MEAD#8 – Raspberry Melomel

With the success of my blackcurrant mead following extensive ageing and back-sweetening, I’m eager to get another melomel (or two) fermenting as soon as possible.

13/09/2016 Brew Day – I poured an entire 2 litre container of spring water into a sanitised fermenter and added most of the honey. The stockpot had been sanitised by boiling water in it for a few minutes. Added most of another 2 litre bottle of water to the stockpot.

In this batch I used 2 x 900g of Holland & Barrett’s Blended honey along with 2 x 340g H&B’s organic wildflower honey. A lot of the honey (both 340g jars and a third of one of the 900g jars were completely crystallized and very difficult to remove from the jars. So I had to apply some heat to the crystallized honey which I put in the stockpot. Cooled in a sinkful of ice and whizzed the honey in using the stick blender along with 1/2 tsp of yeast nutrient (Young’s, containing diammonium phosphate) and 1/2 tsp pectolase.

I also aerated the honey in the fermenter before combining both musts in the fermenter. Put 3 x 300g frozen raspberries and 1 x 330g frozen mixed berries (summer fruit selection) into a sanitised muslin bag. Rehydrated a sachet of Lalvin 71B in some of the bottled water and pitched to the fermenter.

The berries were still frozen and a lot of condensation formed on the side of the plastic fermenter. Fantastic fruity aroma and great red colour.

14/09/2016 – Still no action from the fermenter over 24 hours later. (Update: no action 36 hours later!) I suspect the frozen berries that I added to the FV might have zapped my yeast.

15/09/2016 – Getting very worried now. There’s a bit of sludge floating on top of the must, but it’s so dark from the colour of the fruit that I can’t make out if it’s yeast or if it’s just material from the raspberries. Shining a torch through the side of the fermenter doesn’t reveal any bubbles. After over 48 hours since pitching the yeast, I added another rehydrated sachet, just to be sure. (Update: an hour or two after pitching the second sachet, I’m getting some bubbling through the thick layer on top of the must. I don’t think the second pitch would have produced fermentation in such a short space of time, so it must be the original pitch.)

29/09/2016 – Racked to secondary after removing the bag of fruit pulp. Great colour.

29/12/2017 – Took a gravity reading of 1.010. I’m pleased to see this finish quite high, which means there was just enough residual sweetness to balance the acid from the fruit, quite unlike the black currant melomel I did previously. Tasting pretty nice too, it’s got a good raspberry flavour, though someone might struggle to identify it as a raspberry mead. It’s more of a generic red fruit flavour. The clarity is amazing but it’s a few shades lighter than expected. It’s a light red colour, instead of the beaujolais colour I was expecting. Will stabilise and bottle this soon.

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