Dark Forest Mead

Brew DateNovember 17, 2017
Yield5 gallon
Original Gravity (OG)1.116
Original pH3.42


2 gallons preservative-free apple cider, 12 lbs. honey (1 gallon), 2 medium sized lemons, 3 lbs. 1 oz. Vintner’s Harvest Strawberry Puree, 3 lbs. 1 oz. Vintner’s Harvest Tart Cherry Puree, 3 lbs. 1 oz. Vintner’s Harvest Blackberry Puree, and Red Star Montrachet yeast


This we made this recipe from scratch and kind of on a whim. After talking with Wayne at Buzzed Bee Meadery, we picked up some tips that we wanted to try in this batch. First we wanted to make a starter using Go-Ferm. I deviated a bit by using my traditional starter technique, but washed the yeast and re-pitched with just a Go-Ferm starter. Second ,we decided not to boil the honey. Finally, we decided to follow a Staggered Nutrient Addition Schedule (NAS) (stage 1: 4.5g yeast nutrient added at yeast inoculation, stage 2: 2.8g yeast nutrient at active fermentation, stage 3 1.8g yeast nutrient added at 1/3 sugar break [reference winning-homebrew.com]). To make this recipe, we simply warmed up the honey container in the sink of hot water and poured it straight into the fermenter along with a gallon jug of spring water and 2 gallons of a delicious local apple cider we found after visiting the orchard the previous fall. The fruit puree additions are canned and were ready to be added directly to the must. After juicing two lemons and adding the rinds we added the stirred vigorously. At each yeast nutrient addition we vigorously re-stirred the must.

Brew Notes

We made an 1800mL yeast starter 48 hours before brew day. The starter contained boiled spring water with an even split of the recommended proportions of one part yeast nutrient, one part yeast energizer, and one part Go-Ferm with fermentable additions of clover honey and Sugar in the Raw. After 24 hours we washed the yeast and re-pitched with just spring water, Go-Ferm, and staged honey additions.

We used cider purchased locally from Deal’s Orchard. We bought a locally available pure honey from Moenck Honey Farms in Lehigh, IA. The must was a beautiful dark reddish-purple color.

Technically the addition of the fruit makes this mead a melomel.

Tasting Notes

Tasting the must tasted like a delicious honeyed smoothie of some sort. The blackberries, cherries, and strawberries harmonized well and almost tasted a single deeply rich yet complex fruit. The apple cider was present, but took a background to the berry flavors and came out somewhere after the berry taste followed by an acidic sharpness of the cider and finally a lingering honey finish.