Three in one year, I can't imagine what you're going through. Hang tough Jim.
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Might be lazy, but with the price of DME, it makes sense. If it takes a pound of DME, which costs $5, to make a 4-L starter, and a smack pack costs $6.25 and is fresh, seems to me that the extra pack is the way to go.
Sound logic, assuming 1 extra pack is all you need.
Stonekeep meadery in Birdsboro makes some decent meads, but don't know if you can get them in state stores. If you are close, they usually have an open house every month or two.
I made a run down to Lancaster area and grabbed all the varieties of Stonekeep meads, Frecon Farms ciders, as well as Mt Hope winery's meads. I have not tried the Stonekeep's yet. I'm planning to have a mead tasting party in a couple weeks.
What do you think about Mt Hope's offerings? I had their sweet mead and found it enjoyable - but I was camping in the woods.
(I did enjoy some good brewpub beer at Mt Joy's Bebe's Brewery too!)
Having a hard time getting any good mead in Pennsylvania - our stupid/archaic state owned wine stores makes obtaining anything like Redstone, Rabbits Foot, Long Island, Moonlight meadery's virtually impossible.
Moonlight Meadery is looking for a PA distributor, if you know of any... have them contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org