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> Vanilla Strawberry Mead, Need help designing a recipe
swingerwc
post Jan 9 2009, 06:16 PM
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Stewart
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From: Macomb, IL
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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)


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armagh
post Jan 12 2009, 08:48 AM
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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.
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realbeerguy
post Jan 12 2009, 11:06 AM
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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.
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