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OldMech
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« on: August 05, 2013, 09:38:43 PM »


   I am registered on a couple other forums, and am looking for a "pleasant" place to reside. Life presents enough drama on its own, I really dont want to add to it on a forum, so am going to try this one and see how often the nasty replies pop up...  I am a new beekeeper with 5 hives, but plan on expanding dramatically in the next few years for honey and mead, not to mention I have found that I really enjoy tending to the hives I have.
   I guess you could say I am retired....
   I am/was! A mechanic, working for a Chevy dealership, truck shops and part owner of a performance shop for nearly 20 years..  My Wife has a masters degree in health and safety, and her job paid very nearly four times what mine did.. so she TOLD me, I needed to stay home, and make sure everything was taken care of so SHE did not have to worry about mowing the yard, taking care of the horses, chickens, bees etc etc when she got home or on the weekends...   HOW could I refuse???
   Currently, I still build performance engines, and restore chevy trucks as a hobby income, but we have started making mead (melomel) and the wife liked it so much that she has decided we need to expand dramatically and begin turning it into a business for something to do when she retires...   Sounds like a plan to me!!! So here I am!!! For better or worse, richer or poorer!
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39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.
Vance G
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2013, 11:16:40 PM »

Welcome sir!  I don't harbor any thoughts of mead making as a business or beekeeping either, but I really love both.  I have four batches currently working and am waiting for my basement/brewspace to cool a little to get serious.  My biggest problem is getting it all consumed.  I am just not that thirsty.  But, I don't want to be seen as a pusher either.  Maybe we can trade recipes.
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Joe D
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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2013, 12:40:43 AM »

Welcome to the forum, OldMech.  Have done some mech work myself.  Did and still do like the Chevy.  For a few years rebuilt jet helo engines.  I have 5 hives also, love just watching them.  I have tried making mead, I used to make wine.  Good luck to you and your bees.




Joe
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OldMech
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« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2013, 01:51:51 AM »

Thank you Gents..  Be happy to trade recipes... once I get them set in stone..    we tried a store bought straight mead,, and it very nearly turned us away from the stuff entirely.. I swear, when I popped the cork on that bottle.. my first thought was... 
       OLD WHISKERS CATFISH STINK BAIT!!!
   In that moment, dozens of summers of fishing came rushing back... so it wasnt an entirely unpleasant experience... until i forced myself to taste it...
    Fortunately.. the wife didnt smell it before SHE tasted it....
   The horrified look on her face still makes me giggle...

   We then had the opportunity to try some homemade peach melomel, and that went MUCH better.  Subsequent taste tests with store bought meads have not impressed me at all. Its not easy to find, and when you do, you have to wear a nose plug to attempt to swallow it.. The homemade meads I have tried were, one and all head and shoulders above the bottles we found in the stores.
 
   We have a connection with good friends who own blueberry fields in Maine, so were currently trying to perfect blueberry Melomel. The only drawback is the time it takes to create/test each recipe. Once we think we have something worthwhile, We will certainly share!
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39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.
tefer2
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« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2013, 08:07:33 AM »

Welcome to the forum.
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LindaL
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« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2013, 08:55:23 AM »

My daughters boyfriend has a little hobby he makes wine and hard cider.    When he heard i was getting bees he started looking for honey mead recipes.   I get emails from him from time to time asking how the girls are doing or sending me a new recipe he found online.   

I would love to hear about yours. 

Linda.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2013, 09:53:05 AM »

>I am registered on a couple other forums, and am looking for a "pleasant" place to reside.

Beemaster and his moderators work hard at keeping this a "pleasant" place.  Name calling is not tolerated here.  Disagreements are civil or else the uncivil ones are banned...  I think you will enjoy your stay.

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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
OldMech
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« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2013, 11:00:59 AM »

this is the basic recipe I started with, and modified (modifying?) to suit us;


   Start;

Yeast: Lalvin D47
Yeast Starter: 30 Mins with water and must
Batch Size (Gallons): 5 Gallons
Original Gravity: 1.13
Final Gravity: ??
Boiling Time (Minutes): none
Color: Blue/Purple
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 14 days @ 72
Additional Fermentation: as needed
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 120 days

5 lbs Frozen Blueberries
16 lbs Honey
5 tsp Yeast Nutrients
2 tsp Yeast Energizer
3/4 tsp Pectic Enzyme
5 Campden tablets
3 packets of Lalvin D47 Yeast

Mix 13 lbs of honey with about 1 gallon of water. Shake until your arms are tired. I use about a half a
gallon of hot water from the tap per half gallon of honey. Pour into fermentor and add one gallon of room
temp water. Add nutrients, energizer, pectic enzyme and crushed campden tables. Allow blueberries to
completely thaw and mash them with your hands to just crush or split the berries. Add the blueberries to
the must and cover for 24 hours.

Make a yeast starter with a cup of water and a cup of the must, around 84 degrees. Add the yeast and make
sure it is working. Pitch the yeast after 30 minutes and stir to suspend.

Be careful how much water you add at this point as the blueberries will rise to the top start to swell.
Not over 3/4 full in the fermentor. Cover with a towel or something that can breath. You need the O2 now.
Stir every day for 10-14 days. Rack off into secondary and top off to proper level. Put the Air-lock on
the secondary and rack about every 30 days for 4 months. Add 1 lb of honey for the next 3 rackings for a
sweeter mead. It should not be in the dry range but it is much better in the semi-sweet range, the yeast
should take this to about 14.5% ABV before it is overwhelemed.

You should have it clear and fermentation finished by around 4 months. Age as needed and I recommend bulk
aging this one.

END.


     I have used a different yeast. Lalvin EC-1118.. I like it because its fast and it has a higher tolerance for alcohol. I have seen people post that this yeast blows aroma and flavor out the airlock, and they dont like it.  I think they are right!!  which is why I use more blueberries and honey in the secondary. The advantage is that I went from 1.11 specific gravity to .996 in a week for primary fermentation. Secondary was less than a week, but were waiting the month to rack it again. A little time saved, compensated with more fruit and honey for secondary.
   About three lbs blueberries (Pureed) for secondary fermentation to return/add flavor.
   Less honey than the original recipe calls for.. shooting for FG of around 1.02 with a higher alcohol content allowed by the EC-1118. I will add/added the 1 lb honey only on the first two rackings, and depending on the SG will probably not add honey for final racking.

   Most reviews I read from this recipe said it was way too sweet..    I prefer sweet wine and mead, but not desert sweet.
   Peach Melomel using a similar recipe was outstanding! Wife loves it, I am not a big peach lover, but I agreed it was very good.
   Strawberry/Raspberry Melomel, also similar recipe was also very good, but the brewer stuck to the extra honey and it was like drinking berry candy with a faint alcohol aftertaste. I liked it, but after a few drinks it got to be too much sweet.
   I have had "wine connoisseur's" frown at me when I didnt like their wine.  I was told that I needed to refine my palate if I wanted to drink GOOD wine....  
  Well..  sorry.. but....    No!  I'll stick to drinking something that tastes good!
  I have found that making Wine/Mead is a lot like beekeeping.. There is no instruction written in stone.  Take it and run with it!
  
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OldMech
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« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2013, 11:04:05 AM »

>I am registered on a couple other forums, and am looking for a "pleasant" place to reside.

Beemaster and his moderators work hard at keeping this a "pleasant" place.  Name calling is not tolerated here.  Disagreements are civil or else the uncivil ones are banned...  I think you will enjoy your stay.



   That sounds good to me Sir..  I can enjoy a good disagreement, sometimes thats what it takes to get something through my thick head, I just dont want, or need the condescending nastyness I have seen in replies other places.. makes me glad I didnt post any of my stupid questions there. Smiley
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39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.
Joe D
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« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2013, 11:54:51 PM »

Yeap, I like my drinks a little on the sweet side also.  I don't like dry wines, etc.    Old Mech, you have been lost long enough, you need to find where you are.  HaHa  Add your town, area  or whatever.  Good luck to you.




Joe
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OldMech
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« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2013, 12:46:02 AM »

woops.. sorry, Changed!
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2013, 12:07:24 PM »

OldMech,
We like stupid questions. We have learned a lot from them.

About your Recipe, I am about to start to try making Meade.
I do not understand this part:
Mix 13 lbs of honey with about 1 gallon of water. Shake until your arms are tired. I use about a half a gallon of hot water from the tap per half gallon of honey.
Are you saying that you mix half of the mixture at a time.
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OldMech
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« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2013, 09:29:44 PM »

I believe the point of that is to get the honey thinned with the water so it mixes easier with the rest of the water/must with less separation. By mixing it in smaller batches you dont have to "shake" 6 gallons of must.. If you have a mixer for your drill you dont have to worry about how heavy it is.
   Like beekeeping, there are many ways you could do it and it will turn out fine, as long as it IS mixed well.
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JPinMO
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« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2013, 11:01:13 PM »

Welcome, OldMech! How long have you had your hives? If you're already making mead, I don't see how you can claim to be a new-bee!
 cheer
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GSF
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« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2013, 04:18:16 PM »

Welcome - a little late. 'preciate your posts.
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"Life is hard, It's even harder when you're stupid."

John Wayne
OldMech
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« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2013, 12:23:08 AM »

I have only had MY hives since this spring, but have been hanging out with the fellow I buy honey from to make mead for a few years. Assisting him with his hives, watching him graft and building nuc's / selling queens

   I bought two hives of carnies/mutts from him. I bought 4 packages from Pigeon Mountain, and I did a cutout of a feral hive to get the first bees.
  The four packages I bought from PM...  didn't impress me much. Italians which is fine, but they decided to ship them on the holiday weekend. I should have refused delivery. Two of the packages were half dead, and continued to decline rapidly after installed. A capture of a feral swarm in a swarm trap, then combining those two weak hives minus the queens to the feral ones resulted in a good strong colony..   I should have asked. I assumed that bees were shipped overnight, so was quite horrified to learn they would be sitting in the post office/trucks for 4 days. I wont make that mistake again.

  I should have done this ten years ago.. the biggest problem with it is, it doesn't keep me busy enough. So next spring were increasing the hive count with local nuc's and I will be setting out swarm traps in locations I know contain feral hives to try to catch those early swarms. I'll be doing Artificial swarms when my current bees decide its time.
    So... I am on a crash course to better beekeeping...    it drives me nuts not to be able to do more with them...  Beekeeping and making Mead/Melomel are both hobbies that require a lot of waiting, but I figure if I have enough of them, that I'll be happy for the break between inspections so I can drink Mead and watch them through my spotting scope while sitting comfortably in the AC.
  I mentioned getting a camera with a zoom to mount out in the bee yard....  Wife thought I was joking and laughed Sad

   I felt... that I knew quite a bit from helping do inspections etc, but have found that my impressive knowledge was not as impressive as I thought. Just don't tell my wife I said that. Shes been telling me that for nearly 26 years.
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39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.
GSF
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« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2013, 09:38:44 AM »

Hey ol mech,

You mentioned using a camera during your inspections. For me it is a tool that is so helpful. I download the pictures to my computer and sit for hours trying to look at every cell. I visually missed the queen last inspection but saw her on a picture.

This has shown me that once again it is necessary for me to break out the Nikon D80 Manuel and DVD. It's a wonderful camera but it's no better than the operator.
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"Life is hard, It's even harder when you're stupid."

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OldMech
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« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2013, 09:48:32 AM »

That Idea has considerable Merit GSF. Side by side comparisons from one inspection to the next are what came instantly to my mind. Instantly see how much they grew, or didn't. Look more closely at larvae and bees as well as finding the queen.
   Our digital camera vanished last winter when we moved to our new house... THIS house, and has not re appeared. I'll have to stop giving her a hard time about buying a new one.. in fact.. I can probably volunteer to go do that!     evil
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39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.
GSF
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« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2013, 11:49:16 AM »

Be sure it has the cables/ability to download on a computer. I don't know if all of them are able.
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OldMech
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« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2013, 10:59:40 PM »


  I will make sure of that..    My biggest problem with them is figuring them out. So many fancy gizmos on them...  I want a camera like my phone.. simple.
   When I went to get the phone, the guy behind the counter asked if I wanted internet, or some  music adapter thingy, along with several other options...  I told him, I want a phone, that RINGS, and I can HEAR the other person talking, and they need to be able to hear me. Oh, and I wanted it to get reception when I am down on the river...
......
  He looked at me like he was startled, and blinked a lot, then scratched his head.. and eventually, he had to ORDER a phone, because all they had were the fancy ones with apps on them...  I asked if he could just scrape, peel, or wash the apps off so I could have one that was simple...  My wife got hysterical about that point...
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39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.
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