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How to increase cherry flavor

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RDavidP

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I bought an Ambrosia Farm Cherry Gal Mead "short mead kit". Basically it is a packet of dried fruit and spices and some unknown yeast depending on which "kit" you buy. Specifically the cherry mead kits comes in a 48gram packet containing dried cherries, rosehips, galengal, violet herb, and unknown yeast. I pitched the yeast, into the trash. The part of the instructions I did follow, more about the instructions later, have you simmering the dried cherries and rosehips in water for a few minutes. Then you remove that from the heat and add the rest of the spice packet and let it sit till it cools down some. Pour the water, dried cherries, and spices into a jug with 3lbs of honey, instructions said 2lbs of honey. Mix this and add enough water to make 1gallon. Temperature was 70* F, starting gravity was 1.110. I pitched a packet of Redstar's Montrachet yeast, and put the airlock on. After a couple of weeks of very active fermentation, the fermentation has pretty much stopped and the gravity is 1.002.

I have taken a sample taste and have decreed it to not have enough cherry taste and of course I want to backsweeten this a bit. I can not pick up any cherry flavor in the mead right now. Yes, I already know that if I backsweeten I need to add K sorbate and sulphite. I am not sure what way I want to add more cherry flavor. I have thought about adding in 100% cherry juice, and have tried a few and found one I liked. I measured the gravity on this juice and it measures at 1.095. I want to backsweeten the mead, but not sure if while adding more cherry flavor the juice sweetens the mead too much. How much of this juice would I need to add in to get enough cherry flavor in my 1 gallon batch? Would it be better to throw more cherries in and let it sit for some time? What would be the best way to add more cherry flavor and backsweeten?
 

non-grapenut

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You could consider finding herbal cherry tea bags..that way it doesn't water down the full body of the mead.
 

Malkore

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Having made a fair amount of mead...you need to wait. 3lbs in a gallon is a strong mead that'll need a good year or so to age. After a year, it might actually be too much cherry flavor/aroma.
 

fatbloke

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Hum? Well the problem is, IMO, that while it's one thing to buy a kit (don't tend to see mead kits over here.....) is that by changing anything, you're changing the taste/flavour of the result that you'd actually expect from sticking religiously to the instructions......

A bit like making a batch of JAO, but then doing something different. Like not using bread yeast, using wine yeast instead....

Now as far as it not having "enough cherry taste", well as with Malkore's comment, I pretty much agree there, though it's still feasible that because you used the extra pound of honey that the higher alcohol will overpower the cherry taste a little.

That's not forgetting that the first gravity reading wouldn't have been quite correct as it's probably not taken account of the naturally occurring sugars in the fruit (dried or not).

So, me? well I'd make sure it's cleared Ok, then get it into a storage jar and instead of topping up from any racking loses, I'd add whatever fresh cherries you can lay your hands on to take up the airspace. You'll find that if you add fruit to a melomel recipe (mead with fruit) either in secondary or after the ferment has finished, you usually end up with a more fruity flavoured batch that is ready to drink early.

Oh and I'm also presuming that that was 3lb of honey into 1 US gallon ? Only because here it'd be an imperial gallon a.k.a. 4.55 litres and I normally use about 3 and 1/2 lb honey to the gallon for traditional meads though depending on the yeast it can take 4lb plus...... depends on whether it's a dry or sweet mead....

regards

fatbloke
 

St Allie

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for backsweetening.. what about using a jar of preserved cherries from the supermarket and reducing down?

another option... have you thought about fortifying a bottle of it with a cherry schnapps?

just thinking outside the square here.

Allie
 

fatbloke

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for backsweetening.. what about using a jar of preserved cherries from the supermarket and reducing down?

another option... have you thought about fortifying a bottle of it with a cherry schnapps?

just thinking outside the square here.

Allie
I like the idea of the supermarket cherries Allie, especially as it would be "killing 2 birds with 1 stone" i.e. most preserved cherries are in syrup so they'd sweeten and the fruit would flavour nicely......

As long as RDavidP remembers to sulphite and sorbate the batch.......

Not so sure about the cherry schnapps (or cherry brandy for that matter). The cherry flavour in those liquor type drinks just tastes so "artificial" to me.....

Hey ho!

regards

fatbloke
 

Wade E

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I believe Malkore is right on this but its your wine(mead)! Meads really need more time for all flavors to come through and blend together nicely!
 

Narcien

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i have read recipes about cherry meads, and they call for mahlab (crushed denatured cherry pits, obtained from Penzeys Spice), which after doing some research is basically just dehydrated cherry pits that have been crushed, and you put them into a muslin or tea bag, and put in while the mead ages, which was said to really bring out the cherry flavor.
 

BernardSmith

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i have read recipes about cherry meads, and they call for mahlab (crushed denatured cherry pits, obtained from Penzeys Spice), which after doing some research is basically just dehydrated cherry pits that have been crushed, and you put them into a muslin or tea bag, and put in while the mead ages, which was said to really bring out the cherry flavor.
I would be wary about any recipe that calls for crushed cherry pits. Cherry pits , I believe contain amygdalyn but folk tend not to swallow the pits in any numbers so they pose no real danger but if you crush them then you MAY in fact be creating a health risk (I believe amygdalyn in large quantities prevents your blood from absorbing oxygen). I think there was a Snopes post on this (countering the claim that apple pits pose a danger because they contain cyanide - they do but a) no one eats enough apple pits to pose any danger and b) the pits have a surface that our bodies do not digest and so we expel the pits without absorbing the poison).
 

fatbloke

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I would be wary about any recipe that calls for crushed cherry pits. Cherry pits , I believe contain amygdalyn but folk tend not to swallow the pits in any numbers so they pose no real danger but if you crush them then you MAY in fact be creating a health risk (I believe amygdalyn in large quantities prevents your blood from absorbing oxygen). I think there was a Snopes post on this (countering the claim that apple pits pose a danger because they contain cyanide - they do but a) no one eats enough apple pits to pose any danger and b) the pits have a surface that our bodies do not digest and so we expel the pits without absorbing the poison).
Any something about having to have eaten some abnormally large amount of the apple pips (or pips/stones of any fruit like that, as they all contain traces of cyanide - wasn't it originally derived from plum stones ?)......
 

Narcien

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Apples have trace amounts of cyande in the black skin on the seeds only. Only the skin. Im sure that's part of what the denaturing is for with the cherry pits otherwise a spice company would not be able to sell them as a spice
 

dwhite53

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You could try backsweetening it with some Knudsens "Just Black Cherry" juice.

They make a "Just tart Cherry" too.

Aging overcomes a lot of problems. You might be surprised how it tastes
in a year or even six months.

All the Best,
D.White
 
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