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Do you boil, or bring your must up to sanitizing temperatures for your mead making, or do you simply add everything together at room temperature?

I boil
1 (3.6%)
I bring the temps up to sanitizing levels
5 (17.9%)
I use enough heat to help make things flow and stir together
16 (57.1%)
I do not use heat
6 (21.4%)

Total Members Voted: 28

Voting closed: December 12, 2009, 11:31:00 am

Author Topic: Heat or no heat  (Read 41621 times)

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Heat or no heat
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2010, 02:08:44 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.

Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline ullarsskald1989

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Re: Heat or no heat
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2010, 09:21:14 am »
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).
Today is a good day; to learn, to do, to love, to be...

(Ale - 1974, Wine - 1975, Mead - 1983)

Steven P Robinson, AHA Member #175298

Offline wfaris

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Re: Heat or no heat
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2010, 03:24:01 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.

Bugeater Brewing Company
Nebraska Brews Since 2002

Offline beersk

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Re: Heat or no heat
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2010, 03:13:51 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.

Offline cmuzz

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Re: Heat or no heat
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2011, 11:03:28 am »
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?
Caesar M.

Offline bonjour

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Re: Heat or no heat
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2011, 05:17:32 pm »
Per the guy that wrote the modern book, aeration, nutrients, no heat, and no sulfites
Fred Bonjour
Co-Chair Mashing in Michigan 2014 AHA Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan
AHA Governing Committee; AHA Conference, Club Support & Web Subcommittees

Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline Bad Brewer

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Re: Heat or no heat
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2011, 12:00:25 pm »

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...
« Last Edit: February 24, 2011, 12:06:09 pm by Bad Brewer »

Offline punatic

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Re: Heat or no heat
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2011, 02:02:03 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....
There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way.

AHA Life Member #33907

Offline cfleisher

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Re: Heat or no heat
« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2011, 11:54:50 am »
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.
Primary: Grapefruit IPA
Secondary: Berliner Weisse

Offline 58limited

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Re: Heat or no heat
« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2014, 02:25:58 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?
« Last Edit: October 05, 2014, 02:39:34 pm by 58limited »