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The honey wine they call mead.  RSS feed

 
Scott Foster
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Are there any avid Mead makers on here?  I just did a five-gallon batch (still in primary fermentation).  Our old pear tree is just loaded with hard little pears.  What are your thoughts on throwing some pears, cut up, into the secondary fermentation?
 
Thyri Gullinvargr
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I'm not a mead maker at all, but my understanding is when you make melomel (mead with fruit) that you'll get more of the fruit flavor if you put it into the secondary fermentation. You also might not ferment out all of the fruit sugars.
 
Scott Foster
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Thyri Gullinvargr wrote:I'm not a mead maker at all, but my understanding is when you make melomel (mead with fruit) that you'll get more of the fruit flavor if you put it into the secondary fermentation. You also might not ferment out all of the fruit sugars.
 

Thanks Thyri.  It might be worth a try.
 
Alex Riddles
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I have made a few batches of mead and found the fermentation goes much slower that in wineHoney is a much more complex sugar than fructose. I would think the pears would ferment faster and if the fermentation is not complete it would be the honey left behind.  If you are concerned about an incomplete fermentation you can always pitch a yeast with a higher alcohol tolerance.

Also when you add the pears you are adding tannins which will alter the taste.  Tannins will break down over time so this may not be a problem even if you overshoot what you intended.  I have found I really don't like the taste of my mead until it is at least 3 years old and I know it keeps getting better for 5 years.    So, have fun  but be patient.
 
Scott Foster
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Alex Riddles wrote:I have made a few batches of mead and found the fermentation goes much slower that in wine.  Honey is a much more complex sugar than fructose. I would think the pears would ferment faster and if the fermentation is not complete it would be the honey left behind.  If you are concerned about an incomplete fermentation you can always pitch a yeast with a higher alcohol tolerance.

Also when you add the pears you are adding tannins which will alter the taste.  Tannins will break down over time so this may not be a problem even if you overshoot what you intended.  I have found I really don't like the taste of my mead until it is at least 3 years old and I know it keeps getting better for 5 years.    So, have fun but be patient.


Great Information Alex, Thank You.   Since this is a five-gallon batch I think I'm going to just leave it basic mead.  Probably a better idea to experiment with small batches.  I was reading Steve Piatz Mead book after posting this...I didn't realize that adding fruit is like adding water, very little sugar and around 85% water.   Attaining the character of the fruit isn't as straight forward as I was thinking.
 
wayne fajkus
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I make wine. In my research i found that pears have little flavor, leaving a moonshine taste to the wine.  They advocate adding other fruit to pear wine to add flavor.

Im hoping my tree will produce enough fruit next year to actually try it.
 
Scott Foster
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wayne fajkus wrote:I make wine. In my research i found that pears have little flavor, leaving a moonshine taste to the wine.  They advocate adding other fruit to pear wine to add flavor.

Im hoping my tree will produce enough fruit next year to actually try it.



Good luck with the crop next year!  Let us know how it turns out. 
 
James Freyr
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I've made some meads before and they do tend to ferment slower than wine or beer. I did make a couple melomels many years ago, the watermelon being the best, and I've also done traditional mead and I did a cyser once (apple cider as the fruit). The meads I made were big, with starting gravities around 1.120 or higher. My primaries took many months ferment, with secondaries taking even longer. I seem to recall having fruit in the primary fermentation. It was a few years before I could really enjoy a glass after they had about a year in bottles to mellow. Meads always had this astringent, somewhat unpleasant bite that only time would take care of. I remember the watermelon meade being so good I drank it all within a year. But I found that 5 year old meads to be really nice and mellow.

Scott, what was your starting gravity and what kind of yeast did you use? Some strains of yeast will leave more residual sugars behind while other like champagne yeast will munch through just about everything leaving a dry mead. If you want to add pear, I would advise that you puree the pear, and also heat it to near boil to kill wild yeast and bacteria that are on the skin of the fruit. A once delicious wort that's been infected with acetobacter becomes quite unpleasant. I've had my share of undesirable infections. One more thing, think about splitting the batch. Leave 2.5 gal traditional, and add fruit to the other half. I did that a lot, splitting batches to make two different beverages. If something goes south with the pear, it's not a total loss.
 
Scott Foster
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James Freyr wrote:I've made some meads before and they do tend to ferment slower than wine or beer. I did make a couple melomels many years ago, the watermelon being the best, and I've also done traditional mead and I did a cyser once (apple cider as the fruit). The meads I made were big, with starting gravities around 1.120 or higher. My primaries took many months ferment, with secondaries taking even longer. I seem to recall having fruit in the primary fermentation. It was a few years before I could really enjoy a glass after they had about a year in bottles to mellow. Meads always had this astringent, somewhat unpleasant bite that only time would take care of. I remember the watermelon meade being so good I drank it all within a year. But I found that 5 year old meads to be really nice and mellow.

Scott, what was your starting gravity and what kind of yeast did you use? Some strains of yeast will leave more residual sugars behind while other like champagne yeast will munch through just about everything leaving a dry mead. If you want to add pear, I would advise that you puree the pear, and also heat it to near boil to kill wild yeast and bacteria that are on the skin of the fruit. A once delicious wort that's been infected with acetobacter becomes quite unpleasant. I've had my share of undesirable infections. One more thing, think about splitting the batch. Leave 2.5 gal traditional, and add fruit to the other half. I did that a lot, splitting batches to make two different beverages. If something goes south with the pear, it's not a total loss.


Thanks James!  This is my first batch of Mead.  I don't have a hydrometebut I ordered one.  I figure the gravity was high but I have no way of knowing.  The recipe called for 15lbs of clover honey to five gallons of water. I used 2 packs of Lalvin 71B-1122 which is a white wine yeast suggested by my brew shop.   I also used a pack of yeast nutrient.    I know it's fermenting as I'm stirring it 2 to 3 times per day and it's kicking off CO2 pretty good.  I like the idea of splitting the batch and of doing some mixing.  At the moment I only have the gear to make a single batch.
 
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