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Can I make mead cheap?

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RoseburgBrewer

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I'm looking into making my first batch of mead ever and wanted to know how much it cost to make. I looked at kits on Northern Brewer and they seem to be considerably more than the beer kits. I'd like to make a batch but I don't want to spend 40-50 bucks to make it.
 

sirsloop

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You can make cyser pretty cheap... you'll need less honey cause there is a lot of residual sugars in the juice.
 

Revvy

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My GF came over last week with 10 pounds of bulk honey, 5 each from Sam's Club and Gordon's Food Service for me to mead with. It's not the greatest honey in the world but it's a start...Plus you could always add a couple quarts of a better quality honey in with it, plus flavorings.

A cheeper alternative is Edwort's Apflewein. You can do 5 gallons for around 20 bucks (I paid $2.20 a gallon for mott's all natural applejuice. A couple bucks for the 2 pounds of corn sugar, and 75 cents for a pack of montrachet yeast.)
 

Yooper

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A cheap way to see if you like mead is to make a one gallon batch of Joe's Ancient Orange Mead. It's cheap using grocery store honey, and it's easy. It's not going to be a fine mead like those $80 kits, but it'll be quick to drink and give you an idea if you want to invest more into mead later on.
 

CBBaron

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An inexpensive cyser:
2 gal apple juice from Costco - $6.88
5# clover honey from Costco - $7.49
wine yeast - $0.75
This will make about 2.5 gal. You can double it for 5 if you like.
You might want to add yeast nutrients also which will cost more.

I think you will be much happier however if you use raw local honey and fresh cider from a local farm. I made a cyser using Costco honey and local cider that tasted great when I bottled it last night. I'm expecting even better after some aging.

Craig
 

iamjonsharp

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I'd use the best possible quality honey and just make a smaller batch. You probably won't go through 5 gallons of mead in the same time it takes to drink 5 gallons of beer.

For something that takes a year or two to age, you don't want to end up regretting cheaping out on ingredients a year or two from now when you drink it.
 

rustang64

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Cost me a total of 30 bucks for my 6gal batch. that included 14 bucks for blueberries so just the honey would be much cheaper. Got the honey from costco and local apiaries.
 

malkore

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honey just costs more than malt. its the nature of the beast.

my suggestion is using cheap honey like CostCo or Sam's Club, and then pickup some frozen berries and make a melomel. the honey is decent enough, and the fruit will make up for the 'lack of complexity' that a cheap blended honey has.

and don't boil or even pasteurize the cheap stuff. it was already heat treated, and won't have anything in it that could infect your mead. a little hot water, just to help it dissolve.

I've done this plenty, all great results.
 

NurseNan

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I agree with Malkore absolutely. Don't try anything fancy the first time. Melomels are more forgiving to first time mead makers.
 

buraglio

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NurseNan said:
I agree with Malkore absolutely. Don't try anything fancy the first time. Melomels are more forgiving to first time mead makers.
I started with Joe's ancient orange mead using Sam's club honey and, although I didn't like it much (it was too "seasoned" for me; I'm letting it mellow) I made several 1 gallon batches of other mead with good, local honey and have been very, very happy with the results so far.
Personally, I'd see if you like something like Joe's Grape mead . It's ready really quickly and is pretty darned good. It was the one that convinced me to keep meading (?). There is another really, really good recipe by a guy in my local homebrew club. I'll ask if he minds if I post his recipe. I have not made it yet (its next on my list) but I've tasted it and it's REALLY good. It is a Black Currant Mead and holy crap is it good.
 

z987k

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also look around to see if there's any apiaries or other honey suppliers where you can buy in bulk... you can get stuff really really cheap that way.
 

buraglio

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z987k said:
also look around to see if there's any apiaries or other honey suppliers where you can buy in bulk... you can get stuff really really cheap that way.
+1
That is how I get mine cheaper.
 

Mr.greengenes420

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First things first, I'm new here so. grettings. Now, it has been my experience that cheap honey makes cheap tasting mead. If you do use bulk mead from a chain store, I would reccomend adding fruit (Blueberry and Rasberry do quite well). If you go to Honeylocator.com, you can find some decent deals on honey and support your local bee farmer. Trust me if you dish out a little more money for good honey I assure you, you won't be disappointed.
 

z987k

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buraglio said:
+1
That is how I get mine cheaper.
Did you get yours from the guy in Bloomington or Matoon?

also, Mrgreen, I kind of meant get it from the apiaries, it's better and way cheaper.
 

CBBaron

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z987k said:
Did you get yours from the guy in Bloomington or Matoon?

also, Mrgreen, I kind of meant get it from the apiaries, it's better and way cheaper.
Costco sells SueBee clover honey for $7.99/5#. From what I've see the local apiaries sell for about $2/#, which is I think a fair price but definitely not much cheaper.
Still given the choice I will buy the local honey.

Craig
 

z987k

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We get it for .80 a pound here. Our other source for other flavors is $2 a pound.
 

buraglio

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z987k said:
Did you get yours from the guy in Bloomington or Matoon?

also, Mrgreen, I kind of meant get it from the apiaries, it's better and way cheaper.
I got mine from an apiary in Chestnut, IL (it's a SUPER tiny town). Actually my mother picks it up for me, she knows the guy or something.
The one in Mattoon/Charleston is also good but I think thy guy in Chestnut is cheaper (not factoring in cost of driving). My last few gallons have been ~$20/gal and it's all been pretty good, it's certainly not .80/# but it's not terrible since I get it delivered basically free (gotta love family).

nb
 

Kalaloch

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Wondering to make mead cheaper -what if you “cut” the honey with granulated sugar or other sugar source. Maybe cut it like 2/3 honey 1/3 sugar source? Anyone try that?
 

Kalaloch

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...accidentally double posted
 
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bernardsmith

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This thread looks like a zombie - long dead but walking again. Honey ain't grain and mead ain't beer. You can make a mead with 1 to 1.5 lbs of honey per gallon or you can make a mead using 3 or 4 lbs a gallon. If the price of honey is too high then perhaps mead is not the best use of your dollars but cutting honey with sugar does not make a less expensive mead... it makes a cheap mead. And cheap is cheap however you cut it.
 

Kalaloch

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Thanks for the feedback that makes sense. Think I’ll just make 1 Gallon of good quality of mead!
 

flyboy

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I usually make mead in one gallon batches and it's relatively cheap. I can get clover honey for about $3/lb and wildflower for around $5/lb. One gallon takes no more than 3 lbs of honey for a sweet mead so for less than $15, I can make a sweet mead. One advantage of a one gallon batch is if it goes bad, I'm only out one gallon instead of 5 in a carboy. And I can get glass one gallon jugs from the apple juice jugs at Sprouts for about $6. Don't use bread yeast as it'll only produce rot-gut that is undrinkable. Spend your money getting some good quality wine yeast instead. I've gotten some on Amazon for about $7 for eleven packs of Blanc Wine and Champagne yeast for $5 each.
 

CanadianJesus

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Damn, you guys get good deals on honey! The last time I purchased honey was in September of 2017. I paid $18 per kilo. I bought 21 kilograms from a berry farm lol. Each 5 or 6 gallon batch costs me over $100 just in honey. Making mead aint cheap. But the results are well worth it. If you want to make your own alcohol for cheap you should make beer or fruit wine. Small one or two gallon batches are always an option though. Still in the end, each bottle only costs me around $5 to make, and mead at the liquor store is over $20 per bottle, so I'm still saving a lot of money making my own.
 

bernardsmith

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Damn, you guys get good deals on honey! The last time I purchased honey was in September of 2017. I paid $18 per kilo. I bought 21 kilograms from a berry farm lol. Each 5 or 6 gallon batch costs me over $100 just in honey. Making mead aint cheap. But the results are well worth it. If you want to make your own alcohol for cheap you should make beer or fruit wine. Small one or two gallon batches are always an option though. Still in the end, each bottle only costs me around $5 to make, and mead at the liquor store is over $20 per bottle, so I'm still saving a lot of money making my own.
But those prices were from almost a decade ago... Long dead posts brought back to life are likely to be dressed in ragged shrouds rather than the latest fashions shipped to that boutique that opened only last week...o_O
 

Shine0n

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I find it cheaper to buy bulk honey online rather per gallon, 1 gal from HBS is 90 and 5 gal online is 160 (orange blossom)
Bakers special honey 90 per 5 gal

It doesn't spoil so it's good to the last drop!

Always look online for your ingredients because there's not always a good source of local honey and you'll probably find them in a quick search on the puter.
 

bernardsmith

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But "bakers special" is a watered down honey (Not a "beek", but I believe that bakers honey is a byproduct of the removal of the honey from the combs). It may be less expensive to buy but you will need far more of it than 1 lb to get the gravity anywhere near to 1.035 when you mix that honey with 1 gallon of water.
 

Shine0n

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I've not used it but was simply using it as price ranges to go by, I don't believe I've ever tasted that honey or want to now you said that!
 

Shine0n

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Probably why I haven't seen a recipe with it.
 

CanadianJesus

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But those prices were from almost a decade ago... Long dead posts brought back to life are likely to be dressed in ragged shrouds rather than the latest fashions shipped to that boutique that opened only last week...o_O
I didn't realise that this is a zombie thread. It's been a while since I've logged in here. :p
 

NotAnyMore

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But "bakers special" is a watered down honey (Not a "beek", but I believe that bakers honey is a byproduct of the removal of the honey from the combs). It may be less expensive to buy but you will need far more of it than 1 lb to get the gravity anywhere near to 1.035 when you mix that honey with 1 gallon of water.
Bakers honey is a byproduct of byproduct of wax rendering that had been darkened by the heating process if anything it will have a lower moisture content not higher. New flavors are created during the process and the final product is a bochet, a little different but still delicious.

Both the jars are the same wildflower honey but the left is bakers honey.
bakers honey.jpg
Bochet mead.jpg
 

growlrr

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So if you start out using a bakers honey and plan on making a bochet with it, are you already a little ahead of the game?
 

CanadianJesus

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Sine baker's honey is a byproduct of wax extraction, does this make it less expensive than 'regular' raw honey?
 

Shine0n

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I find bakers for 95$ for 60 lbs
Wild flower a little over 100
orange blossom 165 for 60 lbs

Even though it will take me a long time to ferment that much honey I couldn't justify paying 90$ for 1 gallon (12) lbs
 

NotAnyMore

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Sine baker's honey is a byproduct of wax extraction, does this make it less expensive than 'regular' raw honey?
It's less expensive because of it being darker and having a different flavor than what most honey buyers want. It's not raw anymore because of the heating

A video showing the wax rendering process, he calls it melter honey but it's the same thing
 

bronzdragon

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Good knowledge. I was a baker for a dozen years, and at the same time a meadmaker, and never ran across this type of honey. When I started making meads in 1997, I could do a 5 gallon batch of semi-sweet meed (15# honey), for just a little more than what a good batch of beer would cost to make. Now, well ... plant wildflowers wherever you have space and help the bees out...is all I can say. I went from making a batch a year to making a batch every three years or so.
 
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