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Dark and VERY OLD clover honey recommendations

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JustMe3

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While I have been brewing all my own beer since about 1994, I have only made 4 batches of mead. The best one being a sparkling mead made with orange blossom honey. I carbonated it in a keg with an aeration stone on one of the CO2 feeds and then used a counter pressure bottling wand to bottle it.

I recently came across some very old clover honey that was purchased in 1999. At the time of purchase it was light golden in color as usual. The containers are still sealed but the honey is now very dark brown, resembling molasses. Each of the containers have some level of crystallization but they are mostly still liquid.

I am looking for recommendations on how to best use this honey for mead, I have 3 gallons of the honey. Six half gallon plastic jugs.

Any pointers, suggestions or recommendations are appreciated.

Thanks.
 

AzOr

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This has melomel written all over it.
I would make a cyser out of it. I'm not sure if the color of the darkened honey makes it post fermentation but in a cyser, a little extra color doesn't hurt a bit.

Or you could get one or two bags of Costco frozen berry blend and make a melomel.

I just wouldn't make a traditional mead out of this, both because it's really old and it's clover.

ps- Try making a gallon batch of short mead to test the flavor. Short or session meads are ready to drink in no time and you'd be able to analyze the honey better this way.

You reminded me that I have a few different varieties of honey in my garage that I've been meaning to ferment.
 
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JustMe3

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Thanks for the recommendations.

So now you can get a triple benefit, 1) clean out the garage, 2) Enjoy doing some brewing and 3) Have something nice to drink later. It doesn't get any better than that.

Thanks again.
 

AzOr

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Below is an excellent source for session meads. Many of these are ready to drink in a couple of weeks and they are beer strength. If you made a gallon of short mead; you'd have a delicious beverage, and a way to test your honey.

 

Seamonkey84

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I highly recommend the melomel with triple berry blend, and throw in some black currant juice if you can get some!
 
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JustMe3

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I am rounding up ingredients for the melomel. Turns out only the front two 6 pound bottles of honey were from 1999. The 5 pound bottles behind it were purchased in 2012, so only 8 years old and still very light in color. I have ordered the yeast I will use, and had to order the tannin and pectic enzyme. I was also very low on Irish moss and ordered it too. I will wait to order bottles until I get closer to finishing the mead and make the decision on making it sparkling mead or still mead.

Do you folks have any recommendations on when to stop fermentation in order to keep some sweetness. My wife is is a mascota drinker.

Thanks to all for you feedback and recommendations.
 

Seamonkey84

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Not very easy for someone to stop an active fermentation. Beat way is to ferment dry, then stabilize and sweeten, otherwise you’ll have exceed the abv tolerance of the yeast. The other option is to ferment dry, sweeten, then bottle pasteurize.
 
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JustMe3

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Seamonkey84, Thanks for the recommendations. I will experiment with this and report back in 6 - 12 months. Should be interesting no matter what happens.
 

madscientist451

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I will experiment with this and report back in 6 - 12 months.
If you use the TONSA protocol (is it a method?) , you can have your mead ready much sooner.
MC047: TOSNA 2.0 - Less Filling (for the Yeast), Tastes Great (for You) - MeadMakr

Why did you need to order Irish moss to go with your mead supplies? Boiling the honey and water is an old school method that isn't used these days. Its just not necessary and you'll be losing flavor and aromatics by doing that.
The 3 big things you need to make good mead : Fermax, Fermaid-O and a small scale to weigh out your nutrient additions.
I've heard of people using a product called Opti-white, but I haven't tried it.
 
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JustMe3

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The last two batches of mead I did not boil the honey. I boiled the water and mixing spoon and thermometer and moss. Then allowed the water to cool to between 170 and 180 degrees F, then added the honey.

I am reading up now about the decision on how to add the fruit. To either add it with the honey, and filter out the seeds going into the fermentor. Or adding the fruit in a mesh bag in the fermentor.

I will start the yeast going the day before in my magnetic stirring plate and pitch it with sufficient nutrient and initial oxygen. I have an oxygen tank with an aeration stone.

I am also considering re-pitching the mead when I rack it. Adding both yeast and nutrient in the new fermentor.
 

Seamonkey84

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I use the mess bags to hold the fruit. the fruits add more flavor and some tannins, plus more nutrients to the yeast. You don’t really even need to press them, just mash enough to make sure each piece is broken open, the yeast will chew through it and you’ll end up with just seeds and skins. I freeze then thaw the fruit before mashing, then add peptic enzyme to the mashed fruit and juice for 12-24 hours before pitching yeast. Don’t leave it in for more than 10 days though, seeds can make it bitter if left in too long. That said, it easier to take an accurate gravity reading if you pressed the juice out, mixed it, then added the skins and seeds back in after measuring. The juices in the fruit fan dilute your original gravity as it gets released.
 
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JustMe3

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Seamonkey84 - Many thanks for the insights. I was planning on freezing the raspberries and gently mash them. Sounds like the best plan is to add them in the fermentor in a mesh bag and then pitch the yeast.
 
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