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Old 10-03-2012, 05:54 PM   #1
yappobiscuits
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Default A few honey questions

I'm from the UK and about to start my first batch of mead, but I'm having some trouble choosing honey. I'm doing a fruit mead with oranges and cinnamon, and I've read that clover honey is best for a fruit mead. I've also read that the honey must be raw/unrefined. The trouble is, I'm having no luck whatsoever finding anything that I can get in this country. I've found stuff that only ships inside the USA, but I've yet to find somewhere where I can get honey that ticks all the boxes of being clover, raw, liquid (since apparently the whole point of unrefined honey is that it hasn't been heated, and heating set honey to melt it would make it's raw-ness redundant), and available in the UK. So my questions are these:

Does it really matter what type of honey I use? Would using something other than clover really make a difference? Can anyone recommend the next best thing?

Does it really matter that it's raw/unpasteurised? Will it really make a difference or is it just a luxury?

Is it really true that melting set honey would ruin the whole point of it being raw, or could I just get set honey and melt it?

Or, does anyone know anywhere in the UK where I can actually get what I'm after?

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Old 10-03-2012, 06:04 PM   #2
Halbrust
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Does it really matter what type of honey I use?
The honey used will affect the flavor of your final product. But it will still be mead.

Would using something other than clover really matter?
I would use orange blossom honey over clover honey in an orange melomel. So, again it only affects the final product.

Does it really matter that it's raw/unpasteurised?
See above... Raw honey tastes different

Will it really make a difference or is it just a luxury?
I think in today's age/market it is a luxury. I use raw honey because I can get it almost as cheaply as pasturized/filtered.

Is it really true that melting set honey would ruin the whole point of it being raw, or could I just get set honey and melt it?
You can melt set honey just fine.
I would prefer to see you use agitation instead of heat. Heat kills the floral and delicate nuances of honey.

Final comment: Use the best honey you can get. Don't worry about the best honey in the world, just use the best honey you can get

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Old 10-03-2012, 06:13 PM   #3
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Great, thanks for the advice . I had a hunch that would be the case, but I wanted to check before rushing into anything

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Old 10-03-2012, 08:48 PM   #4
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Well I get my honey from here.

The down side, is that you're at the "wrong" end of the country, so it would need shipping.

Last time I went up there for some, I just got a bucket of the "Blossom" honey which is cheapest by far. I asked the bloke about raw honey, but he said about having to pack some specially. Apparently, the nearest to raw that they do regularly, is the "English" honey, which is harvested from (mainly) central Sussex, but it's cold filtered so none of the aromatics etc would be lost - the equivalent you might see at a US site, would be "Wild Flower".

Your best bet for raw honey, would be to track down the nearest branch of the BBKA, and talk to some of them. They might still have some raw that's waiting to be processed, or know someone who has.

p.s. Oh and don't forget, it's hard to define "quality" honey. Quality doesn't necessarily mean varietal honey. There are many different types, the majority of which aren't available in the UK, what there is, can be a bugger to find, unless you want something like 2 tonnes as a minimum purchase. Unfortunately, the "honey nazis" push the price up.....

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