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General Category => Other Fermentables => Topic started by: Crispy275 on November 12, 2009, 05:02:54 PM

Title: Heat or no heat
Post by: Crispy275 on November 12, 2009, 05:02:54 PM
A simple question - do you use heat in making your mead or not?
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: beerocd on November 12, 2009, 05:29:22 PM
Some heat - just to make it flow better. Since I don't get anywhere near your other two choices I guess I'm NO HEAT.

-OCD
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: akr71 on November 12, 2009, 06:01:53 PM
Some heat - just to make it flow better. Since I don't get anywhere near your other two choices I guess I'm NO HEAT.

-OCD

+1 the honey I get is solid, so some heat to get it out of the bucket and hot water to get it to dissolve easier, but no boiling.
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: realbeerguy on November 12, 2009, 07:50:37 PM
NO HEAT!

Bucket, water, honey.  Stir like hell.  If I need to get the last bit of honey out of the container, use a sanitzed spatula.  I will rinse the last bit out with some heated water, but the volume does not appreciably raise the temperature of the must.
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: ndcube on November 13, 2009, 02:53:24 PM
Only heat I use is a warm water bath for flow.
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: loopy on November 13, 2009, 07:28:23 PM
no heat, but I sometimes put the honey in the window sill for a few hours to let it warm up.  putting it in the sink with warm water around the outside of the container would be the same. 
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: 1vertical on November 14, 2009, 02:43:36 AM
So far, I have tried to bring it up to Pasteurization temps.  There is a school of thought on not heating, but IMO fermentation is
all about creating the correct environment for the Yeast to have optimum conditions.  To me, Pasteurization insures that the
competing organisms that MAY be present in the mix, are nullified. Another reason that reinforces my thinking on this is my
pocket book. The price of the ingredients and production labor and cleanup are weighty enough that to have a contaminated batch would be too costly IMO.  So for me, insurance, yes please.....
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: ted on November 15, 2009, 04:14:24 AM
In the past I have heated to sanitize, but I no longer use any heat. I just don't see any reason to anymore.
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: Brewdogz on November 19, 2009, 06:17:08 PM
1vertical - I did what you are doing for my first two batches for the same reasons.  Since then I've been doing no heat method for about the next 150 batches.  No problems what so ever.

On the other hand, if I have a batch of fruit that I believe to be suspect (visible signs of mold and rust) I have been known to sulfite the must for a day befor I pitch yeast.  I rarely do this because I'm not a fan of sulfiting.
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: 1vertical on November 19, 2009, 06:28:34 PM
Looks at poll results....scratches head....says notes are being taken  :-\
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: Brewdogz on November 19, 2009, 06:41:09 PM
I should make another note: I know a few people who have been making mead for decades.  They very gently boil there must for 15 minutes or so, skim all the wax, bugs and other stuff that float to the top.  The meads they make are extremely good medal winning beverages. 

In your notes make sure to list that there are many different ways to make great mead.  You just need to figure out what works best for you and what you are most comfortable with.

And don;t forget to practice! ;)
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: lonnie mac on November 19, 2009, 10:29:14 PM
So far, I have tried to bring it up to Pasteurization temps.  There is a school of thought on not heating, but IMO fermentation is
all about creating the correct environment for the Yeast to have optimum conditions.  To me, Pasteurization insures that the
competing organisms that MAY be present in the mix, are nullified. Another reason that reinforces my thinking on this is my
pocket book. The price of the ingredients and production labor and cleanup are weighty enough that to have a contaminated batch would be too costly IMO.  So for me, insurance, yes please.....

I am kinda with ya on this. I have done it with no heat, but I have done several 10 gal meads. Heck, that last ABC I did dang near broke me! I don't remember how much money I had in that thing! So usually I will bring things up to sanitizing temps for the sake of piece of mind I guess...

The only infection I did have was a no heat, but I wont attribute it to that. I found that I had an infected racking cane. I pasteurized it and let it cool on it's own and bottled... It went on to win BOS at KCBM.
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: wilypig on November 20, 2009, 03:08:26 PM
Honey is does not have enough water to support bacterial contamination. That is why it has been used for centuries as a poltice on infected wounds. Wild yeast will survive in a type of suspended animation waiting for the right conditions to do there thing. I am a bit of a goofy historical nut about my mead. I use no heat and generally try to get the local yeast to do the job for me. I have made several meads and like ciders I find that the local yeast do a great job of fermenting these. I do however believe in the 96 hour nutrient schedule for ensuring proper fermentation. I will harvest my cider yeast for use on meads each year. I also use this yeast for making at least one beer a year, with very interesting result. To each his/her own, if it works for you then it is good. I chose a path many hills, valleys and dark blind curves.
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: euge on March 30, 2010, 07:26:44 AM
I made two five gallon batches of mead per the Papazian book's instruction waaay back in the early 90's.

Boiled the crap out of them per the recipe and aged the carboys for six months. Two different parties cleaned out the uncarbonated mead and left me with sticky floors. It was fantastic social lubricant...

Anyway, the end product was about 19% both times.


Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: bluefoxicy on July 25, 2010, 01:48:05 AM
Boiling will drive out some volatile aromatic compounds and alter some proteins or sugars, altering the mouthfeel of the mead.

Boiling will also lead to a clearer mead.
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: gordonstrong on August 07, 2010, 08:08:44 PM
No boil.  Always.  I warm up the honey containers in hot tap water so it can pour more readily, but it goes straight into a fermenter.

Worried about dissolving the honey?  Get a mix-stir and a drill. Bonus side effect: aeration.
Worried about sanitation?  Don't. Honey doesn't get infected in nature, does it? Honey can only get infected if it's been diluted.  Get your yeast ready to pitch, use nutrients, and get your yeast active quickly. They will out-compete anything else there.
Worried about clearing?  Let if fully ferment, give it time, use Super-Kleer or Sparkalloid if you need it.

Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: ullarsskald1989 on August 15, 2010, 03:21:14 PM
Been brewing mead since 1983...I'm an answer 2...bring the water to a boil, take off the heat, dissolve in the honey, return to heat, and boil to get a hot break only when using "raw" honey, else, keep the brewing liquor at Pasteurization temp for 20 minutes.

I've never used any clarifiers save gravity and time.

Six in the cellar right now (dry mead, cyser, pyment, 3 melomels (blueberry, apricot, mixed red fruits], plus one batch of Cyser-vinegar (intentional).
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: wfaris on August 19, 2010, 09:24:01 PM
Tried the "no heat" method on Mead Day with our club.  Since it was 95°+ and about 70% humidity outside we thought this would be a great time for us all to try the no heat method and stay in the air conditioning while we "brewed".  We just left the honey out in the car until it was time to use it.  It poured nice and fast.  Who knows, maybe it did hit pasteurization temperature out there.  Anyway, it is still fermenting so it will be a while before I can report on how it did.

On a related topic, I am planning to add straight cranberry juice to a couple of gallons of this mead.  Any idea on how much to use per gallon of mead?  My OG was 1.104 using a light wildflower (mostly alfalfa I think) honey and fermented with the dry Norbonne yeast.

Wayne
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: beersk on November 10, 2010, 10:13:51 PM
No heat for me.  I warm up the honey enough to get it all out and into the water, stir well, then shake to mix in the carboy.  My first batch I heated to 150F or so and held that for 20 minutes, but it just isn't necessary.  Honey doesn't harbor the nutrients for bacteria to survive, you pretty much have to take a dump in the honey to contaminated it.  It's sheer paranoia to boil it.
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: cmuzz on February 10, 2011, 06:03:28 PM
Just warm water to get it flowing. Answer 3.

I posted earlier today and mentioned I am just getting back to mead after a 15 year hiatus. I'm old school and used campden tablets, but the consensus now days seems to be not to use. I'm putting up a batch this weekend. Do I risk not going the sulfite route?
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: bonjour on February 11, 2011, 12:17:32 AM
Per the guy that wrote the modern book, aeration, nutrients, no heat, and no sulfites
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: Bad Brewer on February 24, 2011, 07:00:25 PM
Personally-

No heat, no sulfite, no anything.  I do sometimes boil my water beforehand, if I'm adding spices, and cool the water to about 85-90F before adding my honey.  Use some of this warm post boil water to get the remaining honey out of the jugs.  Any fresh fruit for a melomel (almost always added after primary fermentation) gets pasteurized and frozen first.  I seal the fruit in a vacuum style ziplock, drop it in the hot water (72degrees C, 162F) for about 5 minutes.  The length of time you need to hold it at that temp is only a few seconds, but the entire fruit needs to hit that temp.  Works best if you get the fruit into smaller pieces, and the vacuum sealing (maybe) helps preserve some of the fruit character.  Freezing after breaks cell walls and makes the content more available to your mead. (let it warm to room temp before adding it in though)  If adding fruit after the primary ferment and your ABV is 10% or more, you can probably skip pasteurizing the fruit if the fruit looks clean/healthy.  Just wash it and freeze/thaw.

If it hasn't been said, the key to your mead being free from unwanted microorganisms is sanitation.  If you are going to touch your must with anything, make sure it is sanitized. 

I may go a little overboard, but I make a list of every implement I'm going to need when mixing the honey/water/other together, it goes into a 5 gallon ale pale filled with starsan to soak.  Every time I pop open my fermentor I make sure I have two things.  Some CO2 to flush the head-space and a bucket of starsan.  Anything that is going to touch my must gets sanitized thoroughly. 

I make more beer than mead, but have never had an infected/lost batch of mead with no boiling.  Sanitize, and if you even think its not sanitized, sanitize it again before it touches your must.  No exceptions.  Works well for me anyway.

Edited to add- I also always make a yeast starter, use nutrients (once at pitching and 2 more additions during primary) and aerate with O2.  I also write my recipes out like a lab protocol, detailed step by step set of instructions...
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: punatic on April 14, 2011, 08:02:03 AM
Looks at poll results....scratches head...

Looks at poll... scratches head... wonders why poll has been locked.

No heat - at all.
As a beekeeper I can harvest, extract, and make mead all in one day (albeit a looooooong "brew" day).
Different floral source honeys crystalize at different rates.  No worries, crystalized honey dissolves (is misible) and makes great mead.

As a no-heat meadmaker I have two concepts I work from:
sanitize, sanitize, sanitize, sanitize, sanitize, sanitize, sanitize, sanitize, sanitize, sanitize, sanitize, sanitize...
stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir....
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: cfleisher on September 12, 2011, 05:54:50 PM
Boiled my first mead, but only because I use well water and raw honey. Time will tell if I'm better off for it, but I think I might just heat the water to sanitation temps next time and mix together with no boil.
Title: Re: Heat or no heat
Post by: 58limited on October 05, 2014, 08:25:58 PM
I see this is an old thread but I'll post my $0.02: I originally boiled the honey back in the 1990s but I do not boil or heat the honey anymore (exception: cotton or mesquite honey, both are solid at room temperature. I heat just enough to get them to flow but not enough to affect the floral character very much if at all.). This preserves the floral essences that would otherwise be lost. I just mix everything together and pitch a robust yeast culture. This has served me well, I have won awards at the Texas Meadfest for the past two years.

P.S. - Why is the poll locked?