cappings and more for mead making
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Onondaga County, New York
    Posts
    22

    Default cappings and more for mead making

    Last weekend I helped out a gentleman who had two supers that needed extraction. They have been on his hive for several years and much of the honey was crystallized in the cells. I'm surprised we got a gallon finally since not much spun out in the extractor. A lot of the comb was pretty dark so we decided it was time to scrape it all off (after the extractor), down to the plastic foundation. In doing so, we also collected a good amount of pollen / bee-bread, too.

    I intended to use all this for mead. So, with two buckets of gooey, dark, wax I began dissolving the honey in a kettle of 125-degree water, then scooping out the wax and tossing it. Sorta like when home-brewers sparge a grain bed.

    I was surprised that my 6 gallons of extract was off-the-scale of my hydrometer - so I drew off a gallon or so and added a sumac tea to make a small experimental batch.
    Have you used staghorn sumac? Have you done anything similar to what I described - where pollen also becomes part of the mix? I wondered if the pollen might be useful to the yeast as a protein source - but read, last night, in The Complete Meadmaker that yeast need free-nitrogen compounds which are probably different from what pollen is. Any comments or suggestions?

    Gillie-girls

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    523

    Default Re: cappings and more for mead making

    We make 10 - 15 gallons of mead from our cappings wash after extracting, it needs to be diluted to get to an acceptable SG. I don't believe the pollen in the wash water provides any significant nutrition so I just follow whatever recipe I'm using. We don't mess around with less than 5 gallon batches.

    Anything honey stuck in the drawn comb gets set out for the bees to clean. As you scraped old dark comb down to the foundation, you are likely to get some of the flavor of the "whole hive." With that much already diluted and the potential for some off flavors, I'd be tempted to put together a large batch of JAOM (Joe's Ancient Orange Mead), possibly using an alternative yeast. And I'd do it pretty fast before a wild ferment gets going strong.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Onondaga County, New York
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: cappings and more for mead making

    I did treat the must with several campden tablets right after washing the honey out of the wax.
    Using Lalvin D-47 as my yeast, for both.

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