The Blood of the Wise (Cranberry/Lingonberry Mead)

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Sigvaldi

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There is a legend that as the two families of Norse gods (Odin and Freyr) made peace, they "spit into a bowl". This is most likely a reference to the Germanic tradition of crushing berries in your teeth and spitting them into a bowl, then allowing them to ferment. (Don't worry. You don't gotta chew anything for this recipe)

From the bowl was born a man. This man was considered to be the wisest of all mortals. Even as wise as he was, he was tricked and slain. His blood was drained and was considered to be the finest of all meads.

This is my first original recipe. My goal was to use two berries found in ancient Norse countries to represent the two families of gods making this, i suppose, a melomel. In addition, I wanted to attain a blood red color. Lingonberry jam was used because I did not have a local source of lingonberries. I found the lingonberry jam at walmart's online site for only 5 dollars and had it shipped to my local store free.

Ingredients
1 14.3 oz jar of Lingonberry jam
3/4 lb cranberry
3 lbs wildflower honey
Water enough to make 1 gallon
3 tbsp water
A few drops lemon
Red Star Premier Blanc Yeast
2.5 tsp pectic enzyme
1/2 tsp yeast nutrient
Bentonite clay to clarify
Campden tablets and potassium sorbate to stabilize
1lb wildflower honey for backsweetening
12 oz cramberry juice for backsweetening

1. In a stainless steel pot, bring six cups water and lingonberry jam to a boil. Stir well. Remove from heat once it starts to boil. Allow to cool to room temp and add pectic enzyme. Store covered by a mesh bag for 3 days.
2. Strain jam mixture through a muslin cloth into sanitized bowl. In stainless steel pot, add wildflower honey, 3 tbsp water and a few drops lemon juice. Warm over low heat (really low) stirring constantly. It will begin to bubble and will swell up to many times its size, so make sure there is room in the pot. Allow to boil for about a minute, then remove it from the heat. Add the jam mixture and stir until honey is dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature. Start your yeast for about 10 minutes before pitching. Chop cranberried and put in straining bag. Squeeze as much juice as you can, then allow cranberries to soak in the must during fermentation. Aerate, pitch yeast and transfer to bucket. Fill with water to 1 gallon. Allow to ferment 7 days with the lid placed on loosely.
3. You will notice a lot of sediment. Like... a lot. Rack it over to another container and top up again. Fit a lid and airlock and allow to ferment until it stops. Again, you will probably have a lot.of sediment, so try not to let it sit on the lees too long. If it needs more time to ferment, rack after about 30 days, but it should be good.
4. About a week before bottling, add your hydrated bentonite clay to clarify. You should be able to see its beautiful color right now. Its even better clarified.
5. Rack. Add campden tablets and potassium metabisulfite. Combine wildflower honey with cranberry juice. Add the honey slowly until you get the same blood red color (the honey may begin to turn it brown. Add more juice in this case). Use this to backsweeten to your desired sweetness. I added pretty much all of that.
6. Bottle and age. I have some aging now almost a month. I will try it again in a couple months. But even without aging, it was delicious.

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Northerngal

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I love your thinking on this one, please keep us posted on how it turns out!

Pondering: what kind of cranberries grow there? My grandpa picks highbush cranberries and makes jelly (northern Canada). I've looked them up and they're a different species from the cranberries you can buy at the store. Now you've got me wondering......
 

Paps

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I too have the Lingonberry from wally-world and wanted to ferment it in with cranberry but was considering using it (the lingonberry) as the back sweetener.
Also, as cider is my thing, i was planning on using it in a cider vs a mead as you have done here.
Love the refferencing you've done with the name and its backstory.
Post up some more pics if you would please.
 
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Sigvaldi

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I never even realized there were different cranberries. That will be something worth looking into. Of course, I'll probably run into the same problem I did with the lingonberries: the kind i need to be accurate are not available locally and cost both arm and leg to procure. At which point I'll have to use more jelly. And pectic enzyme. Lol.

Paps: my experience using the lingonberry jelly (if you are referring to the jelly) is the sediment. Even after breaking it down with the enzyme and straining through multiple layers of muslin cloth, the sediment continued to drop. I had a lees an inch and a half thick at the bottom of my secondary. So, if youre going to use it to back sweeten, take time to let that sediment drop.
 
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Sigvaldi

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So, turned out with a little sparkle, accidentally. It didn't match my preferred flavor profile, but my friend, who is something of a mead enthusiast declared that it is "indeed the drink of the gods." So, should be pretty good. Because of the backsweetening process, you should be able to sweeten it to your desired taste. I think it lost some sweetness in secondary fermentation and that's why i didnt like it myself.
 

Brewing for Brigid

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This is mighty close to what I was hoping to create. Cranberries!
And I love how you have brought myth and lore into it.
I was hoping you might be able to give a little bit more specific of a description of the flavour that came out of what you created. Was it not to your taste because it was too dry, too sweet? Bubbly? Tart? also I was surprised that you consumed it just a few months after making it, yet your friend says it was quite good. A quick Mead, what a concept.
I've got a massive old bottle from 1951 ( it has bubbles in it !) that I want to fill with Mead, but wanted to make something as a bit more punch to it than just a simple Mead.
Anyhow thanks for your recipe and historical thought.
 
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Sigvaldi

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This is mighty close to what I was hoping to create. Cranberries!
And I love how you have brought myth and lore into it.
I was hoping you might be able to give a little bit more specific of a description of the flavour that came out of what you created. Was it not to your taste because it was too dry, too sweet? Bubbly? Tart? also I was surprised that you consumed it just a few months after making it, yet your friend says it was quite good. A quick Mead, what a concept.
I've got a massive old bottle from 1951 ( it has bubbles in it !) that I want to fill with Mead, but wanted to make something as a bit more punch to it than just a simple Mead.
Anyhow thanks for your recipe and historical thought.
Thank you for your response! Haha. I had almost forgotten about this one. Need to make a new round.

Honestly, it came out too dry for my taste. I like my drinks sweet. There was a mild tartness and it actually came out quite light on the tongue. I opened a more seasoned bottle, and it was really good (I still prefer sweet, but I have learned to appreciate dry more). My updated backsweetener method works well, but I am waiting for it to age just a little more

Also. If you have access to an IKEA, they sell a lingonberry drink concentrate you can use in place of the jam. Also available on amazon for about 20, but since its a concentrate, it ought yo help make several batches. I have only recently discovered this and have yet to try it.
 
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Brewing for Brigid

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Wonderful! Thanks for the response. I'll investigate the Lingon Berry, though as a lover or fresh harvest I'm not sure I'll got the route of concentration. Might find another local Berry.

I prefer dry so it might be just right for me!

Also I'm assuming by your proportions this was a 1 gallon batch?

Thanks again and I'll let you know how goes!
 
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Sigvaldi

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Wonderful! Thanks for the response. I'll investigate the Lingon Berry, though as a lover or fresh harvest I'm not sure I'll got the route of concentration. Might find another local Berry.

I prefer dry so it might be just right for me!

Also I'm assuming by your proportions this was a 1 gallon batch?

Thanks again and I'll let you know how goes!
Understandable. I was attached to the lingonberry because of its origon (its basocally the most nordic berry i could find) but you can do something similar with fresh fruits, obviously. Just reduce the pectic enzyme and skip the first 3 day step. Yes, this is a 1 gallon recipe

Just started a new batch with my last lingonberry jam. Might try a couple tweaks.
 
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Sigvaldi

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I used 2 cups of fresh, frozen lingonberries in a gallon of mead. It was one of my best.
Where did you find lingonberries? Just happen upon them? I havent been abke to find the actual berries, short of paying 50 bucks and id love to.
 

FLYPacNW

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Here I go again digging up an old thread. I am planning a lingonberry cider (sorry, I know this is the mead department) later this fall, hopefully with fresh berries I've grown here at home on the Palouse...or more likely with preserved/special ordered berries due to the extraordinary heat wave from earlier this summer.

I am curious how you mitigated the benzoic acids in the lingonberries, or if you even found it necessary. Did you notice any abnormalities about the fermentation? I'm wondering if all of the sediment may have been due to the benzoic acid killing off your yeast. I have read that you can inoculate lingonberry products with a lot of yeast, sacrificially, to consume all that acid, which will consequently kill the yeast creating a ton of sediment. Then harvest that lees (sediment) and re-inoculate with yeast for the primary fermentation. Perhaps the easier approach would be to make your mead (cider in my case) to your desired FG and then add lingonberry (berries, concentrate, slurry or whatever) and allow that benzoic acid to kill the remaining yeast thus stopping the fermentation and introducing the lingonberry elements to your finished product.
 
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