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Old 02-26-2010, 05:18 PM   #1
chode720
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Default Honey for melomels

I am placing an order online in the next few days for a bunch of honey and would like to order a bunch for several future batches, to cut down on shipping. This summer I want to make a 5 gallon batch, split that into 5 1 gallon jugs and add different fruits and make a few different melomels.

How important is honey choice for this? Obviously I dont want something too intense, like buckwheat, but I was thinking of using orange blossom. I love this honey (never made a mead with it yet tho) and was hoping that I could get a nice balance between the honey flavors and the fruit.

Is this a matter more of personal preference than anything?

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Old 02-26-2010, 06:04 PM   #2
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How important honey choice is depends a lot on what you are making. I sometimes make melomels with so much fruit that all hint of the honey is buried. You could really call them fruit wines I suppose, but I still call them mels if they are made with honey even if that honey character is hidden. Why make a mel that buries the honey, you ask? Just for fun, and because I love loads of fruit. In those cases, using any honey probably will work, and in such cases, I won't typically use expensive varietal honey.

In melomels where I want the honey character to have noticeable presence and balance with the fruit, the decisions become more challenging. I have screwed up several batches using really strong honey with odd phenolic flavors that didn't work with the fruit (mint honey for one, and mangrove honey in some others as examples). Orange Blossom tends to work very well with many fruits, but there are other choices than can also give interesting character. Tupelo works extremely well in melomels. Mesquite is popular in some, especially some cysers. Wildflower can be good depending on the wildflower in your area.

What fruits were you planning on using?

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Old 02-26-2010, 07:15 PM   #3
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I was planning on going to local farms throught the summer and doing a raspberry and blueberry; and then getting some strawberries from my garden. Not sure about the other gallon yet, but then I would save 1 other gallon for blending, just incase some come out too strong.

I have yet to try tupelo, but its on my list and I'm making a show mead with it. I would like to make the melomels now with a medium fruit character and a balance between the fruit and honey. I dont want the honey to stand out (aka buckwheat), but I wanted something noticeable too. Thats why I was leaning orange blossom, tupelo, or something else with a good flavor, but is light

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Old 02-26-2010, 07:28 PM   #4
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Blueberry honey is great for blueberry melomels. Its just more expensive than the OB honey I can get. I used clover honey in a carmel apple mead and regret it now. I think it will turn out good it just needs to age longer. The original recipe called for OB honey. If I make it again I will make it a point to use OB.

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Old 02-26-2010, 07:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LightningInABottle View Post
Blueberry honey is great for blueberry melomels. Its just more expensive than the OB honey I can get. I used clover honey in a carmel apple mead and regret it now. I think it will turn out good it just needs to age longer. The original recipe called for OB honey. If I make it again I will make it a point to use OB.
Yea, I found a place to get it for a good price. But I figured to make a 5 gallon batch with OB as I could split it for several 1 gallon melomels
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Old 02-27-2010, 02:00 AM   #6
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I've used a lot of orange blosson and alfalfa honey and I find them the most versatile varieties I've used. Blackberry, raspberry, tupelo and the like make good traditional varietal meads but, to me, nothing beats alfalfa and orange blossom for versatility.

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Old 02-27-2010, 03:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summersolstice View Post
I've used a lot of orange blosson and alfalfa honey and I find them the most versatile varieties I've used. Blackberry, raspberry, tupelo and the like make good traditional varietal meads but, to me, nothing beats alfalfa and orange blossom for versatility.
What is the flavor profile of alfalfa? All I can find is that is that its a light honey with mild flavor and aroma. Any more insight from more advance mead makers?
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Old 02-27-2010, 11:51 AM   #8
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Alfalfa honey is very similar to clover honey and has a light profile. Light honey goes well with almost anything. I use it because it's produced locally and it's generally what's nost available around here. I always suggest that mead makers seek out local suppliers of honey, not only to support local folks but simply to source freshness and celebrate local varietals.

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Old 02-27-2010, 12:59 PM   #9
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In my cherry melomel, I use a 3:2 ratio of clover honey to orange blossom honey.

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Old 02-27-2010, 01:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summersolstice View Post
Alfalfa honey is very similar to clover honey and has a light profile. Light honey goes well with almost anything. I use it because it's produced locally and it's generally what's nost available around here. I always suggest that mead makers seek out local suppliers of honey, not only to support local folks but simply to source freshness and celebrate local varietals.
There is a bunch of local honey producers around here too and the local LHBS all carry the local honey. They don't label what it is,so I assume it's wildflower. It has a great flavor and I used it for my firstever batch
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