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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Types of Honey
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:40 PM   #1
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Default Types of Honey

I am preparing to make my first mead this weekend. Are there particular types of honey that generally don't do well for meads? Better yet, are there proven winners that consistently produce good mead? I am going to pick up some honey this afternoon, and I can just see myself coming back with the one type of honey that doesn't make mead well.

Thanks!

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Old 08-01-2012, 04:17 PM   #2
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Most supermarket honeys are clover honey or a highly proccessed blend of honeys. Thes can make OK meads but you should look into making something like a pyment/cyser/melomel if you use that. Try to go to your local farmers market and pick up the darkest local honey you can find, unless labled Buckwheat honey. That stuff can be good in some recipes but is usually used sparingly because of the strong flavors. Better yet if you can find an apiary then getting raw honey strait from the bee keeper is always the best.

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Old 08-01-2012, 05:10 PM   #3
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I agree on the local raw honey. Most of the stuff from the store unless marked true source honey usually contains a percentage of corn syrup to keep it from crystalizing. If its crystallized at the bottom it's real raw honey.

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Old 08-01-2012, 05:20 PM   #4
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Thanks. The local farmer's market is this evening, so I was planning to pick up some honey there. I know last week I saw "buckwheat" so I will stay away from that. Other than that, just go for something dark?

Thanks again!

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Old 08-01-2012, 05:33 PM   #5
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Not necessarily dark, but fragrant. Don't be afraid to taste it either (if they'll let you). Good tasting honey will make good mead.

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Old 08-01-2012, 05:37 PM   #6
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Dark is not necessarily a good indicator. Most honey is quite light in color. Especially spring harvest honey which you are going to be seeing. Taste it and buy what tastes good. And don't be afraid to pay an honest price for it. " Funny honey" from the supermarket has broken our idea of price for it. Cheers!

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Old 08-01-2012, 06:44 PM   #7
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It really depends on what you want to make, I like buckwheat alot and it works well in an acerglyn thats going to be oak aged and I am working on an irish stout recipe that I will be using buckwheat for. early season harvest is usually lighter and good, late season is where you get the darker honey with deeper flavors. again though, what do you want to make? if it's a melomel then clover or wildflower works good because you usually want honey aroma and character but the fruit is the star, are you making something citrusy or tropical melomel then orange blossom is real good in it, or are you making a good tradition honey mead in which case a really great tasting single source varietal will make the best end product, if you have access to different varieties, try as many as you can and see the differences, If you can find a really great raspberry or cranberry or blueberry honey, and want a melomel, match the fruit to the honey or work classic combinations....like a cranberry melomel made with orange blossom honey sounds really good right now.

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Old 08-01-2012, 11:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mobilecabinworks View Post
Most of the stuff from the store unless marked true source honey usually contains a percentage of corn syrup to keep it from crystalizing.
Is it actually legal to label it as honey in such a case?
It sure wouldn't be legal here. In fact, we have have an (now outdated) law from the mid 1200's stating that if you did something like that, you would be sentenced to death and the false honey were to be burned.

In any case. I agree that you are always best of getting raw honey directly from a local keeper. Usually that will also be cheaper when you need something like 20 kilos.

As for types. Personally I prefer heather honey to any other. both for eating and for mead.
It tends to be slightly more expensive than most other types, but in my book, nothing compares to it.
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarineDwg9 View Post
I am preparing to make my first mead this weekend. Are there particular types of honey that generally don't do well for meads? Better yet, are there proven winners that consistently produce good mead? I am going to pick up some honey this afternoon, and I can just see myself coming back with the one type of honey that doesn't make mead well.

Thanks!
Any honey will make mead...
That being said, great honey makes great mead.
It really depends on your recipe. If you're making a show mead, since you're in the Carolinas, I'd go with either orange blossom or tupelo honey. Both are very nice varietals that will truly SHINE as show mead.

If you're making a melomel (mead with fruit), I'd go with clover or alfalfa honey; both are pretty nondescript & reasonably generic.

I'd avoid buckwheat honey for the time being. Buckwheat honey is VERY STRONGLY FLAVOURED & needs to be blended with other honey or used in small quantities in order to make a good mead.

Sourwood & tulip tree are also varietals you may have access to; I've never used either, but I've heard some VERY good things about them both. Of course with the internet & a credit card, you cn have access to virtually every varietal honey there is; even killer bee honey from Brazil.

IMHO, you just can't go wrong with orange blossom honey. It's a little pricey out here in MT, but odds are good you can find it reasonably priced locally.
Regards, GF.
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Old 08-04-2012, 01:39 AM   #10
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Thanks for everyone's input. Like I said, it is my first mead, so I want to keep it simple. I ended up buying sourwood honey. It tasted good and looked good, so here's to firsts . . . I'm only doing a gallon on this one.

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