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strawberry mead issue

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BellaCrow

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Mar 17, 2005
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Hi,

I've done an experiement and would like to hear feedback.

A one gallon experimental strawberry mead. I used 3 lbs of Mesquite honey and 2 lbs of pureed strawberry and water to fill. Added a handful of raisins and a cinnamon stick. Using Lavlin EC-1118 yeast.

It's really thick and we will have to filter it when we rack it and move it to the secondary fermentation. At that time I want to also add a bourbon vanilla bean.

But last night, a few hours after pitching it, it popped it's top. I heard a big noise and ran in to see strawberry puree on the walls ;-) I've been keeping an eye on it since, but I wonder if I've got too much strawberry puree and not enough liquid.

Would it be possible to add water (and maybe more honey) when I move it to secondary fermentation?

thanks,

Bella
 

JamesP

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The EC-1118 will ferment it dry. You may have to back-sweeten if you want some strawberry taste to be noticable.

Too much strawberry puree? - put it in a covered bucket for a few days, then transfer to carboy allowing some headspace.

Add honey/water to match your target %Alc
 

Oskaar

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Well, I've only done one batch of strawberry so my experience here is pretty limited, but, I'd go ahead and top up with some water at this point, and wait until you rack to see where you are gravity wise.

Your original must was probably somewhere around 1.11 - 1.12 SG and EC1118 will handle that no problem. It should ferment it to dryness at that starting gravity. EC1118 is merciless so if you want it sweet you'll need to add more honey/strawberry or some other fermentable sugar.

Problem is, feeding EC just seems to crank up the ABV as you feed it, so I'd guess if you feed till it stops you'll end up well over 20% rocket fuel.

You may consider dosing it hard with more honey after racking and stopping it at about 1.010 - 1.020 SG if you want it slightly sweet or demi-sec.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar
 

BellaCrow

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Oskaar said:
Well, I've only done one batch of strawberry so my experience here is pretty limited, but, I'd go ahead and top up with some water at this point, and wait until you rack to see where you are gravity wise.



Problem is, feeding EC just seems to crank up the ABV as you feed it, so I'd guess if you feed till it stops you'll end up well over 20% rocket fuel.

You may consider dosing it hard with more honey after racking and stopping it at about 1.010 - 1.020 SG if you want it slightly sweet or demi-sec.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar
ooh thanks! How do you reccomend I stop the fermentation?

Bella
 

Oskaar

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Well, if you have room in a spare refrigerator you can place the carboy in it and crank the cold setting down to 40 - 45 degrees F which will stop fermentation and put your yeasties to sleep. Two weeks at that temperature will send your yeasties into a deep sleep. Upon removal from the fridge rack immediately to another vessel. From there you have a couple of options.

You can add sorbate at a rate of .5 to .75 grams per gallon (125-200ppm) in conjunction with .3 grams of meta-bisulphite (50ppm) per gallon.

You can add sorbate only and continue to bulk age (this presents a risk of an Acetobacter sp. bacterial infection if your pH is above 3.3 - 3.5 and you don't flood the carboy with C02 to ensure an anaerobic environment) Acetobacter is the vinegar bacteria and it can survive in a fairly hostile pH to most bacteria, but it needs O2 to survive, hence the need to evacuate all the O2 and replace it with CO2

You can let the vessel you just racked into continue to age checking the SG regularly over a period of 2 to 3 months to be sure fermentation did not restart, and your SG isn't still dropping.

My favorite method to be absolutely sure there is no change in SG: Drink it . . . FAST! LOL

Cheers,

Oskaar
 

BellaCrow

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Mar 17, 2005
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Thanks!

So whatever we do we need to chill it first it seems? I'm trying to think where we could put it and coming up empty.

It also seems that we're using a yeast that's not really suited for a sack mead. We tasted our coffee and Maple meads and they are already pretty alcoholic and still fermenting. So that's 6 gallons as well that we need to stop fermentation on.

I'm still new to the Got Mead site, is there a specific page/forum where I can learn which yeast is more suited to what I want in my mead?

Bella

edited "mead" for "yeast" meant to say yeast dangit
 

BellaCrow

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Mar 17, 2005
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I think I'm going to pitch another strawberry mead this weekend. We got gung-ho about that yeast since it goes up to 20% alcohol and ferments furiously.

However, we're more interested in sack meads. So, I think I'm going to take a reading and stop the fermentation of my current one in a week or two to try and salvage it. (We're having to stop fermentation on the Maple and Coffee ones as well and maybe back-sweeten and/or flavor.)

I'm going to make the new one a 3 gallon mead with maybe 5 -6 lbs of strawberry puree and maybe clover honey. But I'm going to make it in a 5 gallon carboy so there's actually room for something more than the puree in the carboy and it has "room" to work.

Out of all it looks like Ryan's RedLand and my Cyser (Jim's recipe) are working out the best. I think we got off-track with this yeast we were using sadly.

tricky, tricky, tricky and to think I was never big on science

Bella
 

Steve523

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May 13, 2005
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I recently started a batch of strawberry mead. I took two 5 gallon carboys and only filled them up to about 3.5 gallons with the must in order to give them room to move. After two weeks I racked them into 1 carboy leaving as much of the fruit behind as I could. I need to rack it again now that the fruit has settled again. Very hard to get the fruit out, but the two carboy trick is great.

I got the inspiration from the book 'The Homebrewer's Companion' by Charles Papazian. He had a Rasberry Mead recipe that used that procedure.
 

BellaCrow

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Mar 17, 2005
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Steve523 said:
I recently started a batch of strawberry mead. I took two 5 gallon carboys and only filled them up to about 3.5 gallons with the must in order to give them room to move. After two weeks I racked them into 1 carboy leaving as much of the fruit behind as I could. I need to rack it again now that the fruit has settled again. Very hard to get the fruit out, but the two carboy trick is great.

I got the inspiration from the book 'The Homebrewer's Companion' by Charles Papazian. He had a Rasberry Mead recipe that used that procedure.
Nifty idea!! Did you take a taste yet? How much fruit did you end up using? Are you using any spices or anything with it? I'm picking a lighter, more "neutral" honey so it doesnt get in the way of the fruit taste. Or at least that's my theory so far.


Bella
 

Dan McFeeley

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BellaCrow said:
But last night, a few hours after pitching it, it popped it's top. I heard a big noise and ran in to see strawberry puree on the walls ;-) I've been keeping an eye on it since, but I wonder if I've got too much strawberry puree and not enough liquid.
Hello Bella --

There's a couple of ways you can avoid this -- use a larger carboy so there will be lots of head space, about a 6.5 gal carboy for a 5 gal batch. Once it's still you can rack to a 5 gal carboy for further bulk aging.

You can also use a blow off tube in place of an airlock if it looks like the fermentation is going to be particularly violent, throwing off all kinds of gunk. To set this up, run a long piece of hosing from the rubber stopper into a small jar filled with a sanitizing solution of some kind -- the same kind you'd be using in the air lock.
 

Steve523

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Well, I racked the my Strawberry mead after two weeks and then again after another two weeks. It has been another two weeks (roughly six weeks total) and when I checked it last night it had decided to spontaneously clarify. Not completely, but the fruit is clumping up and dropping out.

I figure it is perhaps a variety of things. The alcohol content is high so it may have reached a point that the yeast can not survive at. The temperature has been a little warm lately, about 78-80f. It could just be that time...

It still has a really nice strawberry color and tastes great!
 

Steve523

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Well, just twice so far, but the answer I think your looking for is lots and lots of sediment. I used 12# of strawberries and I used a masticating juicer to break down the strawberries without imparting oxygen like a centrifuge style juicer would do. This leaves it more of a strawberry slush and very hard to extract the fruit solids.
 

JoeM

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Why not wait like 6-8 weeks from pitching until the mead begins to clear and then get the majority of the sediment out in one rack? You lose alot less volume this way.
 

Steve523

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Well, the rasberry recipe by Charles Papazian stated to rack after two weeks so I went with his suggestion there.
The second time I racked? Well I guess I just felt like it. ;D
I started the batch knowing that I was going to lose some along the way. Even after two rackings, I still have 6 gallons.
 

Gonzo

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Hi, I'm in the same boat as Bella,
I'm wondering now that is't so clear, some lees in the bottom of the carboy. What's the advantage of racking to another carboy vs just bottling it?
 

JoeM

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if you have a significant amount of sediment and you bottle it without another rack it is likely that you will end up with some sediment in your bottles no matter how careful you are.
 

JoeM

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The things that concern me with frequent/early racking aren’t just lost volume and oxidation, but possible stunned fermentation and/or bacterial contamination as well. Don’t take what I’m saying wrong; I’m not criticizing you as I know there are a lot of people who rack early and often. I guess the question I’m posing to you and others who do things similar is why? What is there to gain?
 
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