I found and interesting source for cherry wood staves called Beyond Barrels. While they advertise for use in spirits, I thought the cherry wood staves in a cherry mead would be a beautiful blend. Turns out the cherry wood adds the crust element of a cherry pie to the mead. Very tasty! This mead has been loved by all who have tried it. That does not happen often!
Cherry Explosion BOMM - 1 gallon
1. Add 2 lbs of Yaupon Holly Honey to a carboy. This honey has a bit of a cherry note to it.
2. Add 1/2 tsp pectinase (Optional).
3. Add 1/8 tsp K2CO3 and 0.4 tsp Fermaid K. One time only.
4. Add 0.7 tsp of Fermaid O. Add again at 1.100 & 1.060.
5. Add Knudsen’s tart cherry juice to ~half a gallon.
6. Shake/swirl like hell to dissolve honey and aerate.
7. Add more Knudsen’s tart cherry juice to 1/2 cup shy of 1 gallon.
8. Add 1 stave of Beyond Barrels cherry wood.
9. Place carboy and an activated smack pack of Wyeast 1388 in a 70 F temperature controlled chamber for 2 hours, then pitch the yeast. This equilibrates the yeast and must temperatures to avoid shocking the yeast.
10. After it reaches a stable gravity (~1.010), add 1 whole vanilla bean (optional). Allow to infuse for 2 weeks.
11. Cold crash until clear and bottle.
12. When ready to serve, drink as an aperitif or mix half and half with carbonated water, champagne or a sparkling dry mead as a summer quencher.