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Sour Cherry Mead


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#1 miccullen

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 09:42 PM

I have 15 lbs frozen, not pitted Montmerency Cherries, and some canned 44 oz total cherry weight .

Write ,me a recipe if you please, for a semi dry Cherry Mel.

#2 psolio

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 01:23 PM

I am wanting to do something today or tomorrow related to this. I think I might just shoot from the hip for mine, unless someone chimes in.

I have 23 pounds of pitted Montmorency cherries with 2 pounds of separated pits. I am thinking of using about 15 pounds of cherries and 1 pound of pits to 10 pounds of honey and 4 gallons of water. I am not sure of the SG of the cherries, but I think I might be getting a total SG of around 1.110. I am probably going to use my standby yeast of 71B.

With the remaining 8 pounds, I think some preserves and/or pies are in order.

#3 psolio

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 05:15 PM

Okay, this is what I came up with today:

15 pounds Montmorency cherries (pitted)
~12 pounds wildflower honey
3 gallons of water
4.5g Fermaid-K (SNA step 1)
4.5g DAP (SNA step 1)
10g 71B yeast

SG 1.100
~6 Gallons total volume

I am probably going to toss the pits into secondary for a few days, haven't decided yet. I kept the pits out of primary.

My cherries were on the watery side, since Michigan had a wet summer and had been raining the entire week when I picked them.

#4 psolio

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 05:22 PM

BTW, the must tastes amazingly good.

#5 MtnBrewer

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 01:46 PM

You fermenting the cherries in primary? I'm probably going to use some of mine for this same recipe or something pretty similar anyway. I also bought some cocoa nibs a while back and I was thinking of doing another one with cherries and the nibs. Any thoughts on how to go about that?

#6 psolio

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 01:55 PM

Yeah, I did them in primary to experiment compared to adding to secondary. The ferment was incredibly fast, probably the acidity of the cherries was optimum for the yeast. The mead is in secondary now, with a brilliant red colour and strong cherry aroma. I would have thought the cherry aroma would have been blown off in primary, but maybe because of the quick ferment, it stayed. I am not sure about adding the pits to secondary now.

When I did the dark cherry mead last year, I added some chocolate powder. For the nibs, maybe just toss them into secondary for a few weeks to a month?

#7 Howie

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 09:56 AM

For the nibs, maybe just toss them into secondary for a few weeks to a month?



Listening to the Lagunitas episode of the BN Session, the guys from Lagunitas were talking about cocoa nibs. They said the nibs are absolutely coated in all kinds of bacteria, so you may think of some way to sanitize them. Maybe a vodka soak or something. I forget what they said they did.

#8 psolio

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 12:51 AM

I pulled a sample today, and it is a little underwhelming in the aroma and taste. It is also a little flat. I think I will get some mahlab from Penzey's and then I'm going to titrate to see what I can do about the TA.

#9 miccullen

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 11:59 AM

I pulled a sample today, and it is a little underwhelming in the aroma and taste. It is also a little flat. I think I will get some mahlab from Penzey's and then I'm going to titrate to see what I can do about the TA.

What'd you come up with on the tartaric issue ? mine is pretty sour, and when sweetened it tastes like ludens cough drops, dammit, what to do.

#10 psolio

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 12:27 PM

I haven't titrated yet. Yesterday I ended up putting the cherry pits in to get some tannins, and hopefully the cherry flavor/aroma.

I have a feeling I'm going to have to add some acid blend, but my sweetness level is pretty good. I will update in a month or two when I do titrate.

#11 MtnBrewer

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 12:02 PM

Any update on this one? Believe it or not, I still have those frickin cherries in the freezer and I'm bound and determined to make some mead soon. I don't know how many pounds I have left -- there are 3 freezer bags -- but I'm going to use all of it. Would you still recommend adding the fruit to primary? Also do you think it would be possible to crack open the pits and grind up the seeds to make mahlab?

#12 psolio

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 01:37 PM

Would you still recommend adding the fruit to primary? Also do you think it would be possible to crack open the pits and grind up the seeds to make mahlab?

I'm not sure about primary v. secondary. I think the cherries were a bit on the watery side, because they had a wet summer that year. So, because I didn't want to guess and be wrong with the gravities, I just did everything together in primary. It had good cherry flavour/aroma last year. I haven't tasted it since then because...

I have to get back to you on the pits. I've been working with a chemist at UC Denver to analyze the mead for cyanide and amygdalin derived from the addition of cracked pits. My reasoning was like trying to do a mahlab addition with the pits. The results of the tests show that I have about 0.72 mg/750ml of amygdalin and 0.67 ppm of free cyanide. To give perspective: people that believe amygdalin cures cancer will ingest over 1500mg per day. However, the EPA Clean Water Act has a MCL of 0.20 ppm for free cyanide in the drinking water standards. I also have 2.0 ppm of various cyanogenic compounds in the mead, but there is no standard on total cyanide, just the free cyanide. I guess there are a decent amount of cyanogenic compounds that are not harmful. So, I would probably advise against cracking the pits. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with mine. I don't want to dump it necessarily, so I might blend it to dilute the concentrations.

#13 MtnBrewer

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 01:44 PM

Is the cyanide in the pits or the seeds? I was going to use only the seeds, crushed with a mortar & pestle.

#14 psolio

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 01:49 PM

Sorry, I mean the seeds. I use the term pits for the whole center of the fruit that you typically don't eat. The cyanide and amygdalin are in the seeds.

#15 MtnBrewer

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 02:28 PM

Did you use all the pits? If so, then I should be EPA compliant if I only use a quarter of them.

#16 psolio

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 02:50 PM

Yeah, I used 2 pounds of pits, with most of them cracked open. A bit excessive, it would seem.


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