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WikdWaze
08-21-2004, 01:18 PM
Has anybody ever tried bee pollen as a replacement for yeast nutrients? I did a little bit of research on the matter, seems quite a viable option. It would be a little pricier than the nutrients, but I'm thinking the consequences of an overdose would be far less severe. I don't buy into all the "perfect food" hype the snake-oil salesmen put out about bee pollen or anything like that. The information I found from non-commercial sites definitely shows a good vitamin and mineral content to pollen. Being as it's not a chemical-based substance it would probably be more forgiving of any errors. It also contains some fermentable sugars. I'm sure that the first meads had plenty of pollen in them, that may have been what the yeast fed on back then.

Derf
08-21-2004, 01:51 PM
There was some discussion of this alternative before the crash and rebuild. I forget what the consensus was, but I'm left with the impression that it works fairly well. I think that you are probably right in speculating that it would be more forgiving than chemical nutrients--Then again, I've never used any nutrients of any sort in my few batches and I've never had any trouble, so I don't think either are really necessary unless you are trying to corect a problem as it comes up.

As far as historical authenticity is concerned, I think you are out of luck here. Pollen traps are a fairly modern invention so pollen hasn't been available as an ingredient as such untill relatively recently. Then again, before the invention of movable frames in the 1860's just about the only way to honey out of the comb was to destroy the whole hive, or at least part of it, and crush it. I'm sure that would let in a lot more impurities than the current extraction process. But Pollen and honey are usually stored in seperate areas of the hive, so if the beekeeper had enough sense to pick and choose before the crush...

WikdWaze
08-21-2004, 02:55 PM
You do have a point about the pollen collection. There's no question that a certain amount of pollen would have wound up in the mix, but would it have been enough to really help the yeast? Still, I like it just from the standpoint of it being all-natural and more forgiving of the errors liable to be made by a doofus such as myself ;D

Maybe some of the fellas involved in the previous discussion will chime in and enlighten me further.

Dan McFeeley
08-21-2004, 04:42 PM
Has anybody ever tried bee pollen as a replacement for yeast nutrients? I did a little bit of research on the matter, seems quite a viable option. It would be a little pricier than the nutrients, but I'm thinking the consequences of an overdose would be far less severe.

Robert Berthold has researched this one -- you can find more info at http://www.mainebee.com/articles/mead.php

Takes a fair amount of bee pollen, about 5 tablespoons per
gallon, per Berthold's recommendations.

WikdWaze
08-21-2004, 05:37 PM
Robert Berthold has researched this one -- you can find more info at http://www.mainebee.com/articles/mead.php

Takes a fair amount of bee pollen, about 5 tablespoons per
gallon, per Berthold's recommendations.


That was one of the pages I found during my search. Definitely seems it'd require more pollen than "normal" nutrients, but if you can put "All-Natural" or "Organic" on the label you'll get your money back with interest. I would never stoop so low as to claim any health benefits though.

GntlKnght
10-02-2004, 02:14 AM
I may be way off with this thought, but I wondered how you would sanitize bee pollen to keep any wild yeasts out of your "natural" mead. Wouldn't the use of raisins add the nutrients you need and still keep it all natural? Just a thought!

WikdWaze
10-04-2004, 12:18 PM
I may be way off with this thought, but I wondered how you would sanitize bee pollen to keep any wild yeasts out of your "natural" mead. Wouldn't the use of raisins add the nutrients you need and still keep it all natural? Just a thought!
Hmm, hadn't even thought about sanitizing it. Maybe just think happy thoughts?

Don't raisins effect the flavor?

kace069
10-04-2004, 01:17 PM
I just wanted to chime in on what Derf had to say about mead making of old. Most certainly they had to destroy the hives to get honey before the 1860's and the introduction of the modern Langstroth hive. And of course everything in the hive would have ended up in the mead after seperation of most of the wax, a very important product of the hives at that time if not more important then the honey in some points of history. Beeswax today stills sells pound for pound twice as much as honey. But now i am straying from the subject. :D

Back to the point which is using the pollen as a nutrient. Of course the mead makers of old would have pollen in thier meads but there is another substance in these hives that would potentially be a greater nutrient then the pollen its self.

Royal jelly. Its made of digested pollen, honey or nectar mixed with a chemicals secreted by glands from a nurse bees head. It contains an abudance of nutrients including essential minerals, B-complex, proteins, amino acids, collagen, and essential fatty acids just to name few.
In my opinion for an all natural and or authentic nutrient for mead. This would be far better then pollen alone. And of course probably would have been found in alll meads made in acient times.

WikdWaze
10-05-2004, 03:54 AM
Had thought of that, too. It's pricier than pollen, though, and I'm a cheap SOB ;D Still, if I ever get around to making a plain mead I'll have to give it a try. Nutrition isn't much of an issue with braggots and melomels I think.

MagickMead
10-05-2004, 04:55 AM
I often use pollen as a yeast nutrient in my meads and it works very well. I only use about half as much as Berthold states in his article, I think that some where in that article he states that he hasn't experimented much with the quantity of pollen to use. As for sanatizing the pollen, I simply add it to some boiling water and call it good.
About royal jelly, I don't doubt that would be a good yeast nutrient but I don't think it played much part in mead making in days of old because there is very little royal jelly found in a bee hive at any time. Producers of royal jelly setup special hives and go to great trouble to create special conditons to procuce it.
Some one mentioned using raisins for yeast nutrient and it has been my experience that this works well. And yes raisins will add some flavor to the mead. Makers of country wines often recomend addind raisins to a light wine to add body.

ScottS
10-05-2004, 09:40 PM
I agree with the comments about royal jelly. It is found in small enough quantities in the hive that it is unlikely to have made a significant nutrient contribution. And using it today for nutrient would probably be prohibitively expensive, as you would have to buy it in supplement form from a health food store.

yabb_unknown_usr
11-09-2004, 06:25 AM
Call me crazy but I quit using nutrients some time ago and get some mighty fine meads and melomels without any funny after tastes. In fact, one of the very best melomels I've gotten is one that started with five pounds of black raspberries which I cooked down to extract the juice, ran that through cheese cloth to get rid of the skins and seeds -- extracted 1 gallon of juice from it. Dumped it in a carboy. Then I just barely warmed 12.6 pounds of wildflower honey with an equal amount of water (just refilled the jug the honey came in). Dumped that into the carboy. Dropped in a package of Nottingham Ale Yeast and topped it off with water until just above the shoulders of a five gallon carboy. I honestly just forgot about the tea for tannin and the lemon juice for acid that I usually use.

Stuff bubbled like crazy for about month. Racked it off and let it sit for another month then bottled it. Not too dry, not too sweet and the aroma and taste of the raspberries were just stunning with a very pleasing follow through both aromatically and taste of the honey. I am very curious to see how it ages over a year or two.

I have 10 more pounds of the black raspberries in the freezer and will be making more through the winter. I also have 10 pounds of Blackberries and will try the same method with them.

The bee pollen seems as if it would work well. My son did an experiment for biology (homeschooling) and set up honey water with yeast under several different conditions and tracked how long it took the yeast to die off. He used bee pollen in one concoction... seems like the yeast hung in there a little longer but not remarkably so -- just a few days. The longest living conconction with the best yeast reproduction was just honey, water and yeast. I suspect being a teen, he wasn't too careful about temperature and oxygen control issues. Got some great photos off the microscope, in any case.

Jmattioli
11-09-2004, 07:30 AM
I am definitely an advocate of using no more nutrients than required. Too much Nutrients will impart a taste to the mead. If you don't believe it, next time mix some up in a glass of water and taste it! I have found Melomels, rarely require additional nutrients and minerals other than what is found in the fruit and water for a good complete fermentation. However, having said that I have also found that when making straight meads except when using K1V-1116 with extremely hard water, some nutrient addition is required for a healthy fermentation. Each yeast seems to have unique requirements. From experiance I have found that using half of the recommended dosage with most yeasts is adequate for fermentations of 100 gravity points with straight meads. Doing this seems to producve meads that do not require lenghty aging times to be drinkable. More is not always better. I would personally recommend never putting in more nutrients than recommended by the nutrient producer and to experiment a bit to find a lesser amount ( or minimum amount) that still produces a fast healthy fermentation and record it for future use. I believe this will produce a better tasting mead even though this opinion may not be shared by some more scientific individuals. Mine is a pragmatic approach.
Cheers,
Joe

Tsuchi
12-02-2004, 06:13 AM
Hmmm ... Royal Jelly or Pollen. An exciting idea as I was not sure that raisins were my mead flavor/nutrient of choice and I'm hoping to start a few gallon batches of just honey/water/yeast mead (my first batch is a cyser and still going strong). Perhaps i'll just have to make a 2 gal batch and try Jelly in one and pollen in the other.... Need to track down some gal jugs though. I used to be able to get cider in them, But, of course, now that I'm looking for them I can't find any. ::)

I'll post a blow by blow and ingrediants in "recipies" when they've finished brewing.

Oh and did I mension?-Thanks again for the good ideas!