Beeswax - influence on mead fermentation?

For those making mead and related drinks
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ephemeraldog
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Beeswax - influence on mead fermentation?

Post by ephemeraldog » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:15 pm

Back in 2012 I made about 7 gallon of mead from uncappings - the sticky mixture of the wax seals of sealed-over honeycomb and a bit of honey. All came out really well & we still have quite a few bottles. Since moving to Wales I've had a couple of buckets of the same stuff in honey buckets kicking around & I decided to make a 5 gallon batch. I solubilised the honey with warm water & gave it plenty of stirring, then scooped the floating raft of wax off the top. There's still a thin layer of wax flakes & 'oiliness' floating on the top - anyone have any advice on whether I should remove all this before I start the fermentation? I can't remember if I took it all off the last time I made this, but there was no problem with the results if I didn't.
Cheers for any help,
Tristan
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Brewing this week: ---
FV1: Uncappings Mead
FV2: ---
Conditioning: 5 pm Sprint; 2nd Hop Winter ale (hopped kit) "MK18.1"
Drinking: Dark Half 5.6% Dark IPA; Le Mash-up 4.5% Bitter (French hops); Imperial Russian Stout (various vintages & a.b.v.)

Carnot
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Re: Beeswax - influence on mead fermentation?

Post by Carnot » Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:17 pm

The wax will not affect the fermentation but it will be a pain in the ass at racking time. I use a filter bag to wash off the honey from the cappings. These are available cheaply on eBay. A 100 micron bag works well. I add the cappings to the bag and then pass warm water through the cappings into a stainless bucket. You will need to work the cappings by hand to release the honey. As a rough guide a 20 lite batch of must uses about 2 x 10 litre buckets of cappings, but it depends on how wet they are. You will need something like 8 kgs of honey. Sterilise the filter bag with sodium percarbonate. Do not use hot water that will melt the wax as this will plug the bag.

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ephemeraldog
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Re: Beeswax - influence on mead fermentation?

Post by ephemeraldog » Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:46 am

Thanks Carnot, I might give the filter bag a try the next time I use uncappings (I have about another 10kg to use), which might be a hopped honey ale.
By my calculations about 8.6 kg of 'cappings' gave me 1.1 kg of washed wax, so there was roughly 7.5 kg of honey in 5 gallon. S.G came to 1.108, which was in the area I was aiming at.
I have a small wire mesh filter that fits onto siphon tubing that I will use at racking time, which I hope will reduce any transfer problems, I'll let you know. I expect I will lose a half gallon, but that's not an issue.
Untappd: Ephemeraldog

Brewing this week: ---
FV1: Uncappings Mead
FV2: ---
Conditioning: 5 pm Sprint; 2nd Hop Winter ale (hopped kit) "MK18.1"
Drinking: Dark Half 5.6% Dark IPA; Le Mash-up 4.5% Bitter (French hops); Imperial Russian Stout (various vintages & a.b.v.)

Jambo
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Re: Beeswax - influence on mead fermentation?

Post by Jambo » Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:35 pm

As Carnot says it is a PITA at racking time. I have found that if you stop the flow momentarily, a lot of it will stick to the side of the FV and stay there. Keep doing this as you syphon it out and you'll be surprised how much you leave behind.

Carnot
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Re: Beeswax - influence on mead fermentation?

Post by Carnot » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:40 am

You were lucky with your cappings; they are much wetter than what my wife produces. She drains the cappings to avoid too much give-away. I have so far about 24 buckets of cappings to deal with from about 900 kg of honey produced this year.

At 1.1080 I would reckon your mead will be fairly dry and you can expect a FG of something like 0.996

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ephemeraldog
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Re: Beeswax - influence on mead fermentation?

Post by ephemeraldog » Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:59 am

Carnot wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:40 am
You were lucky with your cappings; they are much wetter than what my wife produces. She drains the cappings to avoid too much give-away. I have so far about 24 buckets of cappings to deal with from about 900 kg of honey produced this year.

At 1.1080 I would reckon your mead will be fairly dry and you can expect a FG of something like 0.996
900 kg is quite a haul! Our cappings were from a particularly good harvest year from the 2 hives we had at that time, so we weren't too bothered about leaving a surplus in with the wax. The 10L bucket I have left is mostly honey, from what I've seen, so hopefully less of a problem with extraneous wax, which is why I earmarked it for making honey ale :)

From my notes for the last batch I made it looks like I bottled at around 0.998 - 1.000 (2 x FV). Once in a while we discover a bottle of sparkling mead, which is gorgeous & always a nice surprise.
Untappd: Ephemeraldog

Brewing this week: ---
FV1: Uncappings Mead
FV2: ---
Conditioning: 5 pm Sprint; 2nd Hop Winter ale (hopped kit) "MK18.1"
Drinking: Dark Half 5.6% Dark IPA; Le Mash-up 4.5% Bitter (French hops); Imperial Russian Stout (various vintages & a.b.v.)

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