Preparing the must.
February 2014 Club Meeting:
Club President Bill Hiss provided a summary of speakers for upcoming meetings. Bill also noted that he received and is storing lumber from former ABC president Blaine Richarson. This lumber can be used by club members for construction of hive equipment during a future club event.
Vice President Pete Schlax presented a proposal for changes to the Androscoggin beekeepers club website. He suggested moving from a hard coded HTML site to a WordPress instance. Members in attendance supported the proposed change.
Club treasurer Charlie Armstrong presented a treasurer’s report which included a statement of the club’s current bank balance. Charlie also noted that former club president Blaine Richardson had several items (coffee cups, tee shirts, etc) with ABC labels which were purchased from Blaine with club funds. These items will either be sold to interested club members or will be provided to speakers as tokens of appreciation.
February 2014 Speaker Presentation:
At our February (2014) meeting, Brian Pride of Bee Pride in Lebanon, Maine gave an excellent presentation about mead making, bee’s wax processing and candle making. Brian, along with his wife Peggy, treated the audience with a well balanced talk that mixed Brian’s “tell” with plenty of “show”.
Informative, easy to follow demonstrations added greatly to the presentation. With Bill Hiss “pitching in”, Brian prepared the must for an elderberry/strawberry mead (see image above). Brian then proceeded to describe the process for processing beeswax for use in candles and other products. Brian and Peggy provided examples of the wax at several stages during the processing along with a variety of candles and the molds used to produce them.
Brian provided a copy of the recipe with instructions which he graciously allowed us to reprint here:
Elderberry/Strawberry Mead (3 Gallons):
- 9 – 12 pounds clover honey
- 36 ounces whole frozen strawberries
- 1 quart frozen elderberries
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 cup freshly prepared black tea
- 1 package Montrachet wine yeast
Instructions for Preparation:
- Mix honey and 1 gallon of sterile spring water in a sanitized, food grade 5 gallon bucket.
- Transfer 1 cup of honey/water mixture into a sterile cup and pitch packet of yeast.
- Using a sanitized funnel, transfer the bulk of the honey/water mixture to a sanitized glass 3 gallon carboy.
- Add orange juice and black tea to 3 gallon glass carboy.
- Shake well to mix and aerate. This mixes the solution and introduces oxygen the yeast will need for growth prior to fermentation.
- Pour pitched yeast into the carboy (yeast should be completely hydrated prior to pitching).
- Shake well to mix and aerate.
- Top off mixture (now called a “must”) with sterile spring water to 3 gallons final volume.
- Shake really well (to mix and aerate).
- Place an airlock on the carboy and put it away.
- Each month, use sanitized tubing to siphon off the mead from spent yeast that settles to the bottom on the carboy. Do this until fermentation is complete and the mead is clear/translucent (approximately 9 months).
- Bottle mead.
Brian noted that this recipe can be modified to achieve several different final levels of sweetness by altering the initial amount of honey added:
Dry mead: 2 – 3 pounds of honey per gallon of must
Medium mead: 3 – 4 pounds of honey per gallon of must
Sweet mead: 4 – 5 pounds of honey per gallon of must
Further reading suggested by Brian and Peggy Pride:
- Ebeling E. 2002. Basic candle making : All the skills and tools you need to get started. 1st ed. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books.
- Oppenheimer B. 1997. The candlemaker’s companion : A complete guide to rolling, pouring, dipping, and decorating your own candles. Pownal, Vt: Storey Books.