Mead - Walmart Clover Honey?

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illin8

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I really want to make my first batch of mead but don't have a source for quality honey. I've emailed around and haven't had much luck. The only stuff I can find is store bought (supermarket, walmart). Soooo, how would the Walmart Clover Honey be in making a mead? Should I not even bother and order from somewhere online like AHS or Northern or Midwest? Anybody ever done a batch with Walmart Clover Honey? How was it?

I really want to get a batch or two going bad!
 

DaveAllen

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Wal-mart clover honey is just fine if you are making a JAOM. I use if for JAOM all the time.
 

jezter6

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Try it, and see how you like the taste. If it tastes ok, it will probably be ok for mead.

Cheaper honeys usually do better as melomels which will hide some of the honey defects, however you could probably do a straight mead with it.

No harm in trying a gallon just to see how it turns out.

I've heard of others on gotmead making meads with it, so it can't be too horrible.
 

MedsenFey

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You can make a decent traditional mead using processed, heated and filtered honey. If you manage the fermentation properly with adequate nutrients and use a yeast that can enhance the esters such as 71B you can produce a nice mead.

However, the fresher and less processed the honey, the better the mead will be, and you can make a noticeably better traditional mead using better honey. Even in melomels, better quality honey gives you a better result.

You can order very high quality honey from places like BeeFolks - it can be costly, but you'll get the quality you paid for, and that honey that will make a big difference in the aroma and flavor of the mead.

Almost everywhere in America has some local beekeepers. Check the yellow-pages, and the local farmer's market, or use the National Honey Board's Honey Locator. There should be some fresh honey somewhere within reasonable driving distance.
 

Emerald

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I used the cheaper clover honey from save-a-lot in a couple of trial batches- one of white grape/peach and one with apple juice- it is ok so far. The big batch of cyser that I used the wildflower honey in is a bit better than the the store bought honey one, but it could just be my imagination... None of them are very old, so I really can't comment yet on how good they will be, but they taste good but hot right now.

It will give you an idea of what mead tastes like and if you want to invest in buying great honey and making bigger batches. Even the cheap store bought honey makes a mead that while is different than I imagined, it is also better than I imagined mead to taste. I will be investing in better honey to make some good home grown fruit meads this summer. I am hoping to talk to the owner of the blueberry fields I pick as I saw that he had quite a few nice hives out behind the field and those fields were full of wild flowers.. May have to figure out some barter! Maybe picking bushes clean for him in exchange for some honey... He mentioned that he makes blueberry wine and finds it to better than any that he had bought. His fields have only been open for a couple of years to "pick your own" so I am sure that it will probably be a few years before he has a good crowd built up. Sorry about that little bit of off topic there!:eek:
 

jcobbs

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I made a JAOM version with Walmart honey and it was delicious. Nice honey flavor & aroma. I'm sure the local and varietal honeys are even better, but to me honey is kind of like chocolate or pizza--I've had good, excellent, and extraordinary, but I've never had any that was bad.

...Or as Winston Churchill once said about sex: "There are a lot of things worse, and a few things that may be better; but there is nothing quite like it." :D
 

meading_of_minds

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I use the honey from Sam's Club for base honey in meads. I think while you are learning about getting the recipes right, less expensive, but average honey that's modestly priced is a good idea. And, if you will be making something with other flavors, i.e., tea, juice, fruit, spices, then the walmart honey will be a perfect foil because it won't overpower all the other aromas. There will be plenty of time to find those varietal ones later. In the mean time, you'll have mead to drink sooner!
 

flyweed

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I am a FIRM believer now that your mead will only be as good as the honey you use. The stuff from Wally and other discount stores, tastes OK, but they are filtered and sterilized to the point where you really get no varietal flavor or aroma at all. I prefer a good raw honey that has never been heated, filtered, or anything. You can get good prices on raw honey several places on the internet..including ebay.

HTH
Dan
 

jezter6

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That's certainly true to a point. However, like many have said above - if you're using it as a base for melomel or metheglin, you'll be hiding most (if not all) of the weaknesses of a more processed honey.

For joam, cyser, etc - this honey (if cheaper than what you can get elsewhere) would be fine.

Now, I get really good wildflower honey for $112 a bucket...so it's pretty damn cheap.
 
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illin8

illin8

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OK fellas, thanks for the replies. Anyone have any 'good' online sources for honey? I've tried locally and through the Nat'l Honey Locator but didn't have very good results.

On another note, anyone have any good recipes that may work well with the cheap stuff? Melomel or traditional? either way is fine w/ me. Thanks for the help.
 

DilvishTheDamned

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I've used Honey from Gordon Food Service to good effect in mead. They sell for ~$13US per 6 pounds.
 

jezter6

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OK fellas, thanks for the replies. Anyone have any 'good' online sources for honey? I've tried locally and through the Nat'l Honey Locator but didn't have very good results.
How did you have no results in Honey Locator??

New England Honey
James Metcalf
PO Box 119
North Brookfield, MA 01535

At most that appears to be less than 60 miles from just about any place in RI.

Sure, it's not super close, but I buy my honey from about 120 miles away...which is why I end up buying bulk getting a bucket or two (5 gals) at a time.
 

flyweed

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I personally like Ebeehoney.com for all my honey purchases...they are just over in Ohio..so shipping to Wisconsin from there is super quick. They have a good variety of honey always in stock.
 
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illin8

illin8

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Well nothing in RI or THAT close...wasn't planning on (or hoping to not) having to travel that far for it. Thanks for the input so far...looks like I need to come up with a game plan.
 

jezter6

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I wish I had a honey source closer, but when you're talking in buying bulk (anything bigger than jars or honey bears) the number of "wholsale" type places goes down pretty quick.

If 60 miles is a bit much for you, I understand that. I wish I had a place within 60 miles....
 

jaxn

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I've got a few jars of the Wal-Mart honey, but I haven't had a chance to use them, yet. At $7.50 for a 3-pound jar, it's hard to say no. Definitely worth it for a few experimental batches at least.
 
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illin8

illin8

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Whoa! Guess I can't trust my google-fu or honey locator. Thanks!! Hopefully at least one of these pan out!
 

FalmouthBrewmeister

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I did a 5 gallon mead (approx) just after Christmas with 15+# walmart clover and lavalin ec-1118 champagne yeast. It was my alteration of JAOM. I secondaried it last weekend, and it has clered already. OG was 1.112 and is now 0.900. Tasted the hydro sample and is freaking amazing. I never thought Wally World honey would work out this well, but I was in a rush and am happy with it.

I used 2 teaspoons fermax and pitched the yeast dry on top. I added 1 teaspoon fermax after 3 weeks and 1 more 2 weeks after that.

I also did 3-1 gallon batches with 3# Wal-Mart clover honey and 12 oz. CRAISINS with the same yeast, same pitch (dry) and 1/2 teaspoon fermax at pitch and 1/4 teaspoon at 3 weeks. These tasted excellent at secondary racking last week.

I like to be cheap and also like to spend money. It depends on my mood.

I just got in some 20# wildflower honey for a few gallon batches. I will let you know how it all goes.
 

FalmouthBrewmeister

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To add to the above post:

I did not have a way to aerate except to shake the everloving crap out of it when I started. (like 10 tiring minutes) I have done ok, but am happy I just bought an aeration system (pump, tubing, filter, stone). I got it from http://www.NorthernBrewer.com for $35 along with a few new beer kits and the honey I mentioned.

here it is: http://www.northernbrewer.com/default/aeration-system.html

I am a beer brewer who got bitten after trying meade for the first time last fall at a local Ren Faire. I have bought a few and was disgusted at the sweetness and syrupiness that these bottled jokers were selling. At the faire, it was pretty dry yet still had a bold honey flavor, but who knows where they are getting it. A local winery or meadery perhaps. I have been collecting champagne bottles to give this as gifts to friends. I am lightly frosting the bottles by sandblasting them at low pressure. Because I am going for still meades, I am not worried too much about weakening the bottles too much.

Woah, bunny trail there. Anyway, From friends I have met, just like beers, the honey you use will be reflected in your final product, but as I have seen here, you are adding to the meade (melomel, pyment, etc.) then use the cheap stuff. If you are shooting for just honey, water and yeast, then go artisnal, dont boil, (so pitch a HEALTHY starter) and give it love.
 

Egghead

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I use it as my "base" honey in my melomels, and add some some Orange Blossom honey (available in other grocery stores) for the better flavor later in the fermentation.
 

Bush_84

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I use it as my "base" honey in my melomels, and add some some Orange Blossom honey (available in other grocery stores) for the better flavor later in the fermentation.
That sounds like a good idea. You just add however much cheap honey that will bring you to your desired ABV, ferment dry, stabilize, then back sweeten with an expensive honey (like orange blossom). I think that'll be my strategy for meads.
 

MedsenFey

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Clover honey has a distinctive flavor. It isn't like you're fermenting corn syrup (unless it's imported from China :rolleyes: ) so you're going to have clover honey flavor with some orange blossom mixed in which won't taste the same as one made without the clover. I'm not saying it won't taste good, but it will be different.

I'm fortunate in that I live in Florida where I can get fresh orange blossom honey almost as cheap as Costco clover honey. If I lived in another part of the country, I'd look for local honey producers to find the best and most flavorful honey I could find (including clover) - usually if you get it from the beekeepers, the price will be pretty cheap. Using the freshest, least-processed honey possible will produce the best meads.

Medsen
 

LightningInABottle

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I personally don't like clover honey and can taste it in a melomel even if it is heavily fruited. Try a one gallon batch and if you like it go big. To each his own.
 

WheresOurFish

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I've been using Wally World clover honey in my small test batches. Since it's been pasteurized and filtered, I find it to be rather neutral in flavor. Once I have the test batch about where I want it, and get ready to go to full production, that's when I go for the expensive stuff.
 

Emerald

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While my mead needs to age a bit, I do like the flavor of the clover honey (gordons foods and walmart brands) and if I like them as well as I do, I can't wait to make some with good honey.
 

MedsenFey

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Clover is good honey. My personal preference is for clover that hasn't been heated, filtered and processed, but no one should get the impression that clover isn't a good honey. If you can find raw clover, try it and see.
 

Emerald

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I can find some very yummy wildflower honey that is local to me, but the cost of that is almost $4 a pound and with a boy who is gonna graduate this spring- well, I might just have to wait to make a good wildflower mead!;):D but I am wondering if I went to them to plead my case and get a bigger amount, if they might take pity on a poor mead maker!:D
 

MedsenFey

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If you take a bottle of good mead with you to share, your pleadings may be more convincing. ;)
 

MedsenFey

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sorry this was a duplicate - moderators please remove if possible.
 
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