GROUP BREW: Strawberry Mead

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flyweed

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Ok, just wanted to post a new thread on who might be wanting to start up a group brew and have our results tracked here? What we'll do is gather the names of participants over the next few days...then we'll give everyone 10 days to acquire all the materials to brew this,and then all do it on the same day.

The recipe is as follows: (based on the Strawberry Pizazz mead by Yo Mamma at Gotmead.com)


Strawberry Pizazz mead

18lbs Wildflower Honey (OG 1.140)
17lbs of frozen then thawed Strawberries
3 crushed campden tablets
4 tsp of nutrient of your choice
Water to 6.5 gallons
5g KV-1116

That's all!

Usual staggered nutrient additions using a nutrient of your choice.
Punch the cap , or use a mesh bag, down 2-3 times per day and aerate for 2 min.
Everything is cold mixed and set on the crushed campden for 24 hours.
Yeast was rehydrated in 100F must for 2 hours

Fements down to about 1.015 - 1.020...then you can rack into secondary and bulk age for at least 6 months. Will be very drinkable young, but 6 months to a year makes it an OMG drink that will be gone FAST!!

Please post your name here if you would like to get in on this group brew.
 

jaxn

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This sounds great. I'm in.

I've got to find some wildflower honey!
 
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flyweed

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Ok..what I think I'll do is give it until tomorrow for anyone else wanting to get in on it..then we'll set a brew date, so everyone has some time to acquire the ingredients. How bout we tentatively set a brew date of either Saturday, January 23 or Sunday January 24?? Does this work for everyone?
 

jaxn

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Sounds good.

But can you please explain this line?
Punch the cap , or use a mesh bag, down 2-3 times per day and aerate for 2 min.
I can get some wildflower inside of a week, but I have a lot of clover already. Do you think that would work well instead?
 
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flyweed

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you could use clover, and we can see what the outcome difference is if you'd like. Just be sure and not that in your brewing notes during this group brew.

Yes..punch the cap..means to push the fruit down into the must..so it doesn't dry out floating on top and cause unwanted beasties. and aerate is simple stirring or using an airstone in the must for a couple minutes each time...at this point and stage of the fermentation you wants LOTS of oxygen getting into your must.

Dan
 

jaxn

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you could use clover, and we can see what the outcome difference is if you'd like. Just be sure and not that in your brewing notes during this group brew.

Yes..punch the cap..means to push the fruit down into the must..so it doesn't dry out floating on top and cause unwanted beasties. and aerate is simple stirring or using an airstone in the must for a couple minutes each time...at this point and stage of the fermentation you wants LOTS of oxygen getting into your must.

Dan
:mug:

Cool. Thanks. I'm familiar with aerating. I use a lees stirrer in a cordless drill. But this will be my first rodeo with solid fruit (other than JOAM), so that is helpful info. :D
 

pulpfiction32

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I will join this nonsense but i will probably scale it back to 3 gallons
 

cheesecake

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I would love to take part in this but at the 7-8 dollars for apackage of strawberries around here i may have to pass
 

BBBF

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I'm planning to do a strawberry mead soon, but I need to get a bucket of cherries out of my freezer first. I guess I'll be a month or two behind you guys. Also, I have 10 gallons of orange blossom honey, so I'll be using that instead of wild flower.
 

YoMomma

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Hey all! Thanks Flyweed I'm in also. Got everything I need and ready to knock another out.
 
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flyweed

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Cool...Ok..I think we'll start this either this coming Saturday or Sunday. What say you all? Aye or Nay? We will use hightests SNA as posted here on HBT. Please be sure to take all readings (temp, OG, etc) before you pitch your yeast.

Dan
 

ChshreCat

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I would love to take part in this but at the 7-8 dollars for apackage of strawberries around here i may have to pass
Look in the freezer section at your grocery store. You can usually find frozen strawberries for MUCH less than what's in the produce dept and they should work just as well. After all, you're going to freeze them anyway!
 
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flyweed

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agreed...just look in your freezer section..just check the ingredients..it it should just say Strawberries,or strawberries and water. They put these in a blast chiller, to quickly freeze them..so they are every bit as good as fresh berries. I am using strawberries we grew in our garden, and then i froze using dry ice..to quickly freeze them whole.

Dan
 

Ryan

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I'll take part, but not sure if I can get it put together by this weekend. So I will be a little behind you guys.
 
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flyweed

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Ok...looks like we'll do this this weekend. I am going to be putting mine together Saturday afternoon..and will pitch yeast by about 5pm or so on Saturday. I will input my initial measurements at that time.

Dan
 

jaxn

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Just got 17lbs of frozen strawberries from Kroger. It was almost $40!!! SWMBO was less than impressed, but I assured her it would be worth it.
 

jrss13

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I'm in but have never done fruit in a mead before. I picked up frozen strawberries last night. Do I just let them thaw and then pitch? Or do I mash them or blend first. Sorry if this is a dumb question. Also. I am doing a 1 gallon batch... so I'm doing 3 lbs of honey and just under 3 lbs of strawberries.
 

YoMomma

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I have brewed this 7+ times, did it three different ways, and whole berries are the way to go. IMHO You can mash them, however, they are a pain to rack underneath when they are fell apart. As the yeast eat the sugar in the berries they become very soft and evenb lose alot of there color. Also, Keep the temp down around 65F-68F ambient, this is to help control your ferment. So the answer is.......up to you. Its always up to the brewer but in my experience whole is the way to go. Also freezing the berries break the cellular structure holding them together, hence making them softer and juicier. Did I answer your question?
 

jrss13

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Excellent. Thanks for the advice. I will definitely use them whole. I can't wait to get this started
 

BBBF

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Mashing them is a mess and you'll lose 1/3rd of your batch to sludge. I prever to cut them in half and toss them all into a grain bag.
 

jaxn

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So I had some time last night and decided to get started early. I have a few questions:

1. After adding 17 lbs of strawberries (just shy of 2 gallons in my carboy), there was the 18 lbs of honey (1.5 gallons), leaving space for only 3.25 gallons of water. Is that enough water? Seems like A LOT of sugar.

2. I didn't take an OG reading. Those are pretty useless when using fruit, right?

3. When using campden tablets, are you supposed to wait a day before pitching yeast? I thought this was the case but couldn't find anything on my initial search.

Thanks.
 

YoMomma

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Yes wait 24 hours before you pitch as camden will kill your yeast fast. I used the camden as to deter any wild yeast from interfering with my batchs. I typically use fresh picked berries right from the farm, so there is no telling whats on them. LOL

1/3 honey to 2/3 water usually gives you a reading of 1.150 on your hydrometer. Strawberries will drop your SG to about 1.128 or so being they do not have a high concentration of sugar in them. So your right one the money or real close. I highly suggest you get a hydrometer or using one on every batch. Its the only real way you can reproduce a winning mead.

When taking your specific gravity when using fruit, use a turkey baster and syphone below the cap. This leaves the chunks behind. YMVV
 

jaxn

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Yes wait 24 hours before you pitch as camden will kill your yeast fast. I used the camden as to deter any wild yeast from interfering with my batchs. I typically use fresh picked berries right from the farm, so there is no telling whats on them. LOL

1/3 honey to 2/3 water usually gives you a reading of 1.150 on your hydrometer. Strawberries will drop your SG to about 1.128 or so being they do not have a high concentration of sugar in them. So your right one the money or real close. I highly suggest you get a hydrometer or using one on every batch. Its the only real way you can reproduce a winning mead.

When taking your specific gravity when using fruit, use a turkey baster and syphone below the cap. This leaves the chunks behind. YMVV
Sweet. Thanks for the tips, yo. :mug:

I'll take the OG tonight before I pitch. :rockin:
 

jaxn

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I just mixed it up really well. Got the strawberries and everything pretty well mixed and an OG of 1.138. Then I mixed it up again and got an OG of 1.115.

Do you guys typically have trouble getting good OG readings with this much fruit floating around and dissolving in primary?

I pitched the 1116 today. :ban: I'll just take another SG reading tomorrow and figure out which was closer.
 

cheesecake

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i might be in on this one....just have to pick up the ingredients anyone break this down for a 3 gallon batch yet..
 

jrss13

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I just started my 1 gallon batch (OG 1.140). I only used half of my yeast packet... and have left over honey... plus an empty 1 gallon carboy. I guess I need to go get more strawberries to start a second batch... because I'm pretty sure this stuff is gonna go fast once its finished.
 
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flyweed

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I too started my batch today..I am going to be using a yeast starter..it is on the stirplate now, and will pitch tomorrow. I will post my initial measurements at that point. Hope you are all doing well. Yomamma...did you get another batch whipped up???
 

vulture1963

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I just mixed it up really well. Got the strawberries and everything pretty well mixed and an OG of 1.138. Then I mixed it up again and got an OG of 1.115.

Do you guys typically have trouble getting good OG readings with this much fruit floating around and dissolving in primary?

I pitched the 1116 today. :ban: I'll just take another SG reading tomorrow and figure out which was closer.
I have made a recipe like this 4 or 5 times now: http://www.utahpagans.org/StrawberryBanana.html

The chopped up (I use frozen) berries make it virtually impossible to get an accurate gravity reading, so I take the reading before adding the berries - I like 1.142 at about 4.2 gallons.

The cap can be a pain. BE VERY CAREFUL when degassing this thing or feeding it. IT WILL FOAM-UP LIKE NOTHING ELSE!
 
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flyweed

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yep...don't put a lid on, or airlock at this point...keep a lint free, cotton cloth over the top of it..so you can punch and watch for "overflow" :)

Dan
 
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flyweed

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yeah..but it is gonna be $42 worth of drinking goodness!! :)
 
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