The inspiration for this mead was a trip to Ikea some months ago. I saw Lingonberry drink mix for sale and thought this might be interesting in a beer or mead, so I bought a bottle. With the Brewie+ down for the count, I decided to try it in a mead.
40 ounces of Wildflower honey, plus enough more to raise gravity to 1.127 SG
1 bottle of Ikea Lingonberry Juice Concentrate
4 grams Fermaid O
3 grams DAP
1 packet of Lalvin 71B yeast
Bottled spring water
Original Gravity: 1.127 SG actual
Final Gravity: TBD (expected around 1.020 SG)
Batch Size: Approx 1.6 gallons
ABV: 14% expected
I chose the 71B yeast because it's reported to work well with darker-colored fruits, and is said to produce a smoother mead. It's also rated at up to 14% ABV, which means it should leave some residual sugar behind. That will help offset some of the tartness of the Lingonberry concentrate. For those not familiar with Lingonberries, they're similar to a more-tart cranberry.
- Put 40 ounces of honey in a sanitized fermenter
- Add enough water to reach the 3/4 gallon mark (approx.)
- Using a sanitized degasser and cordless drill, stir until the honey is incorporated
- Add the Lingonberry juice drink concentrate
- Add Fermaid O and DAP
- Stir with the degasser until well mixed
- Add water to the 1.5 gallon mark
- Take a gravity reading (I used a Tilt Hydrometer for this)
- If gravity is too low, add honey and stir again. Take another gravity reading.
- Repeat step 9 until desired gravity (1.124 or higher) is reached
- Gently sprinkle the yeast on top of the must
- Seal the fermenter and add an airlock
- Fri. Aug 23: Extract a bit of must into a container. Add another 4g Fermaid O and 3g DAP to this and stir with a sanitized spoon until dissolved. Add to fermenter. If time permits, clean and sanitize the degasser and degas the must.
- Sun. Aug. 25: If gravity seems to be dropping as expected, do nothing. If fermentation seems to have slowed, add 2g Fermaid O and 1g DAP to the must, the degas, and reseal the fermenter.
- From here, wait until the yeast seems to have stopped fermenting the must. This might take 6-8 weeks to complete. If necessary, rouse the yeast or move the fermenter to a warmer location to get fermentation to finish, adding yeast energizer if necessary.
- Once primary fermentation has finished, transfer the must into a clean fermenter for aging. Leave here until any harsh flavors and aromas are gone, and the must appears to have clarified.
After secondary fermentation is finished, bottle the mead in flip-top bottles for extended aging.
Post-Brew Notes and Observations
08/21/2019: Marked a new 2-gallon bucket fermenter with quart-level markings up to 2 gallons. Sanitized the fermenter, the degasser, and a pitcher. Put 80 ounces of honey, the bottle of Lingonberry concentrate, and yeast nutrients in the fermenter and stirred. Dropped in a Tilt Hydrometer once the volume was up to 1.5 gallons. Gravity read low, around 1.075 SG. Added more honey until finally reaching the 1.127 SG gravity. There was still maybe 10-20% of the honey left in the 5 pound container, so I'd estimate this ended up being about 4 pounds of honey. Sprinkled on the yeast, buttoned up the fermenter, and added an airlock.
08/22/2019: Gravity is down to 1.023 SG. That's a little over 2% attenuation. I've read that the 71B yeast strain ferments with moderate speed, results in a smoother flavor with darker-colored fruits, and can attenuate up to 14% ABV in a temperature range of 59-86F. Temperature in the fermenter has been holding between 70-71F so far.