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Best traditional mead honey(s)

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tradowsk

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Once I free up some carboys, I want to make a 2 gallon batch of traditional mead as best as I can. I realize this will be subjective, but I'm looking for interesting suggestions.

I like my meads semi-sweet to sweet, so I need suggestions for the fermentation honey as well as the backsweetening honey. Outside of that, I'm open to really any flavor profile. I hear really good things about tupelo but I wonder if there is something even better or a blend that some developed to be really special.

Any suggestions are appreciated!
 

BernardSmith

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Tupelo can make an incredible mead but that assumes you can make a trad mead with your eyes closed. If you have not made a trad mead that you and your friends really enjoy then you should know that a trad mead is a naked mead in that there is nothing behind which to hide faults. You want to choose a suitable yeast that highlights characteristics you want to emphasize; to make the mead at the optimal temperature for that honey; to aim for an ABV that does not overbalance the flavors of the honey; to target a suitable TA that provides the tartness that showcases the flavors. You want the mead to have enough tannins to provide a solid backbone for this mead. A staring gravity of about 1.090 - 1.100 is a good place to begin. You also want a yeast that will provide enough glycerides to provide good viscoity (mouthfeel)..
That said, I would suggest that you use the same honey to backsweeten the mead if you are focused on making a mead using a varietal honey
 

tradowsk

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@BernardSmith I have made a traditional mead already, albeit with raw clover honey. Still got great reviews from friends/family recently which is why I want to step it up to something spectacular. I've also done lime, orange, and orange-chocolate-chai in addition to a good deal of wine, so I know my way around haha

My one friend makes a traditional mead with clover or wildflower, but then backsweetens with orange blossom, which adds a very interesting dimension to the finished product. Hence my question about blends
 

BernardSmith

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Cannot speak to "blends" but wildflower or clover - in my opinion - are typically good vehicles for other flavors (fruits or spices) but adding a varietal to back sweeten tends to highlight the sweetening honey above and beyond the substrate honey. Given the higher price of varietals I tend to treat them as "not for blending" but your pockets may be far deeper than mine and your approach may therefore be very different.
 
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