‘Boruvka Medovina’ is Czech for ‘Blueberry Mead’ (The ‘u’ should have a little ‘o’ above it, but WordPress can’t handle the character properly. I assure you that it will be correct on my label!). My surname is ‘Šimánek’, it’s printed on the bottle, so forgive me this one indulgence. I like the sound of it and since mead itself is pretty unusual for most folks, why not give it an exotic name? My dad might be amused also. He didn’t learn to speak English until he went to grade school, so I think he’s got a few Czech words still rolling around in his head. And, not being a grape wine drinker, he might actually enjoy this peculiar libation.
This batch was made from a 96 oz. can of Vintner’s Harvest Blueberry Fruit Wine Base ($40) and 16.5 pounds of Tennessee Honey ($65). I wanted to use local honey in order to get some kind of regional flavor. Some of the honey was ‘orange blossom’ and some of it was ‘wild flower’. I’m still wondering if the orange blossom honey was in fact harvested in Florida… oh well. The lady at the kiosk insisted that it was Tennessee honey. What’s important is that it isn’t some kind of blended grocery store honey.
I am using my own variation of a recipe called OMFG Blueberry Heaven by Dan Richardson. A bit of an experiment as usual. Dan’s instructions were a lot of fun and a huge help. I just made a few changes in quantity and used canned blueberries rather than fresh wild blueberries. I am also going to use the dry yeast packets that I am familiar with without doing any preparation. I have not spent much time dealing with the subtleties of yeast and yeast preparation, but that will come later after I’ve mastered all of the more basic practices of winemaking.
|Status||Date||Specific Gravity||Fluid Temp.||Air Temp.|
|Primary Fermentation||2010-04-03 AM||1.094||90°F||70°F|
|2010-04-03 PM||(Add Yeast)|
I’m using the Lalvin K1-V1116 yeast that I used for the Gooseberry wine. The honey needed to be dissolved into two gallons of hot water. My largest pan allowed me to heat up one gallon with half of the total honey at one time. I stirred the mixture until the honey was dissolved and a good solution was made. Once the solution was calm a white foam appeared on top. I skimmed this off with a spoon as well as I could.
While that continued to heat, I sanitized my primary fermenter, fruit straining bag and stirring spoon. I then dumped the can of blueberries into the straining bag, inside of the primary fermenter and tied it off with some white string and poured the first honey solution over the blueberries. The second honey solution was no different, but I did steep a bag of chai tea in it for a few minutes while I slowly skimmed the foam off of the top. Dan used chamomile, but I improvised. I figure that this will end up being a very subtle addition to the overall flavor anyway.
The last detail is that I am following a bit of the Blueberry can’s instructions regarding Campden tablets and allowing the must to sit for several hours before adding the yeast. So this evening I’ll drop the yeast in and we’ll go from there.
So the mead is looking good! In the large carboy it has a deep rosé color. In the glass it’s a bit lighter. The bouquet is nice and full, reflecting the honey and blueberry flavors. Very floral and lightly sweet. The taste follows the bouquet nicely. I’m wondering if it would benefit from some additional sugar. It might not need it.
I have collected a pitcher of the lees-saturated remains from the bottom of the carboy. I will leave this in the fridge so that it will clear quickly and I can collect this newly cleared bit into a new container and add it back into the main batch to avoid further diluting it by topping it up entirely with additional water.
Right after I racked the wine for the secondary clearing I added about 2.5 cups of sugar to the wine, stirred it up, topped it up with a bit of water and set it aside for more clearing. The wine appears to be quite clear of the bulk of lees, but it still has a slight cloudiness that I hope clears out in the next few weeks. I’m very optimistic about this one!
2010-06-06 update: From what I can tell, very little or no lees has settled out of the wine after three weeks in secondary clearing. The wine seems to be very clear but there is an unusual ‘fog’ on the sidewalls of the carboy. I haven’t seen this on previous wine batches, so perhaps it is a characteristic of the honey mead. Anyway, I was planning on bottling it this weekend, but my sister and her daughter (who is in junior high I think) will be visiting all the way from Nebraska in two weeks, so I thought they might enjoy helping me with the bottling. Maybe it’ll be an education for my niece. Whatever the case, a few additional days in the carboy can only be good for the wine!