Ss Brewing Technologies Giveaway!

Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Honey: To boil or Not to Boil- and a few other questions
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 07-21-2013, 10:58 AM   #1
Howling_Moon_Woffie
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Tampa, Fl
Posts: 31
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts
Likes Given: 14

Default Honey: To boil or Not to Boil- and a few other questions

Over the years I have seen many formula for mead but just the past few years there has been more and more debate on if boiling the Honey helps or hinders.

I need advice and I hope your answers might get me thinking like a brewer again.

I'm looking to start a 5gal batch of Semi-Sweet Blackberry Vanilla Still Mead.

Question: Would you suggest one honey over another? I am trying to find 12-15lbs of raw filtered Local honey. What Honey would you NOT use?


The plan is just heating most of the filtered water to temp. Warming the honey in a water bath and just dumping it all (including the Blackberry pure' and vanilla beans) in the Primary Without Boiling it. Mixing in the carboy until temp is under 80F. Take my readings then pitch the yeast

Will not boiling the raw filtered honey cause problems?

If everything was sanitized...where are the holes in my plan? Should I add more Berry/Vanilla on second Rack?

Would you suggest one yeast over another? How do you choose one over another?

Sorry if these are new-blood questions but I rather than looking at recipes that list the what and when...I am also looking for WHY.

Thanks Again everyone!
Woffie

__________________
Howling_Moon_Woffie is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-21-2013, 03:31 PM   #2
snuesen
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Duluth, Minnesota
Posts: 167
Liked 5 Times on 5 Posts

Default

I would add the beans to secondary. If you don't want the mess, put the beans in vodka (~5 beans per pint) for a couple months, shake it every now and again, and you have extract you can add to taste.

71b yeast is pretty good for melomel, but you need to rack often, for this recipe most yeasts out there should work. I prob wouldn't use a champagne yeast.. but you may find good results with a lot of yeasts.

No need to boil honey unless you want a caramelized flavor. If you want the fruit/vanilla to be the star of the show, you're better off using a lighter varietal honey, like clover or wildflower.

You may also add more berries to secondary but that is a logistical problem when aging in glass carboy. I did a pear Mel once where I added pear extract to secondary(real fruit in primary) and it turned out quite decent.

__________________
snuesen is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-21-2013, 04:02 PM   #3
fatbloke
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: UK - South Coast.
Posts: 2,660
Liked 171 Times on 158 Posts
Likes Given: 26

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Howling_Moon_Woffie View Post
Over the years I have seen many formula for mead but just the past few years there has been more and more debate on if boiling the Honey helps or hinders.

I need advice and I hope your answers might get me thinking like a brewer again.

I'm looking to start a 5gal batch of Semi-Sweet Blackberry Vanilla Still Mead.

Question: Would you suggest one honey over another? I am trying to find 12-15lbs of raw filtered Local honey. What Honey would you NOT use?
With "flavoured" batches, invariably, it doesn't matter too much about the actual honey as the fruit/spices that you're thinking of using will mask and flavour that might be gleaned from using a varietal. Even cheapo supermarket stuff would do IMO.
Quote:
The plan is just heating most of the filtered water to temp. Warming the honey in a water bath and just dumping it all (including the Blackberry pure' and vanilla beans) in the Primary Without Boiling it. Mixing in the carboy until temp is under 80F. Take my readings then pitch the yeast

Will not boiling the raw filtered honey cause problems?

If everything was sanitized...where are the holes in my plan? Should I add more Berry/Vanilla on second Rack?

Would you suggest one yeast over another? How do you choose one over another?

Sorry if these are new-blood questions but I rather than looking at recipes that list the what and when...I am also looking for WHY.

Thanks Again everyone!
Woffie
If you heat honey, by the time that you get it to so called "pasteurisation" temperature, it's hot enough to drive off most of the volatile aromatics and most likely some of the finer, more subtle flavouring elements - much more important when making traditionals, but I don't heat any of my honey period!

Even crystalised honey is just weighed out and then mixed to the target volume, then the fermenter is covered/lidded/sealed and left. At most, I might just hit it with a stick blender (sanitised) a couple of times until it's completely liquid.

Putting the fruit into primary will change it's taste completely. When people think of adding X ingredient, they usually have it's original taste/flavour in mind, but fermentation changes that because all of the fruit sugars that make it taste how it does in it's original form, will have been fermented/replaced by alcohol.

So I either go for 1/3rd in primary and then the rest in secondary, or all of the fruit in secondary. That way, as long as you stabilise the batch after the ferment is complete, then it should retain most of the original fruit flavour. I don't tend to make my batches to try and compete with grape wines. We're very familiar with the fermented grape flavour, but much less so with other fruit.

For yeast choice, I use mostly D21 and K1-V1116 as they make good traditionals, and while I understand that both were historically used in reds (a larger proportion of wines from the Languedoc being reds) for trads and higher alcohol batches they're good. If you're aiming to ferment some of the fruit in primary, then RC-212 or even BDX are both good, as they retain more of the colour pigmentation and flavour associated with red fruit batches.

Many yeast carry caveats. D47 is good for trad's and other meads, but it is known to produce fusels when fermented at over 70F/21C, so needs to be kept low (relatively speaking). 71B is good with fruit, especially malic fruit like apples as it can metabolise upto 1/3 of the malic acid, but equally, it's known not to be good for ageing on the lees, so there is a guesstimate of about 2 months after the ferment is complete as the maximum amount of time so that you don't get any autolysis off flavours from the lees (gross lees that is). It's known to be reasonably good for quicker drinking younger meads.

I don't like EC-1118 for meads, it seems to blow most of those same volatile aromatics and flavours straight out the airlock. It's very good for what it's meant i.e. a champagne yeast, plus it's handy for restarting stuck ferments, but I find it leaves a bland, characterless brew. High alcohol.

There are many yeasts to look through. I usually suggest using Lallemand/Lalvin ones, mainly because it's no effort rehydrating, whether you use GoFerm or not. They're cheap enough and Lallemand/Lalvin publish more data/info about their yeasts than any other maker. There's only about 5 or so strains that are routinely available in home brew sized packs, but morewine appear to keep pretty much all of their strains - presuming that the commercial type ones are just repackaged down.

Vanilla pods ? Just split down the middle length ways and put into secondary. You can just take regular tastes to achieve the level of flavour - and they extract nicely in alcohol......
__________________

"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away". Tom Waits.

Oh, and here's some blog stuff!

fatbloke is offline
Howling_Moon_Woffie Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-21-2013, 10:08 PM   #4
mhenry41h
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Posts: 896
Liked 6 Times on 5 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

My vote is NOT to boil. Honey flavors are volatile and I've had the best luck adding it in a secondary while using 2-3 ozs of honey malt. I have a Honeyed-Helles and an Apricot-Honey Saison that work well.

__________________

Fermenting: Lambic and Dry Orange Blossom Mead
Conditioning: Brett Drei Golden Strong
Next: Nut Brown, Wee Heavy, & Rye IPA
Drinking: Brett - Aussie Blonde, Black IPA, Belgian Stout, Munich Helles

Follow My Brewing Excursions at:


www.draconianlibations.blogspot.com


http://www.facebook.com/pages/Draconian-Libations/258343357538490
___________________
Draconian Libations

mhenry41h is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-21-2013, 11:07 PM   #5
WVMJ
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Karnage, WV
Posts: 1,002
Liked 92 Times on 87 Posts
Likes Given: 21

Default

With the selection of honeys we have over here you can balance the flavor of the fruit with the right honey so that you have both the fruit flavor and a honey sharing the spotlight. With blackberries a darker honey works well to stand up to the blackberry flavors. I aim to make fermented fruit meads, putting the bulk of the fruit in the primary (with pectinase) as we are making a mead. I think to many people think mead is fruit flavored vs fermented fruit like wine. Having the fruit ferment with the honey helps the entire fermentation move along very well. I dont heat my honey but unless you do a side by side comparism for yourself you will never know what is the better way for your tastes. We like to use KIV-1116 or Pasteur Red for berry melomels, both easy fermentors. We also like the split the vanilla bean and drop it in the second racking, that is after its been in a carboy and racked to get rid of most of the lees and then add the bean, if you split it so it has 4 legs it will stand up on the bottom of the carboy and have even more surface area to extract from. WVMJ

WVMJ is offline
Howling_Moon_Woffie Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-22-2013, 03:16 PM   #6
Matrix4b
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 584
Liked 29 Times on 26 Posts

Default

Ok, sounds like you have good advice. But I thought I'd chime in to.

1. Don't boil the honey unless you are actually carmelizing it and THEN adding the water. That style is called a Bochett. Almost a toffee flavor will be there. That's the point. So don't boil the honey. That said, I do warm the water a bit so that I can evenly mix and melt the honey, especially if it's crystalized.

2. Other's have said it: Put the fruit and vanilla in the secondary. You will get more flavor and your aromas will be better. I recomend that you freeze the fruit, then thaw and then put into a mesh bag, then into your brew bucket and squish them lots. Leave it all in for at least 2 weeks, I'd go a month. You can add the vanilla after that. Extract or beans, if you do a 5 gal batch and beans go with at least 6-8 beans, split and scraped into the mead. Remove the pods after about a month. If you use extract then put the extract in about the same time as oaking or when it is in the clearing process.

3. Yeast is all personal choice. Most yeasts will give you some notes on what type. For a cleaner ferment and very little yeast contribution to flavor: D47 if your temp in your brew area is under 70, if over 70 and under around 82F then use 71b. I like the Lavin brands. And definely don't use champaign yeast, too agressive. If you use 71b then make sure to rack it when the lees get to 1/4 inch at the very minimum. Racking promtly in this case will make sure no off flavors from the yeast occur.

4. Be prepared to stablize and backsweeten, yeast LOVE blackberry and red raspberry for some reason. That should be when it's almost done.

5. Oak it. I have found that with raspberry/blackberry that Light toasted oak of 1 oz for a 5 gal batch for 3-6 weeks is plenty to smooth out harshness in the mead and make it much better. Also, with so little of time you will not get "Oakyness" flavor. It will only contribute to the smoothness. Oaking should happen anytime during the secondary or later. I have found it best when it is almost clear to put the chips into a hops bag for easy removal.

6. You only need to saitize your equipment. Honey and fruit does not need sanitizing. If you put your fruit in the secondary then the must or your proto-mead will be about 10% ABV, strong enough to kill any spoilage critters. So sanitizing the fruit is pointless.

7. Honey choice: I like matching the honey type to the mead but I also have a favorite common honey that I use as a base. I like Alfalfa honey for it's earthy robust honey flavor. Although, Orange Blossum, Wildflower, and Clover will work easily enough. I would not use an unsual sounding honey unless you are going for a different flavor so no mint honey or avacado honey or what not. Some people have even used Agave instead of honey. That's ok too. If you are planing to make many meads finding a common honey that you like from your area is an idea. Buy in Bulks of at least 12 pounds and best if you go 60+ pounds if you plan on many batches. Honey may crysalize over a period of a few years but it won't go bad. Best if you buy unfiltered honey, closest to the source as possible. Check out local apiaries (bee farmers) or find a honey distubuter or something. Stay away from farmer's markets and grocery stores (even large bulk ones like Costco). The farmer's market will charge too much, the big stores will not only overcharge but the honey will be filtered with in an inch of it's life.

Hope that this helps.

Matrix

__________________
Matrix4b is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply



Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Full Boil vs Partial Boil - Questions ClemsonDV Extract Brewing 11 12-18-2012 11:07 AM
Making my own Boil kettle: Formula for pre-boil vs post boil anyone? brewjedi General Beer Discussion 4 08-02-2012 04:14 AM
extract partial boil to full boil questions... smithnick0 Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 17 04-25-2011 09:46 PM
First full boil - questions regarding strength of boil, hop utilization, hot break heyjaffy Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 3 04-14-2011 01:56 AM
Honey - Boil or not to boil? the_wickster Recipes/Ingredients 5 02-15-2008 03:19 PM