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Old 06-12-2012, 01:21 AM   #1
PCW1950
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Default Why pasteurize?

I'm about to make my first mead, and all the instructions I've read call for pasteurizing the honey. Is this just a safety precaution (gastroenteritis can't be THAT bad, can it?), or do the bacteria that you kill interfere with the fermentation?

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Old 06-12-2012, 02:02 AM   #2
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Dont worry about that. You are pobably looking at older recipes. Honey is natures anti-bacterial & anti-fungle goop. I dont do anything to my honey musts like boil or use camden teblets.

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Old 06-12-2012, 01:01 PM   #3
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For info, older recipes say about pasturising because from ancient recipes they needed to sanitise the water, not the honey. This seems to have continued through both habit and ignorance of honeys properties.

Yet the main point is, why spend hard earned cash on quality varietal honey, only to boil off some of the aromatics and more subtle flavouring elements ? I mean, damn! really kick the arse out of it and ferment it with champagne yeast and blow the rest of those properties straight out the airlock !

You might as well just buy the cheapest store/supermarket processed stuff...... ideal for mediocre mead.

Ha, I know that sounds like a bit of a rant, but take the emotion out and from the bones, is why there's nothing gained from heat processing.

Actually I don't even heat it if the honey has crystalised. I just put some in a bucket scooped out the container, then add some water and blitz it with a sanitised stick blender. A pound or two at a time. Then there's no loss of aroma or flavour, plus its nicely aerated for the yeast pitch.........

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Old 06-12-2012, 05:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PCW1950 View Post
I'm about to make my first mead, and all the instructions I've read call for pasteurizing the honey. Is this just a safety precaution (gastroenteritis can't be THAT bad, can it?), or do the bacteria that you kill interfere with the fermentation?
see if I can think of a simple way to answer...... DON'T


Like FB said....
Quote:
older recipes say about pasturising because from ancient recipes they needed to sanitise the water
Back in the day their water source usually also connected to the sewer system, the animal watering/bathing system...lots of bad crap

so just skip that step in whatever recipe you have chosen as your first, your honey will be fine it's antibacterial and antimicrobial properties protect it. Your water will be fine and if you're concerned with your tap water (if it's chlorinated or off flavored from minerals) use a cheap bottled water, but if you have good tasting tap water, go with it.

If you want to place the entire container of honey in some warm (not hot or boiling) tap water to make it flow/mix easier that's not horrible.

I find mixing the honey with a about a gallon of water (when making a 3-6 gallon batch) or all of the water when making a 1 gallon batch and whipping the s#!t out of it with a ss wire wisk it mixes great and starts aerating it nicely. then I add it to my fermenter, the bigger batches just take a good shake to incorporate everything easily.

Remember that campden tablets are antioxidants, in the begining you WANT a lot of oxygen to get your yeast off to a strong start.

As long as you take a couple minutes and use a decent sanitizer and sanitize all of your equipment. Fermenter, stoppers, airlock, tubing, thermometers, hydrometer, countertops, basically anything that will come into contact with your must or workspace you will be golden. Sanitize a couple extra spoons and things too, you'll be surprised when you need something and having to stop to clean/sanitize them is a mood killer.

As far as the fear of random wild yeasties in the air, whatever yeast strain you use is going to be strong and healthy enough to be dominant and the wild ones won't even make it past the the velvet rope, especially if you rehydrate properly.

A simple basic "traditional" mead can be as easy as sanitize, start rehydration, add honey, add water, add initial nutrients, mix/shake the he!! out of it, then shake it a couple minutes more, pitch yeast, shake, airlock it and wait for the action to start (just do things at the right temps as per the yeast package instructions).
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:04 AM   #5
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The pasteurize/don't debate comes up every so often. I think I pastuerized my first batch, then just didn't do anymore - mainly cause I seriously did not GAF. Pretty much anything with sugar, save preservative-laced substances, can be fermented simply by adding yeast (and nutrient if required). Pretty much the only reason why beer is even boiled (for so long) is due to the utilization of hops and its characteristics based upon when it is added. If it weren't for that - we likely wouldn't even boil beer.

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Old 06-13-2012, 02:35 AM   #6
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don't forget in the old days they also had to have a way of cleaning out all the wax, dead bees etc. they didn't always have nice sterile methods of transporting the honey or cloths suitable for filtering.

heating the honey did two jobs, cleaning it and killing any bugs in the water.

there is also the thought that the heating helps some of the chemical reactions that occur. also theres been a mention that highly filtered honeys tend to be easier to ferment. it may be with the wild yeasts and no knowledge of yeast nutrients, that the heating converted/cleaned the honey into a form that was more easily fermented by the poor yeasts used.

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Old 06-13-2012, 03:37 AM   #7
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While I personally wouldn't pasteurize it is worth noting that the nhc winner for traditional mead this year heated and held his honey at 160 degrees for 20 minutes.

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Old 06-13-2012, 04:03 PM   #8
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I was recently given 10lbs of honey by a local bee keeper/honey maker person to take a shot at making mead and she told me to make sure I pasteurize it. So after talking to her and reading the forum I have no idea what to do. Lol

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Old 06-13-2012, 05:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestCoastBrewmonkey View Post
I was recently given 10lbs of honey by a local bee keeper/honey maker person to take a shot at making mead and she told me to make sure I pasteurize it. So after talking to her and reading the forum I have no idea what to do. Lol
Did she mention why you should pasteurize it? It may just be for reasons mentioned above like to get the bits and pieces of wax and bees out of it.
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBrewingMedic

Did she mention why you should pasteurize it? It may just be for reasons mentioned above like to get the bits and pieces of wax and bees out of it.
At the time I was (and still am) VERY new to mead so I just took her word as gospel. I will find out from her for sure.
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