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Very Berry Melomel

Attempting to produce a semi-sweet mead with 14% alcohol and 2% residual sugar. If it comes out even half as good as Wickham's killer raspberry melomel, I'll be well pleased.
Brewed By: 
Brew Date: 
Beer Styles: 
Classic Style: 
Berry Melomel
Batch Size: 
6.0 gallons
Boil Time: 
0 minutes
Original Gravity: 
1.096 O.G.
0.0 IBUs
3.2 SRM

18 lbs of orange blossom honey

I sourced a 60# pail from Olive Hill Company down in Fallbrook. James Frazer is the beekeeper. Contact him at 760-304-2061 or at olivehillcompany@yahoo.com. We found their booth at the Vista farmer's market.

Mashing Instructions: 

Bring 2-1/2 gallons of Glendale's finest carbon-filtered tap water to a boil in a 5 gallon pot. Cut the flame. Add one WhirlFloc tablet, 1/2 tsp. of grape tannin and one vial of the Super Yeast food from John's shop. Stir in 18 lb of honey (that's 6 quarts). Stir well. Stir some more. Be careful. That's now nearly 4 gallons in a 5 gallon pot.


none used

Extra Ingredients: 

One three pound can of the red raspberry puree from John's shop.

Three 10 oz. packages of frozen mixed berries (strawberry, blueberry and blackberry) from Whole Foods.

Pour the raspberry puree and the now thawed mixed berries into the bottom of the cleaned and sanitized fermenter. Cover with 1 gallon of cold tap water. My primary fermenter for this batch is a 10 gal. white plastic food grade bucket with a lid. The lid doesn't have to fit tightly; it just has to keep insects and critters out while allowing CO2 to escape.


Two 5 gram packages of Red Star dried wine yeast, Cote des Blancs.

I prepared a yeast starter the day before and left 750 ml of starter solution going on my stir plate until ready to pitch on brew day.

Special Instructions / Notes: 

Pour the honey/water mixture over the berries already in the fermenter. Top with enough cold tap water to reach 6 gallons. Because it was at 120F, I used an immersion chiller to get it down to about 80F. That's the limit with the temperature of the local tap water these days. Stir some more. Took a reading with my refractometer: 23.2 brix. Pitched the yeast slurry and oxygenated for 2 minutes. It was actively fermenting the next morning when I punched down the must cap and oxygenated for another minute. Fermentation is taking place in warm ambient temperature in my garage. I plan to leave it in primary for about two weeks and then rack out from under the must into a glass carboy to continue fermenting for as long as it takes, racking occasionally.  Let's hope I can bring a sample to taste at next year's mead tasting event at the shop.


Drew Beechum's picture

Didn't Craig's Blackberry Mead basically require 20 lbs of blackberries and about 2 lbs of honey? :)

bruhozer's picture

Drew, nope, I've made it a few times and there is typically in 5 gals about 11#'s of honey and then just most of the liquid is from the large charge of berries. That first one when"the dead freezer made me do it" was 42# of berries & 11#'s of honey, the next was 20# & about 12# honey and then I have reduced it to as little as 9#'s a berries a few times.  I currently have a version that I used cacao nibs (vodka soak) and vanillia in the secondary , it's tasting good but needs some re-sweetning to bring it into balance- those berries can be kind of tart after the yeasties eat all the sugar.

PHB2234's picture

Gravity reading about 1.010. Looks like tomato bisque soup but smells very fruity. Expecting it to ferment maybe another point of gravity and also to drop clear. Planning to leave it in secondary for maybe a month and then rack to tertiary and let it sit for a while. We're really encouraged about the taste and smell so far. It can only get better.

OK, so Drew is right, Wickham's melomel was blackberry and not raspberry. Hey, you go with what you got. In another lifetime, I had blackberry vines that could have produced enough fruit to do what Craig does with fresh fruit. Maybe someday I'll be able to do the same with fresh raspberries from my garden.

bruhozer's picture

I'm sure it's going to be fantastic, I can't wait to taste it! I helped a friend brew a mead back in August very close to your recipe ( maybe just a little less honey, no grape tannin no whirlfloc), and when we bottled it it was really quite nice. I think I heard the mead tasting is going to be the first part of April. See you there!  

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