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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Newbie question: pasteurize mead?
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Old 04-17-2011, 12:53 PM   #1
sielm
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Default Newbie question: pasteurize mead?

Hello all, I have been wondering about the possibility of pasteurizing my meads so that the addition of chemicals such as potassium sorbate and metabisulfite is no longer needed to stabilize the brew. What would happen if I heated my mead? Does it get wasted or spoiled in some manner? I am already collecting my first batches of JAOM, they are really sweet and my main concern is not getting bottle bombs, specially now that the temperatures are warmer than in the winter and considering that the bread yeast cake is so easily disturbed that additional rackings would be needed to clean as much yeast as possible.

Thanks in advance, best regards!

EDIT: What I have in mind is taking the mead bottles and heat them in a pan with warm water. I guess this should not be dangerous if done with the bottles opened and not reaching boiling temperature. Any suggestions? Thanks!

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Old 04-17-2011, 04:29 PM   #2
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I know people that pasteurize beer by capping their bottles and running them through a cycle in the dishwasher....Doing it on the stove won't hurt them, but I wouldn't do anything with the bottles uncapped.

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Old 04-17-2011, 05:04 PM   #3
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My main concern is about the flavor. I don't know if pasteurizing a bottle of mead by heating it up on a stove would spoil the flavor or somehow ruin the mead... But I guess that if the flavor is OK after heating, the resulting product should have no viable yeast on it so it does not referment... Can anybody confirm this? I would prefer not to add chemicals to my brew.

Thanks!

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Old 04-17-2011, 08:06 PM   #4
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Really no short answer to this.

Will it spoil the flavor? No, most likely not. Will it change it? Very possible.

Any time you heat honey, you stand to lose some of the more volatile flavors. A pasteurized honey may not have the same fresh, delicate flavor of unpasteurized. It may not even be enough of a difference that you would notice, but then again, it might.

I seriously doubt that you'll ruin anything by pasteurizing after fermentation. So, the question is: Is the possible flavor change worth not just using a chemical stabilizer? That'll just take trial and error.

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Old 04-17-2011, 08:43 PM   #5
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Thanks for the answer! I just have some 5 liter (1.32 gal aprox.), differently flavored mead batches going on, so I guess I will try to pasteurize some bottles and stabilizing the others with sorbate and metabisulfite, and then taste each one. I will post the results along with some pics if I have the time (and memory!).

Best regards, and good brewing!

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Old 04-22-2011, 09:34 AM   #6
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There is a big difference between sanitising and sterilizing. Hell if you have a microwave oven tall enough, you can just fill bottles with water and then zap the hell out of them. But if you then emptied the hot water out and filled them with mead cracking or breakage are both possible.

The "boil in a pan" trick works, but again, you wouldn't want to be putting cold/cool mead into hot glass would you, and there is always the possibility of some bacterial/fungal contamination during the cooling of the glass unless you happen to have a "clean room" (dust and other contaminates measured in microns......)

So whatever you do, there's likely to be a level of compromise.

As for pasteurising meads, I don't even heat my honey, except if it needs warming a little to make it liquid enough for the making process - then it only gets put into a sink full of hot water, no hotter than about 60C. Apart from that, I keep the heat away from it as I don't want to drive off any of the esters/aromatics (same reason for not using champagne yeasts).

Which puts us back to the compromise. Sulphites help prevent spoilage, as well as assisting the sorbate when stabilising. Filtration can help as well with a finished mead. I don't like to use too fine a filter, but 1 micron seems good as it polishes the finished mead and removes most of the possible particulates ("sterile" filtration i.e. 0.25 microns, can remove colour and aroma particles as well).

Ha! maybe if you know anyone who works in a hospital or other medical facility, maybe they'd put your bottles through an autoclave, and then place them in sterile plastic to transport them home again........

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Old 10-29-2012, 05:53 PM   #7
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Sielm, what did you decide after comparing your pasteurized and unpasteurized mead samples? Did it affect the flavor?

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