First, I’ve had several experiences with a few 1 gallon meads I’ve made turn out to have a burnt rubber after taste & it was obviously really bothersome to me. I changed my plastics out thinking it was a sort of infection causing the off flavor. I really started making sure I added extra ‘elbow grease’ in cleaning, soaking with oxy-clean longer, etc. I still found I had this offensive flavor. Finally I started digging around the interwebs and found that Lavlin 71B-1122 can give this horrendous flavor if left on the lees (yeast cake) too long. I was guilty of this no doubt, sometimes going months with a yeast cake under my mead.
Laziness. That is what was likely contributing to my burnt rubber flavors. Figures, and appropriate.
Well, I am now going to start ramping up some 1 gallon meads, and do some experimentation plus I have a whole bunch of the ‘Narbonne’ yeast (Lavlin 71B-1122) so I will rack, and rack often to avoid this off flavor. I’m sticking with 71B since I did have so much good luck with it in the past, just wonderful flavors for fruit fermentation’s and well, as I said, I have quite a bit of it.
Here is my 1 gallon Cherry’ish recipe:
- 32 oz Tart Cherry Juice (no preservatives)
- ~3 lbs Wildflower Honey
- Balance of water to make just over 1 gallon
- 1/2 TSP Yeast Nutrient & Yeast Energizer
- Lavlin 71B-1122 yeast
- I mixed the honey, water and cherry juice at 85F to dissolve the honey
- Placed it in a 2 gallon bucket, added 1/3 of my initial yeast nutrient & energizer and fermented at 67F
- After 1 day I degassed, and added another 1/3 of my yeast nutrient & energizer
- After 3 days more I degassed again and added the remaining nutrient & energizer
- After 7 days total, I racked to a 1 gallon ‘jug’ aka ‘carboy’
I’ll likely rack this off in 1 week or when the fermentation slows way down as it already has some lees on the bottom after 18 hours, and well, I’m going to be super paranoid about preventing this god awful off flavor.
Today I put into bottles my first mead, well my first one in over 12 years. I used 375ml clear bottles for this and love them, I will use these for future meads as well.
This was just a simple 1 gallon recipe using cherry juice from Trader Joe’s. My overall my goal was to finish dry enough so this didn’t taste like cherry cough syrup. Success.
- 2 quarts Trader Joe’s 100% Cherry Juice (15 Brix)
- 1 quart Trader Joe’s 100% Tart Cherry Juice (14 Brix)
- 1 lb Clover Honey (Costco) added to obtain 25B (1.100)
- 1/8 tsp DAP
- 1/8 tsp yeast energizer
- 3 grams Lavlin 71B (Narbonne) yeast
This was put together 3/7/13
3/10/13 18B – added 1/16 tsp DAP, 1/16 tsp yeast energizer
3/17/13 11B (1.007 corrected) very slight sweetness and strong alcohol flavor.
3/31/13 Racked over to new bottle, almost completely clear
9/2/13 Bottled in 375ml clear bottles.
I put together a Cranberry Mead this last December (2012) so I could have something ready to go come Thanksgiving 2013. I envisioned something that had the slight sour tartness of cranberries with the red or pink color to match.
Ready to Bottle Cranberry Mead
I think I will have to come up with another plan.
My 1 gallon ‘pilot’ batch of mead recipe was the following:
- 2 pounds of Clover Honey
- 24 ounces of Cranberry fruit
- DAP / Yeast nutrient
- 1 pkg Lavlin 71B-1122 yeast
- Back-sweetened with 2 ounces of Clover Honey
My color seemed to fade the most after I sorbated / sulfited so that I could back-sweeten with the 2 ounces of honey. Even as I got ready to bottle (see picture above) I thought I had a little color left. Nope.
I did have color left in my lees though…
The sample flavor was slightly sweet, much like a white wine, and of course by the looks of it tasted JUST LIKE A WHITE WINE. Not what I expected, but it is a pretty damn good tasting ‘white wine’. In the end, as far as everyone I give samples to is concerned, it is a ‘white’ cranberry mead…
‘White’ Cranberry Mead
Racking Cherry Mead ’13
Today I took a little time to take care of my Elderberry Wine and Cherry Mead. The post I had on the Elderberry Wine was lost when I accidentally erased my website a few days ago… I still pay the price.
The Cherry Mead had already been stabilized with a little sweetness left, but I’m not entirely sure I tasted much sweetness and I’m not sure if fermentation has completely stopped. Of course, I didn’t take a refractometer sample, so I’m not sure at this point, but I will take one in a month or two. No real hurry, if it still is fermenting, I’ll either keep it how it is or backsweeten and sorbate it again – depending on how it is tasting.
The Elderberry Wine on the other hand has had a slow fermentation and has gone from 1.115 (27B) down to 1.050. As soon as I racked it off the fruit into the gallon ‘carboy’, it quickly picked up a vigorous fermentation. I’ll measure it out in a few days and see about degassing once it slows down as well.
In both cases I used my 5# CO2 bottle and purged the gallon ‘carboys’ (Julio Gallo jugs) with the CO2 prior to racking to avoid as much oxygen as possible.
Racking off of Elderberries
After seeing the 100% Cherry Juice being sold at Trader Joe’s I was intrigued about seeing if I could pull off a Cherry Mead without it tasting like cough syrup. So, I bought two 1 qt jars and picked up their 100% tart Cherry Juice (1 qt) as well. Looking back I would have just gone all tart cherry juice to reduce the chance of the cough syrup effect I think. But here I am anyways.
For my 1 gallon recipe I mixed the 3 one quart jars and added honey (from Costco) to get to 1.100 SG (25 Brix). It was about 1 lbs of honey give or take.
Actually, let me work through the calculation:
The juice was 1.060 (15 B)
Honey is somewhere around 42 points / pound / gallon (ppg)
So to get 1.100 I needed 40 more points for my gallon
This means I used 40 points / 42 ppg to give me .95 pounds of honey used.
The rest of the ingredients:
1/8 tsp DAP
1/8 tsp Yeast Energizer
3 g of 71B-1122 Lavlin Narbonne
4.5g of Go-Ferm to rehydrate the yeast at 95F
I had visible fermentation in about 4 hours
After 1 day SG was 24B
After 2 days 21B
After 3 days 18B
Added 1/16 tsp Yeast Energizer & 1/16 tsp DAP at 3 days. Should have added after day 2 at 21B instead of 18B