wine. It's principles and protocols you need to understand and follow. Yeast do all the work when we remove any obstacles. You add honey to water (about 1 part honey to 3 parts water, add nutrient, add fruit assuming that the fruit possesses about 1 lb of sugar in every gallon of juice they produce, and if you are adding fruit add pectic enzyme to break down the pectins and help clear the finished product; pitch the yeast add acidity and tannin to taste; stabilize and back sweeten to taste.
 
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Hangy

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Yep, I don't think I have any of that stuff for the most part, so clearly my shopping list needs to expand. If I am very lucky, I will find someone willing to hop into a discord call and explain lots of things to me, until then, I will have to rely on actually understanding 10-15% of what I can read on here, and at least looking at the youtube videos with a bit more clarity now.
 
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Hangy

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ok, so if I want to make a basic traditional mead, do I still need to add nutrients, or can I just pitch the yeast and be good to go? I have been trying to read up on what kind of yeast I want to run based on how much honey I am running and what final abv I am looking at. Am I correct in assuming that if I use enough honey and a yeast with an alcohol tolerance that is lower than what my volume of honey can produce, that it should stay somewhat sweetened at the end due to the yeast dying off when they hit the abv cap? Is that even an ok way to plan it, or should I just let it run through all the sugars and then back-sweeten, assuming I don't want it super dry? So many questions.
 

pj777

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People go back and forth on whether or not you need nutrient/energizer. It's mainly debates between traditional mead makers (which didn't use supplemental nutrient) and non-traditional from what I've seen. The reasoning that stuck with me is that unless you have another source of natural nutrient for the yeast, then it's a good idea to add some. Back in the day of swords, knights, and holy hand grenades a lot of times bits of honeycomb and other substances where included in the must and inadvertently provided nutrient to the yeast. Today everything is filtered so most home mead makers add it to make up for it. However, if you add the fruit to the primary that also adds nutrient for the yeast to use, so it may not be necessary for the blueberry recipe.

TLDR; I'd probably add nutrient and energizer for a traditional mead.
 
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Hangy

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Thank you for the informative response. I suppose the next question would be, "what are good recommendations for nutrients/energizers?" so I can order them and get my next 4 batches started.
 

pj777

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I just get what's available at my local homebrew store. The stuff I get is from LD Carlson. I don't really recall any advice given to me about specific brands of nutrients/energizer, just that you add it.

If you want to get specific, check and see if the brand of yeast your using have some that they make.
 
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Hangy

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ok, thank you. I sadly don't have a local brew shop, so I have to order off of amazon
 
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