View Full Version : Beekeepers here?

11-11-2014, 10:08 PM
Hello all. I am a hobby Vermont beekeeper, mead maker. Mostly make Cyzer, using my neighbors apples. Have two five gallon batches of Cyzer, one five of Apple capsumel and a five of straight fall honey Mead. Mostly put the ingredients together, add some nutrients and energizer and let it rip, Use Lavalin EC118 yeast most of the time and do not worry about specific gravitys. Otherwise it is all about time, letting it sit, bottling and letting it sit some more.
In general I have been very happy with results of the Cyzer, Bochet and Dandelion I have made in the past.
Are there many here that both brew and bee keep?

Vermont Ed

11-12-2014, 02:57 AM
At least one. Beeekeeping for 5 years but now thinking of trying mead. Have not started anything yet

11-12-2014, 04:47 AM
We planted apple trees 2004, then the bees dissapeared, we had been making country wines and an occasional mead so when we saw we had no bees we got a few hives, met a bunch of beekeepers who have all kinds of great honey and really started making much better mead and melomels. I do suggest you get a hydrometer and start using it, that way you always know what is going on and when you get a perfect batch of mead its much easier to tell where you started and how its progressing. Now our apple crops are much better as well as our berries. We started making a lot more cysers last season, mostly from wildling trees. This year we found a great wildling with thick rich juice at the end of September and just bottled it, used a tulip poplar honey this time instead of a lighter spring honey and it turned out fantastic, nice body, aroma and taste and the color is like golden straw with just a little tannins from the apples. Going to graft many trees from this one. WVMJ

11-12-2014, 08:46 AM
Beekeeping badly since 5 years (between 1 and 5 hives). This is first year I harvested honey from a living hive - better than anything in the shops and not available for mead. After this harvest I have so much energy to build up the apiary again for honey for mead.
Started meadmaking 6 years ago, using natural yeasts and raisins as my only nutrients/energisers. Wasted a lot of money on great local honey to make vinegar. Stopped. It is possible and I will try it this way again after further improving my fermenting skills.

I took care of someone's vineyard (63 vines) this year but made too many mistakes from first prune to racking the wine that I started reading and practicing before next year ...
Trial 1 & 2 - 10L Fig wine (more fig's fall on the ground here in 1 year than what all Gotmead members combined could eat in a lifetime)
Trial 3 - 5L Pomegranate wine (pomegranates are as abundant as figs, but I found it took so long to peal and separate each "seed")
Trial 4 - 10L Apple cider with 20% grape.
Trial 5 - 5L Pomegranate melomel
Trial 6 - 5L Wildaho's Ginger Meth 3

What made a huge difference for me:
Keeping a no-rinse sanitising solution in a bucket and in a spray bottle.
Understanding that the readings on a refractometer are affected after fermentation begins. (tried restarting the white, fig and pomegranate wine several times after both had completed fermentation as brix on refractometer said 8 instead of the 0 I expected)
Having a phenomenal resource like Gotmead available

If anyone was thinking of keeping bees, I would definetely recommend it. I have only harvested 20 kg after 5years but I know that is mostly my fault. My first real honey harvest made it all worthwhile.

11-12-2014, 02:13 PM
Hello. Greece, West Virginia and Oregon. Fantastic. Bizjack definitely make some mead,l it is fun, and the sooner you start the longer you can let it sit and mellow.
I am overwintering 12 and a half hives, the twelfth hive has a double screen board in it to separate two colonies of bees so the share heat with in the space. Split 5 overwintered hive from last year and had a great flow of nectar this year resulting in 25 gallons of wild flower clover honey and 30 gallons of goldenrod and wildflower honey. This equates to about 660 pounds of honey.
The farms in the mountains around Danby, Vermont are pretty diverse and many fields are used predominantly for haying and are a nice mix of wildflowers, and grasses.
Try a bochet, the color is beautiful and while sweet it has a some what thick mouthfeel, like a Guinness beer. Keep stirring the honey while boiling it, I use a propane turkey fryer outside, or it will boil over and you may burn your house down.
The apples I use for my cyzers are a mix of sweet and tart from my neighbors orchard. Watch how much honey you put into the cyzer there are already a fair amount of sugars in the juice. If you put cinnamon sticks in your carboys don't leave them in too long or they can dominate the taste.
Organmicsu do you still use wild yeasts, and how did they turn out?

Vermont Ed

11-12-2014, 02:28 PM
WVMJack. I am assuming that the wilding you found is tart? Lots of wildings in the mountains here, even have some on my eight acres, need to get out and start looking next year. Need to look into the grafting process, do you start with root systems stated from seed?

11-12-2014, 04:20 PM
I started keeping bees to feed my mead hobby, then I got into keeping bees...

I now sell my honey, and make mead from my cappings rinse. This year, I did pull aside three quarts and caramelized them (via the pressure cooker method) to experiment with a bochet.

11-12-2014, 04:24 PM
Our wildings vary so much, many are high in acid but several have been very interesting. We have a bittersharp crab, very powerful stuff. I found one wild tree tastes like bananna first bite and they ripened fully oct 31 with little disease. We have another gave a very thick dark juice that cleared very fast, made a light cyser with it, very nice for a wildling:) We just found another that tastes like cherries, very cool. All of these are getting grafted onto dwarf or semidwarf rootstocks to be put into our small orchard to see how they do when being cared for and getting full sun, most are in fencerows or forrest edges and dont get much light. Most of the trees we find are ripped up by several diseases, if the leaves are messed up bad we dont try, dont want to have to spray something each week just to keep it alive. Searching for that ever elusive bittersweet wildling that is vigorous and not torn up by a lot of scab and cedar apple rust. WVMJ

11-12-2014, 04:36 PM
Shelley, for me it was bees first, but I love them both as hobbies. I will, have to check out the pressure cooker method but stirring the pot for an hour and a half does give one time to sip from a past batch. You are not far from Danby, how was your honey production this year?
WVMJack, I have three plum trees that have yet to give me a plum crop, but one of these years I will be producing a plum melomel. that is interesting about the cherry and banana flavors.

11-13-2014, 06:18 AM
Organmicsu do you still use wild yeasts, and how did they turn out?
Vermont Ed

My wife was culturing apple, orange and rose yeasts for baking bread so I used those (take apple peelings, orange skin or rose petals and add to water and sugar. slowly feed with more sugar to keep them ticking over). They did not work out well, I expect because I did not feed or manage them well enough. I am very happy using purchased yeasts at the moment but I will test this method again...

11-13-2014, 08:25 PM
Plenty of beekeepers around here! :)

11-14-2014, 09:02 PM
Considering I started the year with two hives, and ended up with six giving me 300 pounds of honey, I'm pretty happy. I've got a lot of goldenrod here, and the bees love it.

11-14-2014, 11:48 PM
Shelly, the fall flow this year was great. the lack of rain really let the goldenrod flow last for a long time.
icedmetal did you have a good year?
All my batches bubbling nicely.