Blueberry Vice Melomel

To prep, freeze your blueberries for at least 24 hours. Then pick out and discard any that have mold or look off, although smashed berries are fine. Possibly grab an extra pound to compensate for the loss of these throwaways.

Day 0

Mix 6.25 g Goferm with about 125 mL of 110°F (43°C) water until it dissolves completely. When the mixture reaches 104°F (40°C), sprinkle yeast on top to rehydrate and leave for about 20 minutes.

Of your 8 lb. (3.63 kg) of honey, mix 5 lb. (2.27 kg) in with 2.5 gallons (9.46 L) of warm water to dissolve. Save the remaining 3 lb. (1.36 kg) for back-sweetening later.

Place berries in a mesh bag for easy removal later. Add the bag to the fermenter and fill with more water to reach 6 gal. (22.71 L). The berries will take up about 2–2.5 gallons (7.5–9.5 L) of space. Add 1 Tbsp. pectic enzyme to break down the pectin in the berries.

When yeast solution is ready, ensure it is within 10°F (6°C) of must temperature before pitching. Acclimatize the yeast if needed by adding a tablespoon of the must to the yeast slurry every 30 to 60 seconds.

Ferment at 62°F (17°C). If you are unable to keep berries submerged completely during fermentation, periodically open the fermenter and push them down to keep them wet. Do this at least every other day.

Day 1

Take a few ounces of the must (possibly the same used for the gravity measurement), mix in 7.9 g of Fermaid O, and return to primary. Attempt to degas some by stirring, but the bag of fruit can make this difficult. Add 2 tsp. bentonite by just sprinkling it on top (no need for the boiling water/slurry method).

Day 14

Fermentation should have finished between days 8 and 10. Remove the berry bag and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Ideally you will have between

5 and 5.25 gallons (about 19–20 liters) at a gravity of 0.995–1.000. Cold crash for 3 days.

Day 17

Rack into secondary vessel. I like to use glass carboys to reduce headspace and to observe clearing. Whatever you use should be more air tight than an ale pail. Add 1 Tbsp. potassium sorbate, 1/4 tsp. potassium metabisulfite, and 2 oz. medium toast American oak cubes. Age 6–8 weeks to try to get the most out of your oak: longer is fine, but this is the minimum.

Around Day 65

Rack to a keg and add the remaining 1/4 tsp. potassium metabisulfite. Warm the remaining 3 lb. honey to loosen it, and add it to the keg to back-sweeten to about 1.015. Let keg sit at room temperature for 24–48 hours, shaking occasionally, to ensure the honey is completely dissolved.

Chill keg with a CO2 head pressure of 8–10 psi (0.6–0.7 bar) for 1 week to carbonate.

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