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Old 03-29-2007, 11:52 PM   #1
saintpaulguy
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Planninng on starting my first mead soon. I understand that there are about a million variables and a million ways to do mead. THat said, the only thing really confusing me is whether ot not I need to boil the water and honey. Is it just a matter of preferance? If I do not boil do I need to heat it up at all? Thanks for any replies!

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Old 03-29-2007, 11:55 PM   #2
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You don't need to boil the honey, it is loaded with anti-bacterials that bees have added in. That being said, not boiling does make it harder to properly blend the honey and water. There is also a chance that wild yeast spores suspended in the honey could grow to a large enough population that it would affect the flavor. Chances are that the yeast that you add will overwhelm them, though.

Boiling the honey negates the wild yeast and blends the water and honey well, but you lose some flavor and aroma. It's a trade off. I personally do not boil.

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Old 03-30-2007, 12:22 AM   #3
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I don't boil either- but I do heat up the water a bit to help dissolve the honey. Honey has a delicate flavor, and I think it would destroy it by boiling.

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Old 03-30-2007, 01:28 AM   #4
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Thanks! Any other suggestions before I embark?

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Old 03-30-2007, 01:54 AM   #5
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I do 15 min boils for meads and skim the whole time and it still tastes like honey IMO.

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Old 03-30-2007, 01:56 AM   #6
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Ray Daniels (Designing Great Beers) recommends dilluting the honey to the same SG as your beer (or whatever your target OG may be), and keeping the honey at 170 degrees for some period of time (30 mins?).

The idea is that this will kill off the nasties without doing the harm that boiling does for the flavor.

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Old 04-15-2007, 09:04 PM   #7
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Default Boil or not ?

It's my understanding, from the couple of books I've read that the boil process is mainly to "scum out" any detritous that may come from the hive etc.

Lot's of properly pre-processed honey's will have been pasturised already which should have removed that kind of material (wax, propylis, etc etc).

Hence any heating might only be for ease of mixing.

As it's quite hard to get specialist honey's at a reasonable price here (UK), I tend to vary everything else, except the honey - which is just "product of the EU" and the cheapest from the supermarket (currently £1.41/2 Euro/3$ US approx).

If it does need any more honey flavour, I'll add it at bottling time.

So no, I don't bother boiling either.

regards

fatbloke.

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Old 04-15-2007, 11:39 PM   #8
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Agreed, if your using honey that you get from the supermarket, its most likely clear and golden. If you get all natural, "raw" honey, it may look like the whole bottle has congealed and solidified. This raw honey is still perfectly fine, just heat it up and it's ready to go, but if you're using this kind of honey in your mead, a short boil to skim some gunk might not be a bad idea. Its not nessasary for the processed "supermarket" kind.

Another school of thought is to just heat the raw honey, gunk and all, and pitch the yeast right into it. The high alcohol content will kill any wild yeasts, and the gunk that was in there will act as nutrient (mead is notorious for being lax in nutrients).

Personally the supermarket honey works fine for me, just a little heat to dissolve, cool it down a bit, toss some started yeast and a touch of nutrient and stick an airlock on it. I did one today in less than twenty minutes.

mike

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Old 04-20-2007, 07:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLynchLtd
<snip>
Personally the supermarket honey works fine for me, just a little heat to dissolve, cool it down a bit, toss some started yeast and a touch of nutrient and stick an airlock on it. I did one today in less than twenty minutes.

mike
Concur. The recent batch I made, well I foolishly didn't heat it for mixing reasons - I did put the jars into a sink of hot water, but that was only really to get it out of the jars easier.

It did all settle to the bottom of the fermenter (an 18.9 litre "bottled water" container) then the bugger just didn't want to mix properly. So I just went for it and finished the recipe off.

It was quite amusing watching the level of the honey at the bottom reducing as the yeast got to work on it - seems to have worked ok though.

I racked it into another water cooler bottle with a couple of campden tablets crushed and I'm now just waiting to see if it's gonna throw another sediment or whether I'll end up just hitting it with some "quick clear" (damned good stuff and as the label said - it's vvv quick. Less than 24 hours).

regards

fatbloke
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