Next Big Fruit Mead?

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Mortalpawn

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I like really big sweet melomels (high gravity, high finishing gravity) with lots of fruit.

So far I've got the following meads in various stages of aging:
- Sweet Mead
- Cherry-Black Currant-Blueberry Mead
- Red Raspberry Mead

Obviously we are off season, so access to fresh fruit is limited, but I can get juices, frozen fruits, and supermarket fruits.

So what to make next? Some ideas I've had:
- Peach of Apricot
- Plums
- Blackberries

Which do you think might come across strongly in a big mead? Any good ideas for fruit combos?
 

Grabo

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Have you tried making a Joe's Ancient Orange Mead (JAOM)? It doesn't meet your high gravity preference, but you could swap out the bread yeast and bump up the SG. I followed the recipe since everything could be bought at my local Wegman's, and mine came out pleasantly sweet. I'm planning to have a 1 year tasting of it this weekend. I also made a blueberry vanilla variant of it, but I haven't tasted it since bottling. At bottling, it tasted like blueberry pie.

This is my short list for melomels, probably over the next couple years:
- Blackberry Lemon
- Lemon Ginger
 

Bodenski

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Have you tried making a Joe's Ancient Orange Mead (JAOM)? It doesn't meet your high gravity preference, but you could swap out the bread yeast and bump up the SG. I followed the recipe since everything could be bought at my local Wegman's, and mine came out pleasantly sweet.
My JOAM (at bottling) tasted too much of the orange pith, which I understand is a common complaint. Not sure how yours came out in that regard. I hope mine mellows out in time. But I'm only 3 months out right now from when I pitched the yeast. Mine was sweet, and wasn't hot at all for being as alcoholic as it was.
 

Grabo

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I agree, at bottling the original recipe JAOM tastes a lot like the pith of the orange as well as clove. My 9 month taste was far better than at bottling. From my notes, the pith and clove tastes were still there, but it was much less pronounced; however it still wasn't ready to be shared. It was promising enough for me, though, to where I'm about to bottle another 5-ish gallons this weekend. :ib
 

Mortalpawn

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I'm sure its good but I'm not a huge fan of citrus fruits in a melomel. I love the stuff Ken Schramm makes. I tend to prefer berries or stone fruit. I'm thinking of possibly a stone fruit (peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums) or some kind of combo (tart cherries, blackberries, currants). I notice he often plays with tart fruits to counterpoint the sweet honey and finishes with high residual sugars.
 

Grabo

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I actually just started getting into Ken Schramm's recipes, since I bought his book a few months ago. I've only started his base mead so far, which is still clearing, but I want to also make some of his recipes like you describe. The funny thing is, I visited Schramm's Mead in Ferndale, MI over the holidays, and I didn't make the connection until I was writing this post. His black currant mead was by far the best mead I've ever had, and now I'm excited I have his book to take me on the path to make it myself!

On a side note, we opened a bottle of the JAOM last night, and it improved significantly over the passed year. The pithy bitterness is nearly completely gone, and the cinnamon and nutmeg are just background flavors. Now it is a very pleasant, albeit sweet, mead with a hint of spice at the end, and I am very pleased with it.
 

Bodenski

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On a side note, we opened a bottle of the JAOM last night, and it improved significantly over the passed year. The pithy bitterness is nearly completely gone, and the cinnamon and nutmeg are just background flavors. Now it is a very pleasant, albeit sweet, mead with a hint of spice at the end, and I am very pleased with it.
Glad to know there is hope for the JOAM. I've read that some folks refuse to drink it for at least a year. That gives me a long time before I get to enjoy it! But if it improves that much, I guess I better wait.

I think a pit fruit mead sounds very tempting. I just need to see if I can find a place near DC that sells local-ish bulk honey.
 

Mortalpawn

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Ken Schramm is an amazing mead maker - I've had the honor of meeting him a few times at Homebrewcon and had a number of his meads. The only issue with his book is that it is dated - for example we generally don't boil anymore, it does not have the new nutrients like TONSA-2 or current degassing methods. Still a great book, but I believe Ken is using the latest methods now.

Bodenski - I get my honey in bulk - most of it from Dutch gold. If you buy the 60 gallon tubs it is between $3 and $4 a pound depending on what variety you want.

Blackberry or black currants interest me greatly as I know Ken Schramm likes to blend really tart fruits with sweet honey and high gravities to get the big tart-sweet layers of flavor. However black currants are very acidic so you need to get the fruit and honey mix just right or it will be out of balance. I'd love to try it though!
 

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