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  1. #1
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    May 2010
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    Default start a melomel with ale yeast?

    We did a starfruit wine last year that was decent, but lacked 'depth'

    We have a bunch of starfruit again this year, and are going to fortify with honey. I am thinking about pitching a Belgian (Ardennes) to get fermentation going, develop some esters and character, then finishing with 71b-1122.

    Any thoughts or experiences on such an approach?
    My wife says I have ADD, but, hey look- a chicken!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: start a melomel with ale yeast?

    I have never done it but am interested in how it works. Is this supposed to be a fast finishing wine? What ABV do you project for the ale yeast before you pitch the 71B? I would sure make a starter of the 71B to get it up to the alcohol level of the ale yeast before pitching it. Keep us informed please on how it works.

  3. #3
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    Oct 2004
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    Default Re: start a melomel with ale yeast?

    Well, the whole reason (among others to be sure) to make one's own is do do it your way and to experiment! That said, Belgian yeast in mead is something I have never yet tasted (and I've tasted literally hundreds+ of homebrewed and commercial meads) and, barring a surprise, never would want to. Don't get me wrong; I love the character but in beers . And in truth I'm not sure I've ever used that strain on its own. If you have a lot of experience with this strain, and have a plan for how that specific character will be showcased in this mead to positive effect, by all means and let us know how it goes! But if you're just looking for your mead to have a robust ester component, there are lots of estery strains (and fermentation schedules) that can do that. 71B is definitely one of them! A little funk goes a long ways and would be even more assertive in mead. What strain did you use with last year's starfruit batch?

    To my mind, multistrain ferments are something of an expert technique. I might offer a couple considerations. The 71B is a known and wonderful strain. Maybe try the 71B for the main ferment and then the Belgian for the secondary? Or even better, if you have an extra vessel, conduct two ferments one with each strain. Then you can taste exactly how they each turned out and blend them back together to taste, leaving little risk for an overly-aggressively Belgian character.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  4. #4
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    Default Re: start a melomel with ale yeast?

    I used 71b last year, and also really like it for a traditional mead. I use the Ardennes in many of our homebrew ales and enjoy it's character - in an ale.

    A local brewery says to run with the Ardennes the whole ferment and scrap the idea of finishing with the wine yeast. Start fruit are a dime a dozen right now;actually from the neighbor and are in also bloom so we should get another crop. I've a gallon of honey that is a little wet, and we haven't had time to brew beer so what else to do but reach for the stars...(ok, now more hokey jokes)

    The starfruit juice is about 10 brix. One thought was to pitch a healthy starter of Belgian Ardennes, (about 3x what I'd pitch to a 10gallon batch of beer) let it ferment on the fruit until Brix of around 4, cold crash it (maybe) and rack onto a yeast cake of 71b from a recently fermented semi-sweet mead. Adding honey at racking. I think I'll know 3-4 days in if it's gonna be ok or compost fuel. Part of the reason to save the honey till the end. See what esters/flavors form?


    Vance- I don't need it to be a fast maturing wine. We've a Mango wine from 2010 that's just starting to get good, so we aren't afraid to wait, but last summers mead is about gone We drink em when they are ready and otherwise let em sit. Seems to me the 71b is good to go within 6 months,maybe sooner, which is fast enough for us...I can get ales from brew day to tap in days, so not after speed, just see about a unique beverage...
    My wife says I have ADD, but, hey look- a chicken!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: start a melomel with ale yeast?

    Well I am impatient I guess. I have four meads not yet ready for prime time! Another one, a cyser done with 71B last year in August is down to four bottles and it is still getting better. I just jumped to conclusions sir. Please post a brewlog for my curiosity if not others.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: start a melomel with ale yeast?

    no worries, Vance, I do appreciate the feedback/comments !

    What temp do you typically ferment with the 71b?

    I just pitched the Belgian yeast, so I'll try to work up a formal sheet and post once we get an idea. Everything is chicken scratch at this point, or taped to a fermenter...
    My wife says I have ADD, but, hey look- a chicken!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: start a melomel with ale yeast?

    I have used 71B in five batches. Most were in the mid sixties with one started too early in August and temps was in the low to mid seventies and fermentation was done in a flash! About four days and it had all available sugar used up, .992! Alcohol between 13 & 14%. I expected bad esters but put fruit on it and racked off that after 12 days because I didn't pit the cherries. It is still slowly working two months later! I don't know what the yeast is eating, it is 1.002.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: start a melomel with ale yeast?

    This makes me want to have some mead. Vance I tried to send you a mesage your mail is full. I think sour cherries in the mead will be good. I have some I saved in the freezer for a while like 2 years. They seem fine but I have never frozen fruit that long. The cherries look like a hunk of frozen fruit. Is there a length of time with frozen fruit? Will it matter with adding to mead ya think. I have been lazy on making the mead this season I need to snap out of it. I just cleaned some carboys. I should make a starter tonight When I first made mead I looked it up on you tube and kids were making it in gallon jugs of juice with balloons as airlocks. Kind of cool really. I didn't make mead till after I had glass brewing equipment and stuff. The time it took to ferment and what not makes it quite the precious beverage. Mine has given me a hangover. I wonder if it is the nature of the beast or I need to refine something in my procedures. This next time around I am going to rack it a few more times to see if it reduces the hangover.

    I will be using the white labs sweet mead yeast on the next batch and then this from Compleat meadmaker on the other batch. If that is the one you are going to try I am on the same page I trust it will be good. It is recommended in the Ken Schramm Book so I trust it
    The Compleat Meadmaker : Home Production of Honey Wine From Your First Batch to Award-winning Fruit and Herb Variations

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Compleat-M.../dp/0937381802


    Medium sweet orange blossom honey mead 5 gallons
    15lbs 5 qts honey
    4 gallons water (3 chilled to refrigerator temperature)

    2 tsp yeast nutrient
    1 tsp yeast energizer
    2 packets 10g Lalvin 71b-1122 yeast or suitable alternative

    Good Luck FL beak

    small brew pic .jpg
    Last edited by virginiawolf; 10-14-2012 at 10:17 PM. Reason: added more

  9. #9
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    Default Re: start a melomel with ale yeast?

    Hey VW, I dumped stuff. Didn;t think I had that much. Your fruit might be OK if it was i a pretty airtight container. All you can do is thaw it out and see. I haven't drank enough to get a hangover in a while so I don't know the cure but that may be it. I like Schramms book and use it, at least when I can find it! I have it scattered right now.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: start a melomel with ale yeast?

    Vance- you should be fine with 71b in the mid 70's This is the temp we ferment most of our wine
    My wife says I have ADD, but, hey look- a chicken!

  11. #11
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    Feb 2011
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    Franklin County, PA
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    Default Re: start a melomel with ale yeast?

    My friend uses a fish tank heater to keep his brewing stuff at the right temperature. He has a tub of water with a fish tank heater in it. Then he submerges the carboys or bottles etc. into that. His stuff tasted good. I just go with basement temps typically or in colder months keep the stuff upstairs but it might be worth it to keep the mead going at the proper temps. I though the heater was a good idea for monitoring the temperatures. It's possible my hangovers are partly the result of busting the mead out real late at night and staying awake till the sun rises. This is the type of heater he had.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Visi-Therm-D...item2c65fd2d8d

  12. #12
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    Default Re: start a melomel with ale yeast?

    I enjoyed looking at this link

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mead

  13. #13
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    Default Re: start a melomel with ale yeast?

    right now- the experiment seems to be doing ok. We pulled off the original fruit, added another ten pounds. Stirred gently to release some CO2...taste is starfruit-ish with a note of the Ardennes. Going to try and guestimate the ABV and pull the remaining starfruit, then use a honey addition to knock out the yeast, reach about 14%, and leave an almost semi-sweet concoction. In hindsight- I might have been al ittle more aggressive in fermenting at higher tempts- the yeast seems pretty neutral
    My wife says I have ADD, but, hey look- a chicken!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Ka'u Hawaii
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    Default Re: start a melomel with ale yeast?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fl_Beak View Post
    right now- the experiment seems to be doing ok. We pulled off the original fruit, added another ten pounds. Stirred gently to release some CO2...taste is starfruit-ish with a note of the Ardennes. Going to try and guestimate the ABV and pull the remaining starfruit, then use a honey addition to knock out the yeast, reach about 14%, and leave an almost semi-sweet concoction. In hindsight- I might have been al ittle more aggressive in fermenting at higher tempts- the yeast seems pretty neutral

    Sorry for this late involvement; however, I question the idea that you will get 14% with the Ardennes yeast. What I read is that it will go only to 12% max.

    Also: do you have a mango beer recipe?

    Thanks!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: start a melomel with ale yeast?

    I believe you are right on the Ardennes but I believe he repitched Lavlin 71b-1122 which will do 14% and sometimes a tad more.

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