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

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Savage1 View Post
    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.
    Yes its getting silly. Its on the news this morning where bee keepers are meeting with the ministers today over the very issue of hive crime. With hives selling for +$1000 a piece its crazy. Apparently they are not only being stolen, but competitors are poisoning other peoples hives just to keep the competition down. I recon it wont be long before you will see 20' containers with the sides cut off and replaced with bars being used as apiary sites to kerb theft. But then someone will just set fire to them ....

    That said, the boom will be over in a few years because some short sighted kiwi entrepreneur's are now selling Manuka seed to overseas countries so they can develop their own Manuka honey industry.

    Fortunately, I'm only doing it because its a cool father son thing with a tasty outcome.
    P38 and veitnamcam like this.

  2. #17
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    Ok, so last season for the bees was a bit of a flop honey wise. Seems it was much the same all around the country with honey production at an all time low.
    Even saw Pac-N-Save rationing it at one point.
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    Never mind, we took 6 jars off for toast and all was good.
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    Been itching to try the mead making, so 4 weeks ago I went down to the local honey centre and bought 4kg of wild field honey, and two 6L plastic jugs of water.
    Made up two brews, one with 2kg of honey +5L water, and the other with 1kg of honey + 5L water. One should be sweeter than the other, hopefully. Kids demolished the other 1kg of honey in 2 1/2 weeks!!

    Did the first racking of the mead this evening into glass jars.
    Ended up with a full 5L jar of the 4-stroke (2kg brew) and a jar of the 2-stroke (1kg brew) and a half jar of 3-stroke (1 part 4-stroke and one part 2-stroke).
    Just need to wait another month to try it.

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  3. #18
    Lovin Facebook for hunters kiwijames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotbarrels View Post
    Ok, so last season for the bees was a bit of a flop honey wise. Seems it was much the same all around the country with honey production at an all time low.
    Even saw Pac-N-Save rationing it at one point.
    Attachment 75295

    Never mind, we took 6 jars off for toast and all was good.
    Attachment 75296

    Been itching to try the mead making, so 4 weeks ago I went down to the local honey centre and bought 4kg of wild field honey, and two 6L plastic jugs of water.
    Made up two brews, one with 2kg of honey +5L water, and the other with 1kg of honey + 5L water. One should be sweeter than the other, hopefully. Kids demolished the other 1kg of honey in 2 1/2 weeks!!

    Did the first racking of the mead this evening into glass jars.
    Ended up with a full 5L jar of the 4-stroke (2kg brew) and a jar of the 2-stroke (1kg brew) and a half jar of 3-stroke (1 part 4-stroke and one part 2-stroke).
    Just need to wait another month to try it.

    Attachment 75294
    You may find that neither will be sweet only one have more booze than the other. Did you get an SG of the two before fermentation?
    The Universe is a cruel, uncaring void. The key to being happy isn't a search for meaning. It's to just keep yourself busy with unimportant nonsense, and eventually, you'll be dead. -Mr Peanutbutter

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwijames View Post
    You may find that neither will be sweet only one have more booze than the other. Did you get an SG of the two before fermentation?
    I tried to get a SG but there was so much froth from shaking up the mix to get the honey dissolved that I couldn't get a reading, and I didn't reopen the bottles later.
    How does the SG tell you how sweet it will end up?

  5. #20
    Lovin Facebook for hunters kiwijames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotbarrels View Post
    I tried to get a SG but there was so much froth from shaking up the mix to get the honey dissolved that I couldn't get a reading, and I didn't reopen the bottles later.
    How does the SG tell you how sweet it will end up?
    I was more thinking you will get a ABV with both start and finish SG.
    Sweetness is only going to be possible by leaving some sugar. Your yeast is going to be hungry and I'm pretty sure honey is 100% fermentable. It will consume the lot given half a chance. As Pete suggested either back sweeten with unfermentable sugar or, kill the yeast once the brew reaches the desired sweetness.
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    The Universe is a cruel, uncaring void. The key to being happy isn't a search for meaning. It's to just keep yourself busy with unimportant nonsense, and eventually, you'll be dead. -Mr Peanutbutter

  6. #21
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    Bugger! Now I'm going to have to drink it all early and start over rather than letting it mature .........

  7. #22
    Member ROKTOY's Avatar
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    what yeast did you use?
    Some aren't as strong as others and can die off earlier leaving a bit more residual sugar for sweetness. Alternatively as said above let the yeast do its thing, rack it off and settle it, then add honey to taste, with a small amount of Potassium Meta-bisulphate, (stops re ferment happening) at bottling

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotbarrels View Post
    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. Could be a good year.
    It could be, but with that much mead to drink, it probably won't really matter
    I used to have a handle on Life - but it broke.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ROKTOY View Post
    what yeast did you use?
    Some aren't as strong as others and can die off earlier leaving a bit more residual sugar for sweetness. Alternatively as said above let the yeast do its thing, rack it off and settle it, then add honey to taste, with a small amount of Potassium Meta-bisulphate, (stops re ferment happening) at bottling
    the chemical to stop fermentation is potassium sorbate. available at home brew shops and leaves no taste

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonetropo View Post
    the chemical to stop fermentation is potassium sorbate. available at home brew shops and leaves no taste
    Cheers guys for the advice. Ideally, I would like to find a honey content/yeast strain that will give me the desired amount of sweetness without having to add chemicals to kill the yeast. The main reason for brewing it is for cooking. It takes a venison or goat stew to a whole new level not previously tasted with red/white wine.

  11. #26
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    Im watching your progress on this hotbarrels, going to give Mead brewing a crack this year. Got a few kilos left over from last season that has crystallized a bit. Bit gritty for toast.
    Was a bit hard last season and i thought you were very ambitious with the predictions. I managed 30kgs p/hive.

    Its a great hobby to involve the kids with. My young fella (8) is getting one of my splits this year to have as his own. He's a good beekeeper already, kids are very quick at picking up the knowledge and skills.

    Almost lost a hive on Saturday morning and not to theft. No, some Muppet drove though the cockys fence where some hives are, just missed by a few metres. No WOF, tyres bald as fk and a dickhead to boot so I'm told.

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  12. #27
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    How much does it cost to get into small scale bee keeping?

    Do you find a swarm or buy them from someone?

    Sent from my GT-I9506 using Tapatalk

  13. #28
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    Bee keeping is not a cheap hobby to get started in.
    First and foremost, Join a club.
    From the club you will learn a vast array of skillls as well as its a great place to get started.
    Do a beginners course. These can be, and often are, run by clubs.
    PPE will cost you around $100-150.
    Equipment, hive tools frame holder, smoker etc $50 - 100 depending on what you get,size and quality.
    Hiveware and bee's. ONLY Buy from a registered keeper and if possible locally from a person who can also mentor you. Must Must must have an AFB check done before purchase.
    This will cost anywhere from $300 for a Nuc to $600 -700 for a 3/4 depth single box hive, with base mat roof.
    BUT, it doesn't stop there. As your colony grows you will need more gear.
    You will need to register yourself and your hive also.

    Hope this gives you a bit of a insight @Russian 22.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russian 22. View Post
    How much does it cost to get into small scale bee keeping?

    Do you find a swarm or buy them from someone?

    Sent from my GT-I9506 using Tapatalk
    Realistically, budget on $1k for gear and two nuc's. Buying two nuc's in the spring time is the best way to start. Having two hives allows you to compare the performance of one against the other maximising your learning, and having two hives gives you options if things go wrong.

    As Reindeer said, its not a cheap hobby, and your bees will die if not managed properly due to varroa. That said, we need bees, and the best way to continue having bees is for hobby bee keepers to be doing their part.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reindeer View Post
    i thought you were very ambitious with the predictions. I managed 30kgs p/hive.
    My predictions were very much tongue in cheek
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