hi, newbie from NZ

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tweake

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hi all

i'm from downunder and just started trying to make mead.
i have a lot of cooked/burnt honey to get rid of so i thought i might as well try brewing it (i see the Medieval Burnt mead thread so i'm hopeful). was following the basic mead recipe but found SG was really low. had to add a fair bit more honey in to get to target SG.
using lalvin EC1118 which i hope will be reliable enough to handle my inaccuracies ;)

just a little unsure on how long before putting in the next lot of Nutrients (Tronozymol). i've measured it out for 3 stages. is it best to use G as a guide or time?
 

biochemedic

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Cool to see brewers from all over the world on the board! Welcome...

I wonder why your gravity was low, and what specifically you mean...how much honey per gallon did you use, and what were your readings? Could you have had funny readings because of incomplete mixing?

Regardless of what your gravity really is, I'm pretty sure that yeast will handle it...I've not actually used it myself, but my understanding is that it will ferment a rock if left in contact with it long enough :p

The technical answer to your last question is yes, you should use gravity to target staggered nutrient additions, but personally, I put my initial nutrient in the must before pitching, then add the second amount about 24 hrs later (after active fermentation gets really started), then the next amount a day or two later. My approach is due to a combination of laziness and lack of time, but it seems to work well for me...

I'm not terribly familiar with the nutrient you mentioned, but due to the magic of the internet, I found the basic ingredients (in an rather unlikely wiki page). It seems to be a good phosphate and vitamin/micronutrient source.

BTW, I always thought 'down under' referred to only Australia...didn't realize it could be you Kiwis too!
 
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tweake

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i hope i was reading the hydrometer right !

put 14lbs into 4 gal, G was around 1.070. put around another 4-6lb in to get it to 1.090-1.095. could simply be the scales are crap.
 

fatbloke

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-----%<-----

BTW, I always thought 'down under' referred to only Australia...didn't realize it could be you Kiwis too!
That's because you've lived a life too sheltered by Uncle Sam and his media haemorrhoids..... ;)
i hope i was reading the hydrometer right !

put 14lbs into 4 gal, G was around 1.070. put around another 4-6lb in to get it to 1.090-1.095. could simply be the scales are crap.
You may need to define the "gallons" tweake, a lot of the forums are US based and they automatically take "galllon" as 3.78 litres/US gallon, rather than the one that was "originally invented" by us i.e. the imperial gallon/4.55 litres.

With "normal" honey, I'd originally use between 3 and 3.5lb per imp gallon, but these days I follow the hydrometer readings.

EC-1118 is a yeast I used when I first started as that's what was advised by the local HBS. The problem I find with it, is that it's prone to blowing a lot of aroma (and seemingly flavour) straight out the airlock (these days I tend to keep a stock of K1V-1116 and D21 - the K1V will probably be easier to get and does good things with honey........)

You'll also probably find that because it's such a vicious ferment, it will ferment your mead dry - oh, and if you take another look around the bazaars, at staggered nutrient addition, it seems that the majority will use 2 stages (unless you're talking those mad as hell vvv high gravity/honey Polish meads) i.e. they'll rehydrate the yeast with GoFerm (a nutrient specifically designed for rehydration), then after the pitch, they'll wait until there's definite fermentation activity, indicating that the "lag phase" has finished, then pitch the first part of the nutrient, ferment to the 1/3rd sugar break and add the rest of the nutrient calculation.

Then, if it seems that the ferment slows down too much, people won't add nutrient/energiser mixes as after the 1/3 to 1/2 sugar breaks, the yeast doesn't assimilate inorganic nitrogen, so they use yeast hulls or even just a teaspoon of bread yeast that's been boiled in a little water and cooled (that's what I do - UK doesn't have quite the range of materials that the US has).

I'd guess that you'd be wanting to keep an eye on your gravity readings, and make the nutrient (I'll stick to that term as tronozymol is a "complete" nutrient with nutrient and energiser/DAP) additions after pitch, then 1/4 and 1/2 sugar breaks if you want to specifically do the SNA in 3 stages.....

I'd think that the burnt and normal honey mix should give you an approximation of a Bochet mead.

Of course, you might find that you'll have to back sweeten though as the yeast should ferment dry and you might experience an "alcohol hot" type taste - which isn't a problem, it just needs to be either aged out of the brew or covered/masked with back sweetening and possibly a little bit of acid addition at the end....

Good on yer for making use of what might seem to be "waste". A Bochet is something I haven't tried yet, but is definitely on my "to do" list.

regards

fatbloke

p.s. Your in NZ, so if it really did turn out crap, you can always just distil it and then just mix it with half a pack of oak chips and store it for a 12 month. He he! Honey Brandy :D

p.p.s I've got tronozymol here as well, but I've moved over to using the Lalvin nutrients (GoFerm and FermaidK) and DAP (di-ammonium phosphate) because Lalvin/Lallemand provide extensive data and it make working out nutrient requirements so much easier - yes I do have to mail order it from the US, but find it's worth the effort.....
 

RedCabbage

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I think that the FAQ answer to nutrient pitching is along the lines of:

50% when pitching yeast
30% 24 hours later
20% once the gravity is half way between start and target (so about 1.040 for you)

I use Tronzymol as well and I'm extremely unscientific about it. I pick a quantity between 1 and 3 teaspoons per gallon and work out the percentages from that. I daresay the yeasties aren't really all that bothered about what's for dinner as long as they are fed. Maybe I'll try the Lalvin route one day and do it properly.
 

fatbloke

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I think that the FAQ answer to nutrient pitching is along the lines of:

50% when pitching yeast
30% 24 hours later
20% once the gravity is half way between start and target (so about 1.040 for you)

I use Tronzymol as well and I'm extremely unscientific about it. I pick a quantity between 1 and 3 teaspoons per gallon and work out the percentages from that. I daresay the yeasties aren't really all that bothered about what's for dinner as long as they are fed. Maybe I'll try the Lalvin route one day and do it properly.
Couldn't find anything at the FAQ about SNA.

The reason, apparently, that Lalvin suggest not adding yeast nutrient until after the lag phase has something to do with yeast cell development - there's some stuff on the net that explains the difference between a rehydration nutrient and a "normal" yeast nutrient like FermaidK (and no, I haven't found anywhere in the UK that sell either of them, I get them mail ordered from Nashwood winery on ebay. Works out dearer but I reckon it's worth it to increase the level of control over nutrient addition - and a mate in Oklahoma sends me pure DAP - so I work out the total dosage, then split it, half after lag phase then the rest at 1/3rd sugar break - oh and I aerate daily down to the 1/3rd sugar break as well).

Bit late to go digging round to read the tronozymol box, but memory says it's about the 1tsp per gallon. As I mentioned before (I think) I don't add inorganic nutrients after the 1/3rd break, so I just boil up a teaspoon of bread yeast in 50 to 100 mls of water, let it cool and add that......

seems to do the job.....

regards

fatbloke

p.s. Oh and for accuracy in measurement, you'll need a set of druggies scales, there's a place in Worthing that sells them for about a tenner, tweake would have to look locally....
 
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tweake

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i took a peak at the brew this morning and its away nicely. the shed now smells like yeast.
yes i did account for it being US gallons. i have to convert to KG anyway.
at the moment this one is just a test run. its throw away honey and using borrowed gear. looking to make it fairly dry anyway. if it turns completely to crap, a mate has a still (makes spirits) and will just take the alcohol out and add whatever flavour. got some oak chips so might throw that in and see what it comes out like.
main thing i want to do is just get the brewing side complete before forking out the $$$ for gear. fortunately i know a few wine makers and its very interesting talking to them which helps getting the head around all the different ideas.
 

fatbloke

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i took a peak at the brew this morning and its away nicely. the shed now smells like yeast.
yes i did account for it being US gallons. i have to convert to KG anyway.
at the moment this one is just a test run. its throw away honey and using borrowed gear. looking to make it fairly dry anyway. if it turns completely to crap, a mate has a still (makes spirits) and will just take the alcohol out and add whatever flavour. got some oak chips so might throw that in and see what it comes out like.
main thing i want to do is just get the brewing side complete before forking out the $$$ for gear. fortunately i know a few wine makers and its very interesting talking to them which helps getting the head around all the different ideas.
ha ha! that's brilliant tweake. Got most angles covered there.

I'd suggest that you don't just bin it or distil it when it's finished etc though, because often meads taste hideous when "young". My first one was made from the "CJJJJJJJJJJJJJ" recipe in "first steps", when it was young, it was bloody horrible, but luckily I just cleared it and then left it bulk ageing in the DJ.

12 months later, it was never gonna be an award winner, but it wasn't half bad either..... I was pleased as punch, cos it taught me the value of patience and ageing, when it comes to meads...... and that was made with crap supermarket honey, cheapo yeast (a wine yeast that I certainly wouldn't use now) etc etc.....

So it is worth the patience.....

Excellent.....

regards

fatbloke

p.s. Ha! got some nice tasting NZ honey to make a gallon with at the moment - I think it Rewara (can't remember how it's spelled) honey. Quite dark and reasonably strong tasting....
 
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tweake

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Rewarewa honey, malty tasting and dark redish in colour. absolutely delicious honey, pity we don't get much of it around here.

don't know about manuka, i've got some commercial manuka mead here to try. tell ya tomorrow what its like ;). manuka honey is to expensive to waste. far far cheaper to use dark bush honey then back sweeten with manuka. also just because they say its manuka doesn't necessary mean its manuka. unfortunately most people sell kanuka (manukas brother) as manuka. pollen is the same and most people can't tell the difference between the two.
good straight kanuka has a bit more of a bite to it than manuka but because of the different flowing time, kanuka tends to get a lot of general bush honey with it.

checked the brew again this morning, it smells really nice already. gave it a bit of a shake to degass a bit while i was at it. might just go give it another degas while i think about it.
 
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tweake

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i couldn't wait.
i cracked open the commercial manuka mead i have here.

well i'm seriously disappointed. as LightningInABottle said.....blehhhh!
first off i was being greeted by the yeasty aroma, which i think is poor for a commercial product, and was far to sweet even for a sweet tooth like me. to top it off it really didn't taste anything like manuka and had a very turpentine after taste to it.
it could simply be its very young. might have to leave it a few years to age.
 

fatbloke

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Rewarewa honey, malty tasting and dark redish in colour. absolutely delicious honey, pity we don't get much of it around here.
Yeah, that's the stuff. Someone must be producing it in quantity, because I get mine from here and he gets it in bulk
don't know about manuka, i've got some commercial manuka mead here to try. tell ya tomorrow what its like ;). manuka honey is to expensive to waste. far far cheaper to use dark bush honey then back sweeten with manuka. also just because they say its manuka doesn't necessary mean its manuka. unfortunately most people sell kanuka (manukas brother) as manuka. pollen is the same and most people can't tell the difference between the two.
good straight kanuka has a bit more of a bite to it than manuka but because of the different flowing time, kanuka tends to get a lot of general bush honey with it.
Always shied away from Manuka, because of it's alleged "magical properties", some of it costs a bloody fortune. I'd guess that Paynes must have it tested to confirm that they're selling the genuine article (probably required under EU regs for agri imports anyway). Still I'm buggered if they think I'll pay those kind of prices - hell I'd rather pay top dollar for mad ****, like the "Killer Bee Honey" that Beefolks in the US list (top dollar, mainly because it would have to be 5 gallons to make it worth the shipping costs).
checked the brew again this morning, it smells really nice already. gave it a bit of a shake to degass a bit while i was at it. might just go give it another degas while i think about it.
Sounds like it's progressing well.

Sorry to read that the commercial Manuka turned out hideous. Shame really. Though having tasted some commercial meads here, it's as if they think that because it's made with honey, it must be sweet as hell. As for the turpentine thing, would you have thought that was actually like a turps/white spirit kind of taste, or could it have been more medicinal, in a "mouth wash" kind of way ? Because if you get a copy of the brilliant Ken Schramm's book "The Compleat Meadmaker", he alludes to it as "Listerine". This is what's sometimes described as "Alcohol hot" tasting.

Meads that are made with a high(er) alcohol content can come out like that and need a year plus of ageing for them to mellow. Hence I'm wondering if it's a problem with the mead makers trying to produce it too quickly etc and not correcting any probs/issues with it prior to bottling/sale....

Or whether the Manuka honey can have problems itself, a bit like some of the Aussie Eucalyptus honey sometimes has (don't like it as mead, but it's lovely on hot buttered toast)......

regards

fatbloke

p.s. Oh and HNY, the satelite news showed the celebrations kicking off in Auckland.... :cross::tank::D
 
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tweake

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while we don't get the Rewarewa here, down south they get plenty of it.
a problem we get here is Manuka is so heavily marketed that other excellent honeys don't get much attention.
i'm hoping to have some avocado honey this year.

i shall see if i can rebottle the commercial mead and store it for a year or so and see what its like. it certainly gives manuka a bad name tasting like that.
at least it gives me a perfect example of what NOT to make ;)

hope you all have had or having a good new years :)
 
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tweake

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done another degass. while i was at it i thought i might just see what the G was. its ~1.045-1.050 already!, so put the last of the nutrient in.
tried a different method of degass, instead of stirring use a jug, fill it up and tip it back in. foam cleared up a lot quicker.

is that speed about right for ec1118 yeast?
 

fatbloke

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done another degass. while i was at it i thought i might just see what the G was. its ~1.045-1.050 already!, so put the last of the nutrient in.
tried a different method of degass, instead of stirring use a jug, fill it up and tip it back in. foam cleared up a lot quicker.

is that speed about right for ec1118 yeast?
EC-1118 can be quite a fast fermenter, well Lalvin certainly list it as such......

If you've hit it with the last of the nutrient, I'd leave it be to finish now. Plus you've also spotted that it's usually better to aerate the batch before adding the nutrient (especially doing staggered nutrient additions), because it removes a lot of the CO2 that might cause an eruption if you added the nutrient before degassing/aerating....

Just remember, don't expect it to taste brilliant once it's finished. EC-1118 being an 18% ABV champagne yeast should ferment it dry. So apart from the usual tasks of clearing etc, it's probably gonna need a good while to age.

regards

fatbloke

p.s. Oh and here's a handy link, well for Lalvin yeasts anyway. It shows, basically, why a lot of people use the Lalvin/Lallemand yeasts..... because out of all the producers, they do seem to publish more data about their products than anyone else, making it easier to work out which might be best, how much nitrogen is needed etc etc etc...... (and yes, I also have to mail order a lot of them, as here in UK, I only normally find a basic range of the "usual suspects")......
 
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tweake

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cheers for that :)
i'm not fussed about the taste at all. just trying to get a handle on how everything works.
 
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tweake

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to add,
one thing i have yet to work out is what influence the yeast have on taste, especially the EVC and esters.
 

fatbloke

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to add,
one thing i have yet to work out is what influence the yeast have on taste, especially the EVC and esters.
ah, well that's not easy to explain either.

It's the sort of thing that you'd need to do a test on i.e. 3 batches - identical, but 3 different yeasts (to show different effects), managed and fermented the same then taking a taste etc....

If you read Ken Schramms book "The Compleat Meadmaker", I seem to recall that he has a section that explains some of the differences.

Me, I'd say that after the taste of the honey, the type of yeast is next to have an effect on how it's gonna taste.

For info, I'll happily try lots of different yeasts, but I do like Lalvins D21 and K1V-1116 (the K1V has been described a number of times as "the Swiss Army Knife" of yeasts).

regards

fatbloke
 
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tweake

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thanks for that. looks like i;m going have to hunt around to see whats available here.
any experience with Vintner's Harvest yeast ?

g is now ~1.005 this might be ready for secondary before the weekend. crikey i'm going to have to find something to put it in quick.
 
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tweake

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well i have racked it.
had a quick taste, it fairly tasteless considering its a strong tasting honey thats been burnt. no bad turps taste which is good but its stil not all that good to drink. so it can sit for a few months.
 
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:off: I want to go to NZ....

My folks spent some time there - glow worms in the caves while white water rafting; fishing; etc....

Sounds like my type of place. :mug:
 

fatbloke

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well i have racked it.
had a quick taste, it fairly tasteless considering its a strong tasting honey thats been burnt. no bad turps taste which is good but its stil not all that good to drink. so it can sit for a few months.
Step in the right direction then, if there's no "off flavours".

As for sitting for a "few months" ? You might well be lucky, but I age my meads for at least a year. You'll be amazed on the changes that time/ageing can make.

Yes, stronger tasting honey often does make stronger tasting mead, but nothing is guaranteed. I've not used any of the Vintners harvest yeasts, but I've read about some of them. It does seem that some of them are the same or similar strains of yeast that other manufacturers have isolated.

As I pointed out before, EC-1118 is a good yeast, but it can often give a bland "champagne like" taste (it is a champagne yeast after all). Which is why I don't just use it as a matter of course, I much prefer K1V-1116, it does seem to do nicer things with a honey must. It certainly ages very well IMO.
 
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tweake

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shall see what its like as it progresses.
at least its settling down nicely. have a couple of them with different amounts of oak in them, just to see what the effect is.

have 2nd batch down. this time using vintners harvest SN9 which they recommend for mead. interestingly they list it as a red wine yeast. its a little bit different as its pitched to the must directly. it also comes with its own little bit of nutrient in the packet.
 
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tweake

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update: first batch is settling down nicely. bubbles have completely stopped. headspace has increased somewhat, some containers more than others. that surprised me a bit.
need to organise some gear for 2nd racking.

2nd batch. the SN9 is going steady but certainly far slower then the EC-1118. its about 1/3 mark now and just added last lot of nutrient. however used a cheaper mix of dap etc and had a whole heap more foam. good thing i degassed before putting it in !
 
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tweake

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Taste test.

had a quick sample of the first batch. its split into a few jars, i have one with oak and another with double oak. little oak is fairly raw but no nasty after taste. heavy oak tastes like bourbon but has a nice honey after taste to it.
proper carboys are on order so all the jars can go into one and water down the oaking.

so far i'm happy, crap honey with quick yeast and its not nasty.
can't wait till the 2nd batch is finished so i can compare the difference the yeast make.
 

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Hi Tweake, I jumped over here from the Mead post I did where you posted this link. I actually remember looking at this at one point. Hows the mead now 3 months later?
 
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tweake

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more like 2 weeks later. it tasted as written in the post above :)
 
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tweake

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small update: carboys arrived (better bottles) so 1st batch has been racked into one.
2nd batch has almost finished fermenting so most likely this weekends job.

can't wait to compare the two and see what differences the yeast makes.
 
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tweake

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update: racked again. added campden tablets and sorbate. was in a bit of a rush so after racking the other mead and cleaning things up i back sweetened with ~250g of clover. bit of trouble getting accurate reading with hydrometer but it looks to be within range and doesn't taste sweet.
a little worried it would fire back up due to short length of time between stabilizing and adding honey. but so far no bubbles (nothing on the surface of carboy) so looks like yeast is stopped.
will have to bottle that one soon to make room for the cyser. fingers crossed it doesn't start back up in the bottles!

taste: its a bit blah :( see what its like in a year. color, black as the ace of spades ;)

the 2nd batch has been racked as well and looks like ferment has finished. haven't tried it yet but it smells nicer.
 

fatbloke

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update: racked again. added campden tablets and sorbate. was in a bit of a rush so after racking the other mead and cleaning things up i back sweetened with ~250g of clover. bit of trouble getting accurate reading with hydrometer but it looks to be within range and doesn't taste sweet.
a little worried it would fire back up due to short length of time between stabilizing and adding honey. but so far no bubbles (nothing on the surface of carboy) so looks like yeast is stopped.
will have to bottle that one soon to make room for the cyser. fingers crossed it doesn't start back up in the bottles!

taste: its a bit blah :( see what its like in a year. color, black as the ace of spades ;)

the 2nd batch has been racked as well and looks like ferment has finished. haven't tried it yet but it smells nicer.
Often hard to get over to someone who's recently started making meads tweake, just how "bleargh" they can taste when freshly made. Though I suspect you'll be pleased (and maybe amazed) just how much of a change that ageing brings.

I'd suggest that, if possible, once bottled, you keep them somewhere cool. Don't forget, those places in France with wine vaults/cellars manage to maintain a consistent mid 50's F (what's that ? about 10 to 15 C)....

Me ? I don't bottle anything if I don't have to as I prefer to bulk age my meads......

regards

fatbloke
 
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tweake

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sounds good :)
its my testing batch so i'm not to worried about it. just want to test that the stabilizing worked and don't end up with bottle bombs. i'm happy for them to sit for a few years if need be.
the one problem i have is being able to cheaply bulk age. carboys are to expensive.

i think i've got most of the procedure sorted, with many thanks to fatbloke and others. just have to work on what yeast goes with what honey.

the nagging question at the moment is if the "bleargh" taste is from the type of honey or not. mainly because i have 100's of kg's of that honey sitting waiting to be brewed !
 
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