Naturally fermented mead 2014


Warre honey box ready for harvest

Notes from the 2014 Mead batch:  Followed a similar process as last year, but since one batch was skunked after the full fermentation, I paid more attention to measuring the specific gravity over time, and also keeping the bottles sealed with the airlocks as much as possible.


Honeycomb getting crushed

So, this year, my Warre hive died and was robbed at the end of the year, so I brought all the honey in and filtered it through a mesh bag to make the normal honey. (we got almost 5 gallons!) But this year, we had so much leftover crushed wax with residual honey, that I figured I’d just add some water to the sticky wax and see what it would taste like. There was also some uncapped honey in the second batch. The mead surely had a lot of “hive” flavor, but that seemed to go away a bit at the very end of the process.

Wax diluted in waterI needed to add about 7 quarts of water to the pot to get to the target specific gravity of 1.11. Then, I just stirred a bunch and left it overnight.  The next morning, I strained out the wax and ran it through a few layers of cheesecloth.

  • Each day, I’d stir vigorously several times a day (as much as possible, but I did it 3 times a day).
  • The mead didn’t start bubbling for 3 days
  • So on the 4th day, I ran some of the liquid through the blender to aerate it.
  • On the 6th day, there were lots of bubbles!  It was fizzy when stirring.
  • Left it to bubble for two days
  • Racked it into a carboy with air lock on day 8
Still cloudy after several months

Still cloudy after several months

It bubbled away, and I ended up checking the the gravity every day for a week, and then every week for a lot longer…  it was originally quite cloudy, but then cleared up only when it was fully fermented. For a second batch, I followed exactly the same procedure, but added some ugly apples from a friend’s tree at the very start of the process, and it added a nice acidity to the mead and slowed down the fermentation.  Some books say to add the fruit flavors AFTER the fermentation so they don’t change the fermentation profile, but in this case, maybe the acid slowing it down was a good thing?  Check out the resulting plot of the fermentation!

Mead Fermentation 2014

Specific gravity plot.  Vertical line is when I racked the first batch, but didn’t see a big change in the fermentation rate. The big difference between the 2013 and 2014 batches was immediately placing the mead into a bottle with an airlock as soon as a vigorous ferment started. In 2013, I left the fermentation in an open pot much longer, and that’s possibly why one of them picked up some very off flavors.



Links to other pages on naturally fermented mead: