View Full Version : Hello and Thank you from Trinidad

09-10-2014, 11:17 AM
Hello all

I wanted to introduce myself and thank all of you for imparting your knowledge onto us newbies. I am currently a small scale beekeeper from Trinidad and decided to try my hand at making mead because I had some extra honey lying around and Trini people like to drink ha ha. My grandfather was a wine maker so I guess it is natural for me to have an interest.

My first batch was a 1 gallon with basic straight forward ingredients 2 lbs honey, Water to the gallon, a handfull of raisins and a pack of bread yeast. All went well and I currently have it in the fridge after letting it sit for 6 weeks (after a first racking). It tasted of high alcohol but the honey taste was still present but quite dry, so with time I hope it will improve.

After reading this forum for about a week now I purchased some (real) mead supplies and currently have 2 new batches going.

The first again is basic ingredients but instead of bread yeast I used the EC 1118 because of our high temperatures and I gave them yeasties some fermaid K
The second is 2 lbs honey, 1 lb frozen strawberries, 1 gallon of water, fermaid K

The first batch is still bubbling away (about 1 bubble every 9 seconds)
The second batch stopped during last night (after 5 days) so I have some investigating to do

Note both batches are next to each other so I do not understand why one stopped and the other did not any suggestions may be helpful.
I do not have a hydrometer currently as I need to purchase all my ingredients from the US and have them shipped here, but one is one the way.

09-10-2014, 05:15 PM
So many possible reasons. Temperature is only one factor.
Strawberries have sugar inside, so that batch will have more fermentables. Fruit will change the pH.
The amount of headspace, and the amount of water in your airlock can drastically alter the bubble rate.
You may have a tiny leak in one fermenter - don't worry. It won't hurt.
Sit tight until your hydrometer arrives.

Medsen Fey
09-10-2014, 06:33 PM
Also, EC-1118 is not a great yeast for high-temps. Try using some K1V, D21, or Wyeast 1388.

09-10-2014, 07:42 PM
Ok so I received my hydrometer and took a reading
It leveled off at 0.994
The current temp of the room is 70f
What does it mean? I know from research that that could mean it is finished. There is also a nice layer of lees at the bottom.

Medsen Fey
09-10-2014, 08:18 PM
It means it is dry and finished. You can rack it off the lees if you haven't done so already.

09-10-2014, 09:04 PM
You are right Medsen it is dry, but taste good
I will rack it and leave it now. Thank you I will keep you updated

09-11-2014, 03:19 AM
Yes. That's about as dry as it gets.
It will need some time. I would ignore it for about a year, unless you plan to backsweeten.

09-11-2014, 08:12 AM
I am not sure if I will back sweeten I may actually just do a second batch but add more honey to see what difference it will make. Instead of 2 lbs I will try 3

Medsen Fey
09-11-2014, 09:08 AM
With high ABV yeast, with 3 lbs you will get a dry mead with about 14% ABV which will take some time to mature.

09-11-2014, 12:06 PM
I see so instead of adding more honey in a second batch, should I separate the first batch into 2 parts.
Back sweeten one and leave the other

Or try a different yeast?

09-11-2014, 05:43 PM
I see so instead of adding more honey in a second batch, should I separate the first batch into 2 parts.
Back sweeten one and leave the other

Or try a different yeast?

both solutions will work.
I'd go with backsweetening this time, then when you make your next batch, try a yeast with a lower ABV tolerance and see how you go.
Try backsweetening in a glass, then upscale the quantities. Add a little at a time, mixing and tasting, it's awfully hard to remove sugar from a fermented brew.
Also: aim for a little drier than you like, mead tends to taste a little sweeter as it ages. Of course, if you're not planning on aging, do what tastes good now.

09-11-2014, 05:43 PM
Oh, make sure you stabilise before backsweetening, this baby will take off again for sure.

09-12-2014, 02:35 AM
I also try to keep bees, what is beekeeping like in Trinidad? Do you guys have to deal with Africanized bees? Do you guys get varietal from the trees or is everything kind of mixed in every wet season? WVMJ

09-12-2014, 07:59 AM

Beekeeping in Trinidad is "different" beekeepers here have been forced to specialize in Africanized bees. But we prefer it that way, we have found that our bees here can even handle the varroa situation. We have done studies against European colonies and almost always the European colonies die out as they cannot compete with the work habits of the Africanized bees.

We are practically disease free here as well because we do not allow honey or used hive equipment to be imported into Trinidad.

Our honey is a mixture of tropical flowers, however if you have your information you can separate different honeys as trees all flower at different times of the season. The colours and aromas are great, we can get clear honey like water to black like molasses.

Do you keep bees for your Meads or just as a hobby?

09-12-2014, 06:07 PM
We have apple and other fruit trees and berries. We noticed one day no bees and few apples so we decided we better get some bees. It took a while but I found a very good mentor who is also a Russian queen breeder who has many hives. We then decided to make more meads and melomels since now we have our own honey and more fruit. Varoa and poor weather this spring for us and a very bad winter knocked us a back in numbers but hoping to be able to build up more next year. I am now a mead mentor to my bee mentor, he is a very good mead maker with lots of imagination. He is also very good about keeping different varietal honeys separate. We much like the darker honeys, berry meads are one of our favorites. We also are putting in a bigger orchard for cider apples, we are even grafting some of our local wild apples when we find them with high tannins. WVMJ