# Going to start my first Mead

### Help Support Homebrew Talk:

#### ptegan001

##### New 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

##### New 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

##### New 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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