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Thread: Keeping bees and making Honey Mead [home brew]

  1. #1
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    Keeping bees and making Honey Mead [home brew]

    Anyone on here keeping bees and/or making honey mead?

    My youngest was interested in giving bee keeping a go so he and I went and did a weekend bee keeping course and subsequently purchased 2x nuc hives.
    These should see us with 100-120kg of honey by the end of the summer.
    So what do you do with 120kg of honey!! Did some searching and it seems that honey mead is the oldest recorded alcoholic drink in the world. So I tracked down and bought a couple of bottles to taste test. The vintage I go was a bit dry but had promise, so thinking about giving it a go.
    Seems that you use about 1kg of honey per gallon of mead. By my calcs, it you get 120kg of honey per year off two hives, use 20kg for your toast [yea right] , that leaves 100kg, with produces 100gal of mead. That's 450 litres of mead, or 1.23L per night that needs to be drunkin! Could be a good year.
    P38, veitnamcam, Dougie and 1 others like this.

  2. #2
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    Love the idea and it crossed my mind as growing up we had bees on he farm. Until I became analphylatic to them, not the best idea to play with something that can kill you

  3. #3
    P38
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    @hotbarrels

    Making mead is almost as good as drinking it.

    Try a smaller batch circa 5l before you launch into the 450l batch.

    You'll learn lots and won't have much to loose if you make any mistakes.

    Different yeasts will also help with how dry or sweet the end product is.

    I.e. S04 yeast will give a sweeter end product than M02 which will be dryer.

    Also if you do brew out a dry batch you can then back sweeten it with nonfermentable sugars to your taste.

    Let's us know how you get on.

    Cheers
    Pete
    Arguing with an Engineer is like Wrestling a Pig in Mud.

    After awhile you realise the Pig loves it.

  4. #4
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    I have no useful advice to give but a mate has beehives and made mead. He said that he had to age it in the bottle for a year or two until it was really good but after he had it was o for oarsome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by P38 View Post
    @hotbarrels

    Making mead is almost as good as drinking it.

    Try a smaller batch circa 5l before you launch into the 450l batch.

    You'll learn lots and won't have much to loose if you make any mistakes.

    Different yeasts will also help with how dry or sweet the end product is.

    I.e. S04 yeast will give a sweeter end product than M02 which will be dryer.

    Also if you do brew out a dry batch you can then back sweeten it with nonfermentable sugars to your taste.

    Let's us know how you get on.

    Cheers
    Pete
    What are non-fermentable sugars?
    My preference is for something a little sweeter. Where would I get S04 from?

    My thought was to put down a couple of 5L jugs a month every month with some variation in the brew so that there was something coming of age on an ongoing basis until I find what I like.

  6. #6
    P38
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    @hotbarrels

    Safale S04 yeast is an ale yeast and can brought from any Brewers supplies shop.
    Safale S-04 Brewing Yeast - BrewShop Home Brew Beer Supplies

    Here in Hastings Binn Inn stock it.

    I use it for brewing a slightly sweeter Cider.

    It would be a perfect yeast for Mead.

    Non ferment able sugars are like Lactose and maltodextrin
    Lactose - BrewShop Home Brew Beer Supplies

    Maltodextrin - BrewShop Home Brew Beer Supplies

    Check out all the YouTube vids on making Mead.

    Adding oranges or strawberries into the wort will give your mead different flavours.

    Oh and you'll need one or two of these to drink it out of too.
    Name:  image.jpeg
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    Cheers
    Pete
    Arguing with an Engineer is like Wrestling a Pig in Mud.

    After awhile you realise the Pig loves it.

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    Yes, I looked into the drinking horns. Surprisingly cheap to buy here in NZ.

    Drinking Horn Type 6 - Medium with Brass Rim and Plain Finial - The Red Knight

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    @hotbarrels would you consider selling a small amount? If so can i please buy 1kg when you do make the honey? My wife loves fresh honey

  9. #9
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    I am going to have to investigate this now. As we have beehives

    Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk
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    I got my first hive when I was 13 and bred queens, and other interesting processes, later, until I had 4 hives which was as much as I could manage at the end of the garden. It is very interesting but the wasps can be a killer for a hive (and the newer diseases may be worse). It is important to leave enough honey for the hive to winter over. The first hive produced 80 pounds of honey with enough left in the hive for the winter. I was told that was a good season (in Dunedin City). A local commercial bee keeper extracted my honey for me when he was doing his own hives. However, after about 20 years of keeping bees on and off, I had been stung too often (mostly when I was learning and had crap gear) and developed a severe (lethal) anaphylactic reaction which put an end to that hobby. I had a course of medication to counteract the bee venom effect. The course took 4 years. So, the most important thing I learned is to have the best gear available to stop the bees stinging in the first place (and they will on a bad day - thunder-type weather - when you just have to check the hives).

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blisters View Post
    @hotbarrels would you consider selling a small amount? If so can i please buy 1kg when you do make the honey? My wife loves fresh honey
    Surely. Wont be until the end of summer though.
    Blisters likes this.

  12. #12
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    Just checked the bees this afternoon as it was the first reasonable fine day for a while. Its actually quite a cool father son thing to be doing. My youngest boy was right in there checking out the brood progress and looking for the queen. Bees have just started bringing in pollen so summer is on its way!
    stingray and Blisters like this.

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    I would love to buy some honey also if you end up with spare! Good luck with it!
    Blisters likes this.

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    Be mindful of thieves, they're getting stolen everywhere up here. One company lost almost $200k worth of hives in one hit a couple of weeks ago.
    Cordite likes this.

  15. #15
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    Mead is the drink of almost all old time scholars, poets and artists. If you read a bit you'll know they also talk about the day of death after mead. It really stings you with a cracking hangover
    Beaker likes this.

 

 

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