View Full Version : Filtration, Pasteurization, or Boiling...

02-14-2007, 03:24 AM
I've been poking around for a few weeks now and think I may have hit on bits of each of these methods for preparing the must for fermentation. I'm curious as to differing opinions in regard to these three methods of honey prep.

Is there a solid frame of thought or strong feelings as to which method wowuld really produce the best results? I can see arguments for the different practices, but I must admit, filtration has me intruiged. If you filtered it down my gradients to a fairly fine degree of purity, I wonder what the results would be in regard to long term storage, taste, and possible risk of contaminations.

I've poked around the search tool on this already as well. The articles were interesting, but I'm interested in the feedback from the group on this one as well.


02-14-2007, 08:36 AM
This post also would include possible influences on color, clarity, time until properly drinkable, etc... Any factor that might strike up a discourse or exchange of opinions on the subject.

Basically, I guess what I'm looking for is an overall "entire package" kind of concept in regard to opinions or input. Any thoughts are welcome and I'd love to see where this thread will go. I'm still in the gathering stage (Information as well as ingredients), so I'm a sponge at this point of my new umm... hobby, yeah hobby.


02-14-2007, 09:49 AM
Hey Rob.
Most people start with beer making or wine making then discover this thing called mead and give it a go. Whatever they start with first seems to be their preference. You boil barley malt and hops so you must boil the honey. You mix the grape juice and water so you must only mix the honey.

I started with beer and moved on to boiling my honey adding in irish moss and gypsum. It was nice but only because I had not tried the others. Beer is alot easier to mess up without proper boiling and monitoring of its conditions.
But when you look at honey it can sit out in the open for years and not spoil so it really doesnt need to be boiled unless one wants to.

I have switched to a 140 degree heating which I really only do to disolve the honey so it will mix better and I am finding not even this is needed. With proper following of nutrient additions, aeration, and sanitation nothing bad is gonna grow in there.

I am curious as to what you mean by filteration as being the other way to prepare mead. I had always read that the third way was to dump the honey straight into the carboy and stir with water.

I have several one gallon galss jugs and am going through a series of tests (yeast, oak and tannin, acids) that will all be side by side. I'll be posting that on the patron boards so sign up ;)
One of my tests will be a no heat/heagt/boil that will all be made side by side.

02-14-2007, 10:18 AM
The only reason I would ever "boil" is if I was trying to exactly duplicate an ancient recipe.

From a sterilization standpoint, I believe that Dan? posted a table some time ago that showed that 30 minutes at 120F? or 5 minutes at 140F? (may be off on these numbers a bit) gave you adequate sterilization. It only takes something like 5 seconds (again from memory that may be inexact) to achieve sterilization at 210F.

Personally, I heat to around 160F to 170F because I find that at that temperature, I start getting a scum that I like to remove. Personally, I think the scum I am skimming off tastes a little antiseptic so I hope I am helping the end result by getting it out. I skim until the scum has no taste other than sweet to it. After skimming, I turn off the heat and let the must cool. When it is ready to siphon out of my big pot, it is sterile. The rest is just using good technique from that point on.

I have never heard of anyone being able to sterile filter honey. Filtering honey is usually done at a level to extract bee parts and wax. I can't imagine running something as thick as honey through a 0.5 micron filter. I'd also worry filtering would take out some taste...

Chemicals would be the other option, but I can't talk to the specifics since I don't use them...

Good luck whatever method you choose...

02-14-2007, 10:44 AM
First off just to let you know, I signed up and paid my dues late last week. With IMF and weather Vicky just hasn't had a chance to process me yet. Plus I used Amazon to pay so there may be some lag there as well. I totally understand the time lag here seeing as how busy this week has been for everyone back there in the world. (I'm stuck over here in the big sandbox until late spring)

I was looking at pasteurization as an option over boiling, but aside of dissolving the honey I really don't see the purpose of heating it that much either unless I'm following a specific recipe.

I really need to order a copy of The Compleat Meadmaker asap so I can do some more reading. ;D

As far as filtering, you caught me. LOL I've done a lot of pipe installations requiring many, many varied filtering processes. I have no idea how far down I could filter something down, but it would primarily be to attempt to achieve more clarity more than anything else. I did read something in one of the articles off of the main page. I am curious though as to the effect of varying stages of filtration. Sounds like a good experiment for after I get home though.

Basically, I'm just brainstorming a this point anyway and looking for feedback from those of you that are out there doing it and brewing it. ;)

All input is good input so keep it coming.

02-14-2007, 10:45 AM
Pewter. In the patron boards in the technique area is a really interesting post from Oskaar about info from one of his professors on filteration. It goes over multiple sizes of filters and also what each one extracts and lets pass through. Its good stuff.

02-14-2007, 08:24 PM
If I recall the filtration was of finished mead, not honey as Pewter questions. I don't recall the micron sizes of the filters but I do believe that one was considered sterile.

02-14-2007, 11:44 PM
I'm going to look into this topic further before I actually get down to any serious experimentation. Now that I've got my subscription and everything taken care of I can access more info as well here on the site.

I just wonder how far down I could filter honey before I started losing characteristics I'd like to keep. Not to say that it won't take a while to get through the filters of course, but if I could get it right for a final clarity level that everyone liked and develop something that wouldn't have to be aged for several years to combine everything just right....

Ahh, I might just be blowing smoke as well. I have a lot of downtime out here on the fringe so I've got time to ponder important things like mead brewing techniques in depth and in greatly diverse fashions.