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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When making a melomel (mead with added fruit) do you squeeze or mash the fruit, or is that not necessary?
If you do, at what stage? The opinions are all over the place of course. I have a small batch fermenting with blueberries and pomegranates and the berries do not seem to be breaking down as I expected. They are in a bag so I could squeeze them against the side of the big mouth carboy. Fermentation is still pretty active, but slowing down. J
 

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I mash the berries right at the beginning. You want to get most of the juice to get the taste and colour. You also get some sugars that can be used by the yeast. I put the mash directly in the melomel in the primary fermentation stage. I strain through a fine strainer prior to transferring to carboy. Melomel have always become very clear.

Just a caution-Do Not smash any of the seeds as they impart a bitter taste.
 

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J, all the recipes I looked at had one adding the fruit after transferring to the secondary. Does it make a difference? I have not made mine yet so no firsthand experience. Good to know about the seeds. I WAS going to put the fruit in a food processor, but now I think I will mash by hand.
 

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My recipes call for doing fruit upfront in primary. It likely does not matter to taste or colour, as to when it is done. The advantage I see with upfront is that any wild yeasts get killed off readily by campden(potassium or sodium metabisulfite) tablets. If one does the fruit in the secondary, one would have to soak the fruit in a campden tablet/potassium or sodium metabisulfite solution to kill any wild yeasts. The wild yeasts can give the melomel off tastes.
 
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I've got 5 gallons of rasberry melomel in secondary right now. My fruit was added in primary. I used frozen rasberries - squished them in the bag they came in and poured into a cheesecloth hops bag which was added to primary. I also have a gallon of spiced apple cyser in secondary which athough I used apple juice - the spice was added via a cheese cloth bag to the primary.which kept everything pretty much in one place. There are several schools of thought as to whether to add to primary or secondary, but primary has worked for me.
 

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There in no strict role on adding whole fruits, juices or pulps. Also there is no strict role about when to add (primary or secondary). It is mead maker decisions. Adding fruits to melomels in some cases is better when they whole (Sea backthorn), some as juice from juicer (raspberry) or just pitted (stone fruits). Dried berries - whole. Most of process should be made as described in recipe. I'm using fruits/juices in primary - mostly.
Campden tablets aren't that mysterious to kill only wild yeast. There are advantages as well as disadvantages in use them.
 

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Curious as to what the disadvantages are? I listened to a youtube(winemaker, link below) this AM and the presenter was saying that potassium metabisulphite is naturally occurring when one is using Lavlin EC1118 yeast.

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys. I guess there is no right or wrong way. I think when fermentation is complete, I will take a reading and see how it tastes. Maybe will add the fruit back after I rack it. I did squeeze the bag with a paddle and the berries really have not broken down. I am not following a recipe, per se. Basic mead recipe and threw some berries in. I got a couple of little big mouth fermenters so I could experiment with small batches. J
 

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Easy way to mush soft fruit/berries. Freeze (slowly if possible) and thaw and freeze again a couple times. The ice crystals will puncture the cell walls and save a lot of hand mushing. Seeds are unaffected.
No real right or wrong way to make this stuff, have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
While on the subject of fruits, I recently learned that many dried fruits are now coated with vegetable oil. Some brewers say this impedes fermentation so look for no oil or rinse thoroughly with warm water. J
 

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While on the subject of fruits,
Some dried fruits are receive a sulphate treatment to preserve color....like apricots.
We've found that adding fruit to the secondary gives a more 'fruity' flavor to the brew. Maybe more fruit in primary would get same result.
One has to experiment as to how long to leave the fruit in the brew. Mostly this is about not getting too much tannin in the final product.
 
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