I haven’t made an Elderberry Mead in a long time. They are enigmatic to me; I love them, and use elderberries medicinally all the time, but their flavor is really bitter. The last time I worked with elderberries was to make an Elderberry Rosehip Mead which turned out quite nicely. And, five years ago I made the Elder Mead, which is powerful and complex (it also had Reishi in it which has a hugely bitter flavor).Â Last fall, someone near me was giving some away; they had a huge bush and more yield than they knew what to do with. So we picked up a few gallons and stored them in the freezer, where they sat for several months until I was finally ready to make them into a mead.
I put a chaga decoction on the stove and let it simmer overnight. The next morning I strained it and let it cool. As I usually do with berry meads, I decided to juice them:
I had about 2 gallons of berries, most of which were still attached to stems. No problem, the juicer separates everything away from the juice. 2 gallons of berries yielded just under a gallon of juice when run through our juicer:
Then, it was a simple matter of mixing up the juice, the chaga tea, and enough honey & water to give me 3 gallons of mead at 18% initial alcohol potential. I did a double batch, as always each batch is 3 gallons. So the first batch filled both carboys halfway, and the second batch filled them both up completely. I pitched a packet of Red Star Montrachet yeast rehydrated in a bit of chaga tea, and included 3 cups of strong black PG Tips tea in the second batch. The result was two 3 gallon carboys filled with beautiful that-which-will-become-mead:
It’s been nearly a year since I’ve made mead, so needless to say I’m excited to be back at it. I look forward to drinking this mead around a fire this winter!