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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Lares, Puerto Rico
    Posts
    8

    Default True Honeybee mead

    Good day fellow beekeepers!

    A few days ago my mechanic called me that he was going to take some pieces out of a car when he found out there was a hive in the car. He called me, they were in the glove compartment. Here in Puerto Rico even though we have no winter per se (never drops below 60) this is still the dearth time.
    You can imagine how surprised i was to find that these bees (theyre all africanized here, but we love them the same) had twice the amount of honey than the amount of eggs a brood. YUM! Africanized can be a lottery, they can be very productive or very reproductive and anywhere in between. These were nice bees.

    Anyways, too much beating around the bush.

    I dont have an extractor. So after i separated and cleaned all the honey comb, I squeezed the honey out and I figured that the leftover wax/pollen/honey balls have a lot of honey that would otherwise be lost.

    I simmered everything, removed the wax and filtered with a coffee filter. I was left with a clear red brew.

    Bees are in constant contact with wild yeast all the time, in fact theyre digestive track is full of yeast, and bacterium that digests honey and pollen primarily.

    I took a single live bee dying the dream death of bees, drowning in honey. After the brew was boiled and cooled I dropped her in, she sank immediately, I saw her struggle with death... and finally she let go.

    bubbling has already started, lets see what comes out....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Townsend, TN
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: True Honeybee mead

    sounds risky letting wild yeast take over. most of the time it turns out more like vinegar than mead.
    The best mead I ever made was really similar to yours thought, I simmered whole hunks of comb from a cutout, pollen honey dead bees and all. just skimmed the top to get all of the wax and debris off and then added champagne yeast.

    I think all of the pollen really added nice aroma and flavor to the mead, it had a wonderfully complex flavor.

    let us know how it turns out.

    by the way I lived in anasco for a while and worked at the zoo in mayaguez. that sure is beutiful country, what kind of honey flows do you get there?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Lares, Puerto Rico
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: True Honeybee mead

    Hello my friend! To be honest I have not dedicated myself to keeping my hives, I have a few but Im doing so many other stuff.... Most of the time I go to people's houses to remove the hives and get more honey that way that cultivating my own, thats for now though. But from what I have observed honey flows here year round I'd say, november to january is a very slow time because of the rains mainly, it rains too much for them to fly around too far, but asides from that there is always a flower blooming here. I have a farm in the coffee producing region, and all the coffee is starting to bloom right now, then comes the bananas, the oranges etc... its beautiful.

    I used to study in the Mayaguez College, biology. And worked for a time in a hotel in Rincon, I bet you loved those sunsets eh?

    As I was doing the mead, simmering the wax, throwing the pollen intentionally to both the honey I extract as well as for the mead. I totally agree with you, I think the original meads must have been something very similar to what you did. If you think about it, its ridiculous to think that people would risk good thick honey to try a make something as risky as mead, or vinegar. I theorize that meads were made with the residues of honey and wax extraction.

    I will let you know what happens, its bubbling good, deep orange color, and has a smell of hot honey. If it turns out a vinegar, im ok with that 2...

    Are you a biologist sir? glad to hear you liked my little reef, how long did you live here?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Townsend, TN
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: True Honeybee mead

    I graduated top of my class from zoo school in Florida so I got to do an internship at the Mayaguez Zoo in 2004. I just stayed for 4 months cause I ran out of money, I would still be there if I had someone to bay my bills! I didnt quite pick up spanish good enuf to get a job there, plus all I had time for was working in the zoo and surfing! and watching the sunsets in Rincon! Me and my roomate stayed in the Villas de Anesco, and we hitchhicked to rincon nearly every day!
    I sure miss it.......by the way are medalla lights still just a quarter each at happy hour?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Stone City, Iowa
    Posts
    234

    Default Re: True Honeybee mead

    Interesting post. I have made a number of meads, and although they have been successful, I have been chasing a more complex flavored mead. A friend made a mead that was WONDERFUL, and all he could remember was that he used "fall" honey. (Wanted to smack him! At least scribble something down in a notebook!) I did some cutouts last year, and plan on more this year, I will have to try this. The honey from a cutout doesn't keep very well anyway, it starts fermenting on it's own!

    JC

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,204

    Default Re: True Honeybee mead

    I simmered everything, removed the wax and filtered with a coffee filter. I was left with a clear red brew.
    I thought from the title you had a way of doing it with out heat.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,490

    Default Re: True Honeybee mead

    How has the process going? The idea sounds interesting.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Exeter, WI
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: True Honeybee mead

    I am also curious how this is going. I have often made cider without adding any yeast but the natural yeast that comes from the pressing. And of course lambics have been made for god knows how long with spontaneous fermentation. Although wild yeast and bacteria do have a tendency to sour things (especially the longer they age), you can keep them from turning to vinegar by being very careful to restrict the amount of oxygen. If you let natural cider sit with an airlock to limit oxygen, you get tart cider. If you let it sit with access to oxygen, you will get cider vinegar. The yeast thrive in an anaerobic environment, the bacteria in an aerobic environment.

    Also, I have been thinking that the original meads were likely made with all the leftovers when they either cutout wild hives, or when they destroyed the skep to get the honey. I have been meaning to try a mead made from whole combs as well. Let us know how this turns out.

    Prost

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Harsens Island , Mi , USA
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: True Honeybee mead

    What a thread a couple of my favorite things..Puerto Rico and home brewing . I have not done it with honey ..yet . I'll start with the yeast thing . Years ago man did not buy yeast in packets . One used natural yeast per area . With todays methods we kill the natural yeast and add our own . I use one tab of camptin per gal but i go light to kill whats in it and use the yeast of my choice...depending on the grape or fruit . When making beer the boiling kills everything and once its cooled the yeast is added . Pretty pricey yeast to boot ...but the the styles are excellent . Its all about the sugar content for a % that has more of a kick ..and a flavor not in tune . My points are...if its cooked the yeast is killed , and all natural yeast is not a bad thing .

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