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Thread: Blackberry Mead

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    I'm totally confused.

    No bubbling activity since pitching the yeast last Sat. (Oct. 31) so I re-pitched the same yeast yesterday (3 days after first yeast addition). No bubbling activity last night and didn't see any this morning before heading out to work.

    After work today (4 days since first yeast addition and 1 day after 2nd yeast addition) still no bubbling so I opened the fermenting bucket and stirred. No CO2 bubbles were released to the surface. So I decided to check the SG.......wow, it is at 1.040! My OG was 1.107 so it's down 67 points in 4 days.......is that even possible? There has to be alcohol if this much sugar has been converted so I tasted it and sure enough you can taste alcohol. Used the test strips to check Ph and best I can tell Ph is 3.6 (slight color differences between 3.2 and 3.6 so difficult to know for sure).


    I'm confused......

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    SG down near 1.020 this afternoon.......go figure.

  4. #23
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    Sunday morning (Day 8) the SG is down to 1.002 so I'm thinking it is time to add the blackberries.

    Yesterday I used my wife's Kitchen Aid mixer with attachment to puree/juice/de-seed 4 lb of blackberries. I added 1/2 tsp of pectic enzyme to this juice and let it sit overnight.

    I was torn whether I should add the fruit juice to the primary and later rack to the secondary or if I should go ahead and rack to a secondary before adding the fruit. Since the primary is a 3 gal bucket and still had plenty of room and since it's only been 7 1/2 days since I pitched the yeast, I decided to add the fruit to the primary (plastic bucket). So after taking a specific gravity reading I stirred it well and poured the blackberry juice (also has some solids but no seeds) into the the must, stirred again, and placed the lid back on (there is distilled water in the air lock).

    I'm about to go out of town for 1 1/2 weeks so it will sit in this state till I return.

  5. #24
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    Jun 2014
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    West Jordan, UT, USA
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    That variety of yeast is a 'low foaming' variety. But I'm thinking you had a very quick fermentation. It happened to me once and confused me for a while until I looked closer. The batch of beer fermented over night and the only clue to what happened was the layer of trub (lees) on the bottom and a thin collar of scum on the inside fermenter wall.

    I suspect you will have some fermentation of your fruit. With that extra yeast in there, unless you used Campden tablets to retard yeast growth, you've just given the lil yeasties more food. I suspect, though, that you will end up with a very fruity off-dry(slightly sweet) melomel. (My favorite ferment level, BTW) There is a limit to how much alcohol the yeast can tolerate. The alcohol itself will eventually retard yeast growth. I'm just not certain the ABV your yeast will tolerate.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    Today is Monday, day 16, SG is 0.998 so I racked to secondary.

    I tasted it as well. Alcohol taste was not as strong as before I added the blackberry. Maybe it diluted everything a little. Not too bad. You can taste the blackberry a bit. I ordered the lavender and have it on-hand but I haven't yet added it but plan to.
    Last edited by BeeAttitudes; 11-17-2015 at 12:20 PM.

  7. #26
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    Here is a picture of the carboy:

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by BeeAttitudes; 11-16-2015 at 07:28 PM.

  8. #27
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    Knox, Pa. USA
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeAttitudes View Post
    Interesting TenBears. I read Ken Schramm's book "The Complete Meadmaker" and he states he prefers to add fruit flavors during the second fermentation. Also, the recipe linked above shows adding the fruit in the second fermentation.

    A couple of questions, can pectic enzyme be added at the second fermentation along with the fruit and still be effective?

    My blackberries are frozen which I've read breaks the cell wall. If I puree and add hot or boiling water to the fruit beforehand to kill any bacteria/yeast and strain off the seeds before adding into the secondary fermentation do you think I'll be ok?

    I've also read where folks add fruit in the primary fermentation but add it after it after a few days fermentation after it initial aggressive fermentation has stopped. Thoughts?
    I kind of lost track of this thread Every year in from October to mid January Is my busy season and I general don't have much time for the net.

    There is a big difference between adding fruit flavors and adding fruit, flavors or F-packs. are generally refined fruits when adding whole fruits to the secondary one exposes pulps and seeds to the alcohol for longer periods of time. Which can produce off flavors, also processing berries which contain lots of seeds through a processer where the seeds will become fractured can leave the Melomel bitter. Boiling the fruit can give the Melomel a cooked fruit flavor.
    Pectic enzyme can be added in the secondary. in fact on occasion during bulk aging. For example if a Melomel has a pectic haze and just does not want to clear. Enzyme can be added to break the pectin and facilitate clearing.

  9. #28
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    Day 32

    Tonight I added items to the secondary. Here is what I added:

    - 1 oz of dried organic lavender
    - 1 spiral of medium char American oak (hopefully add vanilla flavors and body)
    - 2 whole vanilla beans (mostly for adding body)

    These items were placed in a muslin bag before adding to the secondary so they can later be removed for tasting to determine when to remove them permanently. I'm guessing the lavender will be removed in 1-2 weeks and the oak and vanilla beans in 4-5 weeks but I will determine when to remove based on tasting.
    -

  10. #29
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    Day 33

    Removed the 1oz of Lavender. Too difficult to get everything in/out for daily tastings. Received advice to taste daily as too much Lavender can be bad.......so I just removed it after 24 hours.

  11. #30
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    Day 39

    My wife and I had a taste. I didn't think it was that bad but she didn't like it at all. It is bone dry and she wants it sweeter.

  12. #31
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    Day 40

    Gotta make momma happy......after getting some advice on how much to add, I added an additional 1lb of honey to the 2.5 lb batch. Guessing it will raise the SG to about 1.015. Be interesting to see if it re-starts fermentation and if it does, how much it drops. Oak and vanilla are still in the carboy.

  13. #32
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    Day 46

    Removed the oak and vanilla bean tonight. So these were in the secondary for 2 weeks total. I'm afraid to go much longer with the spiral oak as it seems to work faster than the cubes with so much end grain exposed.

    I tasted it and it sure is sweet now. Not sure fermentation restarted after adding the honey last week so I may regret having added as much honey as I did. I robbed the carboy using a bottle filler so it was pulling right off the bottom of the carboy. It crossed my mind that possibly some of the honey I added hadn't dissolved and had sunk to the bottom where I was pulling. So I stirred the carboy and we will see if this makes a difference in a week or so.....or see if stirring might re-start fermentation.

  14. #33
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    Day 59

    Fermentation did indeed restart, yeah! It brought the sweetness down considerably. It appears to be finished now and the small amount of residual sweetness left is nice. It tastes good right now. My wife thinks the lavender aroma is a bit I like it (maybe use less lavender next time).

    The fermentation in the secondary created lees so I decided to rack into another glass carboy to age a bit before bottling. I used a couple wraps of cheese cloth on the intake to be safe. It looks good in the new secondary.....clear and a nice red color. In a small, drinking glass it isn't as red......more of a dark amber. I think I need to increase the acidity a bit. Maybe the 71B yeast took out too much of the malic acid, not sure, but I think a bit of acidity would brighten it.
    Last edited by BeeAttitudes; 12-29-2015 at 07:48 PM.

  15. #34
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    Day 60

    Unfortunately, this is the final update.

    Last night I placed the original lid on the carboy that it had when I bought it new full of water. Today, I went home for lunch and it looked soo good I picked up the carboy to hold it to sunlight coming in the window to see how clear it was. The lid popped off and it slipped out of my hands shattering on the tile floor in my kitchen.

    What a bummer!

  16. #35
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    Sep 2015
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    Rulison, Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    I'm new at making mead/wine. I currently have a 5-gallon batch of chokecherry mead fermenting, that I started 6-days ago. One of the receipts/books I have says to pull the strainer bag containing the fruit/chokecherries out after 5-days. The other book, says to wait 2-weeks before removing the fruit.

    I don't know what to do?? Should I pull the fruit out this weekend, or next?

    For reference, if needed. I used 11 1/2 lbs. of fresh frozen chokecherries from around my house. I also used 14 1/2 lbs. of honey.

  17. #36
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    For a 5gallon batch I would use a minimum of 15 pounds of fruit and in many instances 25 pounds. Chokecherries are what I refer to as moderate flavor imparting fruits so somewhere around 20 pounds would be my preference. That is not to say you will not have a nice melomel with 11.5 It will simply not be as robust in the fruit flavor.

    Chokecherries have a rather resilient seed hull that can withstand prolonged exposure to alcohol and pectic enzyme so there is little danger of the seeds imparting off flavors quickly. Taking into account minimal fruit, and resilient seeds I would leave the fruit in the ferment as long as possible. rather than counting the days I would watch the Specific Gravity, and when it reaches 1.020 I would remove the fruit and rack into a secondary the next day to finish the fermentation. Depending on temperature and the yeast used 2 weeks could be Post ferment. and to minimize oxidation I like to get the first racking while the mead is still producing CO2

  18. #37
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    For a 5gallon batch I would use a minimum of 15 pounds of fruit and in many instances 25 pounds. Chokecherries are what I refer to as moderate flavor imparting fruits so somewhere around 20 pounds would be my preference. That is not to say you will not have a nice melomel with 11.5 It will simply not be as robust in the fruit flavor.

    Chokecherries have a rather resilient seed hull that can withstand prolonged exposure to alcohol and pectic enzyme so there is little danger of the seeds imparting off flavors quickly. Taking into account minimal fruit, and resilient seeds I would leave the fruit in the ferment as long as possible. rather than counting the days I would watch the Specific Gravity, and when it reaches 1.020 I would remove the fruit and rack into a secondary the next day to finish the fermentation. Depending on temperature and the yeast used 2 weeks could be Post ferment. and to minimize oxidation I like to get the first racking while the mead is still producing CO2
    Thank you Tenbears!

    After I posted this thread, I decided to call the local wine and beer making supply shop (if you want to say ~50 miles away is local). They also said to wait until the SG is 1.020 or lower.

    As far as only using 11.5 Lbs. of chokecherries, that's all I had. I do have a 1-liter container of red grape concentrate that I picked up at the supply store. Should I, or could I add it to this batch? Or is it to late?

    The yeast I used is White Lab's WLP720 Sweet Mead/Wine Yeast.

  19. #38
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    I would not add the grape concentrate. Grapes are big flavor imparters and will totally overpower the chokecherries. I would go with it as it is. It should be fine and the honey may lead the fruit rather than being secondary to it. The WLP720 should finish to dryness, without knowing and calculating SG from average honey sugars. I would say it should be around 15% which the WPL720 will tolerate.

  20. #39
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    I would not add the grape concentrate. Grapes are big flavor imparters and will totally overpower the chokecherries. I would go with it as it is. It should be fine and the honey may lead the fruit rather than being secondary to it. The WLP720 should finish to dryness, without knowing and calculating SG from average honey sugars. I would say it should be around 15% which the WPL720 will tolerate.
    Great! Thank you Tenbears.

  21. #40
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    Polk, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: Blackberry Mead

    Go to Homebrewtalk.com and check out the mead making subforums. You'll find plenty of help there.

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