Cherry Mead Recipe: Pressed

Homemade 3-bucket press, set on a wooden table and wooden blocks, drains into a 5-gallon carboyI didn’t intend to leave the cherry mead on the skins for three weeks, but there are other wines to fuss over, meadmaking questions to ponder, and even unfermentable things that a winemaker must attend to. Yesterday I poured the mead, skins, pits, pulp and all, into my homemade 3-bucket press. A bucket drilled with holes, making it look like an oversized colander, holds the fruit. It fits inside another bucket which catches the wine and drains it through a spigot and tubing into a 5-gallon carboy. A third bucket, filled with water, fits into the one holding the fruit and squeezes out the wine. Not the most efficient press, but you can’t beat the price!

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4 thoughts on “Cherry Mead Recipe: Pressed

  1. eric

    I love the simplicity of your press. I have made fruit meads in the past but was not able to press the fruit, so I know that some flavor was lost.

    I recently made a mulberry mead and tried something similar with a metal bowl and colander. It worked quite well.

    I think your bucket in a bucket press will allow me to press more at once. I already have a two of the buckets and one has a spigot. I just need a 3rd with holes in the bottom.

    Thanks for the idea!

  2. Erroll Post author

    Glad I could help. One thing to keep in mind with this press is that the common 5-gallon plastic buckets fit together with a gap. That means you can have too little fruit in the press and it won’t apply any pressure. In cases like that you’ll need to add spacers, like blocks of wood or bricks.

  3. Molly

    Thanks for sharing your ideas! I have some sour cherry wine going per Jack Keller’s recipe and I plan to follow your inspiration with a “2nd wine” mead in a few days. Would you mind sharing what size the holes are in your press?

  4. Erroll Post author

    Hi Molly,

    I drilled 1/4″ holes to make the three bucket press, and I uses a fine nylon straining bag to contain the pulp as I press it. Two things to remember about this press:

    The buckets fit together with a gap, so if you don’t have enough bulk they wont exert any pressure on the fruit – in cases like that you’ll need spacers. You could use a smaller bucket, wooden blocks, anything that transmits the weight of the press bucket onto the fruit.

    The other thing to remember is that it’s easy to place the press bucket in position and fill it with water, but almost impossible to pull it out while it’s filled. Even someone very strong wont have the leverage he thinks he’ll have. So you need a way to get the water out, and you need to think about that and have it ready to go before you start pressing. I siphon the water out just like I would rack wine – just have your racking cane, some tubing and a container(s) handy and you’ll be all set.

    Good luck, and let me know how it turns out!


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