View Full Version : Which honey with which fruit?

01-15-2004, 02:50 AM
The home brew shop offers various cans of fruit puree, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, etc. What honey is best to use as a base? Clover, orange blossom, and wild flower can be obtained easily. But, an internet search shows that I can get other honeys (i.e. buckwheat, alfalfa, etc.) as well.

So, which honey with which fruit? :o

01-15-2004, 10:16 AM
Though you have to use your own taste preferences as a guide, as a general rule it is best to use mild honey for certain fruit batches. A strong honey such as Buckwheat can drastically alter and overpower the subtle fruit flavors. especially in peaches, pears, strawberries, blueberries and apples (unless you add concentrated apple juice to the apple cider) . For these I recommend Clover, Sage, and Orange Blossom honey though there are other mild flavored honeys that would be good.

Stronger flavors of fruit after fermentation include raspberries, cranberries, currants, lemons, limes, oranges, tart cherries, and especially Concord grapes. With the stronger flavored fruits you can use a bit stronger honey than clover such as Wildflower, Tupelo, and Mesquite. There are also more choices that would be good but I am not familiar with them. I personally would never use a Buckwheat in a melomel regardless of the fruit but that is a matter of personal taste and these are my opinions so take them just as that. Just keep in mind whether the fruit carries over a strong or subtle flavor as I mentioned above and taste the honey you would like to use to see if it might overpower the fruit. Hope this helped some.
Regards Joe

01-15-2004, 10:16 PM
What would buckwheat honey be good for?

01-15-2004, 10:24 PM
What would buckwheat honey be good for?

Some people have had success making buckwheat meads; most haven't. It's a very strong-flavored honey.


01-15-2004, 11:49 PM
What would be good to mix with it? Ginger??

01-16-2004, 05:02 AM
I find Buckwheat honey is good to add in small amounts to other honeys as it is higher in ash (nutrients) than most others. In fact, after it was suggested to me, I have used it with other honeys without adding nutrients and have not experienced stalled or sluggish fermentations. I recommend blending it with other honeys. If you don't like the strong taste you can keep it to 1 lb of buckwhwat to 10 lbs of other and it will only give a slight earthy character to the mead without adding a lot of aging time or overpowering the primary honey. Thats my 2 cents on buckwheat.

01-16-2004, 10:44 AM
What would be good to mix with it? Ginger??

Ahhh, well, i use .5 pounds buckwheat per gallon (or a little less) as a source of nutrients.

One guy makes capiscumel <sp?> with approximately
12 pounds buckwheat honey
5 pounds sliced halapenos
2 pounds ginger
and some TEA
IIRC He chose buckwheat because it could stand up to the flavor profile in the above example.

I've never had his mead but other have. He posts here as Chuck, Dan McFeeley has had some and commented... think it was in ingredients, of maybe scientific meadmaking, look around.

Anyway Chuck Visited Brittany and they use buckwheat in mixture with other honeys in thier ancient family recipes there.

My mead with buckwheat for nutrients gets racked to secondary this week, more info to come.

Dan McFeeley
01-16-2004, 01:28 PM
This is a follow up to Thirsty Viking's post. Yes, I've tried Chuck Wettergreen's capsimels, and they are quite good, although the heat level is high. It's not the kind of thing for anyone but a dedicated chile-head. :-)

Chuck has written several good posts on the use of honey blends, and buckwheat honey. Try clicking on his profile, then looking up his posts from there.

A few other points -- buckwheat honey varies according to what region it came from. I believe buckwheat honey from the west coast is lighter and milder in flavor, compared to east coast buckwheat honey, which can approach the strength and flavor of molasses.

The fermentation characteristics of buckwheat honey have been known since the 1950's, primarily through the research of the late Dr. Roger Morse of Cornell University. Morse found that buckwheat honey fermented quite well, better than any other honey, and generally did not need nutrients at all. The lighter honeys showed more difficulty and needed extra nutrients. To the best of my knowledge, Morse never worked with honey blends, or tried combining buckwheat honey with other honeys. There was nothing of this in any of his publications.

Chuck posted briefly on this formum about his trip to Brittany France with Wout Klingens, but you'll find more information this in the Mead Lovers Digest archives. Try www.aboutmead.com where you can do an archive search.

A little more on Roger Morse -- Morse's research into meadmaking during the 1950's and 1960's was not widely known since it was restricted to beekeeping journals. It was Ken Schramm and Dan McConnell who read his material and then presented it to meadmaking community in speaking engagements and a 1995 Zymurgy article on meadmaking techniques.