As one of my brew year’s resolutions for 2011, I am planning to make a mead. I thought a simple recipe to put together would be for a raspberry melomel. For my first one, I was thinking I could make a simple show mead with medium sweetness…but my tastebuds are calling for a melomel.
To keep it simple, I chose one fruit to add in. I think raspberries deliver good flavor and I think they complement honey very well.
Plus, I need to find out if I can make a raspberry melomel that tastes better than the commercial offering the Brew Dudes had at a wine tasting that had the aroma of gym socks.
After reading The Compleat Meadmaker and watching Curt Stock’s video on BrewingTV, I thought I would give this recipe a go.
15 pounds of clover honey
8 pounds of raspberries
3 gallons of water
1 teaspoons of yeast energizer (Fermaid-K)
2 teaspoons of yeast nutrient (diammonium phosphate)
Yeast: Wyeast 4632 Dry Mead
I plan to make a yeast starter for this melomel. There are instructions on how to do that in Compleat Meadmaker and I’ll write a post dedicated to mead yeast starters.
Although Mr. Stock ferments everything together, I think I am going to ferment without the fruit. I plan to rack it to a secondary vessel (plastic bucket) and add the fruit to it there.
So, for primary fermentation – add the water, honey, and yeast together and oxygenate your must. Then add a quarter teaspoon of the yeast energizer and a half teaspoon of the yeast nutrient. Then follow this schedule for the rest of the yeast energizer/nutrient:
Add .25 teaspoon yeast energizer and .5 teaspoon of the yeast nutrient 24 hours after fermentation begins
Add .25 teaspoon yeast energizer and .5 teaspoon of the yeast nutrient 48 hours after fermentation begins
Add .25 teaspoon yeast energizer and .5 teaspoon of the yeast nutrient after 30% of the sugar has been depleted
I plan to let the primary fermentation go for a month, then I will rack it to a bucket and add the raspberries. If I can get them from the local farm down the street, I will. I’ll wash them and freeze them before I add them to the mead.
I’ll let it sit in the secondary for a couple of weeks at least, then I will bottle. I am not sure if I will prime or not, but we’ll see…
Bottle condition for at least two weeks before I try it, then I hide it somewhere and try to forget about it for 6 months or so.
On second thought, I may throw everything together in the primary…
That sounds awesome. I’ve never tried a mead, so I may try to make that myself. A few questions I have for you:
1. Do you heat the honey/water mixture at all or simply mix them together before adding the yeast?
2. Where do you plan on buying 15lbs of clove honey?
3. How sweet do you think the final mead will be? I guess it would be sweeter if you decide to prime it.
4. After 2 weeks of bottle conditioning do you let it sit refrigerated or in a basement for the 6 months? I presume that time will help develop the flavor, but is would be able to be drunk after the 2 weeks?
Thanks so much for your help!
Hi Andrew – Good questions.
1. I am probably not going to heat the must before fermentation. From the Curt Stock video and the mead book, you can follow this practice as long as you are diligent with sanitization. I’m going to give it a try – we’ll see how it goes.
2. Northern Brewer has a good honey selection. I will probably buy from them.
3. I’m not sure how sweet it will be. That’s going to part of the adventure. I don’ t think it will be sweeter if I prime it since that sugar should be gobbled up by the yeast to make it sparkling…but I guess I could sweeten it and then pasteurize it once its bottled to kill the yeast and keep the sweetness.
4. I will probably leave it in a dark place in the basement for it to condition after bottling.
It sounds excellent. I know someone who dug a 5ft deep hole in the back yard and buried their mead in a ‘coffin’ to age it. It certainly stopped them from continually sampling it just to see how it was getting along.
John, thanks for the answers. I think I’ll give it a try. Based on the amount of ingredients, I presume this is a 5 gallon recipe?
Yes it is a 5 gallon recipe. Brew On.
John, sorry for all the questions. Where are you planning on buying your honey? At the places I have looked 15 lbs is going to cost a hefty sum. I thought you might have an idea of a good place to buy it in bulk. Thanks!
If you search for “buy honey in bulk”, you can find some bargains. The thing about mead is honey isn’t cheap, but you may find a better deal out there from places that sell it in bulk.
You may be able to find an apiary that is local to you. If there is one, it might be worth calling them up to see if they will sell a large quantity to you for a lesser price.
I too was recently inspired my Curt’s video and made a very similar recipe but used orange blossom honey and Cote des Blances yeast to maintain some residual sugar and fruit flavor. Was drinkable at 30 days, but I only think it will improve with some age.
I am hoping I can have something drinkable in the same timeframe. I don’t know if I can wait that long.
What was the eventual sweetness/dryness of the brew, and what did the alc. content wind up as? With that much fermentable product in honey/fruit – I’d guess it would either be really sweet or really strong…
I used a dry mead yeast so it fermented to right below 1.000. The starting gravity was 1.110…so yeah, it’s pretty strong. I am calculating around 14.5% ABV.
I know this is an old thread, but any comment as to how it turned out? I just started a Mead last weekend with the intention of doing something similar (with strawberries instead of raspberries), and I’m just wondering how long it was aged in a carboy, how much longer it was aged in bottles, and how it turned out in the end.
This mead turned out really well. I won some regional and national competition awards for this mead. I believe I let it ferment in a bucket for about a month, then racked it to another carboy for a couple of months, then racked it again to yet another carboy to let it clear even further. Then, I bottled it. After all that bulk aging, it was ready after it was in the bottle. It didn’t last long.