It is high time I got my next serious 5 gallon batch started. I was in the mood for a nice red melomel so here is what I came up with:
10lb orange blossom honey
1lb red and purple hibiscus flowers (Rose of Sharon hibiscus to be more exact from my own trees)
3.3lb raspberry purée
3tsp pectic enzyme
5tsp yeast nutrient
2.5tsp yeast energizer
5 camden tablets
Yeast (Lalvin RC-212)
I mixed up the honey cold with the water and mixed/aerated well. Added the raspberry and other powdered ingredients and mixed/aerated well again. All the flowers I have been picking myself. Ok now side story:
So the last two nights I have been going out to my trees and picking all the flowers that have closed up after freshly blooming that day. I made sure to pluck the flower and remove the green bulb at the ends so I just have the petals and the stamen with all the pollen. I placed them in ziplock bags and froze them. Today I came home from work needing to get one more batch of flowers before I made up the must and just out of curiosity I looked at my Rose of Sharon trees and they were SWARMED with bees. OMG Bees EVERYWHERE! So after some slow and careful inspecting I found a small swarm has set up shop right in the middle deep in between the trees. There was just this mass of bees all huddles around there queen I assume and tons of bees in the air. Here is a pic:
Now at the time I thought I was doomed to wait till the swarm went away. But as the Sun started to set they all calmed down and that is when I took this pic. Then a bright idea hit me. I was going to start bee keeping this year but due to a number of things I was not able to get everything ready in time to allow the local apiary to install a bee colony in my hive. So since I had a spare hive I thought what they hell lets see what happens. I posted my hive on some saw horses right in front of the swarm. They may not take it and even if they do it is so late in the season I don't know if the colony can get big enough to survive the winter. Worst case scenario I hope the queen takes to the hive and I will just tape it all up and relocate the bees out of the city on some of my families Indian land. So needles to say since the bees calmed down I was able to carefully pick the remaining flowers I needed and get to brewing. Now back to the brew!
The flowers went into a fine nylon straining bag and in they went into the must. I have the yeast in a small starter going and will pitch that tomorrow. Before pitching the yeast i will remove the flowers and squeeze the juices out also topping up with additional water if needed. Till then the flowers will just cold steep in the must and the crushed Camden should keep any wild yeasts and bacteria from taking hold. Only other thing I am holding off on is the pectic enzyme to pitch tomorrow morning and 1.5tsp of energizer which I will pitch a couple days after pitching yeast. The original gravity is at 1.074. I also plan to back sweeten with another couple pounds of orange blossom honey after fermentation ends and I stabilize the mead.
Thoughts? Concerns? Think I will have a hive of bees this year? ...