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desertwind56
02-20-2011, 11:29 PM
I'm pondering what I want to try for my next mead batch. I would like to make a batch just based on the type of honey without any spices or fruit. H

Hubby and I have decided to try some of the local and almost local honeys to see what might be good.

We bought a small jar of wildflower honey yesterday. OMG, it is so good! It has kind of a fruity taste to it. Way better than the clover honey we usually eat from Costco (Silverbow).

I'm wondering how this would be as mead? Basically since wildflower is really random flowers, I've seen some less than favorable comments about using it for mead.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. There are some other local honeys I want to test, it's mostly clover and alfalfa. I bought some local clover last summer at the farmers market and it was also way better than the Costco honey.

I'm not really that picky about the honey I eat, but if I'm going to the time and expense, I would like any mead I make to come out good!

Thanks!

Connie

TDMooney
02-20-2011, 11:36 PM
The wildflower honey that I ordered from Northern Brewer had a very dark almost amber color to it with a very strong flavor almost came across as caramel, definetly very strong and seems like it could stand up to fruit or spices very well, and that is the main reason I used it in my Strawberry Banana Melomel. It was definetly darker alot darker then the Orange blossom that I had used for my other melomels. Used in a basic mead I suspect that it would result in a darker color, with strong honey, caramel and floral notes to it. These are just observations based on the wildflower honey that i recieved, the quality, aroma, flavor, and color for wildflower is dependent on your location and the plant sources that these bees have.

Golddiggie
02-20-2011, 11:38 PM
In my experience, you need to make mead with honey you enjoy eating... I sampled the raw honey that I used for my first three batches (40 pounds of honey total two 3 gallon and one 5 gallon batches)... Unreal as to how good it tasted... It was almost local honey since it was from NH, but still really good stuff.

My next traditional mead batch I make will also be using local honey. I'll taste some before I buy it, to make sure it has the flavor I like.

Way I see it, if you follow the no-heat method of making mead, you'll get most (if not all) of those flavors from the honey in the mead. I was foolish enough (and new enough) to heat mine to ~150F to pasteurize it (thought I needed to, know better now)... I cringe when I think of how much flavor I lost by doing that. Never again...

What size batch at you looking to make? I almost suggested making a 1 gallon taste tester batch for the honey... F that, just make the batch size you want... I would keep enough honey to make a second batch as soon as the first ones are done. That way if it's really good, you won't need to wait too long before you have more getting close to being done.

Honey harvest times in New England being as they are, is one of the few parts of the area I'm not happy with... Just means I need to make sure I get enough honey while it's still available. As soon as the harvests start up again, I plan on getting enough to make at least a few 3-5 gallon batches (most likely 3 gallon, 5 is a bit much for just one person :D)...

I think the wildflower honey's offered from different areas will be very much different... As TDMooney points out, the honey he got was different from what you got, which was different that what I got... Since it's more regional based, it really depends on where it comes from. Part of the reason I enjoy it so much I think...

TDMooney
02-20-2011, 11:42 PM
I normally make a 5 gallon batch once a month with a few 3 gallon and 1 gallon test batches in between.

desertwind56
02-21-2011, 01:19 AM
Thank-you for the replies!

I was thinking about a three gallon batch. For all the effort a one gallon batch takes, I might as well make three. Even if it doesn't turn out as expected, I'm sure others will like it. (Daughter and fiance love mead.)

I'm thinking this honey tastes like blueberries. I really like it, but I wonder how different it is depending on when it is harvested. I really should go pick up a gallon of it this next weekend. However, it might be a little while before I get this started. Gotta cycle some things out of the primaries and pick up another carboy (or three).

Golddiggie
02-21-2011, 02:45 AM
Get it while it's available and tastes like it does... Honey will keep for a loooooong time... There are tales of people finding honey that was set aside 50 years later (or longer) and being able to use it...

mmclean
02-21-2011, 04:28 AM
Wildflower is my favorite honey for mead so far. I am looking forward to working with some Orange Blossom, Locust Honey and Sourwood Honey in some Traditionals this year.

Dan McFeeley
02-22-2011, 02:22 AM
Buying local wildflower honey is great, it supports private beekeeping and sometimes you can find some delightful surprises, depending on the local flora. @Golddiggie -- although honey doesn't rot or spoil, on the other hand over time it loses the fine flavor and aroma nuances that makes for a really great mead. I've seen 2 years listed as a "shelf life" for honey, after which the loss of the more delicate flavors and aromas becomes noticable.

--

Golddiggie
02-22-2011, 03:58 AM
McFeeley, I've not had honey hang around for all that much time since getting into home brewing. ;D I plan on getting some of the first, and second, harvest in the coming honey season... I don't expect to have either harvests around for long at all.

While I wouldn't be able to keep honey on hand for long, with even a 2 year shelf life, that's plenty of time to use up whatever you pick up... Or ship off the balance to some of us here. ;D

Personally, I'll be making mead that showcases the honey variety. Well, unless I'm adding flavors to it that are going to take a dominant role in the batch. My current traditional batches are made with regional wildflower honey...

I would highly recommend that you always try the honey you're going to use in a batch, unless it's going to be completely covered up by other flavors. No point in spending good money on great honey if it's not going to be the main, or only, flavor item in the batch.

AToE
02-22-2011, 02:38 PM
Yeah, I'd definitely say just taste it - the likelihood is that if you like it then it will make good mead. There are some rare exceptions, but as a general rule I don't think anyone should listen to anyone else's comments on wildflower honey, since no two wildflower honey's are going to be the same. The only thing to do is to taste it and then try it!

YogiBearMead726
02-22-2011, 04:11 PM
Yeah, I'd definitely say just taste it - the likelihood is that if you like it then it will make good mead. There are some rare exceptions, but as a general rule I don't think anyone should listen to anyone else's comments on wildflower honey, since no two wildflower honey's are going to be the same. The only thing to do is to taste it and then try it!

Ditto that! I've gone to a single farmer's market and found two people selling honey. Both had wildflower honey, and both were completely different. I personally wouldn't buy wildflower honey without tasting it for this reason...no one will be the same, even from the same supplier, year to year.

I love honey...so glad I can now do something other than eat waaaaay too much of it. ;D

Golddiggie
02-22-2011, 07:49 PM
I love honey...so glad I can now do something other than eat waaaaay too much of it. ;D

But can you ever, really, eat THAT much of it?? I mean, without going into shock or something... :eek:;D

desertwind56
02-26-2011, 12:15 AM
I was hoping to go pick up some more of this honey this weekend, but hubby's work scheduled changed and we are going to have to wait to next week. :(

Here is the specific honey if anyone is curious:
http://www.countrymercantile.com/kraus-wildflower-honey-12lb.html