Blackberry Melomel – #2 and #22

Author: LadySylvia

Here are 2 recipes.  The first one is the ONLY mead I’ve ever dumped.  Now that I know what I know, I wished I had kept it.  The yuckiness may have been a phase. 

8/6/99

15 pounds clover honey

24 oz. fresh blackberries

8 t. allspice

2 tabs yeast nutrient

7 tablets yeast energizer

Yeast: Lalvin EC-1118

Notes: Racked8/22, 10/11 (“very icky smelling”).  “Discarded in December.  Very smelly – extremely alcoholic – bucket partially open? bad yeast? not racket soon/often enough?”

Hindsight:

I believe that the nutrients and energizer forced a VERY fast fermentation.  I have since learned that melomels need less help from energizers and nutrients.  I’m not sure about the off flavors, but I do suspect that either 1) there was a contaminant in the berries or 2) it was going through a particularly nasty phase that it may have outgrown.  Now I’ll never know… 🙂

And so after 8 years, I try again…

3/10/07

15 lbs. clovery honey

72 oz. blackberries

Yeast: Lalvin 71B-1122

Initial gravity: 1.100 (Potential alcohol = 13)

Notes: Racked 7/1 (SG=1.013; PA=2; strong, not strong fruit flavor), 10/28/07 (Alcohol up another 1/2% strong, clean); 8/15/08 racked; 1/19/09 racked (PA=1): 7/16/09 Racked DONE FEREMENTING 

Bottled: (soon)

Final Gravity: 1.008 (PA=1) 

This melomel has a dry, but clean flavor.  It will not appeal to everyone, but I think it will be well liked by those who prefer a dryer mead.  Someday soon I will bottle it…

Note:  I did not use nutrients or energizers in this second recipe.  I’ve long since stopped using them in order to emulate better the medieval period methods and products.  I also used twice the berries and froze them first to help with extracting the juices.  Since I was gunshy about doing another blackberry, I defaulted to the Lalvin 71B-1122, a yeast that has given me consistently good results.