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General Category => Other Fermentables => Topic started by: cfleisher on July 25, 2011, 06:14:35 PM

Title: Why remove scum?
Post by: cfleisher on July 25, 2011, 06:14:35 PM
Just made my first mead and I was wondering why every recipe calls for removing scum? Is this for clarification? Sanitation? What is it, exactly, that I'm removing?
Title: Re: Why remove scum?
Post by: Jimmy K on July 25, 2011, 07:29:10 PM
If the recipes say to heat the must, then it is usually coagulated proteins. Not every recipe says to remove the scum, just the ones you've been reading. I think those that support it say it leads to better clarity.
Title: Re: Why remove scum?
Post by: hubie on July 26, 2011, 03:44:00 AM
This goes back to traditional recipes.  If you look up some old mead making recipes from the 18th and 19th century, you'll see that they tell you to mix the water and honey, boil the snot out of it, and skim the stuff during the boil.  One of these days I want to do side-by-side one-gallon batches where I boil and skim one and no-boil the other, and see what kind of differences I get.
Title: Re: Why remove scum?
Post by: Jimmy K on July 26, 2011, 05:55:29 PM
I imagine without modern frame hives and honey extraction equipment, the honey had a lot more crud and contaminants in it.
Title: Re: Why remove scum?
Post by: morticaixavier on July 26, 2011, 07:07:29 PM
I imagine without modern frame hives and honey extraction equipment, the honey had a lot more crud and contaminants in it.

there is a lot to be said for using raw honey with all the crud and gunk in place. a lot of that stuff (wax, propolis, pollen, bee bits etc) add nutrients that the yeast need. course you could use yeast nutrient but to my mind if I can get it from the 'honey' mores the better. course I am something of a caveman brewer when it comes to mead.
Title: Re: Why remove scum?
Post by: jeffy on July 26, 2011, 08:03:10 PM
I imagine without modern frame hives and honey extraction equipment, the honey had a lot more crud and contaminants in it.

there is a lot to be said for using raw honey with all the crud and gunk in place. a lot of that stuff (wax, propolis, pollen, bee bits etc) add nutrients that the yeast need. course you could use yeast nutrient but to my mind if I can get it from the 'honey' mores the better. course I am something of a caveman brewer when it comes to mead.

The best braggot I ever made (won a gold at NHC way back when) used crystallized farm-fresh honey that had bits of comb and other stuff in it.  I also boiled the must, not knowing any better, and skimmed the scum.  I used Cal Lager yeast with no nutrients.
It may have been beginner's luck, but it won a lot of competitions.  'Amazing what can happen if you don't know the rules.