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Old 03-10-2011, 09:17 PM   #1
IPYay
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Default Good Honey v. Cheap Honey

So, I'm about to embark on my first mead. I've secured an award-winning recipe from a friend for an orange blossom ginger mead, and I'm ready to go! All that's left to do is to select the honey to use.

I'm in the northern California area and I would love to use a local honey provider. I called about a dozen honey providers and one in particular came back with a very inexpensive estimate ($60 + shipping for 20 lbs of orange blossom). All most all the other estimates came to much more.

Here's my question: should I be concerned that I'm not getting high quality honey? Having never brewed a mead before, I'm not sure what sorts of criteria I should watch for when I'm selecting a honey. What do you experienced mashers look for when selecting a honey for your mead? Or can I just use the cheapest honey that's available?

Good fermentations, IPYay.

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Old 03-10-2011, 09:23 PM   #2
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In general I would say that home grown honey should be similar unless it is old or they treat it poorly (heat etc). I would just try asking when the honey was harvested. If it was last fall then I'd go for it.

My dad ran into a local supplier, which were just farmers with bees. They really didn't get much business, and it seems that they weren't in it to sell honey. So my dad is getting honey for like $2 a lb.

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Old 03-10-2011, 10:47 PM   #3
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Good honey doesn't necessarily have to be expensive honey. When you buy from the beekeeper, you can get some good prices. $3 a pound is still about average for orange blossom. If it is light in color and has a strong orange blossom aroma when you open it, you'll know you have good honey.

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Old 03-10-2011, 10:58 PM   #4
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I would just make sure it's actually all local honey. There's one place in my area that sells honey, but the hives are actually in LA, so over a thousand miles away. Another source is combining their local honey with honey imported from overseas... So it's no longer 100% local. I won't be buying that in the future. There are other places that will give you a decent discount if you're buying a large enough amount. Usually at least 1 gallon (12#), sometimes you have to buy a 5 gallon bucket (60#)...

If the place is close enough, I would go and try some of the honey before buying it. Or see if they'll send you a small sample of the harvest to try. A few ounces is enough to know if you'll like the honey. Shipping won't be bad either.

Personally, I prefer to pick up the honey rather than get it shipped. Or I'll only buy a small amount that has to be shipped, to try it. Once I know I like it, I'll be comfortable buying larger amounts.

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Old 03-10-2011, 11:08 PM   #5
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I was wondering the same. I live in Orlando and about 15 min from me there is a local honey provider that I am planning to go to to get mine. I will let you know how it turns out and the price I pay when I go.

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Old 03-10-2011, 11:28 PM   #6
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Agreed, locally some guys are selling certain types of honey for almost $9/lb, and another guy within the same distance is selling for $2/lb, and he's got one of the larger commercial apiaries in the area as well as one of the best reputations; he's been in the business since the 40's. There's no difference in the honey, other than I suspect that the more expensive ones are buying his honey in bulk and repackaging under their own label. Those are the high and low end of the price spectrum, most people are between $3 and $5/lb

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Old 03-10-2011, 11:50 PM   #7
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check with the local beekeeping club to get honey
http://www.sfbee.org/beekeeping.html

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Old 03-11-2011, 12:00 AM   #8
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I just bought locally produced Michigan Clover honey for $2.20 / lb. I bought 10 pounds of spun and 12 lbs of raw.......now I need to figure out what I want to make.

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Old 03-11-2011, 04:42 PM   #9
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My husband and I are in East Bay area and were thinking about trying to make a mead. We have only just started brewing beer, we just bottled our 3rd batch last weekend. Please keep us updated on who this supplier is and if you like their product. We have been shopping around to see where we will eventually get our honey from and I would love to hear how you like this honey.

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Old 03-11-2011, 07:32 PM   #10
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Hi 16one94,

The honey provider I found is called Beekman and Beekman, and they're in Hughson, CA. Their orange blossom honey goes for approx $3/lb if you buy in bulk. I'll probably either take a day trip out there to try their honey or buy a small sample and see how it tastes. Feel free to PM me in a few weeks and I'll be happy to let you know how the honey tastes. I'll have tried it by then.

Mash on, brothers and sisters,
IPYay

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