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Heat or no heat

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Per the guy that wrote the modern book, aeration, nutrients, no heat, and no sulfites

Bad Brewer:

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...


--- Quote from: 1vertical on November 19, 2009, 11:28:34 AM ---Looks at poll results....scratches head...

--- End quote ---

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....

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.

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?


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