hist-brewing: Re: Elderberry Mead
JazzboBob at aol.com
JazzboBob at aol.com
Mon Sep 17 20:41:28 PDT 2001
Re: hist-brewing: elderberry melomel
I simply pick ripe clumps of elderberries by cutting the stems and putting
them into grocery store plastic bags with the handles. The bag can easily
dangle on your arm as you trim the bushes and drop the berry heads into the
bag. I haven't had problems with bugs & critters mixing in with the fruit.
I just shake the fruit clumps first before I put them in the bag. Once at
home, I sit in a comfortable seat leaning over a large pail. I then use the
traditional way of plucking the elderberry fruit off the stems by using a
fork. By running a fork down the stem, the ripe fruit will pop of the stems
into the bucket. I've found that a plastic fork has enough flex to the job
best without damaging the fruit. Once my bucket is full, I pack the fruit
into freezer bags and store them till brew day. I add the frozen berries
while pasteurizing my honey at 150 degrees F. and let them go into the
primary fermentor for a week or two. I poke a new sanitized Stainless Steel
scrubby dish ball around my racking cane to act as a strainer/sieve when
racking to a secondary.
I like using a lighter honey such as Clover, Alfalfa, or Orange Bloom for my
Elderberry Meads. This way the fruit isn't in competition with a heavy honey
flavor or unknown wildflower characteristic.
I've made a few different style elderberry meads. The yeast will
dramatically effect the
fermentation and result in different final gravities. The tricky part about
Elderberries is balancing their high tannic quality, refreshing tartness, and
maintaining a proper residual sweetness in the mead. The residual sweetness
will balance and mask the tannins.
I used Champagne yeast in the first Elderberry Mead I made with an OG of
1.090 and a FG of 1.000. It was very dry, tart, and astringent. I never
particularly enjoyed this batch even after years of aging, although it was
acceptable if you like dry meads.
The next time, I used an ale yeast and got a FG of 1.025. This was more to
my liking. It must have please quite a few others too since it went on to win
the Gold ribbon in the AHA 2000 National contest. The complete recipe is in
Vol.23, Number 5 of Zymurgy. I have since brewed a strong elderberry mead
using Champagne yeast with an OG of 1.140 and a FG of 1.026. It's a very
powerful elixir that is high in alcohol, berry taste and honey flavors. I
made this with batch with wildflower honey and don't like that taste as much
as my previous batch made with orange blossom honey.
I generally use 1.5 to 2 pounds of berries per gallon of mead.
Honey quantity varies with OG target.
There is an interesting book called Winemaking with Elderberries by T. Edwin
Belt that has over 100 recipes. The ISBN is 0 900841 62 1. You can get some
interesting ideas here and substitute honey for the sugar called for in the
by Bob Grossman
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the hist-brewing