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-   -   Pasteurizing Mead Vs Campden Pellets in mead (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/pasteurizing-mead-vs-campden-pellets-mead-313240/)

forces 03-15-2012 09:16 AM

Pasteurizing Mead Vs Campden Pellets in mead
I am new to mead, and it seems like Campden is more of a wine/ cider thing but I was wondering if anyone had any hands-on experience with the two methods in the title.

It seems to me that some people think heating honey ultimately drives off desirable aromas, but helps remove undesirable solids/ colloids such as wax, bee parts, etc. Personally, I'm big on aroma.... I think it has a HUGE influence on any home-made libation! So theoretically, I lean toward no heat. However, I also lean toward clean, uninfected products.

I haven't been able to find ANY empirical pros or cons with campden in mead.

I came across this recipe and was wondering if anyone makes mead with this method? Anyone have an grievances with these procedures?

Basic Mead Recipe

"Here is a very basic recipe for making Mead to get you started. You can also use this recipe as a base line for creating other styles of Mead later on.

For 5 Gallons Of Mead:
* 13 Pounds of Honey
* 2 Tablespoons Yeast Energizer
* 6 Tablespoons Acid Blend
* 1 Teaspoon Wine Tannin
* 5 Campden Tablets
* Water To Total 5 Gallons
* 1 Pkg. Lalvin ICV-D47 Yeast

* NOTE: If unprocessed honey is being used, it would be best to first cut the honey with water then heat it on the stove to about 180 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 5 minutes. This is to allow the pollen, wax and bits of bee to float to the top so that you can skim them off before using the honey in a recipe.

Basic Process

1. Mix together all the ingredients listed above, EXCEPT for the wine yeast, in an open container (primary fermenter). Be sure to crush and dissolve the Campden Tablets. Cover with a light towel and let sit for 24 hour.

2. After 24 hours, add one package of Lalvin ICV-D47 Yeast and allow to ferment 4 to 5 days or until your hydrometer reads around 1.030 to 1.040 on the Specific Gravity scale.

3. After 4 or 5 days, carefully siphon the Mead into a Secondary Fermenter so as to leave most of the sediment behind. This is called "Racking". The Secondary Fermenter should be some type of food-grade container that allows you to attach an Air-Lock to it.

4. Allow the Mead to ferment another 2 to 3 weeks under air-lock, or until the hydrometer reads .998 or less on the Specific Gravity scale. Now the Mead needs to clear. This usually takes at least and additional 2 to 3 weeks, sometimes as long as 2 months.

5. Once the Mead has completely cleared, siphon it into a clean container and add a second dose of Campden Tablets at the rate of 1 tablet per gallon. It is then ready to be bottled and aged."

Insomniac 03-15-2012 09:22 AM

Well, where did the honey come from?

fatbloke 03-15-2012 10:38 AM

Campden tablets are a beer/wine/mead thing period.

Any heating is considered detrimental to meads, as it does indeed drive off a lot of the aromatics and some of the more subtle flavouring elements.

Plus that recipe is dated, as its thought to make fermentation harder by adding acid/acid blend at the fermentation stage.

The campden tablets where probably included before they realised that honey is naturally anti-fungal and anti-septic. Hence there's actually no need to heat the must or try to kill off non-existent "wild yeasts". You don't pasteurise something unless it needs it.

Meads and honey musts don't.......

Oh, and while D47 is a good yeast for meads, it needs to ferment below 70F to prevent high levels of fusels being produced.

huesmann 03-15-2012 12:59 PM

Sounds to me like he's wondering about the second application of campden tabs vs. pasteurizing. Does heating finished mead to 140F drive off aromatics?

Insomniac 03-15-2012 02:44 PM

The recipe seems to be suggesting to heat the honey if it is raw and of unknown origin, and to just use camden if the honey has already gone through some processing. Which is why I asked where the honey came from. If its commercial honey theres no need to do either, it will already be sterrile. Otherwise there no harm in going the camden route for paranoias sake. I think the honey would have to actually look a bit grotty before I would be tempted to pasturise... which may well happen given the state of the honey I just bought off ebay :p

But anyway, FB's advice is sound, I wouldn't use either just mix it together and add yeast.

Yooper 03-15-2012 02:47 PM

The campdens added at bottling are there as antioxidant/preservatives, and not really for anything else.

forces 03-15-2012 09:15 PM


Originally Posted by Insomniac (Post 3894172)
Well, where did the honey come from?

I can't really be too specific here, cause I don't really know much about it, other than it comes out of a 5 gallon bucket at the home brew shop. It's not crazy translucent, but it doesn't appear to have noticeable solids in it.

I am really more interested in what method people are using to "sterilize" their must. It doesn't sounds like honey really requires it, based on it's natural antiseptic qualities. It's kind of hard to get an idea on what is REALLY required to keep your must "safe", it seems like there are a LOT of different philosophies on the topic.

GinKings 03-15-2012 09:30 PM


Originally Posted by forces (Post 3896294)
I am really more interested in what method people are using to "sterilize" their must. It doesn't sounds like honey really requires it, based on it's natural antiseptic qualities.

Whether it's right or wrong, heating honey seems to be getting less popular. I don't use heat and I usually don't use campden tabs prefermentation. I sometimes use campden if I'm adding fruit in the primary.


Originally Posted by forces (Post 3896294)
It's kind of hard to get an idea on what is REALLY required to keep your must "safe", it seems like there are a LOT of different philosophies on the topic.

How many answers do you think you'll get if you ask ten chefs how to make the perfect souffle?

huesmann 03-16-2012 12:58 PM

I do use heat to help soften crystallized honey, and hot water to help dissolve the remaining honey from containers. The only time I use campden before it's ready to bottle is if there's fruit in the must.

fatbloke 03-16-2012 01:53 PM

You don't sterilise a honey must period. It's not beer we're talking about, where you would, because there's still stuff in beer batches that can go off and the low alcohol levels don't offer any protection. Whereas, with a mead, you're using honey which is naturally anti-bacterial.

The heating method is old, as it leads back to when it was the water that might be contaminated, and isn't related to the honey. You can use raw honey that has hive debris, wax, propylis, even bits of dead bee without issue.

The no-heat thing is to do with not heating the hell out of it too drive off aromatics and subtle flavourings, plus commercially packed honey is only heated enough to allow it to pass through pumps, filters and blending plant etc. If you want to heat the hell out of your honey, then fine, but you're likely to end up with a mediocre mead, or of course, a bochet......

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