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maynard
08-04-2014, 02:54 PM
I'm sitting here waiting patiently, or maybe not too patiently, for the bees to finish capping the last couple of frames in the super.
I wish they would hurry up, as I'd really like to try making the JAOM.

Thought I would introduce myself and say hello in the meantime.

:D

RachmaelBenApplebaum
08-04-2014, 04:02 PM
Do you keep bees as a hobby or do you produce it for markets and such? Such quality ingredients are the envy of many here on this board :) Welcome!

maynard
08-04-2014, 04:18 PM
Mostly for a hobby. I've produced 30lbs of honey this year (Not much), and am waiting on 60lbs more to finish capping on one of my hives. 2 other hives should have ~30-60lbs harvestable honey each, so I'm hoping on 150#s left to harvest this year. I sell most of it, but use some for various things. I hope to continue to build and "retire" into beekeeping.

I thought I'd give mead a crack.

I tried some redstone mead, and didn't think it was too bad, although it had been produced in January of this year. From what I'm reading on this site, it seems that would be a very young mead.

skunkboy
08-04-2014, 07:04 PM
*Waves* Hello! :)

Yes, bigger alcohol and sweeter meads age very well, and most commercial places will only sell you the young stuff...

maynard
08-05-2014, 10:41 AM
My impatience has got the best of me. I ordered a honey refractometer so I can measure the moisture content of the uncapped honey. It may be ready now. I also moved the uncapped honey from the edge of the super into the middle of it. Come on bees!

:D

skunkboy
08-05-2014, 12:42 PM
Cool, where did you order one those from?

maynard
08-05-2014, 12:57 PM
You can find them on amazon. I got mine from thewarrestore.com

fatbloke
08-05-2014, 04:28 PM
My impatience has got the best of me. I ordered a honey refractometer so I can measure the moisture content of the uncapped honey. It may be ready now. I also moved the uncapped honey from the edge of the super into the middle of it. Come on bees!

:D
Get them some music ! I've read Beethoven can be beneficial ;)

WVMJack
08-05-2014, 06:41 PM
Glad your bees are working out well, I planted buckwheat for mine this year and they loved it. You could set your sights higher than a JAOM. What kind of honey do you think you have, or maybe you got early and late honey to seperate? Have you got a hydrometer and some Fermaid and some wine yeast like K1V1116 yet? I can tell you now that every beekeeper I know that I showed how to make mead loves it so get some carboys, a drill mounted stirrer works real good for stirring in your honey. You can take all your cappings and trimmings and toss them in as well into your new brewing bucket reserved for meads. Dont set around and wait for the first batch to get finished because then you will drink it all up and then be impatient for your next one to get done and rush it, so make a simple one to get the ferment going, like a 3 gallon batch, dont even fool around wasting time on 1 gallon batches, then get a 5 gallon batch going. You wont have to worry about selling it anymore, you are going to ferment it all from now on. As you advance you will find out about Polish meads, that is 1 gallon of honey and 2 gallons of water or juice, then you will want to make melomels, do you have blue elderberries out your way, great in a mead. This place is like Hotel California, you can never leave now, meads gonna get ya. WVMJ

WVMJack
08-05-2014, 06:43 PM
I forgot to add if you spin down your unsealed frames and its not down to 18% dont worry about it, just start a batch of mead, you are going to dilute it anyway to ferment! WVMJ

Chevette Girl
08-05-2014, 09:41 PM
Oh, make some JAO too, it'll give you something to drink to keep you out of the traditional while it ages :)

maynard
08-06-2014, 01:10 PM
What kind of honey do you think you have, or maybe you got early and late honey to seperate?

Wildflower. One hive I extracted from earlier, so it has Thistle, Russian sage, clover, and who knows what else.
A couple of other hives have been going all year.

I am most certainly not going to ferment it all from now on. Beekeeping isn't a cheep hobby, and my wife has made it pretty clear that she thinks it's about time the bees started pulling their own weight. :)

I'd rather have money than mead, but I'm not sure I'll be able to sell ~100 lbs, so am looking for something to do with potential excess.

I thought about JAO, because the wife absolutely did not like the readstone plain mead ( I think y'all call it a show mead, just water, honey and yeast), but she does like fruitier wines like Muscato.

Also, I have no equipment, and thought that a JAOM could be made pretty cheaply while I'm deciding if mead making is a worthwhile hobby.

I think in the long run, I'd prefer straight meads, particularly if the flavors of the different honey's used in them came through to the finish. Anybody know of a good commercial straight mead that showcases what's possible?


I forgot to add if you spin down your unsealed frames and its not down to 18% dont worry about it, just start a batch of mead, you are going to dilute it anyway to ferment! WVMJ

Good point. I'd have to extract twice though, once for salable honey, and once for mead.

:D

WVMJack
08-06-2014, 08:03 PM
ALWAYS make the wifes favorite FIRST, then she will let you make experimental batches if she KNOWS you are going to make her FAVORITE:) Does anyone in your area sell caremalized honey, cooked until its a deep mahogany brown, strained to remove the proteins that clump up, so good on ice cream or mixed with peanut butter, you could stand out from the crowd of other beeks who all have the same honey you got. WVMJ

maynard
08-06-2014, 11:06 PM
That's kind of what I was thinking.

Convince her that making mead isn't a complete waste of time and money, then make something that strives for perfection.

I can't imagine heating these honeys. They are so wonderfully floral, and delicate that I think heat would kill them.

Caramelized honey does sound yummy though.

maynard
08-07-2014, 10:48 AM
Of course, the apples will be ready soon too. Hmm.....

:D

maynard
08-10-2014, 10:03 PM
Received the refractometer on Saturday, but have been too busy to open up a hive, except for when it's been raining.

I did calibrate the instrument, and test some other honey I have on hand.

And of course, I have guests coming in tomorrow for a few days. It's kind of torture having honey supers that I just know are full, and no time to spin them.

:D

maynard
08-13-2014, 09:58 PM
The gods must be taunting me for showing a lack of patience. Today the house guests left, and no other obligations. But it's raining. Argh.

:D

Shelley
08-14-2014, 06:55 AM
You might be surprised at how quickly you will sell 100 pounds of local, raw honey. Try offering it in quart jars -- the regular canning jars off the grocery store shelf. At $15 a jar (approximately $5/pound) I bet you'd get a few takers just by word of mouth. Even if you only sell 10... well that's one nuc paid for!

If you bottle it in quart jars, it's a handy size for using yourself (one per gallon of mead -- lots of gallon-sized experiments right there), plus it's easy to reliquify.

maynard
08-17-2014, 01:02 AM
I've been getting $10/lb for my honey so far in the plastic dripless squeeze bottles. I think their Mann Lake.

The uncapped honey in my frames is still 20% water, so isn't ready to spin yet. :(

:D

Shelley
08-19-2014, 07:16 AM
Sheesh -- $10/pound?? Maybe you can retire into beekeeping!

Since you want to get the most bang for your honey, your cappings are your best friend. Wash your cappings in a 5-gallon bucket, in about 3 gallons of water. Strain that cappings wash into a clean bucket through a regular kitchen strainer. The resulting must looks muddy, probably has a bit of wax floating around -- none of that will hurt the final mead. Test it with your hydrometer and you'll find that you are well on your way to a good SG for a primary ferment, without using a drop of your market honey.

You'll need to add more honey to the must, but that can come from your uncapping tank and not the "market" tank. Get the campdens in, then pitch your yeast as soon as you can. Otherwise it'll start fermenting on its own, and you'll have adventures in wild yeast ferments.

As far as the wife not liking a straight, commercial mead... it might be the mead. I find the commercial show meads to be FAR less interesting than a homebrew. Hopefully she'll give your experiments a second chance!

maynard
08-19-2014, 07:58 AM
Sheesh -- $10/pound?? Maybe you can retire into beekeeping!

Since you want to get the most bang for your honey, your cappings are your best friend. Wash your cappings in a 5-gallon bucket, in about 3 gallons of water. Strain that cappings wash into a clean bucket through a regular kitchen strainer. The resulting must looks muddy, probably has a bit of wax floating around -- none of that will hurt the final mead. Test it with your hydrometer and you'll find that you are well on your way to a good SG for a primary ferment, without using a drop of your market honey.

You'll need to add more honey to the must, but that can come from your uncapping tank and not the "market" tank. Get the campdens in, then pitch your yeast as soon as you can. Otherwise it'll start fermenting on its own, and you'll have adventures in wild yeast ferments.

As far as the wife not liking a straight, commercial mead... it might be the mead. I find the commercial show meads to be FAR less interesting than a homebrew. Hopefully she'll give your experiments a second chance!

I've only had one person balk at $10 a pound. Everybody else has been thrilled to pay it. I think they were skeptical at first, but after discovering the difference between store bought and real local honey, come back and tell me how much they love it.

And that was for a light amber wildflower honey that I thought was just O.K. If I get another crop of this wonderful white/yellow honey that I've gotten before from the fall harvest, I'll cream it to prevent crystallization and likely get $15/lb for it.

I'm sure I could sell it all at a lower price, but I'd rather slowly expand the market of customers that would pay a high price and make mead with anything I can't sell, than cut the price and get rid of all the honey for the same amount of money. I'd rather sell 50#s at 10/# and have 50# left over to do what I want with, than sell it all at $5/#. In fact, I think the end profit would be better, because I'd only have to buy half as many containers.

I do plan on retiring into beekeeping at some point.

Thanks for the thoughts on the cappings, although I usually strain them into the same tank as the market honey, so there probably isn't much more than a 1/4 cup per super left trapped in the cappings. All the honey from the uncapping tank gets strained into the bottling tank and get's sold right along with everything else.

:D

WVMJack
08-19-2014, 07:23 PM
Also trying to encourage beeks to look at that dark honey in the wax melter as value added and sell to meadmakers as a bochet style honey. I got 5 gal of Russian olive honey for 10$ GALLON because people around here like lite honey, anything dark or strong scares them, first I have to develop a taste for this stuff, might be headed to the bochet tanks. WVMJ

Kakalakee
08-22-2014, 03:58 PM
I had very dark honey from my first year hives this year - probably because the #1 nectar source in my area is tulip poplar trees. I have a sweet mead going right now with 12 lbs of it - I'll be interested to see how it turns out. One thing for sure - it's going to take a lot longer to clear not having used commercially produced and refined honey...

GntlKnigt1
08-22-2014, 05:10 PM
Super Clear takes care of that

mannye
08-22-2014, 08:15 PM
I had very dark honey from my first year hives this year - probably because the #1 nectar source in my area is tulip poplar trees. I have a sweet mead going right now with 12 lbs of it - I'll be interested to see how it turns out. One thing for sure - it's going to take a lot longer to clear not having used commercially produced and refined honey...
Not necessarily. I use unfiltered organic honey all the time and it clears well enough. Not well enough that I don't hit it with finings anyway, but I can see that if I were to wait 12 or so months, I would have a clear mead. Which is, I'm told, typical for traditional meads.

Chevette Girl
08-23-2014, 01:50 AM
Actually it doesn't necessarily follow that a more purified honey will clear faster after fermentation. Same as clear apple juice won't clear any faster than cloudy cider when you ferment it... The more particles there are in a must, the more likely they are to run into each other and stick together so they settle out faster, this is why the folks who've done experiments fermenting on stirplates report that the mead clears up unbelievably quickly, so many particle collisions... Adding a fining agent is essentially adding MORE particles that have a charge on them so they attract the oppositely-charged particles that refuse to bang into each other...

maynard
09-05-2014, 08:54 PM
Well, the process has begun. Over the next couple of days, I'll be placing escape boards to clear supers at 3 different locations, and am looking at 3 medium 8 frame supers, and 2 warre boxes full for what should be somewhere in the 130lbs of honey range. Escape boards are basically bee mazes that allow bees to exit boxes, but not reenter them. I'll probably be spinning and crushing on Monday night.

I'd like to wait more, but it'll be first average frost soon in my area, and I may need to boost winter stores for the bees, and want to make sure that I have time to do it.

Busy weekend coming up with apple harvest and pressing, and honey harvest.

Still thinking of just doing the 1 gallon JAOM at first, so I don't spend a bunch of money on carboy's etc. for something the wife may not like. Although I do have to admit that the BOMM sounds tempting. Ah well, at least the honey will keep for a bit while I'm sorting out the apples. I think that the cider is going to have to come first.

:D

WVMJack
09-06-2014, 06:04 AM
Maynard, make a cyser, you going to press a bunch of apples anyway for cider, 4 gallons of cider and a gallon or a little less of honey depending on how strong you want to make it, or 3 quarts of cider and a quart of honey or a little less. You can even just hand crush some Warre comb into the cider directly without extracting it. Get to it man before you use up all your cider. WVMJ

joemirando
09-06-2014, 10:58 AM
Just a word to the wise here. Don't judge all mead by one offering from one producer.

I've 'sampled' (heh heh, yeah, right. "sampled") every mead I could find for sale and afford. My favorite by far is my own traditional. It was reminiscent of a white wine, but 'different'. It was nothing like the offerings from commercial vendors.

You CAN, of course, make a JAOM, and I would highly recommend you do so. But you might want to think about also making another side by side with it. Yeah, I know, its more money for equipment and supplies, but you're only talking about 20 or 30 bucks (for 1 gallon jug, airlock/stopper/wine yeast and hydrometer) to make an honest ta' goodness traditional mead. And with your own honey, it'd be amazing. Hell, with store brand honey, I had people offering me cold, hard cash to make as much as I could for them ("I'll pay you anything you want for a case of this stuff! I mean it!"). Now, I have no intention of selling what I make, but damn its good to hear that kind of thing.

Whether you make a JAOM, a traditional, both, or something else, welcome to the addiction!


Joe

Shelley
09-08-2014, 06:13 AM
Just a word to the wise here. Don't judge all mead by one offering from one producer.

I've 'sampled' (heh heh, yeah, right. "sampled") every mead I could find for sale and afford. My favorite by far is my own traditional. It was reminiscent of a white wine, but 'different'. It was nothing like the offerings from commercial vendors.



I've found the exact same thing, and have thought about it quite a bit. To me, there seemed no reason why a commercial mead should be less exciting than a homebrew -- and I keep hearing how homebrewed trad meads pop more than commercial. The one exception was a straight OB from B Nektar -- that was really good. When you stray into pyments, cysers, mels... the balance sometimes swings to the commercials (or at least it gets a lot closer).

Then it hit me. When you make a lot of mead (and I mean on a commercial level) you need a lot of honey. Which probably means you need to blend the honey from several sources, so you lose the varietal uniqueness that makes a mead really stand out. The OB is an exception, since there's a reliable and large source of OB honey available from pollination in orchards.

There are other factors that play into favorites like controlling the sweetness, alcohol content, etc, but for just plain flavor, I think that having a single source honey really benefits a trad. When you start adding things to the mead, the additive tends to dominate, so the honey source steps into the background.

mannye
09-08-2014, 08:03 AM
It's also that mead is kind of where beer was 30 or 40 years ago and although it is difficult to imagine that it will ever get to a "beer level" market acceptance, I can imagine a "cider level" market penetration for mead in the next decade or so.

Where mead is different from beer is that it isn't the most popular alcoholic drink in the country like beer was 40 years ago. But where it is the same is that the majority of mead that's available (chaucers for example) is about as distinctive as Budweiser prompting people to make their own.

No need to make your own beer anymore unless you just like it as a hobby.


Sent from my galafreyan transdimensional communicator 100 years from now.

maynard
09-09-2014, 10:13 AM
I certainly have thought of the cyser route. Apples are all picked, and now all of a sudden, we can't get a hold of the person we were supposed to borrow the press from. Argh. Apples may end up in sauce this year.

All the supers (and one warre box) are pulled, and the warre is crushed and straining as of last night. There's a lot of pollen in it. It's fairly cloudy. Flavor's decent though. I don't think I'd be able to sell this at $10/lb, so I'd guess this will end up as mead.
Although one coworker has already said that they consider the high pollen to be a plus. Maybe I'll charge more for it! :)

What are y'alls thoughts about using cloudy (from pollen) honey? Do you think it would end up settling out with the lees?

By the way, I'm loving the discussion that's happening in this thread in general.

:D

Shelley
09-09-2014, 10:26 AM
I think it's worth a shot marketing it as "high pollen honey", especially if you can pinpoint the time of year the honey came in. A LOT of folks believe that eating pollen-containing honey helps alleviate allergies.

Medsen Fey
09-09-2014, 11:01 AM
Pollen is an excellent yeast nutrient, and a high-pollen honey will ferment and clear well.

icedmetal
09-09-2014, 11:34 AM
Question for you: why did you crush your comb honey? Comb honey is worth double what extracted honey is, at least around where I live. Not uncommon to see a 4"x4" square go for $20.

Now that's done though, yes, that pollen will do nothing but help a mead, and would probably get some allergic folks excited as well.

maynard
09-09-2014, 01:38 PM
I gave a taste to somebody that was interested, and she said "Whoa, I've eaten straight pollen before, and it tastes like you mixed honey and pollen together". I don't think she's interested. I think the people who I manage the hive for (half of the honey will be theirs) will like it since they do it because of their belief in consuming pollen to aid allergies, but I think it's going to be a hard sell for anybody else. I'll sample out a bit more to get some reactions, but I suspect I'll have about a gallon of mead honey from the Warre.

icedmetal:

When you make and sell comb honey, generally you want to make sure that the wax and the cappings are nice and soft and bright white. This comes from applying and removing supers at just the right time during the year so that they fill up and cap the supers, and then don't have a bunch of time for the wax to get harder, and the cappings to get darker from bees walking on it (travel stain). Also, you have to be sure that the comb has NEVER had brood in it. This was a warre box that had been on since spring and has had several generations of brood in it before being filled with honey, not to mention cells packed with pollen. The cappings were very dark. Nobody would pay very much, if anything, for that kind of comb honey.

Medsen: That's encouraging. It's my understanding that pollen is bees primary source of protein. Is protein something that yeast requires as a nutrient?

:D

kudapucat
09-09-2014, 06:01 PM
Yeast needs a few things, but primarily nitrogen.
MultiVitamin Tablets are said to assist too.
According to the site I posted below, bee pollen is full of everything good. A vitamin blast.
It's no wonder the yeasties like it. I'm not sure how much assimable nitrogen it has though.
http://www.envirobee.com/beepollen2.htm

Medsen Fey
09-09-2014, 06:26 PM
Medsen: That's encouraging. It's my understanding that pollen is bees primary source of protein. Is protein something that yeast requires as a nutrient?

:D

They don't use much protein, but yeast do take in amino acids (the compounds which are attached together to make proteins) and pollen contains a fair amount of amino acids. The are a couple of threads about pollen as a nutrient if you search.

maynard
09-09-2014, 07:14 PM
Well, I'll be attempting to sell this as a High Pollen Honey for a little less than my last honey. Prices will be:

$6 - 1/2lb squeeze bottle
$10 - 1lb squeeze bottle
1 pint canning jar - $14
1 quart canning jar - $28

add $2 if you want it creamed, plus you'll have to wait a bit longer for the creaming process.

If there's takers, I'll sell it. If not, I'll make mead!

Not sure which I'd prefer at this point.

I still have 3 8-frame supers that I need to extract which should be around another 90lbs. I'm sure I'll get some mead sometime!

:D

WVMJack
09-10-2014, 02:23 AM
You should price it 2$ higher than your regular honey, its a value added product but you are acting like there is something wrong with it so people will think the same thing, This Stuff Has Healthy Pollen In It So Its Even More Better For You which is why we have to charge more. We have been playing with whole hive meads since we have both top bar hives and run some foundationless frames in the Langs, no excluders, pollen and even some drone brood get in there plus everything else coming or living in the hive and the wax. The ferments went very well, the light spring honey one we did has a nice light subtle taste of the flowery honey so no harm to flavor was done by having any of the other parts of the hive in there, the darker honey one we did was very good and it has not only dark honey but also some dark brood comb from trimmings. All that cloudy stuff will either precipitate and fall out or if it doesnt you can fine it easily with sparkaloid when its finished fermenting. WVMJ

maynard
09-10-2014, 09:15 AM
I'd considered that.
Truthfully, it's only cheaper at the multi-pound level which is a pricing structure I'd thought of adding regardless, and at ~$10/lb, its priced in the middle of the upper range for honey already. The discount at volume is because I need the bucket for the next batch, and want it gone. If it doesn't sell by the time I need the bucket, which will only be a few days, It'll be mead.

I have to be honest WVMJ, the thought of making a whole comb mead from a hive without a queen excluder kind of grosses me out! :) I wouldn't put that dirty dark comb with old cocoons in it in my mouth, and so I wouldn't put it in a mead. I'm sure it's fine, and may add to the flavor, but eww! :laughing7:

I've joined a bunch of brewing related formus and groups over the last week and keep seeing you on all of them. :)

I found out yesterday, that the cider press I was hoping to borrow is a large one that needs a trailer to move, and so I won't be able to borrow it after all. My only hope for cider now is either building or buying a grinder and press, or hoping that my apples will still be in good enough shape to press on the 27th when the cider festival happens and the press is all set up. :(

Darn day job is starting to get in the way of all the other stuff I want to do.

:D

edblanford
09-10-2014, 10:19 AM
Day jobs suck. Retired is good (if your old enough, that is)!

mannye
09-10-2014, 12:20 PM
Day jobs suck. Retired is good (if your old enough, that is)!

Work is so bad they have to pay you to do it.


Sent from my galafreyan transdimensional communicator 100 years from now.

WVMJack
09-11-2014, 03:40 AM
There is nothing dirty in a beehive, you should know that, if there was something dirty in there it would wipe out all the brood. Have you even tasted a drone brood, its like condensed sweet milk. If you limit yourself due to your being easily grossed out you miss out on some of the best things in life, like a good dark wholehive mead, one made intentionally and not just to use some deadout honey.

Yes I am on a few lists, I like to get perspectives from many groups, you can make mead like a beer brewer, a winemaker or even a meadmaker, all 3 groups have a different perspective. I even wrote a little article for Beeculture on it, lots of fun seeing how different groups approach the same end point. If you keep an open mind you can learn a lot more.

WVMJ

GntlKnigt1
09-11-2014, 05:29 AM
I have a tough enough time keeping up with what is here, much less other sites. I came from winemaking background. Do you have some tidbits that you have picked up from other sites?

Sent from Arthur Dent's towel smothering a volume of Vogon poetry, some of which just leaked out.

edblanford
09-11-2014, 07:32 AM
mannye, if you are older than dirt (I am plus 3 or 4 years now), the government pays you to NOT WORK. Works (pun intended) for me!

icedmetal
09-11-2014, 03:38 PM
Must be nice, Ed. The government will be long out of money by the time I reach that age range.

kudapucat
09-11-2014, 05:38 PM
Must be nice, Ed. The government will be long out of money by the time I reach that age range.
+1 :-( .

mannye
09-11-2014, 07:28 PM
That's why I'm moving to Texas to be a prepper. LOL yeah right.

joemirando
09-11-2014, 07:55 PM
That's why I'm moving to Texas to be a prepper. LOL yeah right.

"I'm a prepper
He's a prepper
We're a prepper
They're a prepper
Wouldn't ya like to be a prepper too?"
<showing my age>

Joe

Medsen Fey
09-11-2014, 07:59 PM
Hey, guys that know how to make good hooch are going to to be in demand after the great collapse. :p

edblanford
09-11-2014, 08:59 PM
We are now,aren't we Medsen?