First Impressions of Matt’s Strawberry Melomel

First Impressions of Matt’s Strawberry Melomel

It’s been six months now since I bottled my strawberry melomel (here’s the recipe if you like: Matt’s Strawberry Melomel). My wife and I had some friends over for dinner and I decided to offer them some to see what they thought of my creation (these were the same friends I put through the Riesling Yeast Experiment tasting). Unlike the previous tasting this was not a formal event. I merely asked our friends if they cared to try another one of my wines before dinner. They agreed so I put one of the 375ml bottles in the freezer for fifteen minutes or so to chill it down. Whenever you make wine it is a good idea to periodically taste it and take notes so you know how the wine changes over time. I’ve decided to share my notes and lessons learned with you here in this article so you can see what I’m looking for. When the wine was cool enough to serve I uncorked it and noticed that there was a bit of sediment that had collected in the bottle. Handling it only served to mix it all back up again so the melomel was not as clear as I would have liked it. Not one to get discouraged I decided to pour the melomel through a coffee filter into the glasses. This took care of the bigger pieces and with the condensation on the glass from the chill no one noticed that the wine wasn’t 100% clear. Early Tasting for a Mead As far as meads go this one is still pretty young. Most of the time it is better to wait one to three years before regularly consuming a fermented honey product. This wine is an exception though. I wanted to get an earlier taste with this wine for two reasons. First, this melomel was made with a lot of strawberries and most fruit wines tend to peak early. If you wait too long they can taste tired and boring. The second reason for tasting this wine early was because I used potassium sorbate to stabilize the wine before I back sweetened it. Over time sorbate can produce off flavors and I want to check in periodically to gage how this wine is aging with the sorbate. So while honey fermented beverages tend to take a long time to mature I have two factors that may cause this wine to peak sooner rather than later. I will be opening three bottles this year and then two bottles each year for the next few years. This is a long term experiment that will give me a glimpse at how well a wine like this ages. First Impressions All in all this strawberry melomel is pretty good. It still needs a bit more time for all the flavors to come together. There was a tiny bit of that young mead alcohol flavor which sort of covered up the strawberry flavor but all of the components are there. I was expecting a bit more of a fresh, fruit forward strawberry flavor and was a little disappointed that it took...

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Matt’s Strawberry Melomel

Matt’s Strawberry Melomel

A strawberry mead recipe by Matt Williams. This was my first fruit wine that I ever made. I used frozen strawberries from the grocery store and a local Colorado honey. It took about 3 weeks to fully ferment and I recommend giving it a full six months or more to clear. I opted not to degas the mead as the tiny amount of carbonation added a nice touch to the finished product. The final alcohol content was 14.25% prior to back sweetening (optional). Ingredients   4lbs frozen strawberries 48 oz Raw, Unfiltered Honey Water (enough to total 1.25 gallons of total liquids) 1 tsp Acid Blend ¼ tsp Tannin ½ tsp Pectic Enzyme 1 tsp Yeast Nutrients 1 pkg Premier Cuvee Yeast Potassium Metabisulfite / campden tablets (measure per manufacturers recommendation) Optional if back sweetening Additional honey to taste Potassium sorbate (measure per manufacturers recommendation) Always refer to the additive manufacturers instructions on how much to add as concentrations may vary. Making Strawberry Melomel Starting Fermentation Begin by setting out the frozen strawberries to thaw in the packaging they came in. Once the fruit has thawed sanitize your wine making equipment including: a hydrometer, test jar, a mixing bowl, primary fermenter, and a stirring spoon. Line the mixing bowl with a sanitized nylon bag (like this one). Open the bag of strawberries and empty the contents into the lined bowl. Lift up on the bag and allow the juice to drain into the bowl. Place the bag of strawberries into the primary fermenter. Pour the honey and enough water into the mixing bowl so that you have a total of 1.25 gallons of must. It can be helpful to heat the honey slightly so that it is easier to pour and mix in. There’s no need to boil the honey though, it is naturally anti-microbial. Once all the liquids have been thoroughly mixed in measure the specific gravity and temperature of the must and calculate the temperature corrected specific gravity. Record this in your wine making log. Here’s a free wine making log you can print if you need it. Next measure the appropriate amount of acid blend, tannins, pectic enzyme, and yeast nutrients for the 1.25 gallons of must you have. Different additive manufacturers make additives of different concentrations so be sure to go by what your specific container has labeled on it. The potassium metabisulfite is added after fermentation, not now. The last thing to do at this stage is hydrate your yeast and add it to the must. I recommend hydrating over adding the yeast in a dry form in order to help it get going. Honey is already hard for yeast to ferment and hydrating helps them get started. During the first five days squeeze the mesh bag of fruit daily to help extract flavor, color, and aroma compounds. Check the specific gravity every other day. Rack your mead to the secondary fermenter and discard the fruit once the mead reaches a specific gravity of 1.030. Secondary Fermentation Allow your strawberry melomel to continue fermenting for six weeks. Check the specific gravity and record your...

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