This article was originally posted in 2014.

For quite a long time we’ve had a selection of frozen fruit in the freezer not being used up, and finally Trixi decided it was coming out to make room for more important food. Before chucking it out she checked to see if there was anything I could do with the fruit, so I quickly scrawled down some ideas based on a rough idea of what we already had in – I didn’t really want to buy anything else as they were going to be experiments more than anything.

Finally I came up with two spectacular-sounding brews that I thought were achievable: Mango and Raspberry Cider and a Blueberry Melomel. A melomel is a mead with fruit in it (except grapes, then it’s called a pyment, or apples, which is called a cyser).

I didn’t really have an idea of how much fruit was in but I knew it would be enough to add some kind of fruity flavour. As it happens there was a lot less blueberry and mango that I had anticipated, but enough. I had enough honey for the mead (although it isn’t the best honey) but I had to purchase four cartons of apple juice for the cider.

Blueberry Melomel

  • 3 x 340g jars Tesco’s cheapest grossest honey
  • 230g blueberries
  • 1 lime (chopped up, skin removed)
  • Nottingham yeast

I warmed up the jars of honey in a warm water bath and brought 2 litres water up to 40°C, then added emptied the honey to the water to dissolve. Once dissolved, I transferred the liquid to a demijohn and topped it up to 4.5 litres. I then added the blueberries (slightly mushed up) and lime.

It was at 24°C so I chucked in the yeast. I went with Nottingham instead of a wine yeast in the hopes of making a “short mead”, where it has a strength more like a beer than a wine. The OG was 1.065.

I plan on transferring the liquid to another demijohn and adding a few oak chips to bring out the flavour and hopefully age the mead a little quicker than it would without the chips. I haven’t used oak chips before so I’ll go carefully and use a small amount.

Here’s a small gallery of my melomel adventures:

Mango and Raspberry Cider

I’m glad I chose to go with combining these two flavours as there wasn’t really enough mango to do anything else with on its own. I decided to do the primary in a bucket rather than a demijohn due to the amount of fruit, and I honestly think it worked out really well for the recipe.

I warmed up one carton of apple juice in a pan and added 150g sugar, stirring to dissolve. I then transferred this to the fermentation bucket and added the other three cartons of apple juice. I knew there was going to be a bit of soak-up from the fruit, so to account for that I then topped up the bucket with water to the 5 litre mark. Finally I mushed up the fruit a bit and added it to the bucket. The raspberries came in at 350g but I forgot to weigh the mango, I would say it was at least half of the raspberries.

The hydrometer read 1.050, to be honest I wasn’t sure what this would come in at but that seems like a nice round number. I added beer yeast (Nottingham) and closed the lid. I have made cider in this way before so I was expecting it to come out fairly dry like my previous attempts, however a week later when I transferred the liquid off the fruit into a demijohn I was quite happy to read an SG of 1.005. This puts the ABV at about 5.9%. Still expecting this cider to go drier I left the demijohn to see what would happen – not very much. The airlock hasn’t blooped since transfer so I’m hoping it’s done, as the flavour was great when I sampled it. Light and fruity, medium with a well balanced flavour. Since it’s done, as far as I can tell without another reading, I’m planning on bottling it this weekend.

Here’s a couple of photos (in the big one: cider is on the left, middle is the blueberry melomel and on the right is a blackberry wine that I haven’t mentioned yet):