Tag Archives: mead

Racking to my 1 gallon jug

Cherry Mead ’16

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
  1. I mixed the honey, water and cherry juice at 85F to dissolve the honey
  2. Placed it in a 2 gallon bucket, added 1/3 of my initial yeast nutrient & energizer and fermented at 67F
  3. After 1 day I degassed, and added another 1/3 of my yeast nutrient & energizer
  4. After 3 days more I degassed again and added the remaining nutrient & energizer
  5. 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.


cherry mead bottled

Bottled First Mead – Cherry Mead

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

3/9/13 21B

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.

cranberry mead full width

Cranberry Mead Missing Color

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

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…

Cranberry Lees

Cranberry Lees


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

‘White’ Cranberry Mead

Wine – Mead Upkeep

Racking Cherry Mead '13

  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.


Elderberry Wine

Elderberry Wine

Racking off of Elderberries

Racking off of Elderberries