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Three Berry Melomel


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#1 neddles

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 02:28 PM

First mead I have made in a while. Going to mix this up later tonight. Thoughts?

 

11# Gentle Breeze Apiary Clover Honey

4# Hansen's Honey Farm Wildflower Honey

10# Organic Blueberries from Bayfield, Wi. (in a fruit bag)

.5 gal. Knudsen's Just Black Currant

.25 gal. Knudsen's Just Black Cherry

2 gal. Bottled Spring Water

2 oz. Med. toast French Oak

15g. Lalvin RC212 yeast rehydrated w/ GoFerm.

 

OG 1.140 before blueberry addition.

SNA and O2 after lag and 1/3 sugar break

Aerate and punch cap 2-3x daily until 1/3 sugar break

 

When you guys aerate do you just stir to degas and add O2 or do any of you use pure O2 at these times. Thoughts about doing that?

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 armagh

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 03:48 PM

If you're using the Knudsen's in primary I'd guess it will be a while before the alcohol burn is gone.  What's the target FG?

I add O2 before yeast addition and degas after that, but I have to admit 1.140 is higher than I've ever gone.  I like RC 212 for mead but I wonder if some of its subtleties will be lost with that high a gravity.  Either way, good luck with the project.


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#3 neddles

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 04:07 PM

If you're using the Knudsen's in primary I'd guess it will be a while before the alcohol burn is gone.

Can you explain why you say that?

 

 

What's the target FG?

I'd guess about 1.020-1.025.

 

 

I add O2 before yeast addition and degas after that, but I have to admit 1.140 is higher than I've ever gone.  I like RC 212 for mead but I wonder if some of its subtleties will be lost with that high a gravity.  Either way, good luck with the project.

Should not the 10#s of blueberries dilute that 1.140 to some degree? What subtleties of that yeast would you say are going to be lost and why?


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#4 armagh

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 04:57 PM

1. That's a lot of fermentable sugar in primary.  High fermentable sugars lead to high alcohol content, assuming the yeast ferments to completion, which in the case of RC212 is optimally 16%.  Possibly a point or two higher with SNA. Normally that takes a while to mellow.  

2. The target FG seems right based on the yeast.

3. Ideally the blueberries would add a later dimension to the flavor profile, assuming the yeast is played out.  If not, the berries would ignite further fermentation.

4. RC 212 is a yeast from Burgundy, which, while the region does occasionally produce some high alcohol wines, whether red or white, their hallmark is more subtle than say, Bordeaux or the Rhone region.

 

Not saying it's a bad plan or that it won't work, just that it may take a fair bit of time to play itself out.  An alternative might be to ferment the honey, go with blueberries in secondary, then use the juices, either in combination or in conjunction, to adjust the taste profile.  0.02 cents.


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#5 StankDelicious

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 06:26 PM

I degas, add the nutrients, pull the trigger on the drill a couple more times to mix it in and then hit it with the O2.


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#6 realbeerguy

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 06:26 PM

O2 upfront.  Degassing adds enough O2


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#7 neddles

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 08:17 AM

1. That's a lot of fermentable sugar in primary.  High fermentable sugars lead to high alcohol content, assuming the yeast ferments to completion, which in the case of RC212 is optimally 16%.  Possibly a point or two higher with SNA. Normally that takes a while to mellow.  

2. The target FG seems right based on the yeast.

3. Ideally the blueberries would add a later dimension to the flavor profile, assuming the yeast is played out.  If not, the berries would ignite further fermentation.

4. RC 212 is a yeast from Burgundy, which, while the region does occasionally produce some high alcohol wines, whether red or white, their hallmark is more subtle than say, Bordeaux or the Rhone region.

 

Not saying it's a bad plan or that it won't work, just that it may take a fair bit of time to play itself out.  An alternative might be to ferment the honey, go with blueberries in secondary, then use the juices, either in combination or in conjunction, to adjust the taste profile.  0.02 cents.

Your 0.02 are appreciated. The recipe is a slight variation (more juice to make up for lack of berries) of an established GotMead recipe. The original recipe did suggest a few years of bulk aging and that is my intention so I think you are right about the need for that.

 

Update: The yeast was rehydrated with GoFerm and pitched at 8:00PM last night along with 60sec pure O2. The initial pH was 3.1 on my meter so I added a few doses of potassium bicarb. to raise it to 3.45. My understanding is that higher pH (3.6ish) would be ideal but I didn't want to keep adding the potassium bicarb not knowing the limit where I might get some salty flavors. Anyone know a safe limit?

 

Conveniently my dog woke us to go out at 2:30AM so I checked on the bucket. Foaming, lag reached. I added the nutrient addition and stirred well. I guess these yeast were raring to go. As of 9:00AM this is clearly rolling along with considerable foaming, obvious fermentation smells and the gravity now says 1.118. (Did not check gravity after the bag of blueberries was added so can't really say how far we have dropped. pH is now 3.37. I will keep watch on this a fermentation progresses. The smell is wonderful as you would expect.


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#8 armagh

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 08:47 AM

Under High Test's FAQ, there's this on adding potassium carbonate for pH adjustment.  I've found it works well.

 

https://home.comcast...otCarbonate.pdf


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#9 neddles

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 09:11 AM

Under High Test's FAQ, there's this on adding potassium carbonate for pH adjustment.  I've found it works well.

 

https://home.comcast...otCarbonate.pdf

Thanks. I saw this a few years ago and unable to find potassium carbonate at the time I acquired some potassium bicarbonate and found it worked well too. I just don't know when too much is too much. So in the meantime I'm not going to get to stirred up about my pH unless it drops like a rock or fermentation isn't progressing as expected.


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#10 neddles

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 08:51 PM

9:30PM Punched cap and degassed. The yeast appear to be happy. SG 1.007 The pH dropped some more to 3.17 so I added 2g more of potassium bicarb.

 

Stupid question that I can't remember the answer to: Do you calculate the 1/3 sugar break at 1/3 of the way down from OG to expected FG or 1/3 of the way down from OG to 1.000?


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#11 Genesee Ted

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 03:22 AM

I always thought the former 



#12 neddles

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 09:08 AM

I always thought the former 

9:30AM and were down to 1.097. I'm calling this the 1/3 sugar break. Punched and degassed, 6g Fermaid-K and 30 sec. O2 added. pH still low at 3.15. Added 1g K-bicarb. Ugg! I don't want to add any more K-bicarb.


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#13 Genesee Ted

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 03:42 AM

Why are you worried about the k-bicarb?



#14 neddles

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 05:53 AM

Why are you worried about the k-bicarb?

I don't know how much can be added before it causes flavor problems. 


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#15 neddles

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 09:03 PM

10:00PM Moving along nicely. Down to 1.061. Pretty much outta my hands now.


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#16 neddles

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 10:32 AM

1.017 this morning. The taste is actually not all that bad for what I would expect at this point. It's a little sulfury as I would expect but not exceedingly hot or rubbery. No other strange/off- flavors. Nicely acidic and tannic at the finish. I think I'll pull the blueberry bag in a few days. Probably let it tick down a little further and rack to age in another week or two. 


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#17 neddles

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 12:49 PM

Removed the bagged blueberries today. SG is 1.005. Never thought RC212 would take it this far. Removed the bucket from the 69F swamp cooler. Tastes much like a red wine at this point albeit with more EtOH and a very strong pleasant berry/blueberry note. Thankfully it's not harsh or fusely. Very bright deep almost fake looking purple color. Probably let this go another week or two at reduced temperature on the oak and then rack to 5 gallon carboy to age. Volume is very close to 5 gallons so I will top up with more black currant juice to reduce headspace if necessary. 


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#18 neddles

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 09:45 PM

Update. About a year old now this tastes really really good. I am a wine guy in that I know what I like in a wine. I am not a wine guy when it comes to describing what I am tasting. Just don't know the terms. Anyhow, it's bright and fruity has a nice balance of acidity and tannins, maybe a little more acid than tannins present. Much like a medium bodied red wine until the aftertaste. It has a subtly different fruit character that tells you it is from something other than grapes. There seems to be some light pepperiness as well. It's very pleasant and I am hoping a little oak can add or bring out a bit more complexity from it and add a bit more mouthfeel. Added an ounce each of med+ toast French Oak and med+ toast American Oak cubes tonight. I'll taste frequently for the next month or two until it's where I like it.

 

ETA: I should add its got a gorgeous purple color with deep pink/purple highlights and is crystal clear.


Edited by nettles, 05 January 2015 - 09:55 PM.

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