I need some help with my future endeavors apple/strawberry mead

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Sep 18, 2017
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Yoohoo. I made 3 batches of mead a while ago with 3 kinds of honey and I found out the akacie/hickary liquid honey was pretty good and the wildflower solid honey was great on day 1 and then degraded in flavor over time. I guess it degraded in flavor due to me messing up with the sanitizer and getting the ratios wrong.

Either way I'm trying out 2 yeasts now and will go forth with the solid wildflower honey, as I assume it is better than the liquid honey and I just screwed up with the sanitizer. The wildflower honey also finished fermenting after 2 months, as opposed to the liquid honey taking 4 months.

Yeast 1: WLP720 Blush Wine / Sweet Mead
Yeast 2: Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead

What I want to do is use my favorite apple juice (made from nothing but apples) and also make a strawberry mead in May when they are in season.

One problem is I'm not sure which yeast to use and I hope both can finish fermenting by May so I know which one to use. I do want a sweet mead, not bitter. I've experimented with adding sugar to my current batches and had success with that, so the WLP720 could work.

What I am thinking is I can either:
1: Make 2 bland honey & water meads, 1 with each yeast
2: Make 2 apple juice meads, 1 with each yeast.

If I follow method 1, I'll make the apple juice mead later anyway, but just 1 batch instead of 2. I'd like to know what you guys recommend, but I vote for plan 2.

For apple juice mead do I replace the 5 liters of water with 5 liters of juice or do I go 50/50? I don't wanna use actual apple slices, but just the juice from my favorite juice box. This could maybe lead to a PH problem for the yeast, but it's not a particularly sour apple juice. It's just nice and kinda sweet.

For strawberry mead I plan on freezing the berries for 2 days before cutting them and adding them to the mead. I do have some questions about this mead in particular since I wanna make it for my mom by for christmas this year.

1. Do I NEED to put the mead into secondary before adding strawberries or is it possible to add strawberries to the primary once fermentation has calmed down?

1 b: Is it okay to age (for 6 months) strawberry mead in the primary carboy until christmas so I can bottle it the day before or do I need to put it into a secondary carboy to prevent the dead yeast from adding to the taste?

2: How do I make mead less bitter and more sweet reliably? I tried adding more honey, but that in general doesn't help. I tried table sugar and about 1-2 table spoons per cup made 90% of the bitter go away and made it taste more of honey and upped the sweetness too.

3. Have I missed anything that could be usedful for me to know about these 2 brews? I welcome any help I can get!

4. Do you add water after putting it into secondary? I read somewhere you were supposed to do that. I did experience some positive flavor change after having icecubes melt in my glass so I do wonder about it.

Here's my first mead. It came out pretty clear.

my first mead.jpg
There are lots of great resources these days about making mead. Podcasts, websites, and books are loaded with information about modern mead making. If you pitch a proper amount of yeast, use yeast nutrient and de-gas the mead, your fermentation will go faster and you'll have less off flavors.
Honey is somewhat expensive, so its well worth the time to study the methods that have worked well for others.
Strawberries have delicate flavor that doesn't hold up well trough the fermentation process. Adding them in secondary will provide more flavor,
Apple juice can be used in primary.
A good place to start is the basic brewing podcasts, Its mostly about beer, but if you search for mead there's some great tips on there.
Good Luck! :mug: