As you can see, I’m going backwards in batch numbers. No, I didn’t brew this recently — this is actually an older batch that I forgot to number and I’m just now getting to enjoy.
Back in August of 2013 I made my first mead. I’ve never had a mead before but decided to give it a try when I saw an email from the American Homebrewers Association about Mead Day 2013. I didn’t actually make this on Mead Day, but rather the day after (August 4th).
I decided to start with the AHA’s suggested recipe — a Super Berry Melomel recipe from Curt Stock. Though I didn’t use the same ingredients, I followed the same procedure. I did back-sweeten this batch, but would like to see what this would by like dry.
Super Berry Melomel (Mead)
Brew date: 08/04/2013
Racked to secondary: 11/17/2013
Bottle date: 03/23/14
Batch Size: 1 gallon
Original Gravity: 1.124
Final Gravity: 1.002
4 lb – Orange Blossom Honey
24 oz – Frozen Multi-berry Mix
8 oz – Blueberry Juice
Enough water to bring honey to 1 gallon
4 g – Lavin EC-1118
Directions (modified from the original recipe)
Submerse the honey containers in hot water to loosen the honey, which will make it easier to dissolve. Partially or totally thaw the fruit. Sanitize all equipment used for making your mead. Mash the bagged fruit with your hands. If you prefer, put all the fruit into the pail and mash with a potato masher or similar tool.
Use enough honey and water to get a total volume of 1 gallon (excluding fruit). Honey weighs approximately 12 pounds per gallon. Put all the fruit into your fermenting pail. You will want the temperature of the mead must to be 65 to 70 °F. If the fruit is still very cold you should heat the water enough to bring the temperature of the must into that range. Add the honey and water to the pail. Using a mixing spoon or wine degasser to mix the must and completely dissolve the honey. After the honey is dissolved, stir vigorously for a few minutes to aerate the must. Themust does not need heat to pasteurize the honey or fruit.
Prepare your yeast by re-hydrating following the instructions on the packets. The use of a re-hydration nutrient such as Go-Ferm is highly recommended. This will prepare the yeast for the strenuous journey ahead of them. Pitch the yeast, add the first SNA and mix well.
Fermentation should begin in about 12 to 24 hours (this happened within 2 hours, for me). When signs of fermentation are noticed, start managing the fruit cap and begin the SNA schedule. With some luck, fermentation will be complete in two to four weeks. Once half of the sugar is depleted, continue to punch the cap at least twice a day but refrain from introducing oxygen into the must. Allow the mead to stay in primary for 4 weeks. At that point, transfer to the secondary carboy for clarifying. Taste the mead for sweetness level. If you desire more sweetness, now is the time to adjust it.
To sweeten mead, start with a cup of the mead and add honey to a level sweeter than you want.
Then blend the dryer mead with the sweetened sample to get three samples that vary by 10 gravity points ranging from too sweet to not sweet enough. Taste and blend the samples until you get the sweetness level you want. Get some help with this as your palate may get fatigued.
Take a gravity reading of the sample you chose. Determine the specific gravity difference between the mead and the sample. Now you can figure out how much honey you will need to sweeten the entire batch to the desired level. One pound of honey will raise one gallon of mead approximately 34 gravity points.
Aroma — The initial impression is much like a wine. Tart berry aromas of strawberries and blueberries fill the first sniff, followed by a lingering sweetness of honey.
Appearance — Very clear with a deep purple/red hue.
Flavor — An immediate warmth of alcohol, indicating a high ABV, followed by sweet notes of plums and raspberries. A lingering sweetness remains of honey and fruit. Slight puckering from the tartness.
Mouthfeel — Thin, but with a bit of substance. No carbonation, as it was bottled and corked still.
Overall Impression –Very nice. Similar to a desert wine in texture and sweetness, but tart and strong like a pinot noir. Nice to have a glass after dinner, but I wouldn’t want a second glass with the sweetness. I would have preferred this more if it was dryer.