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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Bay Area, Ca
    Posts
    28

    Default First Harvest!!! Tastier than expected.

    Had a bee club member help me out yesterday with my first honey crop. I was not anticipating a harvest the first year but will happily take it!

    I am running 2- 8 frame deeps and had a deep super on each. These two hive started as a package in April and I made splits in late May off both.

    I had 8 frames of capped honey equaled about 4-5 gallons of pure, dark, incredibly sweet goodness. I cant wait to see what they do in the spring! What a sweet reward for all the work and $$ invested in these girls.

    Lets see if I can get some pics to post...



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: First Harvest!!! Tastier than expected.

    Excellent! Good for you!
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: First Harvest!!! Tastier than expected.

    Sweet! I never get tired of harvesting.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Jefferson Co., WV, USA
    Posts
    157

    Default Re: First Harvest!!! Tastier than expected.

    Thats beautiful dark honey, looks like you have enough to make a 5 gallon batch of mead with plenty left over to share. WVMJ
    Meadmaking with WVMJ at Meads and Elderberry Winemaking

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Bay Area, Ca
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: First Harvest!!! Tastier than expected.

    WVMJ,
    I am really interested in making a batch of mead. I have made blackberry wine before and its great. Can I ferment the blackberries with mead? How much honey is needed for a 5 gallon carboy? Any links to recipies would be awesome.

    Thanks for the feedback guys, this has proven to be a sweet hobby.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,275

    Default Re: First Harvest!!! Tastier than expected.

    A 5 gallon batch usually takes 12 to 16 pounds of honey. I would recommend Ken Schramm's book 'The Compleat Meadmaker. I am in the middle of making a batch right now. I go by specific gravity measurements on a hydrometer myself and get the starting gravity I want with the yeast I want to use where it works out dry. Then you add fruit or backsweeten to get the taste you want. Congratulations on your harvest.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Jefferson Co., WV, USA
    Posts
    157

    Default Re: First Harvest!!! Tastier than expected.

    Hi Will, lets start out with what was your previous blackberry recipie? How many berries, how you juiced them, how long you left the berries in etc.

    We do not like weak fruit meads, we go for equal parts flavor from the fruit and the honey. We have been making blackberry mead for a couple of years and like to put as many blackberries as we can into each batch, about 25 pounds for a 5 gal batch plus 5 - 10 pounds of elderberries if we have them. We count on the buffering capacity of the honey to mellow out the acid level in the berries a little. One of the things we like to do is to start at a gravity around 1.10 and let it go down to about 1.02 and then add a little honey until it gets to 1.03 and let it ferment a little while longer and when it gets down to 1.02 again we boost it with a little honey until it cant take anymore. This way we raise the alchohol level to meet the higher acid levels. In the end we backsweeten with some more honey, degass, fine it to take out the proteins that are in the honey we just added and bottle it, about a year from start to finish. Ours are drinkable right after its cleared. We also add yeast energizer and yeast nutrient and like to start with a good starter culture. I think one thing that makes some people think these fruit meads need years to mellow out is that they leave the fruits in to long and get bitterness from the seeds. We have been crushing our fruits, treating them with pectinase for a day and then squeezing or pressing the juice from the pulp and not adding the pulp into the must, this way we never have any bitterness from the seed tannins. We also like to add some oak in there, to give it a little more class

    Check out our webpage listed in my tag below, we havent added all our recipes yet to the wine section yet, waiting for a winter storm to keep me inside and have time to do it. WVMJ
    Meadmaking with WVMJ at Meads and Elderberry Winemaking

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Bay Area, Ca
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: First Harvest!!! Tastier than expected.

    Here is the recipie I have been working with

    http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/f2/blackberry-4443/

    Those were good tips and insight to your process. Thanks for the info!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Jefferson Co., WV, USA
    Posts
    157

    Default Re: First Harvest!!! Tastier than expected.

    WildWill, Thats a good recipe. We use elderberries instead of grape juice for tannin and color but I dont think you guys have many growing in CA. I am not sure why they are adding acid with that many blackberries and grape juice, but if you like the wine from that recipe you can just substitute your honey for all the sugar, maybe add a bit more pectinase to make sure you get the fruit part clear, a little oak will add a nice touch, and backsweeten and fine out the proteins when its finished and you should have a nice blackberry mead. If you dont keep the pulp in to long you should be able to be drinking it in a year, it will keep getting better with age, make sure to keep a few bottle aside to preserve your first harvest and open it in 10 years! WVMJ
    Meadmaking with WVMJ at Meads and Elderberry Winemaking

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