My Attempt at a Mixed Berry Mead

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Todd Peterson

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That is a great story. D47 and heat equals paint thinner in my experience. I’m glad your cursed batch is coming around. It’s visually appealing for sure.

Todd Peterson
 

Ren06

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Took the plunge and bottled up the gallon of cherry-vanilla melomel made last year after 14 months or so bulk-ageing. It's been a problem-case from start to finish - got caught in a 90-degree heatwave just after pitching a D47 yeast last year and had nowhere cool to move it to. Finished fermenting to about 14.5% ABV and 0.997 in 3 days in the bucket and was foul when it cleared. I didn't rack it more than once and chucked in a vanilla pod so it sat on that plus too much yeast fallout - and headroom. Thank goodness I didn't add more vanilla - it's very evident, but it didn't oxidize Nearly chucked it out - had a hot, almost chilli burn after all that time ageing. In moving and trying it, I'd whacked a bung on the demijohn instead of replacing the airlock and at some point it blew its bung (no doubt from degassing). But still wasn't showing any detectable signs of oxidation or vinegar-contamination.

Decided with nothing to lose to throw in a really good few slugs of smooth barrel-aged French brandy to make a feature of the hot taste, and added 2 caps of brewer's glycerine to try to help with the mouthfeel. Then slipped and managed to shake up the yeast again ... cue the 2-part liquid finings as I just wanted it bottled or down the drain by then ! Next day it was clear and ready to bottle but by this time I'd managed to flood the garage floor after overnight watering the garden above it a bit too hard and accidentally leaving the hose connector (which had burst open) near the wall behind the garage which pooled enough water to breach the damp-proof course.

Feeling cursed and sweeping out floodwater, I tried it - mouth-puckeringly dry, but silky-smooth and the 'hot' taste (and semblence of battery acid) had both entirely gone overnight. Hopefully they stay away ! I racked it onto Campden tablet and wine stabilizer with a generous swig of honeysuckle syrup made last year which brought the FG up to 1.000. It was still dry but at last actually drinkable (before you keel over from the hidden strength - I think you really need a mead-horn for this one). Leaving it on the D47 residue for so long had, however, left something of a 'yeasty' back-note I'm not keen on. It was into the half-bottles again and I'm going to forget about it for a couple of years plus I think. Hoping that yeasty background taste ages out and the vanilla subdues a bit so it's less 'adolescent', or it's going to end up making some local teenagers very merry indeed (our drinking age is 18 over here). On the plus it looks OK. There's always one batch which gives you a load of grief 😅

View attachment 781568
That sounds like hell 😂. But it seems like it turned out right and the brew looks BEAUTIFUL!! Probably in a year it’ll be mellowed and come back a year later I can’t even imagine what it will be like. I’ve had a few brews I’ve had trouble with that came out just fine but it’s part of being human and enjoying the hobby 🍻.
 
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Todd Peterson

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09/28/22 Update

I racked the mead to secondary this evening resulting in a full 3 gallon carboy with minimal headspace.

The hydrometer reads 1.015. While I believe fermentation is complete, I will leave the mead in secondary under airlock for several months prior to bottling. I am hoping this clears on its own as the mead is still cloudy.

I was initially unhappy with the taste of the mead coming out of primary. I am definitely picking up the sweetness of the residual sugar coupled with the berry flavors. To me, the taste of the young melomel improved as the glass sat for a while. Could the off putting taste that I am picking up be the CO2 in suspension?

I will provide an update to the group as the mead ages in secondary and is subsequently bottled in the future.

I am enjoying a glass of the young triple berry mead as I sit here putting together this post. Its not horrible for a young mead I suppose. Would definitely win some awards in a prison brewing competition.

Looking forward to seeing how this ages.

Todd Peterson
 

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Ren06

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Took the plunge and bottled up the gallon of cherry-vanilla melomel made last year after 14 months or so bulk-ageing. It's been a problem-case from start to finish - got caught in a 90-degree heatwave just after pitching a D47 yeast last year and had nowhere cool to move it to. Finished fermenting to about 14.5% ABV and 0.997 in 3 days in the bucket and was foul when it cleared. I didn't rack it more than once and chucked in a vanilla pod so it sat on that plus too much yeast fallout - and headroom. Thank goodness I didn't add more vanilla - it's very evident, but it didn't oxidize Nearly chucked it out - had a hot, almost chilli burn after all that time ageing. In moving and trying it, I'd whacked a bung on the demijohn instead of replacing the airlock and at some point it blew its bung (no doubt from degassing). But still wasn't showing any detectable signs of oxidation or vinegar-contamination.

Decided with nothing to lose to throw in a really good few slugs of smooth barrel-aged French brandy to make a feature of the hot taste, and added 2 caps of brewer's glycerine to try to help with the mouthfeel. Then slipped and managed to shake up the yeast again ... cue the 2-part liquid finings as I just wanted it bottled or down the drain by then ! Next day it was clear and ready to bottle but by this time I'd managed to flood the garage floor after overnight watering the garden above it a bit too hard and accidentally leaving the hose connector (which had burst open) near the wall behind the garage which pooled enough water to breach the damp-proof course.

Feeling cursed and sweeping out floodwater, I tried it - mouth-puckeringly dry, but silky-smooth and the 'hot' taste (and semblence of battery acid) had both entirely gone overnight. Hopefully they stay away ! I racked it onto Campden tablet and wine stabilizer with a generous swig of honeysuckle syrup made last year which brought the FG up to 1.000. It was still dry but at last actually drinkable (before you keel over from the hidden strength - I think you really need a mead-horn for this one). Leaving it on the D47 residue for so long had, however, left something of a 'yeasty' back-note I'm not keen on. It was into the half-bottles again and I'm going to forget about it for a couple of years plus I think. Hoping that yeasty background taste ages out and the vanilla subdues a bit so it's less 'adolescent', or it's going to end up making some local teenagers very merry indeed (our drinking age is 18 over here). On the plus it looks OK. There's always one batch which gives you a load of grief 😅

View attachment 781568

My cherry melomel 13% ABV 2mos old
C1BFD61A-401C-4670-BEDB-D58FF0E589B9.jpeg
 
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Todd Peterson

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My cherry melomel 13% ABV 2mos old
View attachment 782503

That is beautiful. How does it taste?

I think I have figured out that the “wet dog smell/taste” is the berries breaking down in the must. I’m thinking this will go away in bulk aging.

I was very encouraged that I didn’t taste hot alcohol. I think SNA and low temp during fermentation helped that a lot.
 

Dan O

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That is beautiful. How does it taste?

I think I have figured out that the “wet dog smell/taste” is the berries breaking down in the must. I’m thinking this will go away in bulk aging.

I was very encouraged that I didn’t taste hot alcohol. I think SNA and low temp during fermentation helped that a lot.
Yes, those would have greatly reduced the rocket fuel effect.
 

Ren06

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That is beautiful. How does it taste?

I think I have figured out that the “wet dog smell/taste” is the berries breaking down in the must. I’m thinking this will go away in bulk aging.

I was very encouraged that I didn’t taste hot alcohol. I think SNA and low temp during fermentation helped that a lot.
It’s cherry nose with subtle spice. The taste is cherry with a bright honey note and subtle spice(cinnamon) on the back and a small kick of alcohol. For being so young it’s very delicious. Even had clarity that you can’t see in the bottles only the glass once it’s poured.
 
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