View Full Version : Can you detect different tastes from different honeys?

01-08-2009, 10:35 AM
I was skeptical as to whether varietal honeys actually tasted any different until I tried a certain honey. So far when I have made up my recipes I try to just use a varietal honey that comes from the fruit which I'm using, like blueberry honey in a blueberry mead for example. And up until two days ago I had only bought blueberry honey and clove honey, and I couldn't tell a difference between the two at all. They did however taste different from the table honey I had in my house previously. Then I got inspired to make a cranberry cyser, so I bought some cranberry honey. And all I have to say is WOW! It tastes genuinely different from the other two honeys. It is subtle when it hits your tongue and then it has a sweet kick... delicious! I'm really looking forward to using this stuff.

01-08-2009, 10:48 AM
Hey Cap,

Try Orange Blossom Honey.

I made a show mead with Huajillo honey and even at less than 8 weeks old it still taste like the honey straight from the jar, albeit somewhat subdued...I'm sure after much aging it's only going to get better.

I also have a batch from Orange Blossom aging...can't wait to taste it.

BTW, I never boil mine. ;D

Medsen Fey
01-08-2009, 10:50 AM
One of the more interesting honey tasting opportunities I have had was a visit to the BeeFolks booth at our RenFest. I was able to sample everything from mint to meadowfoam and it is remarkable how different the various types of honey taste even though they are all drowned in sugar.

For me, it is still very difficult to know how a mead will taste when all that sugar is gone. I have trouble telling how the taste of the honey will be without all the sugar. I suppose that will just take a few years.


Fox Hill Mead
01-08-2009, 11:27 AM
Yes, the honey makes a huge difference. An obvious one is buckwheat.

I've used sourwood, o.b., tupelo, tulep poplar, buckwheat, and mesquite a fair amount of times and many others. The taste is very difference with different honeys.


01-08-2009, 06:42 PM
Tasting the difference is one thing,
describing the difference is VERY difficult.
Knowing what it will be like in mead when the sugar is removed? Priceless
Describing what it is like in mead? Call on Oskaar ;)

I had a tourist attraction nearby called the SuperBee, where you could taste various honey varieties. Unfortunately, it closed down.
Well worth the experience if you can find something like this, just to get your brain around tying to identify and describe flavours. (The equivalent of tasting various grape varieties fro winemaking).
Even better is being accredited by the BJCP Mead exam (when it is finalized :cool: )

01-10-2009, 08:28 PM
The different parts of your brain that are responsible for smell, taste and language are well separated in your brain, and developing the pathways between them to verbally describe different organoleptic experiences takes time and practice. That said, getting a library of varietal honeys to work with is a good first step, and then working to describe the various component flavor and aroma characteristics is a good second. Potential elements with which to start:

Malty notes
Caramel notes
Duration of aftertaste

Some honeys to try: Blackberry blossom, blueberry blossom, tupelo, sourwood, raspberry, orange (California and Florida - they're different), pine (actually honeydew, but an excellent exercise), macadamia, leatherwood and buckwheat.

If you want to work on this, sample the honey and try to describe each characteristic in terms of its degree, nature and appeal, i.e.; "subtle pleasant plum note", or "distinctly unpleasant barnyard odor." If you can present perceptive, thoughtful comments on each of these areas, you'll be on the right track.

It will be a big service to meadmakers and culinary aficionados alike if we can develop and accurate, standardized set of descriptions of varietal honeys.


04-10-2009, 11:42 PM
I have tried some citrus honey, which I imagine is my area's version of OB honey. I didn't notice much, but there was a slight citrus flavor to it. There is a yeast I've used, called S-33 by SafBrew. That yeast puts far more emphasis on the natural honey flavors more than any I've used to that.

04-11-2009, 10:36 AM
I've used clover, orange blossom, apple blossom, chestnut blossom and poison oak blossom honeys in making meads. And, for the most part, the finished meads reflect the uniqueness of the honey.

I wouldn't recommend making a flavored mead with the specialty/odd ball honeys as you'd only cover up the delicate qualities of the honeys.