Elderberry Rosehip Mead

Elderberries are one of my favorite berries to work with. 2010’s Elderberry Mead was one of my favorites that year (probably a close second behind the Wild Black Cherry Mead). Then in 2011 I made Elder Mead with Reishi and Rosehips accompanying the elderberries, and it was one of the most unique brews I’ve yet done — a serious power-pack for the immune system.

This year, I was able to get 2 quarts of beautiful elderberries from my friend David Homa, who runs Post Carbon Designs and is a Maine permaculture expert. I wanted to feature the Elderberries a bit more strongly this year, so I decided to use chaga rather than reishi due to reishi’s strong flavor profile. The rosehips went well with the elderberries, so I decided to dry a simpler Elderberry Rosehip mead.

I detailed many of the properties of both Elderberries and the Rosehips in the Elder Mead entry from 2011, so I won’t repeat that information here.

I started with a chaga decoction, this time made very strongly after simmering for about 20 hours. Then, I fished out the chunks of chaga so that I can re-use them for tea:

Strong chaga decoction

Then I turned off the heat, tossed in 2 handfuls of rose hips, let it steep for about 15 minutes, then put in the sink to cool off:

Chaga decoction with rosehip infusion cooling in the sink. Note the sunlight through the forest reflecting in the liquid…. :-)

Then, I juiced the 2 quarts of elderberries using our juicer. I was surprised at how much it yielded, about 1.25 quarts of juice:

This is a 1.7 quart container, so I figure this is at least 1.25 quarts of elderberry juice. Maybe 1.4 or so.

Mixed together with enough honey to get it up to 16% initial alcohol potential, it makes for a beautifully-colored wort, as usual with the elderberries:

Elderberries, rosehips, chaga, and honey make for a beautifully-colored must!

As always, I can’t wait to see how this turns out!

UPDATE: Nov 25

Just racked this mead to find a 2% remaining alcohol potential, which means it is 14% alcohol. It’s semisweet, and kind of young mead bitter, but should be excellent when it’s had a chance to age a bit.