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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Palm Harbor, Fl USA
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    463

    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
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    4,070

    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
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
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    3,046

    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
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Palm Harbor, Fl USA
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    463

    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
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    4,070

    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
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Palm Harbor, Fl USA
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    463

    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
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    4,070

    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.

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