# Going to start my first Mead

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#### ptegan001

##### Member
Was going to make a blackberry mead in a 3 gallon fermentor, when i started reading some of the books it tells me how many blackberries to use dependent on how strong of a blackberry flavor i want, but my question is. from what i have been reading it takes 9 pounds of honey for the 3 gallons. But if i add 8 pounds of blackberries to my ferment, do i reduce the amount of honey that i add. Also i was reading it might be a good idea to cook the blackberries first to reduce the risk of bacteria. is this normal proceedure?

#### Dan O

##### Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Was going to make a blackberry mead in a 3 gallon fermentor, when i started reading some of the books it tells me how many blackberries to use dependent on how strong of a blackberry flavor i want, but my question is. from what i have been reading it takes 9 pounds of honey for the 3 gallons. But if i add 8 pounds of blackberries to my ferment, do i reduce the amount of honey that i add. Also i was reading it might be a good idea to cook the blackberries first to reduce the risk of bacteria. is this normal proceedure?
Yes, you will reduce the amount of honey, but, how much you reduce it by will be determined by how you want your finished product to turn out.
Honey is approximately. 035 points of gravity/pound /gallon of must.
Example= 3 lbs of honey /gallon of must should give you a gravity reading of about 1.105. The berries, (if you're adding frozen ones) will also add volume to your must from their juices they release when thawed, so, don't forget to account for that extra volume when doing your calculations. If you're using fresh berries, I highly recommend you wash them thoroughly then freeze them to break down the cell walls & make it easier for the juice to be fermented.
I would not recommend cooking the blackberries. That will set the pectin in said berries & leave you with a haze in your mead you may have a hard time trying to eliminate.
I hope this helps you.

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#### ptegan001

##### Member
Ok so i was looking to avoid adding tannins or any other chemicals to it, is there anything else I need to do in order to ensure it does not spoil?

#### Dan O

##### Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Ok so i was looking to avoid adding tannins or any other chemicals to it, is there anything else I need to do in order to ensure it does not spoil?
You will get your tannic value from all the seeds on those berries. I also highly recommend using a food grade bucket & putting your fruit in a bag for primary fermentation.
Generally, your tastes may vary, but, start tasting it for the tannic value @ about 7-10 days into primary. Those seeds may be small, but, there's a lot in 8 pounds of berries. Once you've reached YOUR level of tannins, you can remove the fruit. It will be pale in color by that point, (compared to when you put it in).
To avoid spoilage, sanitize EVERYTHING that will come into contact with your must, including your hands. Good sanitization practices go a long way in mead making.
Keep the fruit wet @ all times. Usually a few good swirls, twice a day will be enough to keep it wet. If it starts to dry out, mold will try to grow. I use these glass fermentation weights & then it's not an issue keeping the fruit wet.

6 Pack - Large glass fermentation... Amazon.com: 6 Pack - Large glass fermentation weights for wide mouth Mason jars. Preservation and Pickling. Dishwasher safe. Gift box included. Premium Presents brand: Home & Kitchen

Bags can be found here. I get the bigger bags but there are many sizes to choose from. Adding 8 pounds of fruit will take a bigger bag.

Bellamei Brew Bags Reusable 2... Amazon.com: Bellamei Extra Large Brew Bags Reusable 2 Pack 22"×26" 250 Micron Fine Mesh Bag for Fruit Cider Apple Grape Wine Press Drawstring Straining Brew in a Bag (2 pack-22"×26"): Home & Kitchen

Food grade buckets can be found in the paint section @ any Home Depot store. Look for the food safe label on a solid white bucket.
Lastly, make sure your airlock always has enough liquid in it. Some people use their sanitizer, some people use water. I use vodka. There are bugs that can swim, I have yet to find one that can make it through the vodka

I hope this helps you.

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#### ptegan001

##### Member
LOL yeah i do some other fermentations (souerkraut, hot sauces and such and yea i use vodka for the airlocks)

#### DuncB

##### Well-Known Member
I just use starsan in my airlock. They might be able to swim, but dive against a bubble flow in a carbon dioxide rich solution of starsan and then crawl seems fairly lethal. My airlocks have caps with small holes in that keeps out bugs larger than 1mm diameter.
I worry that the volatile aspect of vodka ( the alcohol ) will evaporate leaving basically water which bugs can swim in quite happily. There are liquid free airlocks available I believe but I have no experience of these.

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#### ptegan001

##### Member
ok so started the mead, i put in 9lbs honey, 8lbs frozen blackberries, 1 packet lalvin 71b yeast, 5grams each go-ferm and fermaid k, all of this went into a 3 gallon glass jar, after which i was only able to add 1.5 gallons of water. not sure if this is right or if i need to move it to a larger fermentor and add more water. the gravity seems to have been at 1.16-1.17, i did bounce it and spin it a few times to make sure it was the same every time.

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#### Kyzaboy89

##### Well-Known Member
Dang why am I just finding this thread, oh well, assuming you mix your honey into the water thoroughly, your gravity is extremely high due to berries replacing some water volume. What I would do if you aren't going to ferment in a wide mouth or bucket, draw out half of the liquid volume into a gallon jug. Airlock that jug or keep the cap loose enough for air to flow out, then put it in the fridge or ferment it side by side your 3 gallon. Measure gravity in the gallon to double check the fruit isn't misleading your hydrometer, if it's still above 1.120 go ahead and add water to the top of the shoulder on the carboy. Stay on top of you nutrients, 71b consistently gets stressed in this environment but will produce delicious melomel. As soon as you even think you detect a rotten egg odor add some nutrients, trust me on this one, and heads up degassing is going to be rough the first few days. Going to overflow if you aren't to careful.

I really need to get my recipe up here lol, not telling you how you have to do things here, just offering experience cus I've made these same mistakes and had to learn the hard way. Wish you the best of luck and don't worry, you learn alot with your first mead. Cheers.

#### Dan O

##### Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Dang why am I just finding this thread, oh well, assuming you mix your honey into the water thoroughly, your gravity is extremely high due to berries replacing some water volume. What I would do if you aren't going to ferment in a wide mouth or bucket, draw out half of the liquid volume into a gallon jug. Airlock that jug or keep the cap loose enough for air to flow out, then put it in the fridge or ferment it side by side your 3 gallon. Measure gravity in the gallon to double check the fruit isn't misleading your hydrometer, if it's still above 1.120 go ahead and add water to the top of the shoulder on the carboy. Stay on top of you nutrients, 71b consistently gets stressed in this environment but will produce delicious melomel. As soon as you even think you detect a rotten egg odor add some nutrients, trust me on this one, and heads up degassing is going to be rough the first few days. Going to overflow if you aren't to careful.

I really need to get my recipe up here lol, not telling you how you have to do things here, just offering experience cus I've made these same mistakes and had to learn the hard way. Wish you the best of luck and don't worry, you learn alot with your first mead. Cheers.
(Still waiting for that recipe)

#### Kyzaboy89

##### Well-Known Member
Haha I knew you were going to pipe up.

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#### ptegan001

##### Member
Dang why am I just finding this thread, oh well, assuming you mix your honey into the water thoroughly, your gravity is extremely high due to berries replacing some water volume. What I would do if you aren't going to ferment in a wide mouth or bucket, draw out half of the liquid volume into a gallon jug. Airlock that jug or keep the cap loose enough for air to flow out, then put it in the fridge or ferment it side by side your 3 gallon. Measure gravity in the gallon to double check the fruit isn't misleading your hydrometer, if it's still above 1.120 go ahead and add water to the top of the shoulder on the carboy. Stay on top of you nutrients, 71b consistently gets stressed in this environment but will produce delicious melomel. As soon as you even think you detect a rotten egg odor add some nutrients, trust me on this one, and heads up degassing is going to be rough the first few days. Going to overflow if you aren't to careful.

I really need to get my recipe up here lol, not telling you how you have to do things here, just offering experience cus I've made these same mistakes and had to learn the hard way. Wish you the best of luck and don't worry, you learn alot with your first mead. Cheers.
overflowed the very first night, had take some of the berries out and now it seems to be working and has been very active, stirred it last night. when should i add the next nutrient fix, should i do it on a specific schedule?

#### Kyzaboy89

##### Well-Known Member
Hard to say, either every 40 points gravity drops you could add a teaspoon Fermaid O, also anytime you detect stress or bad odor go ahead and stir it really well and add some nutrient

#### KeizerBrewr

##### Pot stirrer
HBT Supporter
Y'all beat me to it! Degas daily and keep a nose to your airlock to help ward off stressed yeasties. Fermaid O is your friend at this point. I made a semi-sweet blackberry blossom still sack mead this last summer and was very good. It is a labor of love the first month to keep degassing and ensuring proper nutrient levels to keep it chugging along, but it is well worth it!

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#### ptegan001

##### Member
so i have had this going for 2 weeks now and this is what i have been doing
Stir again after 3 days
3 days later add ¾ tsp each go-ferm and fermaid k Stir again.
Test gravity and it appears to be 1.130
took a taste and it definitely is getting an alcohol taste.
the action has slowed a lot
i may have made a mistake at the beggining, i basically partially pureed the blackberries before adding to the jar
the blend is very cloudy
i purchased some Liquor Quik Super-Kleer KC Finings and some bentonite
added 1 tsp bentonite already and am waiting to see it will clear more before i rack it to the 2nd fermentor
the bubbles slowed quite a bit, but started going again this time when i added more nutrient and stirred it.
not sure when i should rack to 2nd carboy, a month?
and as the sugar is still pretty high was wondering if i should get some other yeast to add? i read in one of my books to get a secondary yeast that will take it to a higher alcohol level to remove more of the sugar.

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#### Kyzaboy89

##### Well-Known Member
If the pic is of the current gravity reading, that is 1.030 not 1.130. the hydrometer has a base of 1.000 and every 10 increments would be represented as 1.010, 1.020, 1.030 etc. Lower down on the hydrometer it should show an increment of 1.100 and the continue with 10 point increments. Currently you have a sweet/dessert mead, depending on your preference of sweet.

If your original gravity is correct, you are at 18.37% abv. Check gravity in a few days and for a week or two more. Yeast has probably hit it's alcohol tolerance. Nutrients aren't really going to do anything at this point.

Can't remember what final gravity you wanted to target.

#### KeizerBrewr

##### Pot stirrer
HBT Supporter
That picture looks like 1.030. Assuming your OG was accurate, the yeast have gone as far as they can. Have you tasted it? Does it taste good to you? What have your fermentation temperatures been? You could add some acid blend to it to create more balance and help if it is still a bit sweet to your liking. I mean, maybe Wyeast 4696 could knock a few more points. If it tastes good right now, add some pectic enzyme and bentonite to help clear it up and rack it to secondary with minimal headspace.

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#### ptegan001

##### Member
ok so i wanted it to be slightly sweet but not like a desert wine, would it hurt to rack to the 2nd fermentor add more water and let it ferment a while longer?

#### Kyzaboy89

##### Well-Known Member
Adding water may dilute it enough to ferment further, calculate how much water to add in order to dilute enough for fermentation to consume sugars down to your ideal gravity. Slightly sweet, I'd say undershoot a little as you can back sweeten easier. Aim for 1.010, it's slightly sweet for me and I prefer 1.016-1.020, if it's to dry just add a little honey or sweetener.

#### KeizerBrewr

##### Pot stirrer
HBT Supporter
Okay. Yes, I would boil some water and let it cool to room temp and add enough to dilute down to the gravity you want. Assuming you have roughly three gallons of mead with a current SG of 1.030. Lets say you want to decrease your gravity to 1.015, you would need three gallons to attain that gravity. The math is Current SG points(ex 1.030= 30 points) x Current Volume(3 gallons) = 90 points. Divide those points by your desired SG to get final volume: 90/13= 6 gallons. Subtract that number from your current volume (which is 3 gallons): 6-3=3 gallons of water to get to 1.015. If you don't like math like me, I use this.

#### Kyzaboy89

##### Well-Known Member
That will dilute everything by half, yeast will consume all remaining sugars and leave you with 10 abv roughly. Diluting enough to lower abv a few points will maintain the higher abv and body of the mead while letting the yeast eat enough to get back to an 18 abv.

If you want a gravity of 1.015, that means the yeast need to consume 15 more points gravity (1.030-.015=1.015) that's about 2% abv so calculate water to alcohol volume and add the amount that will drop it 2%.

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