Making Blackberry Melomel

After watching the first batch of honey mead I made earlier this week start fermenting, I got to thinking, how about a blackberry melomel.

We collected lots of fresh blackberries this summer from the vines in our yard, and they were just sitting in the freezer waiting to be used.

I used the following recipe:
2-3 lbs of honey
4 cups blackberries
1 gallon spring water
1 packet Lalvin 71B-1122
1/2 teaspoon yeast energizer/nutrient (Yeast Nutrient, Fermaid K)

I'd read that the blackberries could be added either whole or as a puree. I've also read that sometimes the seeds or inside structure of the berries can cause off flavors after fermenting.

I decided to puree 4 cups of fresh blackberries and strain out the seeds to remove them.

Below you can see the separation of honey and blackberries/water before I shook it all up.

I got the gravity reading correctly this time, and it read 1.100 which according to the hydrometer is about the low side of "dessert wine" so maybe it will be a medium-sweet wine?

After thoroughly mixing the must and pitching the yeast, I put it in the basement workshop next to the honey mead I started earlier in the week.

It sure has a beautiful color, and I hope it retains the dark color when it's done.

Postscript: After I started this melomel I left home for about 3 hours. I returned and found a trail of purple drops of liquid leading across the workshop floor up to the workbench.

When I got to the workbench I found the foam generated from fermenting blackberries had doubled in size, risen up to the air lock and clogged it. Pressure built up in the jug and eventually popped the stopper out leaving a trail of evidence.

I cleaned the airlock and replaced it with the stopper and it started bubbling again. It doesn't look like any measurable amount of liquid was lost, just some of the foam.

I've been watching it the past couple of hours, and it doesn't seem like it's going to do it again, thankfully!

First Racking of the Mead (3 weeks)
Final Racking of the Mead (11 weeks)
Bottling of the Mead (about 30 weeks)

Comments For This Post: (4) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Robin says...
Date:   July 15, 2012, 6:53 am

This is awesome!   Thanks for the detailed post and pics.

Xodus says...
Date:   July 24, 2012, 6:27 pm

Fruit meads can have a tendency to foam.  Generally primary fermentation for mels is best to do in a food safe bucket with a hole in the lid for the airlock.  Not saying I haven't had one blow on me before, nothing like cleaning up a sticky mess like that lol. 

good luck with the meads and nice blog.



Lewis says...
Date:   August 3, 2013, 7:29 am

This recipe looks great. When did you add in the yeast nutrient and energizer, and how long did it sit before your first racking. Also how many times did you have to rack until it was ready to bottle? These questions come to you from someone who is very new to mead making, so I hope you don't mind my asking. Thanks, Lewis

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   August 3, 2013, 10:45 pm

Good questions Lewis!
I've always given the yeast nutrient/energizer all at once when I pitch the yeast. Recently professional mead makers have discovered there's a benefit to spreading out the nutrients and energizers over the first couple of days. I'd love to try stagering the nutrients and energizers, but it does require time and dedication I sometimes don't have. :)

I've also heard from plenty of folks who say to keep it simple and don't over complicate your first couple of batches. Once you get good at it, you can experiment and try variations.

I've updated the last paragraph of this post to contain links to the two times I've racked the mead and when I bottled it.

i do remember this one taking forever to clear (I didn't use any clarifying agents at all) but it did come out pretty nice! It should be time to sample a bottle soon, and when I do I'll write another post about how it turned out.

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