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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > "Whole hive" mead
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:50 AM   #11
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How long did you wait to bottle? What do you think causes the cloudiness?


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Old 01-14-2015, 05:31 PM   #12
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"there is some evidence to suggest that bee pollen (as opposed to plant pollen - which is the pollen before it is collected by the bees) is more nutritious."

We need to be careful with the distinction between these two things. From what I've seen where I live, and believe is probably common throughout north america, beekeepers collect pollen by using a small hive entrance holes that scrape it off the bee legs as they enter the hive. This pollen is unprocessed by the bees. I've never seen anything but balled up "plant pollen" sold as "bee pollen" by beekeepers and health food stores, and I've never attempted to harvest anything else myself.

Once the bees get pollen into the hive, they do process and transform it for long term storage with lactic acid fermentation. We generally refer to this substance as "bee bread". It's a much more stable product and the nutrients are possibly more bio-available for humans. I have seen references in European bee manuals on how the harvest this substance to sell as a hive product, but am not sure if it is overly common.

Comb that's had nothing but honey in it, and comb that's had brood in it are very different. You can see the contrast between the two areas on this comb. Brood comb tends to have less and less wax the older it is and gain more propolis and bee cocoons. I'd never put larvae in a mead, my baby bees are much more valuable to me in the hive. I have melted down brood comb in water, and used that water in a mead recipes. The water and final mead were made very dark by the brood comb. It imparted a very distinct flavour. My partner thought the taste of the must was unpalatable, but I found it interesting. The taste mellowed a fair bit after fermenting and waiting a few months. At that point my partner didn't mind drinking it, and I still thought it was interesting in a reasonably good way.

I hope to try pollen as the sole nutrient in my next mead.


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Old 01-14-2015, 07:27 PM   #13
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When you are in the hive trimming out drone comb or have a broken comb with some brood in it save that for a whole hive mead. You can actually just eat the drone brood, its like condensed milk. I think the brood adds some nitrogen for the yeast, certainly the old brood comb does. Maybe you get a cutout with a lot of comb, you could crush and drain it or just use it as is in the must. I think the ones we made with brood comb have a lot more taste than the ones with just honeycomb. WVMJ
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Old 01-15-2015, 03:00 AM   #14
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I've been interested in attempting an approximation of "whole hive" mead ever since I read that book as well; I've dragged my feet since the cost of stuff like royal jelly is pretty off-putting, but I'm excited to see that it turned out well for someone else. IIRC this stuff would originally be made with heather honey - does anyone know where I might get some of that? I suppose I could always hunt for it in Scotland, I'm planning a trip back there this summer.
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Old 01-15-2015, 07:48 AM   #15
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Easiest way to make this style is to find your local beekeepers, there is a group of them just about everywhere. Since a hive changes over the season trying to put together a whole hive kit by readding each individual ingredient is a little difficult. One thing missing from a lot of peoples whole hive mead is bee bread and larva in brood comb. Just mashing up some honeycomb isnt the same thing as a whole hive mead either. You need the grit and grime of the brood chamber to give it some character. WVMJ
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Old 01-15-2015, 08:54 PM   #16
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Now, how do we get a bunch of bees to sting the carboy before we pitch the yeast?

LOL.

For the bee keepers, is there ever a time you have to trim the brood combs to either cull the swarm or to stop it from growing too big for the hive? The GF and I are 'this' close to buying hives and putting them out on some friend's land. Mostly for mead and honey for my coffee.
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Old 01-16-2015, 07:17 AM   #17
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The idea of whole hive mead is most likely pretty new (age). In the old days mead was made with crushed and strained honey and the water used to wash the comb. The wax was and still is too valuable to put into a brew. Some bees going in was unavoidable. The young bees are called nurse bees. They produce the royal jelly used to feed the other bees. All worker bees get some royal jelly as food. Nurse bees also produce what is called bee milk. Some nurse bees would give you venom also. The amounts of royal jelly and venom would be minuscule. The amounts of royal jelly in the recipe are way out of proportion to what is available in the hive. You can scrape the propolis off the sides of most hive boxes pretty easily. Adding beebread would be very easy. Adding bee larvae would very easy. Mostly commercial beekeepers and misguided hobby beekeepers remove drone brood. We have a wild and nasty yeast bloom in late summer in the Columbia basin. It makes the honey taste like cat pee. Be careful what you put into something you want to drink.
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Old 01-16-2015, 09:11 AM   #18
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I got some nasty tasting honey on purpose very cheap last year to see if boiling it like they did way back when would make it good for mead. It stunk up the house as the odours came rolling off and turned an off tasting honey into a generic tasting must. I wonder if your cat pee honey could simply bee cooked a bit to make it at least a generic tasting must for making spiced meads etc. WVMJ
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Old 01-16-2015, 04:38 PM   #19
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I would like to use about 6# of that late season cat pee honey in something. I just don't know what I am doing . Very new to mead making. I know a lot more about beekeeping than brewing. But the idea of using whole hive ingredients does have some appeal to me. Just thinking that the proportions are way off from the actual components found in a bee hive.
At the risk of hijacking this thread, got any ideas? I have access to lots of brood and hive products during the year. A bochet? We have junipers growing near. Mint in the garden. Hyssop?
A very interesting thread, thanks


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