I estimate a starting gravity about 1.108, not that big at all. Beer hydrometer?
You can always add more later, but I'm a go-big-or-go-home guy. I haven't made elderberry mead though, and they are pretty assertive. Someone else?
I have about 10 lbs frozen elderberries,de-stemmed.How much should I use?
I like whole frozen. Easy enough to rack off the debris after aging, and you do get more flavor than with just juice. Juice is easier to deal with though.
What form should the fruit be in?
Haven't met a scum I couldn't remove (or live with) yet [img]smile.gif[/img] . Unripe fruits will be higher in pectin which can cause haze, but can be addressed easily with pectinase. Many hazes will eventually drop on their own without finings if you wait long enough. If it's something large like hairs or stem bits, it'll rack right off.
I have heard about the "elderberry scum" that is imposible to remove.
Maybe a little sweet. Off the cuff I think 1.108's about 14% potential alcohol. With a 15% strain and decent yeast health, that'll be dry, perhaps very dry tasting with the tannins from the elderberries. Consider a less aggressive yeast (like the D-47, actualy a good choice for a red mead) or upping the honey by a pound or so.
Is this enough honey to make a sweet mead?
Shouldn't be a problem at all, wine yeasts can handle that kind of gravity routinely. A liter starter is great... what medium will you use? If you're a brewer and have it around, use some DME to make up a 1.020 wort, aerate, ferment it out and pour off the spent beer. Rouse and pitch. If you're absolutely bent on making a mini-mead starter (and recall that this does little for the yeast), use a lower gravity than your must. As Dr. Clayton Cone (microbiologist of Lallemand, makers of Lalvin wine yeasts) says, "your yeast should be healthy but hungry"!
With this much honey,the OG will be quite high,off the scale of my brewing hydrometer.Will I have a problem getting the fermentation going if I put all the honey in at once or should I start with less honey and then add more as fermentation slows?
Lastly, and opinions vary on this, but I'd cut the nutrient and energizer additions to half what the packages direct . NEVER just add what a recipe says, since manufacturers have different formulations and you could end up with a fraction or many times what the yeast want, seriously harming your mead. It's like reading the milligrams on a medication.
Bees, brews and fun
in Lyons, CO