I'm told i bought the wrong honey

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JohanTheMighty

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Good evening. I am planning to make a mixed berry melomel this weekend. This will be my very first mead. What I did was simply decided I wanted to make a mead, looked up a recipe, and bought the ingredients. I don't know much about honey, but the recipe calls for wildflower honey, so that is what I bought, Happy Belly Wildflower honey 80 oz from Amazon. Today, I'm being told that what I needed to buy was raw and unfiltered honey, that what I bought is not going to taste very good.

Is that right? Personally, I always want to make whatever I brew the best I can make it, and I can see that being the case for a traditional mead, but what about a melomel that I intend to berry the hell out of and back-sweeten?

Going forward, I will be sure to get the best I can get, lesson learned. If anyone can give me some insight into whether the melomel will really turn out that bad because of the honey i have, I'd appreciate it. I'll put off the brew date a couple more weeks and plan on lots of toast and honey, tea and honey in my future, lol.
 

OleBrewing

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I didn't research the brand so can't say if they are mixing honey adding flavors etc. If it is all natural honey let it rip. I get honey from beekeepers set the jug in crock pot of water to warm and skim the wax and bee legs off.

And since as you say berry the hell out of it. Should be fine

But I am no mead expert and have only dabbled a little.
 

Hans O. Lowe

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Yeah, don't worry about it. If it's processed it de-natures the enzymes you don't use anyway. I took a couple classes on beekeeping and practiced for a couple of years. If your wildflower honey is anything like what I got my first harvest, it's a truly unique product and your mead will surely reflect it!
 

Dan O

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I would say for your first batch, it should be fine. Raw, unprocessed honey is more expensive than most cheap ones & will almost always make a superior mead to the cheap ones, but, I would recommend finding a local beekeeper & buying from them in the future. There are bigger apiaries that you could buy from, but, shipping costs are horrible, especially if you want to buy in bulk.
These are a couple of good sources of bulk raw honey, but, again, shipping costs😵‍💫😬😖. Local is best, though, in my opinion, (for wildflower)


I hope this helps you.
Happy meading 😎
 

MostlyMetal

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Agree with everything said here. I started a year or two ago and have used all types of honey from various places and it all will make mead. In addition to what has already been mentioned, hit up your local farmers market or any type of community celebration where vendors gather. I can usually find at least one honey merchant there and they're always excited to talk about their product! Tell them what you're doing and offer to give them a bottle when you're done :)
 

apisgallus

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I am a (very bad beekeeper) but harvested enough to make mead. Not bragging but its not bad, probably will never win prizes though. Used raisins and Tosna and a variety of yeasts. They all have a subtle difference. Made a brew with a friend with Costco honey and primary fermentation looks very different. Hopefully will keep this thread open for further comments. Bottom line, best to buy local. As people have stated, local beekeepers are your friend
 

madscientist451

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I've used cheap honey from Walmart, Trader Joe's and other retailers and its fine, although I try to look for USA origin and pay a little more. Local honey is way more expensive and sometimes better for mead, sometimes not, it depends on where you are and what you are buying. Walmart used to sell raw honey in 2 lb jars, haven't looked for a while but should be just as good as anything on Amazon.
Make small, 1-2 gallon batches and see how it comes out; also, look up the TONSA nutrient method and use that, you'll need some go-ferm and Fermaid O, which is available from online brew shops. If using wine yeast, use 1 pack per gallon. Try making some low ABV meads first so you can get the feel of what you are doing and you can drink them sooner.
 

apisgallus

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I used tosna and my meads don't clear as well as when I used raisins. There is a thread on this.
This is not to say don't use Tosna, but I would ve very interested how common my observation was of slow slow clearing meads.
Maybe its a local honey thing (40 feet from my back door local)
 

Dan O

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I've used cheap honey from Walmart, Trader Joe's and other retailers and its fine, although I try to look for USA origin and pay a little more. Local honey is way more expensive and sometimes better for mead, sometimes not, it depends on where you are and what you are buying. Walmart used to sell raw honey in 2 lb jars, haven't looked for a while but should be just as good as anything on Amazon.
Make small, 1-2 gallon batches and see how it comes out; also, look up the TONSA nutrient method and use that, you'll need some go-ferm and Fermaid O, which is available from online brew shops. If using wine yeast, use 1 pack per gallon. Try making some low ABV meads first so you can get the feel of what you are doing and you can drink them sooner.
I still occasionally buy the 2 lb jars of raw clover honey from Walmart, but, usually only use clover as a carrier honey for my flavored meads. Traditionals, I stick with varietal honeys mostly
 

CKuhns

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I say if its honey or a honey thats even suspected mixed with something else as long as it's reasonably priced and smells and tastes good it will work.

If your covering it with fruit for a melomel your fine.
 

Golddiggie

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For traditional mead recipes, I use local honey that I get from whatever apiary I'm close enough to. For anything with flavor elements added, it really doesn't matter. The honey will come through a bit, depending on how heavy you are with the other flavor elements.

I make sure the honey I get isn't heated above 110F since that's the point where you're really losing flavor and aroma elements. I prefer to keep it under 100F and only do that as needed (to ensure it's fully mixed). I need to get some honey soon to make a batch of mead I'd like to be bottling come fall (before the fermenter is used for cider).
 
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JohanTheMighty

JohanTheMighty

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Thank y'all very much, I appreciate it, I really do. I'm going to ahead and brew as planned then. Lesson learned, looking for better sources for future brews.
 

Dan O

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How can they survive winter weather? I always assumed they all died off and the queen hibernates or something.
From what I understand, (I am NOT a beekeeper, but, I talk frequently with my local guy that I get my honey from) they have to be fed sugar water & the hives get covered in blankets made for bee hives.
 

amber-ale

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no honey is the wrong honey, unless you are an experienced mead maker trying to make a specific flavor.

different honeys give you different flavors, but they all make mead sooner or later. relax and have fun.
I can't get anything but grocery store honey and I still get fabulous meads. I just add other ingredients to provide flavor.
 

Hans O. Lowe

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How can they survive winter weather? I always assumed they all died off and the queen hibernates or something.

They kick the drones (males) out of the hive in late fall. then they "cluster" forming a ball of bees in between the frames of the brood boxes. The queen is in the center of it all. They start at the top of their boxes where the bulk of the honey is stored and move downward eating their honey stores to survive. In order to stay warm, they vibrate their flight muscles to create heat. Their only goal is to keep the queen alive to rebuild the colony in the spring.

As beekeepers, we're supposed to give the best circumstances for them to survive. Control mites, leave enough honey for the winter, etc. I failed at mite control and probably the position of the hives as well as not building a windbreak.

Fascinating creatures, bees. I'd encourage anyone to learn more about them.
 
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