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Olallieberry Blast

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    Olallieberry Blast

    Now that we have a mead channel, here is my premier mead recipe. This won a gold at the Mazer Cup International (Biggest Meadfest in the world - the Big Time). I made a collaboration batch with Meridian Hive Meadery in Austin and their version also won a gold at the Mazer Cup.

    This is my take on Curt Stock's famous (or infamous?) Super Berry melomel. Instead of using the frozen triple berry blend I used olallieberries in place of the blackberries and raspberries (yes, I bought a bag of triple berry, sorted, and weighed all of the berries to get the ratio. This kinda went out the window when I put the mead together). There is so much fruit in this that I had to buy a 10 gallon fermenter to fit it all in. My mistake was jumping the gun when the fermenter arrived: I forgot to get a good strong yeast starter going beforehand. I pulled my culture out of the fridge while the fruit was thawing and got it going but I didn't let the yeast reproduce to a high yield. This resulted in a lag of two days before fermentation really took off. Presented is my recipe and mead log:

    So, here it is:

    Olallieberry Blast

    12 lbs Youpon Honey

    11 lbs local wildflower honey

    2.5 gallons water

    96 oz. (6 lb) can Vintner's Harvest black currant wine base (it is juice, not whole fruit)

    13 lbs frozen Olallieberries - Originally calculated 9 lbs were needed. Thawed an 8 lb bag and a 4 lb bag (to get one pound out of it) but the 8 lb bag had a leak. I thawed it in the sink instead of in a bowl and 3 lbs of juice leaked out. Thinking that I was left with more pulp than juice I added another 4 lb bag from the freezer and put all of it in together.

    6 lbs frozen strawberries

    4 lbs frozen blueberries

    2.5 teaspoon pectinase

    Vierka Dry Mead yeast

    1 - 36 oz. bag triple berry blend - added later, see below.

    Curt's nutrient blend: 2 teaspoons DAP and 1 teaspoon energizer. This will be added in 3/4 teaspoon increments. Curt 's recipe called for this to be added at pitching, at 24 hrs, at 48 hrs, and at 1/3 sugar break. I'm doing it a little differently: I added the first round after fermentation started and will add more when I feel it is needed. I don't think this mead with all of this fruit necessarily needs a lot of additional nutrients.

    I will degas and punch the fruit down 2-3 times a day.



    1/20/16: Mixed honey with water and black currant juice in the 10 gallon fermenter. Placed the fruit into two large mesh bags in the fermenter.

    SG 1.170 before the fruit was added
    SG 1.150 after fruit was added.

    Pitched 3/4 of the yeast starter, fed the starter, and let it sit overnight. Pitched again the following morning. The primary fermenter is sitting in the bathtub of the back bathroom. This is an old heavy cast iron tub in a tile room - the house is on piers and it is cold outside. The temperature of the must is staying at 62* without having to fill the tub with water and/or ice.

    1/21/16: Added 3/4 tsp nutrient blend. Fermentation has started but is slow.

    1/23/16: SG 1.120 Remember the bag of frozen triple berry blend that I sorted to get the berry ratio? I just did. So, I added it to one of the fruit bags in the fermenter. Heck, why not?

    1/25/16: SG 1.100 The taste is amazing but the taste was awesome when I first made the must. I was briefly tempted to just toss it in the fridge and drink it as-is but I decided that would be like decaf coffee - what's the point?

    1/26/15: SG 1.082, added 3/4 tsp. of the nutrient blend. Smells great.

    1/30/16 S.G 1.040: Fermentation is slowing but still going. The sweetness is finally leaving, it is good but it doesn't taste like I'm drinking sugar-added fruit juice like before. I'll remove the fruit and rack later today or tomorrow. I'm planning to oak this as well.

    2/1/16 I removed the fruit Saturday night and racked Sunday afternoon. Not much lees, most stuff is still in suspension. SG 1.032

    The airlock is still bubbling away, I plan to let it go as far as it can then decide if it needs back sweetening.

    2/2/16 SG 1.027: Added 1 oz. French Oak cubes, medium toast; 1.5 oz. American Oak chips, light toast; and 1 oz. American Oak chips, medium plus toast to the secondary.

    Forgot to mention yesterday: The volume after removing the fruit and racking is 6.5 gallons. I expect a couple of inches of lees when things settle down - at least.

    2/9/16: s.g. 1.010

    2/12/16: SG 1.008. I plan to rack this Sunday (I'll move the oak over with it) and let it bucket age a few months. I'll back sweeten with honey and olallieberry juice.

    2/25/16: Finally got around to racking - SG 1.008. Alcohol is about 18.5%

    I moved the oak over when I racked. Tastes pretty good but has an acidic bite. Back sweetening should take care of it. Only about 1/2 gallon of lees. Even though I used mesh bags for the fruit I expected more. This batch will yield about 6 gallons, maybe a little more with back sweetening.

    4/17/16: SG 1.008 so fermentation has stopped. Calculated alcohol is about 18.7% The oak is stronger, getting close to where I want it. This mead reminds me of a medium to full-bodied Cabernet or zinfandel.

    8/28/16: On 8/7 I split the batch into two 3 gallon portions labeled A & B. I stabilized both with K meta and sorbate. To portion A I added 3 lb 6 oz olallieberry puree and removed it after two days. I then added 2 lb wildflower honey to portion A and let it sit.

    On 8/24 I tasted both portions and they both turned very tart. I decided to recombine them and sweeten the entire batch. I added another 5 lb of olallieberry puree to the entire batch in the morning and removed it that evening. On 8/25 I added 3 lb 14 oz wildflower honey and the gravity is now 1.042. It tastes really good with a strong berry flavor. The tartness is there in a good way, not mouth puckering like before. I filtered the batch on 8/26 and I'll bulk age it a little more before bottling. Total volume is about 6 gallons. I'm entering this in the Texas Mead Cup.

    9/25/16 I entered this in the 2016 Texas Mead Cup which was held yesterday and I took a bottle to share with some of the commercial mead makers I know. It did not score very well but the commercial guys liked it. One of them told me that it was the best amateur mead that he had ever had and he was very surprised that the judges didn't like it.

    3/12/17 I entered this in the 2017 Mazer Cup and it took First Place in the sweet berry mead category - the most competitive category.

    12/25/17 Meridian Hive Meadery in Austin is making a small batch (60-75 gallons) of this mead in collaboration with me. They tweaked the recipe a little. It is currently aging in a wine barrel. I'm not sure of the release date yet.

    10/29/18 I'm way behind on mead stuff, been really busy with other things this year. Meridian Hive released my collaboration at the end of September. It is called Ella and is available only at the meadery. There are a total of 406 bottles. $45/ 500 ml bottle. I have bottle #1 and #4-14.

    3/17/19 Just got a message from Eric Lowe of Meridian Hive Meadery - Ella won a Gold at the Mazer Cup! Well done Meridian Hive! Thanks for everything!
    Last edited by 58limited; October 6, 2019, 08:58 AM.

    #2
    Congrats!!! I love a good mead. What us an Olallieberry?

    Comment


      #3
      An olallieberry is a hybrid of Texas dewberry, blackberry, and raspberry. It is only grown in the Central Coast region of California. My BIL has family there, he introduced me to them.

      Last edited by 58limited; October 6, 2019, 09:00 AM.

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