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Old 02-20-2012, 03:40 PM   #1
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Default local wild honey. What mead to make?

I have been a homebrewer for a while now and have always wanted to make mead. I never have because I was afraid of the quality of the store bought stuff and b/c the local stuff was dreadfully expensive.

Anyway, I had the good fortune yesterday to be given 3lbs of awesome local honey. I don't want to do anything crazy with recipe as far as fruits and spices go, I just want to make a soild semi-sweet mead. However, all of the recipes for plain mead that I have seen call for light, preferably, clover honey. The honey I was given tastes exceptionally good and is not terribly heavy on the palette, but it is very dark, almost like a brown ale. It looks solid brown but when you hold it up to the light a dark amber color can be seen.

He said a good percentage of it was tulip poplar (supposedly the best flower for honey in East TN) and the rest was from wild mountain trees and bushes.

What should I do? Can I just follow a regular clover honey recipe and substitute this much darker honey and have it turn out fine, or do i need to make some modifications.

FYI the recipe i have calls for 3lbs of honey per gallon of water, yeast and yeast nutrient. Thats it.

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Old 02-20-2012, 03:46 PM   #2
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Make a one gallon traditional mead with it using EC-1118 yeast. I used 4# per gallon of must for my inital batches with strong flavored (local) wildflower honey and it came out wonderful.

Best thing I can tell you is to use strong flavored honey if you want some of those flavors to remain at the finish. Give it the time it needs to become great (a solid year is a good start) and you'll be very happy with the result.

I would also get some more honey from that source. If it's as good as you say, you'll want to make a second batch ASAP. That way you'll have some to drink while you're making next year's batch.

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Old 02-20-2012, 03:49 PM   #3
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I started making mead because I have to go gluten free. Love it so far. I you use 1118, it will ferment 3# honey dry to the bone. Figure out your og and get a yeast that will leave you a little sweet.

A classic show mead would be nice with high quality show honey. Should bring out all the nuances in it

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Old 02-20-2012, 04:04 PM   #4
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You could always start with a JAOM. Just a thought

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Old 02-20-2012, 04:26 PM   #5
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Eh why add bread yeast and orange pith to a good mead?

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Old 02-20-2012, 06:01 PM   #6
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I would stick to the traditional mead, but use a less heavy handed yeast, 1116 if you're fermenting at room temperature or d47 if you have temp control

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Old 02-20-2012, 06:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insomniac View Post
I would stick to the traditional mead, but use a less heavy handed yeast, 1116 if you're fermenting at room temperature or d47 if you have temp control
K1-V1116 also goes to 18% (same as EC-1118) but doesn't ferment as fast as EC-1118. D47 could be a good choice if [as mentioned] you can keep the must in it's "happy" temperature range.

Good information can be found on the Lalvin Strains site... I would just recommend staying clear of RC212 since it's very nutrient needy.

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Eh why add bread yeast and orange pith to a good mead?
I completely agree there. With high grade honey, let it shine. If you're using store brand (or cheap) honey, then add flavors on top of it all you like. I'm actually doing that for a highly flavored batch right now. The base mead is using honey from BJ's (was free to me) and I'll be adding flavor elements to it over the coming months. By the end, I expect none of the original honey flavor to come through.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:47 PM   #8
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I would get an additional pound of something like clover honey (something with a light, non-intrusive profile), then keep a half pound of the nice varietal honey back.

With the 2.5lb of varietal and the other pound, and mix those with water to a gallon. That then gets fermented with K1V (not EC-1118, as it will blow a lot of the aromatics straight out the airlock).

Ferment it dry, rack it off the sediment and stabilise it. Then use the reserved half pound to back sweeten the mead to about 1.015 and then clear it as normal.

You will end up with a semi-sweet traditional that should display the flavour profile of the original varietal honey.

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Old 02-20-2012, 09:38 PM   #9
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fatbloke, why do you hate EC-1118 so much?? I used it for my initial batches and they came out great.

I have packets of both yeast strains on hand. I'm going to have to mix up two batches, with the same formulation, just to see if you're simply a hater of EC-1118 for no factual reason or not. I have 60# of the exact same honey on hand (single, 5 gallon bucket) so there's no chance of different batches of honey impacting the flavors here.

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Old 02-20-2012, 11:28 PM   #10
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Love it. 2 show meads, 2 yeasts. Please post all activity!!!

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