Recipe Feedback - Cherry Mead

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Lampy

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I am planning on putting together a 1 gallon batch of cherry mead this weekend. Feedback on my method would be appreciated.

Primary:
2.8 lbs honey
1 lb pitted cherries (cleaned, frozen, then mashed)
Repitched Cider House Select yeast (ABV tolerance up to 12%)
Boiled and cooled H2O up to 1 gallon
Nutrient + aeration of must
Punch down of cap and aeration daily (maybe twice daily) for first few days of fermentation
Strain out cherries, cold crash, rack to secondary vessel when active fermenting stops

Secondary:
Another 1 lb of cherries, prepped as above

I want my OG to be 1.100 and my FG to be about 1.008 so that the yeast will die at the 12-13% ABV that will be reached. Would that be an overly sweet FG? If the FG drops I plan on sugar/honey feedings until FG stabilizes.
Also, should I keep fruit in the secondary indefinitely (till bottling)? Or remove it after some amount of time?
 
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Lampy

Lampy

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I put this one together this morning and had an OG of 1.103, just a hair higher than I wanted, but my last batch of cider with this yeast went completely dry with an ABV in the 12% range, so maybe a higher OG will be better since I do want residual sweetness.

I am still open to suggestions/ideas!
 

Ty520

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There's a good chance you're going to go fully dry, and step feeding after could get you well about the 12% target. IMHO, "too sweet" is somewhat relative - but if the aim is light and refreshing, you're on the right track.

i think your fruit profile is going to be pretty light in the end.

I would remove the fruit in secondary after 2-4 weeks.
 
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Lampy

Lampy

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There's a good chance you're going to go fully dry, and step feeding after could get you well about the 12% target. IMHO, "too sweet" is somewhat relative - but if the aim is light and refreshing, you're on the right track.

i think your fruit profile is going to be pretty light in the end.

I would remove the fruit in secondary after 2-4 weeks.
Ok, so it did ferment dry and I added sugar, but I think I'll need to keep feeding.
I might also add some extra fruit to secondary - not sure if it will be more cherries or something else. Maybe blueberries, I really like my batch of blueberry cider.
 

CKuhns

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Sugar tends to cause more of a harsh alcohol flavor. I would be careful about the amount you add.

I would consider adding your fruit. If fresh then freeze it and drop it right in frozen. Wait no more than 2 weeks. You can wait longer for most fruits but anything like strawberries with lots of seeds can cause off flavors if left too long. As well all fruit pretty much give up their flavor at about 2 weeks. Fruit does add sugars and if your yeast are still active they will consume them. Fruits especially dark ones like blueberries does tend to for me anyway trick my toungue into thinking its sweeter than it is.

Once the fruit is removed you have optipns if you want it sweeter.
- Add honey and pasteurize.
- Add a non fermentable sweetener. I use a small amount of Xilitol.
 
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Lampy

Lampy

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Sugar tends to cause more of a harsh alcohol flavor. I would be careful about the amount you add.

I would consider adding your fruit. If fresh then freeze it and drop it right in frozen. Wait no more than 2 weeks. You can wait longer for most fruits but anything like strawberries with lots of seeds can cause off flavors if left too long. As well all fruit pretty much give up their flavor at about 2 weeks. Fruit does add sugars and if your yeast are still active they will consume them. Fruits especially dark ones like blueberries does tend to for me anyway trick my toungue into thinking its sweeter than it is.

Once the fruit is removed you have optipns if you want it sweeter.
- Add honey and pasteurize.
- Add a non fermentable sweetener. I use a small amount of Xilitol.
So far sugar feedings have amounted to less than 20% of the weight of the original honey.
I may try to calculate how much sugar the fruits will add and see if that would give an ABV high enough to knock out my yeast.
If the mead goes dry anyway I will probably only pasteurize half the batch just so I can compare.

EDIT: I did a bit of math and after consulting this table (knowing my OG) it looks like if the yeast did ferment all the sugars for 1 lb of cherries and a quart of blueberries it would get near 18% ABV. That sounds far enough from the reported "12% tolerance" for me to believe that some residual sugars will be noticable.
 
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Lampy

Lampy

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I have had this recipe one secondary for 2 weeks with 1 lb cherries and 1 lb blueberries. The small samples I tasted are quite medicinal - the strong alcohol and fruit flavors give a cherry cough syrup impression.
Would this diminish with age?
I am new to mead so I don't know what is "bad mead" vs "young mead".
 

CKuhns

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Hmmm, cough syrup or worse still bandaid like flavors tend to hang on for a good long while. Not really indicative of a young mead.

I have a wild plum that is 18 months old and still tastes like cough strup a bit although has gotten better with age is still noticable.

Give it time, see how it turns out. I am not sure how to correct it. Maybe someone else can help.
 

Kyzaboy89

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Tart or sweet cherries? Something I find enjoyable with cherry and blueberry is just a little bite of citric acid. Medicinal flavor can age but check your acid levels, might be an indicator there.
 
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