IPB

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

 
Reply to this topicStart new topic
> Vanilla Strawberry Mead, Need help designing a recipe
swingerwc
post Jan 9 2009, 06:16 PM
Post #1


Stewart
*

Group: New Member
Posts: 7
Joined: 9-January 09
From: Macomb, IL
Member No.: 13,744



I'm fairly new to the homebrewing scene and have a few questions about a mead recipe I'm trying to put together. My aim is to make a wickedly good vanilla strawberry mead (as the topic title suggests). It would be a great help if some more expirienced brewers could cocreate this with me. I'm trying to create a softer feel, maybe even buttery feel, like strawberry cheesecake with a decent enough ABV.. at least 12% would be nice. I just want to avoid it turning out dry.. just a good balance. I don't usually have money to set aside for brewing so I really would like this to turn out the best it can be.

My first thoughts on ingredients would be:

15 pounds of Orange Blossom Honey
5 pounds of fresh strawberries
Madagascar vanilla bean(s)
WLP720 Sweet Mead/Wine Yeast


My main questions are:

If the yeast I chose is tolerant to 15% ABV, are there enough residual sugars in the strawberries to keep the mead sweet enough without the yeast gobbling up all the sweetness?

What should I add to get that buttery smoothness? My first thought was malolactic bacteria, but I read somwhere on this board that isn't necessary for meads because it lacks the right acids and may even be undesirable. I also thought maybe adding some LME or something of that nature might give it some body.

How many vanilla beans should I add? I hear they are quite potent and I haven't heard an affirmative opinion. I do want the vanilla to stand out as much as the strawberries.

Am I going overboard on the amount of strawberries? Or do I need more to satisfy the yeast's appetite and bring a very prominent strawberry presence to the mead? Or should I add some other source of sugar (i.e. LME?)? Should I focus more on the strawberries in second fermentation? Would like to take care of most of the flavoring in the prmary.

Yeast nutrient most likely, right? As well as some energizer? I hear that it's pretty essential to a mead.


ANY suggestions are welcome!!! (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/smile.gif)


Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
MtnBrewer
post Jan 9 2009, 06:53 PM
Post #2


Brewmaster
*****

Group: banned
Posts: 9,637
Joined: 26-July 03
Member No.: 937



QUOTE(swingerwc @ Jan 9 2009, 04:16 PM) *
If the yeast I chose is tolerant to 15% ABV, are there enough residual sugars in the strawberries to keep the mead sweet enough without the yeast gobbling up all the sweetness?

First of all, I'm not sure that yeast *is* tolerant to 15%. I've never used it myself because I've heard of nothing but problems with it. It appears to be very pH sensitive and if the pH drops too far it will just shut down. I hear horror stories of stuck fermentations all the time with this yeast so I steer well clear of it.

QUOTE(swingerwc @ Jan 9 2009, 04:16 PM) *
What should I add to get that buttery smoothness? My first thought was malolactic bacteria, but I read somwhere on this board that isn't necessary for meads because it lacks the right acids and may even be undesirable. I also thought maybe adding some LME or something of that nature might give it some body.

No, malolactic bacteria won't work because there's very little malic acid in honey. You could do sur lie aging (aging on the lees) with a yeast that is good for that such as d-47 or cy3079. This will produce a lot of glycerin which will help thicken up the mouthfeel.

QUOTE(swingerwc @ Jan 9 2009, 04:16 PM) *
How many vanilla beans should I add? I hear they are quite potent and I haven't heard an affirmative opinion. I do want the vanilla to stand out as much as the strawberries.

I'd say start with 2 or 3 and you can add more if you need to.

QUOTE(swingerwc @ Jan 9 2009, 04:16 PM) *
Am I going overboard on the amount of strawberries? Or do I need more to satisfy the yeast's appetite and bring a very prominent strawberry presence to the mead? Or should I add some other source of sugar (i.e. LME?)? Should I focus more on the strawberries in second fermentation? Would like to take care of most of the flavoring in the prmary.

I don't think you have near enough. I'd double the amount myself. And I think you'd be better off putting at least most of them in secondary.

QUOTE(swingerwc @ Jan 9 2009, 04:16 PM) *
Yeast nutrient most likely, right? As well as some energizer? I hear that it's pretty essential to a mead.
ANY suggestions are welcome!!! (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/smile.gif)

Fermaid-K (or Superfood) and diammonium phosphate (DAP). Take a look at the SNA FAQ for more detailed info.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
IronGuillotine
post Jan 10 2009, 02:13 PM
Post #3


Brewer
****

Group: Members
Posts: 301
Joined: 8-November 07
From: Clovis/Fresno, California
Member No.: 10,469



Yeast: I agree with everything MtnBrewer said except for the comments on White Lab's Sweet Mead Yeast. My average finishing ABV using this yeast is 14-16%, so the 15% can be very easily attained as long as there is enough nutrients. I've used it at least 20 times and never have had stuck fermentation. Actually, it's probably my favorite mead yeast, and not just for sweet mead either.

Berries: I'd also like to stress the importance of adding the berries after primary fermentation is complete. Primary fermentation takes a lot of the flavor and aroma away from berries. I usually add about 1/3 of my berries to primary and the rest to secondary. I'd also use a lot more than that.

Honey: Excellent choice. That's exactly what I'd use for this as well. The amounts seem about right as well. Generally, 1# of honey yields 1% of potential ABV in a 5 gallon batch. If the yeast finishes closer to 14% then you'll definitely have enough sweetness left. If it finishes closer to 15% then it'll only be slightly sweet. If it finishes close to 16% then it may appear a slightly dry. No worries though...there are things you can do

Sugar: Please don't add any sugar, DME, or anything like that. You can seriously degrade the fine quality of mead by doing this, especially if you're trying to highly the subtle flavors of berries and honey.

Vanilla: 2 to 3 beans is probably good. Split the beans to expose the seeds, but don't scrape them out. Vanilla seeds can be a pain to filter out. If you add them to secondary then you're probably ok, but if you add them to primary then you'll need to soak them in a small amount of vodka first to sanitize. Err on the side of less-is-more. You can always add more after sampling. Two things to note is that you may get a slight buttery-smoothness when using fresh beans do to the fermentation of the bean. It looks like you're looking for a little of that anyway, so you should be fine. After you taste your mead, if you decide to add more "vanilla" flavor then I'd suggest using vanilla extract for that.

Nutrients: If you use enough berries then the yeast will have some good stuff to work with from there. With plenty of berries and a little Fermaid-K you should have very happy yeast.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
armagh
post Jan 12 2009, 08:48 AM
Post #4


Brewer
****

Group: Members
Posts: 444
Joined: 4-January 06
Member No.: 4,965



I have to diverge from the consensus on adding strawberries in secondary. I used them in primary for the first time last year in hopes the fermentation would drive off some of the phenols they impart to a mead (thanks to Matt for the suggestion). Although not quite ready for bottling, this batch has more strawberry profile and less acidity than any previous effort. This is probably the only fruit I would use in primary in future.

As far as yeast, it's you call. It has been established in other threads that the sweet mead yeast is a repackaged version of their Irish Ale yeast. I've seen more reports on this and other boards of problems with it than any other yeast, but properly handled, I suppose it works (as noted by the previous post).

Five pounds of strawberries would be enough for about a gallon batch. I would be looking at three pounds per gallon minimum, maybe up to five pounds a gallon.

Good luck.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
realbeerguy
post Jan 12 2009, 11:06 AM
Post #5


Brewer
****

Group: Members
Posts: 366
Joined: 14-March 07
From: Bluffton, SC
Member No.: 8,688



QUOTE(armagh @ Jan 12 2009, 08:48 AM) *
I have to diverge from the consensus on adding strawberries in secondary. I used them in primary for the first time last year in hopes the fermentation would drive off some of the phenols they impart to a mead (thanks to Matt for the suggestion). Although not quite ready for bottling, this batch has more strawberry profile and less acidity than any previous effort. This is probably the only fruit I would use in primary in future.

As far as yeast, it's you call. It has been established in other threads that the sweet mead yeast is a repackaged version of their Irish Ale yeast. I've seen more reports on this and other boards of problems with it than any other yeast, but properly handled, I suppose it works (as noted by the previous post).

Five pounds of strawberries would be enough for about a gallon batch. I would be looking at three pounds per gallon minimum, maybe up to five pounds a gallon.

Good luck.

+1 on strawberries in primary. I did the Banana/Strawberry Mel last year & used 18# of Local Farmers Market berries that imparted a phenominal strawbery profile.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

Reply to this topicStart new topic
2 User(s) are reading this topic (2 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 



RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 19th September 2018 - 10:54 AM