Originally Posted by garfieldwithissuez
Ok so I started a my first brew today. I hope I did it right. I am using a 2 gal wine bucket with 6 pounds of honey to make 1.5 gal of mead. The recipe called for me to take half of the water and heat it in a pot with the honey saving a small amount of honey to use as a starter. The thing is, the recipe said that things need to end up at about 72 degrees fahrenheit. Duh. Well, I am using a Champagne yeast that says results are best when stated at 100-110 or so. I made sure the starter was exactly 100. I then added it to the cooling honey/water mix. The issue here is I looked at the temp as I was doing it and realized that it had only cooled to 114. My wife who bakes all the time assures me that it's not an issue (saying yeast is fine up to about 120) but I need to hear it from someone on here. Sorry for my dyslexic rant. I am trying to post this and watch my 2 year old while my wife cooks.
Despite what recipes say, it's common practice not to heat honey now. We've learned that these older recipes didn't take into account what is lost when it's heated - as a guess they just didn't know.
You get a better flavour and aroma if the honey is just mixed with water at room temp - of course, if you're aiming at removing chlorine elements from utility tap water, then just boil the water and let it cool.
The yeast temperatures i.e. the ones often printed on the packet are to do with rehydration. Without finding a pack to check, I think the ones on the Lalvin packs say 104/105F max - your wifes comment is right yet wrong. Bread/baking yeast is different strains from wine/beer/etc strains. Yes, you will make alcohol with bread yeast, but it's got a lower alcohol tolerance and dies off earlier, as well as often producing considerably more CO2 (after all, that's what it wants to cause breads etc, too rise isn't it). There's not a lot of detail about how sensitive wine yeasts are compared to bread yeasts. If anything it would be better to err on the lower side.
A small discrepancy like that is probably not enough to cause it to be an issue, only time will tell on that one really i.e. it either starts fermenting or it doesn't.
Oh, and there are also many of us who try and avoid using champagne yeasts. It's not that they're bad, they're very good for producing wines of that type i.e. relatively bland, slightly higher alcohol sparkling wine types, but they do tend to blow a lot of the volatile aromatics and some of the more delicate flavouring compounds straight out the airlock. They're often recommended by HBS through ignorance of mead making "all that sugar in the honey ? gotta be a champagne yeast for that"....... it's a poor logic.
Your meads, are, invariably, only as good as the ingredients. "Quality" for honey, usually alludes to a lack of processing i.e. not blended, fine/micro filtered, heat processed etc. It's considered the best quality if raw. Any hive/apiary debris present is removed by fermentation and racking anyway.
For your yeasts ? temperatures suggested don't have to be maintained too closely. Hell some don't even bother rehydrating, they just sprinkle the pack on top and give it a bit of a stir. All it means is that there's more time for the "lag phase" i.e. the time between pitching the yeast and seeing visible signs of fermentation.
Yeast nutrition is more important than the rehydration temp.......