Beer Style: Other Fruit Melomel (25C)
Recipe Type: other
Yield: 5 US gallons
This is a sweet, still melomel intended for use as a dessert wine.
The mead was entered into competition at age nine months (one month after bottling. The competition included beers, wines, meads, and flavoured liqueurs. This mead won "Best of Show". Judges comments included things like "Excellent blend, couldn't improve upon it. A winner".
The honey was purchased in bulk at a nearby grocery co-op store. The raspberries were frozen to help break down the cell walls, and they were crushed by hand (in plastic bags) while thawing. The lemon and orange juice were to provide acids. The tea was to provide tannins. I do not know what the nutrient is, but I suspect that it supplied nitrogen.
Boil the honey in some water for 30 minutes, skimming off any scum, wax, bee parts, etc. that rise to the surface. Remove from heat and add berries, tea, juice, and nutrient. Let sit, covered, for a few minutes to let the heat sanitize the fruit. Chill to room temperature in an icewater bath. Put into primary fermenter and add water to bring the volume of the must up to the appropriate level. Pitch yeast into must. ( I just pour the liquid yeast into the must without making a starter.) It was fermented at about 70 degrees F. (room temperature in my kitchen).
A word of advice learned from previous experiences: If you use a carboy as your primary frementer, use one with a LOT of extra headspace, or use a wide blow-off tube. If you do not, the raspberry pulp will foam up and will plug the airlock. This will cause a pressure buildup which can pop the stopper off of the carboy and spray your walls with sticky raspberry stuff. I hear that it can also cause your carboy to explode, leaving an even bigger mess.
Rack after about three weeks, when the fruit pulp has settled. Rack again at month 2, 4, and 6. Bottle at month 8. The mead had cleared and was finished fermenting by the racking at month six. During the last two months in the fermenter there was no airlock activity at all, and nothing more settled out. I waited the extra two months to be certain that the fermentation was complete. There is still some residual sugar, and I did not want the mead to continue fermenting in the bottles.
Source: Steve Mercer