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Konamimeed
01-02-2017, 12:07 PM
I would like to make a basic mead using honey and water.

I will add 1.5 pounds of ''really raw'' honey to a half gallon jug and then feel with spring water.


These will be the only ingredients. How long will this take to get it to ferment fully.


I intend to make the mead utilizing the natural yeast and enzymes in the raw honey.

Will this work out?

caduseus
01-02-2017, 12:15 PM
I would like to make a basic mead using honey and water.

I will add 1.5 pounds of ''really raw'' honey to a half gallon jug and then feel with spring water.


These will be the only ingredients. How long will this take to get it to ferment fully.


I intend to make the mead utilizing the natural yeast and enzymes in the raw honey.

Will this work out?

is this your first mead?

Konamimeed
01-02-2017, 12:18 PM
Yes but I make wine. The grapes have natural yeast on them as well and ferment quite nicely.

Farmboyc
01-02-2017, 01:25 PM
Well I would say that you may need to either add a cultured yeast or make a pure grape starter if it dosen't take off within 48h. Honey can be hard on yeasts.

pdh
01-02-2017, 01:45 PM
I would like to make a basic mead using honey and water.

I will add 1.5 pounds of ''really raw'' honey to a half gallon jug and then feel with spring water.


These will be the only ingredients. How long will this take to get it to ferment fully.


I intend to make the mead utilizing the natural yeast and enzymes in the raw honey.

Will this work out?

Hard to say what will happen -- it depends on which microorganisms are in that honey. You may get yeast that can't tolerate much alcohol, and the yeast will be nutrient-starved in any case (honey doesn't have the nutrients that yeast needs to be really happy -- grapes and other fruits often do, but honey does not) so the fermentation may end when there's still a decent amount of residual sugar that doesn't get converted to alcohol. Maybe the final sugar content will be pleasing to taste, or maybe not.

The stressed yeast may produce off-flavors too; and you may end up with active bacterial populations in there that do things other than convert sugar to alcohol like yeast does, which can produce other flavors (maybe flavors you like, maybe not). Hence the end result may need to be aged for a long time to soften out some of the rough edges, depending on what kind of micro-menagerie you have.

So it's kind of a crap shoot. The mead will probably ferment more slowly than a batch made with commercial yeast, and it will probably not ferment to completion, but beyond that, it's luck of the draw -- if you did this three times, you might get three totally different results. You can see why people who make a lot of mead don't do it this way :-)

That said -- it's only half a gallon, so if you're curious and you don't have unrealistic expectations, there's no reason not to try it. I have a half-gallon batch of wild-fermented hard apple cider bubbling away in my basement right now, and I think it's going to turn out well -- but again, that apple juice has more yeast nutrients in it than your honey does, and the starting sugar content of my juice was lower than your honey-water will be.

Honestly, I myself wouldn't try the experiment that you're proposing (for me, it's enough of a challenge to make good traditional mead using commercial yeast!) but I'd be interested to hear how it turns out if you do decide to do it.

bernardsmith
01-02-2017, 01:56 PM
Hi Konamimeed - a Happy New Year and welcome. The short answer in my opinion is - It will take as long as it takes but it might not work.

There is one obvious difference between grapes and honey and that is that honey has so little moisture in it that it tends to draw moisture from the cells of bacteria and yeast killing them and acting for us as a fairly effective bactericide. That's not to say that there are no viable yeast cells in honey. There can be but the only way to know for sure is to take a sample and examine it under a microscope using an hemocytometer to count the living cells. The alternative is to see if you can grow any cells from your honey in a starting dish. So you may not want to use all the 1.5 lbs of your honey just to find out that your batch has no viable yeast cells or has only a few cells.
LoveofRose - a member of this forum has successfully cultured yeasts from his honey and I have had mixed results, and while you COULD try "culturing" the yeast population that may be in your 1.5 lbs of honey you may find that even after many weeks there is insufficient yeast cells available to ferment the honey must and perhaps even worse, you find that there are enough viable cells but they are strains that produce esters and phenols that are not to your liking.

LoveofRose talks about trying to cultivate the yeast by taking 1/5 Cup of the honey dissolved in about 4 /5 C of water and see if you can create a viable culture. See for example - https://denardbrewing.com/blog/post/Honey-yeast/
But bottom line - this is a hit or a miss proposition. No guarantees

Stasis
01-02-2017, 02:08 PM
This has nothing to do with wine. Grapes naturally have plenty of yeast on the grape skins. Very often the dominant strain is good at making wine. Grapes usually have enough nutrients. Meanwhile honey naturally inhibits the growth of yeast. Honey also very rarely has enough nutrients to complete a ferment. Even if you're lucky enough to have enough nutrients and you take great care to do everything right, it's very common for natural mead ferments to take months. If you're lucky enough for everything to go exactly right, you might often need lengthy aging for the rough edes to smooth out. I read 2 years is normal. After this whole damn process everything could taste like vinegar or ass because you were way too new to take proper care of it or because the honey simply happened to not have the right microorganisms in it.
There were threads about natural ferments and there were suspicions that spontaneous ones might not even be that possible. It is suspected that in older times people might have had good results because they fermented in barrels which previously held wine and therefore have good amounts of the proper yeast. Modern equivalent would be to simply add a yeast pack. It is also suspected that older practices of destroying the whole hive to extract honey could have resulted in more nutrients in honey than we could ever have nowadays.
Bottom line is it is very difficult. I haven't yet seen a log of such a successful batch and not even the pros would attempt it. I strongly suggest any new mazer to try something else

caduseus
01-02-2017, 02:09 PM
Yes but I make wine. The grapes have natural yeast on them as well and ferment quite nicely.

I would not make your FIRST mead without any yeast added whatsoever. Mead is different than grape wine.
Have you at least every made grape wine with SOME honey added? If so how much?

pdh
01-02-2017, 02:48 PM
Really Raw Honey sells a fermented version of their raw honey, so clearly it can ferment to some extent:

http://www.reallyrawhoney.com/category_s/44.htm

Of course, fermented honey isn't mead. I just now sent an email to the Really Raw folks, asking whether they know of any attempts to make bona fide mead by mixing their honey with water, with no additional ingredients or starters. I'll report back when I get a reply from them.

Konamimeed
01-02-2017, 03:04 PM
I see so it does work. Right I wanted the natural yeast in honey. He used raw honey just as I plan to do.

I'll try this. If I just wanted wine I would use grapes and there natural inherent yeast.

Konamimeed
01-02-2017, 03:11 PM
No, but actually I just remembered I did mix GARLIC with about a pound of honey there was tons of bubbles. But this was just so the natural enzymes in honey pre-digest the garlic as to remove the pungent burning taste.....it taste mellow. As if it was cooked almost.

But producing an entirely orderless garlic it did not do.

Konamimeed
01-02-2017, 03:17 PM
I would not make your FIRST mead without any yeast added whatsoever. Mead is different than grape wine.
Have you at least every made grape wine with SOME honey added? If so how much?

Adding yeast in this case would defeat the purpose. I want to use honey as its own starter. Then see if it can be used it to make rice wine.

This would be the holy grail which I'm seeking.

Konamimeed
01-02-2017, 03:32 PM
Hard to say what will happen -- it depends on which microorganisms are in that honey. You may get yeast that can't tolerate much alcohol, and the yeast will be nutrient-starved in any case (honey doesn't have the nutrients that yeast needs to be really happy -- grapes and other fruits often do, but honey does not) so the fermentation may end when there's still a decent amount of residual sugar that doesn't get converted to alcohol. Maybe the final sugar content will be pleasing to taste, or maybe not.

The stressed yeast may produce off-flavors too; and you may end up with active bacterial populations in there that do things other than convert sugar to alcohol like yeast does, which can produce other flavors (maybe flavors you like, maybe not). Hence the end result may need to be aged for a long time to soften out some of the rough edges, depending on what kind of micro-menagerie you have.

So it's kind of a crap shoot. The mead will probably ferment more slowly than a batch made with commercial yeast, and it will probably not ferment to completion, but beyond that, it's luck of the draw -- if you did this three times, you might get three totally different results. You can see why people who make a lot of mead don't do it this way :-)

That said -- it's only half a gallon, so if you're curious and you don't have unrealistic expectations, there's no reason not to try it. I have a half-gallon batch of wild-fermented hard apple cider bubbling away in my basement right now, and I think it's going to turn out well -- but again, that apple juice has more yeast nutrients in it than your honey does, and the starting sugar content of my juice was lower than your honey-water will be.

Honestly, I myself wouldn't try the experiment that you're proposing (for me, it's enough of a challenge to make good traditional mead using commercial yeast!) but I'd be interested to hear how it turns out if you do decide to do it.


Well there it is. I'll give it a go.

I appreciate all the comments. Being a mead fourm I thought I'd try that question here.

pdh
01-02-2017, 04:04 PM
> I'll give it a go.

Cool -- please do let us know how it turns out.

I'm a fan of wild-fermentation experiments, but as you've heard, it's likely to take a while to ferment, and it may need to be aged after fermentation is complete; and there's no telling what it will taste like when it's done. If you're interested in more conventional home meadmaking, you might consider trying something like Bray's One-Month Mead in the meantime, so you have mead to drink while you're waiting:

https://denardbrewing.com/blog/post/brays-one-month-mead/

Stasis
01-02-2017, 04:55 PM
Rice wine from this yeast? Don't you need koji? There are little, if any, sugars for the yeast tobeat in rice. You need the koji to break the starch down into sugars..
Again, a wild ferment apple cider is totally different from this. Cider ferments without the need of additional nutrients all the time. I think this might be true for many fruits. Meanwhile, many mazers assume that nutrients in honey is negligible. The yeasts...who knows about the yeasts.
Anyway, gl then I guess

bernardsmith
01-02-2017, 05:12 PM
But I think that it also depends on the yeast that may be in the honey. My sense is that you are most likely to find strains of yeast for which honey has enough nutrient (or the yeast itself can tolerate a low nutrient diet). In other words, I am assuming that many of the yeast cells that may be in the honey are cells that had attached themselves before the honey had become so moisture poor but these are cells that can accommodate to this environment. Yeast cells that demand nutrient rich environments may have excluded themselves from the honey - not by dint of any conscious activity but simply because they would not be as capable of budding or surviving in the syrup as the honey became less and less moist - so you would be looking at some form of self-selection..

Konamimeed
01-02-2017, 05:36 PM
But I think that it also depends on the yeast that may be in the honey. My sense is that you are most likely to find strains of yeast for which honey has enough nutrient (or the yeast itself can tolerate a low nutrient diet). In other words, I am assuming that many of the yeast cells that may be in the honey are cells that had attached themselves before the honey had become so moisture poor but these are cells that can accommodate to this environment. Yeast cells that demand nutrient rich environments may have excluded themselves from the honey - not by dint of any conscious activity but simply because they would not be as capable of budding or surviving in the syrup as the honey became less and less moist - so you would be looking at some form of self-selection..

That would be mead yeast. From what I remember ancient vikings didn't have all these fancy 'nutrients' to add.

I think the key here is actually RAW honey.... therefore the yeast are alive.

Farmboyc
01-02-2017, 05:41 PM
That would be mead yeast. From what I remember ancient vikings didn't have all these fancy 'nutrients' to add. I believe mead is just honey.
Well I would suggest you read a book called.
Make Mead Like a Viking

I have only read reviews but it seems like this is kinda the authority on wild ferment meads. I believe they suggest the use of a "Mead Stick".
I think it is a piece if wood used to stir a viable ferment that also keeps viable yeast for the following mead batches. Also remember that honey in viking times was truly raw and it contained pollen, wax, as well as bee parts and other various component that would likely not qualify as a food product in today's day and age.

Please keep us informed of your findings. I have always been too chicken to gamble the expense of honey on an uncertain and hard to repeat method.

Konamimeed
01-02-2017, 05:44 PM
Rice wine from this yeast? Don't you need koji? There are little, if any, sugars for the yeast tobeat in rice. You need the koji to break the starch down into sugars..
Again, a wild ferment apple cider is totally different from this. Cider ferments without the need of additional nutrients all the time. I think this might be true for many fruits. Meanwhile, many mazers assume that nutrients in honey is negligible. The yeasts...who knows about the yeasts.
Anyway, gl then I guess

Honey is predigested sugars. Raw It has the ablity to digest starch. -
So does human salivia.

How much I am not sure the amounts to add. But I guess this is the best place, someone must have tired to covert starch grains with Really Raw honey.

Stasis
01-02-2017, 07:20 PM
I'm not sure what you mean by predigested sugars and abilities to digest starch. By predigested I'm thinking unprocessed and by digesting starch I'm thinking there are enzymes (amylase) which are able to break down the starch into simpler sugars. Anyway, I was originally confused because I thought you were going to use the yeast, not the honey itself to break down the sugars. Since it might be difficult to seperate the honey from the rice you might end up with a rice mead.
Haven't read any threads about converting starches with honey. Surprisingly, I saw very few attempts to do anything with rice on these forums when I did searches about sake.
P.s. even if vikings drank mead, we can't know if this was actually good mead. In ethiopia they make T'ej, which is a type of wild ferment mead but they also culture yeast over generations by the use of wooden utensils. The mead is also generally low abv which means the defects have less time to come out and it has plenty of residual sweetness to mask the defects. I wouldn't be surprised if the vikings also drank a low abv, overly sweet drink

caduseus
01-02-2017, 07:26 PM
Honey is predigested sugars. Raw It has the ablity to digest starch. -
So does human salivia.

How much I am not sure the amounts to add. But I guess this is the best place, someone must have tired to covert starch grains with Really Raw honey.

can you tell us where you get this information of honey itself digesting sugars?

Keep in mind that wild yeast are unpredictable. You may end up the best mead you ever made or the worst. There is absolutely no way of knowing.
People who create their own home yeast usually:
1) They are already experienced mead makers that know what they are doing. And yes mead is very different than grape wine. Grapes have their own natural nutrients to feed the yeast which honey does not have. This one fact alone makes a HUGE difference. Also even with pitched yeast grape wine requires much less attention than mead. I am making my first batch of grape wine and floored by how much easier it is compared to mead.

2) Usually these people do experiments in small batches like half gallon or quart size so if their experiment goes wrong, much less honey is lost.

Stasis
01-02-2017, 07:35 PM
A google search gives links such as the following http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI3025529/
It seems unprocessed honey might break down starch, although I'm curious if it is effective as much as something traditionally used to break down the starch such as koji

Squatchy
01-02-2017, 07:35 PM
All have good points. Go for it. What the hell. A pound and a half of honey is just pocket change. It more likely than not will suck . But, you may just get lucky. Let us know how you do.

Konamimeed
01-05-2017, 04:11 PM
Well, one and a half days............and its just a jar of honey water.

Stasis
01-05-2017, 05:54 PM
Took about 4 days for my wild t'ej to take off. With no nutrients here I'd expect maybe even longer. Sanitation is very important since it is extremely easy for a wild yeast which was not in your honey to dominate this very long lag phase. I wouldn't open the carboy if I were you because the risk of contamination is way too great

pdh
01-05-2017, 07:42 PM
Well, one and a half days............and its just a jar of honey water.

Yes, it may take a while. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a week before you saw signs of fermentation.

That said... how will you know that it's fermenting? Do you have an airlock on the jug?

bernardsmith
01-05-2017, 08:25 PM
When brewers make a starter they make sure that the starter is aerated constantly by using a stir plate. You refer to a "jar"... so are you incorporating air into this must every time you pass it by?

pdh
01-07-2017, 04:09 PM
Really Raw Honey sells a fermented version of their raw honey, so clearly it can ferment to some extent:

http://www.reallyrawhoney.com/category_s/44.htm

Of course, fermented honey isn't mead. I just now sent an email to the Really Raw folks, asking whether they know of any attempts to make bona fide mead by mixing their honey with water, with no additional ingredients or starters. I'll report back when I get a reply from them.

I got a reply from Really Raw Honey, but it's not helpful -- they say they know people have made mead using their honey, but they don't know anything about the details -- they have no idea how people went about it.

josiah
01-12-2017, 04:58 AM
I make mead both waysówith commercial yeast as well as wild fermented. If you want to play with wild fermentation, consider checking out Sandor Katz's book by that title (Wild Fermentation) in which he gives suggestions for getting fermentation going with only honey and water.

My first attempt took about a week of stirring multiple times per day and keeping the must open to the air by covering the jar with a cloth. Then it took a good long time to ferment. I think it was in primary for three or four months, and secondary another six or so, and I am tempted to think I bottled it too soon.

I used the lees to start another batch at racking time, and gave that about a year in secondary before bottling, and while that was probably longer than necessary, the point is that if you want excellent results, it'll take awhile. And yes, both of these batches of mead turned out nicely enough that I'll be doing that again sometime.

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