Blueberry Mead II

First_BlueberrysI am starting another Blueberry Mead.  This time though, I am doing a very simple recipe.  My previous Blueberry Mead was a bit over 22 ABV, but people seemed to like it, and most of them asked for more.  I however, did not like it at all.  A bit to hot for me and, while I hate to say this, it tasted too much like – mead.

The blueberries are a mix of wild berries that we picked this past summer, and store bought berries.  We just did not go out and pick berries this year, except for one time.  That left us with only 7.5 pounds of berries.  A few years ago, we did two pickings and came home with over 50 pounds, 25.5 pounds of which I used for mead, and 24 pounds for wine.  This year, I am only using 24 pounds of berries in the mead, with 17 in the primary and 7 in the secondary.  I also put the berries through my Green Star Juicer and made a puree this time.  What I found with the last batch of mead is that even with freezing the berries, it was very difficult to crush all of the berries to extract all of the juice and flavor.  I also used a fruit bag to hopefully eliminate some of the seeds.  Last batch required over 7 racking’s to eliminate all (most) of the seeds – they are really, really small and difficult to filter.

Below is the recipe.  The SG is a guess as I do not have an idea of the sugar content of the berries.  I am assuming a sugar content of 9.8% for this recipe.  Also, I do not have an accurate way of determining the water content of the berries.  I started with 5 gallons of water, and will adjust the water when I get to the secondary.  It worked last time, so hopefully it will work again.

Recipe (Revised – 18 February 2012):

Volume: 7.5 Gallons
Calculated SG:  1.135
Measured SG: 1N/A
Expected ABV:  17.25%

Sugars:

11.5 lbs. – Arizona Wildflower Honey
6.0 lbs. – Clover Honey
9.0 lbs. – Clover Honey (In secondary with blueberries)
17 lbs. – Blueberries – Primary
7.0 lbs. – Blueberries – Secondary

Yeast:

White Labs WLP 720 – Sweet Mead Yeast – 1L Starter.

Starter:

1/2 cup – Honey
1/2 cup – Table Sugar
1/2 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
3-1/2 cups water
Notes: Boiled for 10 minutes, cooled and pitched yeast, placed on stir plate for 24 hours.

Misc: 

6 ea. – Campden Tablets
2.5 tsp. peptic enzyme
1.5 to 3. tsp. – Fermaid-K – prior to pitching yeast and at 1/3 sugar break

I usually do not heat or boil my honey, but all of my honey was totally crystalized.  To prevent any infection, I heated all of the honey along with 2 gallons of water, to 169 degrees for a bit over 15 minutes.  As usual, I added one Campden tab per gallon of water.  I will let that sit for 24 hours, and then pitch yeast.  Hopefully, a berry scented aroma will fill the house not long after that.

What I did differently this time:  Last batch of blueberry mead and wine saw the addition of acid blend, and tannin, and there were problems with those additions even though they were one-half of the recommended dosages.  The resulting wine and mead was very acidic and had a bit too much tannin.  It a long time and a lot of experimentation to get the products drinkable – I suppose I succeeded, but only because I was lucky.

Other additions:  Yeast nutrient – will probably add 1.5 tsp. Fermaid-K at 1/3 sugar break but will add 1.5 tsp prior to pitching yeast.  I will see how things go.  I will add 2.5 tsp. peptic enzyme about an hour prior to pitching yeast – more than likely along with the Fermaid-K.

Starter:  I was not going to make a starter but I did after thinking about how difficult my past adventures with blueberries were to start.  Last time it took 5 days or so, and a lot of additions and re-pitching’s to get things moving, so a starter was made.

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