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Old 02-25-2008, 08:43 PM   #1
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Default Is Boiling necessary for Mead?

I've read different mead recipes and some instruct you to boil the honey. Is this necessary? Isn't most store bought honey bacteria free? Or is it a pre-caution taken just in case?

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Old 02-25-2008, 08:45 PM   #2
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If you boil honey, you can ruin the delicate flavor so I don't boil it. If you have honey that comes fresh with bits of beer parts and honeycomb in it, you may want to strain that out.

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Old 02-25-2008, 08:48 PM   #3
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You can boil the water first then remove it from the heat before adding any honey. Let it sit for 15 mins to pasteurize.

Any wings 'n things in the honey will fall out (eventually) so filtering/straining is not necessary unless it bothers you.

Some of my first meads I boiled for 1 hour. I used ginger and champagne yeast it fermented out really dry and there wasn't any residual honey flavor to be had anyway.

I don't boil anymore than 15 mins if I do boil it.

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Old 02-25-2008, 10:25 PM   #4
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There's a lot of conflicting and spurious information out there about mead.

Personally, I've chosen not to boil and recently sampled my first effort in over 10 years. Fantastic.

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Old 02-25-2008, 10:47 PM   #5
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also, mead making is very much a personal thing. there is as much variation in the mead making process among mazers, as there are variations in beer making, which is a more complex process.

there are a lot of right ways to make mead

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Old 02-25-2008, 11:14 PM   #6
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There are a LOT of very experienced mead-makers over at gotmead.com and the vast majority of them do NOT boil their honey when making mead. With that being said, I've made 22 six gallon batches of various meads during the past 2 years and with the exception of the first 2 (whose procedure I followed in Papazian's book), none of them were boiled.

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Old 02-26-2008, 07:09 AM   #7
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I didnt boil mine and I used raw Fireweed honey. Came out beyond anyhting I could imagine

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Old 02-26-2008, 03:01 PM   #8
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Just depends on how you perceive the risk of botulism. the risk is small, but botulism toxin is lethal. I believe you only need to heat to 170 degrees F (not quite boiling) for 15-20 mins to destory toxin (or at least substantially decreases the already low risk that there is botulism toxin in the honey).

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Old 02-26-2008, 03:07 PM   #9
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botulism

in honey? I have never heard of any recorded case of botulisim poisioning from honey ever.

The only thing ive ever heard was Infants might be at risk and once the Alcohol is created woulndt that steralize the botulism?
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeFlynn74
botulism

in honey? I have never heard of any recorded case of botulisim poisioning from honey ever.

The only thing ive ever heard was Infants might be at risk and once the Alcohol is created woulndt that steralize the botulism?
It's kind of shaky. Classically, botulism is in honey. So when physicians and other health professionals are trained, this risk is some times exaggerated because better safe than sorry. Botulism is all over the place, esp soil. How common it is in honey? I would have to look it up. Probably REALLY low.

Infants are at a substantially increased risk because their digestive systems are not fully developed (simplified: acid and enzymes not strong enough to kill toxin or bacteria). Adults in normal health are at substantially lower risks (but that risk is not zero). Alcohol and the yeast growing may retard the botulism from growing. However, if the botulism bacteria were present in the honey beforehand, then there is a chance there may be botulism toxin (pure poison produced by bacteria) or botulism spores (dormant bacteria in a protective shell). The only thing that destroys these is heat. Really, boiling for 15-20 mins is only thign that would be a sure way of getting rid of these, but heating at high temps close to boiling will further increase the odds of destroying the toxins, spores, and bacteria.

I am new to mead (brewing first batch now)! Surely there are people who know tons of people who have never boiled and run into botulism. It must be very rare. As a health professional, I tend to see the worst stuff so frequently that it is easy for me to have a distorted perception of reality and thus overly paranoid. I had to weigh the low risk of contracting botulism with the high risk of death if I actually ingested it and my stomach did not detroy it.

But now... I am worried that heating my must to 160-170 for 15 mins ruined my mead! I guess only time will tell...
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