hist-brewing: Hello and questions!

Chris Peters celticbard at cyburban.com
Mon Jun 25 20:44:58 PDT 2001


Good evening and welcome Tara!
        Padrhaig ne' Killkenny also of the Eastkingdom / Canton of Northpass
here. Lets take a look at what you want to do.

Tara Sersen wrote:

> Hello, all.  I am new to the list and wanted to introduce myself.

Brewing is a fun and creative hobby artform. Meades are great! My recipe is
simple I use approx. 4lbs of raspberries per gallon of meade. Freeze them first
and then let them thaw (this breaks down the cell wall and makes the
flavor/aroma pass easier to your meade) After they have thawed put them in a
sterile cheesecloth bag and add them to your secondary fermenter. before you
just plop the bag in SQUEEZE THE DICKENS OUT OF IT  over the secondary. This way
you get the full benefits of the juice. Now onto a meade recipe for your primary
fermenter!

I use 20lbs of honey to 4 gallons of clean boiled water ( I boil it to remove
the chlorine you can also use bottled water but I have a tap and a stove so what
the hey!) Clover honey (to me) is the most neutral when making a methlegin
(which is what a raspberry meade really is.) I add my honey to this still hot
water and stir like crazy. This does some pasteurization to the honey and makes
it a dilute mixture (remember honey is almost a pure sugar product so it needs
some diluting or your yeast will go into sugar shock!) Once you have done this
add 2tsp of yeast nutrient and 1 tsp. of acid blend (or the juice one lemon in
place of acid blend). Loosely cover your primary and let it cool to approx. 70F
(use a candy thermometer found in most stores.) Once it has reached this
temperature you can then pitch (add) your yeast. I use what is called "smack
packs" which are yeast in a sugar/wort solution. You pop a little container
inside them and wait for the bag to swell up. Then you cut it open and drop it
into your honey mix..If you use these, "smack" them a couple of days in advance
so they are ready. Other people use either champagne yeast or meade yeast (all
found at your local homebrew supply store in town or online) These are dry
yeasts that should be rehydrated before pitching. To do this you take some of
you honey solution that has cooled and drop the yeast into it. Cover it and set
it aside for awhile . Once you see it start to bubble it is ready. Then pour it
into your primary. Cover your primary tightly with a lid with an airlock and
wait. Once it starts to bubble it means the yeast is working. the bubbles are
carbon dioxide being released by the yeast as a side effect of the fermentation.
Your fermentation can take months to complete (remember honey is almost pure
sugar so the yeasties are feasting!) Once it has slowed to almost no bubbling (
I.E. one blurp a minute) Pitch it to a secondary container. Once there follow
the steps  I prefaced with and you should be fine (The yeasts will start again
with the addition of the raspberries. MORE SUGAR!!!). From here it is a matter
of taste. if you like your meades sweet it can take from 2 weeks to 2 months to
finish. If you like them dry it can take to 2 years. I am sure some of the more
august brewer's can help you from here. Hope this helps!

> So, here are my questions:  I have found a bunch of recipes for
> raspberry mead, and they vary immensely.  I don't know which to try.
> How much raspberry should I use per gallon of mead?  I find recipes
> calling for anywhere from 4 pounds per 5 gallons to 4 pounds per 1
> gallon.  How sweet should I make it?  To net about 5 gallons finished
> product, how much volume of honey/water should I be adding to the
> raspberries?  I find that one gallon of berries weighs about 4 pounds.
> So, averaging the volumes of berries from the different recipes, that
> would mean I'd use about 12 pounds, or 3 gallons, of berries.  I assume
> they ultimately contribute somewhat to the volume of finished product...
> but not 3 gallons worth of volume.  I'm confused!  Also, I find recipes
> that call for letting the berries steep in the hot must, but removing
> them before starting the primary fermentation; For adding them for
> primary fermentation but straining them out for secondary; And for
> adding them only for secondary fermentation.  Any advice on what's
> best?  I wouldn't be offended if someone just gives me a recipe and says
> "This one is good.  Use it."
>
> Thank you very much!
> Tara/Magdalena


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