Old Recipe: "Bee Wine"
Hi all, I'm in the UK and was given a 'bees culture' many years ago, after finding an address in a winemaking book. I kept it going for a few months and just used it in my recipes in place of shopbought. The resulting wines tended to be quite dry and with added syrup at racking or bottling, become sparkling more often than not. It may have just been beginners luck.
Anyway. Point of this reply... Last year I was given a water kefir culture to try out and the 'grains' looked very similar to the bees starter. After a while, I didn't strain them daily and the end result became quite alcoholic and I added it to a stuck quince and green fig wine - with the resulting ferment starting again with 'bees' floating up and down in exactly the same way, despite straining the gelatinous lumps out.
It's now a clear golden colour and finished fermenting with very little sediment. It smells pleasantly dry, and is next on the list to rack, although I may bottle depending on its alcohol content and if I can scrounge champagne bottles.