Cherry Mead was bottled last weekend. It’s always nice to have somethine special for all those summer get togethers.
The mead was made from about 13 pounds of honey and some frozen, pitted cherries (a few pounds), White Labs WLP715 Champagne Yeast and water to make 5 gallons. The batch was started on July 23 of 2006, so it was almost 10 months old when bottled.
I have a Juiceman Jr. veggie juicer that I used to juice the cherries. I added the juice and about 1/3 of the pulp to a clean and sanitized carboy. Then I added 1 gallon water and the honey. The mixture was shaken until the honey was dissolved. I added enough water to bring the mixture to 5 gallons and then added the yeast.
In October, when it was done fermenting, I transfered the mead to a new carboy. It had a medicinal taste. When I bottled it on May 5th, it was much better, dry and tart.
For some meads I have used the WLP720 yeast. I like it a bit better, it leaves a sweeter taste, but you have to be careful and not add too much honey/sugar as it can’t tolerate as much alcohol as the champagne yeast (12% vs. 14%).
I once made a Cyser (apple cider and honey) with the WLP720. It seemed to stop fermenting early and was too sweet. I didn’t want to bottle it that way, so I added a champagne yeast and waited a month. It didn’t seem to be going anywhere so I bottled it. It was good, but still too sweet. I forgot about a few bottles and when I discovered then, WOW! it was Apple Champagne, carbonated and sparkley.
The bottling process that works really well for me is to first clean the kitchen. I use both sinks and an a 6 gallon pail. One of the sinks gets hot soapy watter, the other is used for rinsing. The bucket is filled with sanitizer. I then place a clean towel on the kitchen counter.
I wash 6 bottles (that’s what will fit in my pail), rinse them and put them in the sanitizer. I then wash 6 more and rinse them. Then I take the first 6 out of the sanitizer and put them on the towel and the second 6 go in. I continue this process until I have enough bottles. The timing works out about right so the bottles have just enough time in the sanitizer (about 5 minutes). The whole bottling process can take a few hours, so I like to start right after a meal.
Since I didn’t use bottling sugar to carbonate this mead, it can be enjoyed right away, or saved for a special occasion.