Mead?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by buzzboy, Jan 12, 2007.

  1. buzzboy

    buzzboy Well-Known Member

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    Hey...I am a new-ish beekeeper and am upping my hive nunmbers this year and hopefully every year thereafter!
    I want to know if any of you make mead from your own hives.I make many melomels from honey that I get from my bee-mentor and will use my own this next season.I have not been brave enough to make a straight mead but I would like to know what your experiences with it are.Also what is the deal with selling it?I suppose that the laws vary from state to state.Thanks.
    Peace.
     
  2. ace admirer

    ace admirer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    i made a few cases of it a few years ago. best made in the fall. its a cool temp. wine. i got the basic kit from brushy mountain or one of the other bee suppliers, but then just ordered supplies from wine suppliers. it can finish off pretty strong, around 15% alch. strong enough that it climbs the class like brandy. needs about 5 years to mellow in taste and has to be kept cool at all times. selling,,,,well i guess that would depend on your local and state laws...health codes stuff like that...its pretty tough to sell here in virginia...we kinda have a history of abusing the sale of homemade here and the feds seem to take it kinda seriously.
     

  3. buzzboy

    buzzboy Well-Known Member

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    Too bad...but thanks for the tip.Many books say 2 years, one year...it's pretty much all over the board.
    Looking forward to that taste. but I supposse I could wait five years(better get started though!)
    peace
     
  4. ace admirer

    ace admirer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    don't get me wrong,,,i try it before bottling,(pretty harsh), at one year and then i would consider sharing it with friends at two years(bottling age),,,so i agree with that...but let me tell you. it gets better with five years. it does not travel well as i think the aging has to alot to do with sediment setteling to the bottom of the bottle. if you distrub the sediment, i think (?) the hard taste could return. i,m sure that there are some chemicals or processes that could alleviate this, but i,m not into that much technique for wine making.

    i usually let it set in 5 gallon decanters for one year before bottlening.

    listen i think you should try it,,,so your kids can tell their kids that there was a bootleger in the family,,,if not for anyother reason.
     
  5. buzzboy

    buzzboy Well-Known Member

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    I feel the same way...though I never met the bootleggers in my family(doubt my father did either...but it is his story!) I REALLY like the image.
    Yeah...I taste all my wine before I bottle it...in fact I'm sampling a cherry wine I made right now(not much left to bottle!)
    As for chemicals and technique?I just play it by ear..or tounge.
    You are right...I find disturbing the sediment can be a taste killer.
    Was your mead made with honey from your own hives?
     
  6. ace admirer

    ace admirer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes, my honey, i wash the cappings, any comb cuttings or mishaps along with the washdown water from the centifuge. strain that, run a specific gravity and adjust with pure honey to get the beginning sugar content...i like the mead to finish just on the sweet side. wished i knew more of wines....afraid that i made mead like a high school chemistry lab....just follow instructions closely. honey really is a wonderful product. there is just about no waste if you want to process everything. i think the smell of bees' wax candles is just about the best of worlds.
     
  7. buzzboy

    buzzboy Well-Known Member

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    OH MAN....you are dead on! I can smell that smell just by reading what you typed!
    Thanks again, and be well.
     
  8. jennigrey

    jennigrey Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't have bees yet, so I don't frequent this forum, but I saw this thread title from the HT forum menu page and had to read it. Just wanted to add that there is indeed something that can be done for the sediment - for one thing, when you bottle up your mead, use a siphon and pull the clear mead off the top of your fermenting container, rather than allowing the siphon to draw from the bottom (where the sediment is resting). The last bit at the bottom will be wasted, but it's better than having several bottles of mead with "stuff" in it. Leaving the "stuff" in does change the flavor, both over time and straight away if you get the "stuff" in a mouthful of drink.

    You can also add a type of clay that will bind with the particulates in the mead, making it heavier and causing it to fall to the bottom of the fermenting container sooner rather than later. Adding the clay doesn't change the flavor.

    Mmmm.... mead!
     
  9. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    We (well, mostly FIL) did our first batch of straight mead this past February. It was bottled in September and tastes wonderful. Brought a bottle to a friends whose wife is an oeneophile and works as a sales rep for a wine distributor. She - and everybody else - loved it.

    It's a fairly dry mead. Runs about 12% alcohol. One thing my friends wife said is that letting it breath helps a bit.

    We also did a "black mead" that had currants and blackberries in it as well as honey.

    I have two carboys ready to go for our next few batches.

    We are making the mead from "excess" honey that crystallized and we couldn't sell (at full price) and which was more than we could use ourselves.

    If we find we can consistantly produce a high quality mead we may look into what is required licensing wise to sell it. I think it could be a nice value-add for us.

    Mike
     
  10. ace admirer

    ace admirer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I know i'm getting long winded on this post...but on the crystalized honey,,,,for some crazy reason i like crystalized better than liquid. i like the texture. purchase it in the jar when i see it at stands.

    i think good and fairly consistant mead could be at least a nitch market success. Who knows what could happen with a quality product, even sell bees wax candles to go along with the mead, hmmm wished i was 30 years younger...i could use this stuff to set a mood.
     
  11. buzzboy

    buzzboy Well-Known Member

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    I like it on the dry side myself.In fact all of the melomels that I've conjured have been dry, and my favorite homebrew so far has been a VERY dry cyser that I made last year...hard to recreate I'm finding(lost the exact recipe!).
    I only use local honey in my wines, purchased and worked for from my bee mentor...but I 've got this feeling that I need to make my first straight mead from honey made by my own girls.
    Maybe we need a home wine and brew forum on here! :hobbyhors
     
  12. SeptemberWolf

    SeptemberWolf Well-Known Member

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    Hi. I don't have bees but I would like to know how you make your mead - don't want to highjack the thread; you could PM me. TY! I think it's too cold for overwintering bees where I am. I usually buy raw honey from the co-op.