Blackberry mead

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REDRUM

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I am about to start a small batch of blackberry mead and was wondering what the benefits are of adding the fruit during or after primary fermentation? I've seen recipes for both, I'm leaning towards adding the berries at the start (approx 1 1/2 cups per gallon) and fermenting with Mangrove Jack M05 mead yeast, but have read that the fruit flavour can be muted by fermenting alongside the honey. Does co-fermenting fruit and honey have drawbacks?
 

BernardSmith

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I don't know about "cups" but you want to use about 3 lbs of fruit per gallon. Ignoring the flavors from the honey - imagine taking those 1.5 cups of fruit , crushing them and then adding about a gallon of water to that juice. You MIGHT like the hint of fruit but if you are looking for something a little stronger flavor-wise you ain't going to get that using - what , about 100 g (4 oz) of fruit.

As to whether to add the fruit to the primary or the secondary (or both?) that is the call of the wine maker. Adding fruit to the secondary means that all other things being equal you are using the alcohol in the carboy to help extract flavors and alcohol is a much better solvent than water in that context. Adding fruit to the primary allows the presence of the fruit to be in your fermenters longer but the yeast can blow off a great deal of the aromatics and flavor molecules (and depending on the yeast can strip off much of the flavors that a more gentle agitation in the secondary would provide.
 

REDRUM

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Cheers! I have decided to put a miniscule amount of fresh blackberries in primary - 100g for 10L (about 2.5 gallons) of must. Basically seeing how much colour gets extracted and whether there's much flavour from them to speak of after primary fermentation. Then I will add frozen blackberries to the secondary to try to get the right degree of fruit flavour.
I am aiming for a dry mead of around 12% abv - added 3kg of local blue gum honey to 10L of spring water for a SG of 1.090, fermenting with Mangrove Jack M05 mead yeast and a couple teaspoons of yeast nutrient.
 

REDRUM

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I've decided to add another 150g of berries during primary (SG now down to about 1.060). The colour is getting really nice, rich & dark, and the blackberry smell is definitely coming through. Will make a judgement call when fermented dry as to whether to add more fruit during secondary, or just to mature as is. The honey has a great flavour and I don't want to overpower it...
 

Eric Huser

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I started out with fruit in the primary, but now I add berries in a mesh bag during the secondary part of the fermentation. The mead ferments cleaner with just honey in the beginning and I think the color and flavor come through better in the secondary. I also add some pectic enzyme to help break down the berries. Blackberry, blueberry, tri berry, and now cherry have all turned out great.
 

Budnini

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@Eric Huser ,Are you using a standard carboy for your secondary ? How do you add the blueberries to the secondary in a mesh bag with a airlock? This question has me baffled, I also want to do the same thing (adding berries to the secondary using a mesh bag but can’t figure the right method) lol
if you can help me it would be really appreciated.
 
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