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Gruffud
08-29-2007, 04:59 PM
Hello All,

My name is Steve,(I go by Gruffud) and, I am brand new to meadmaking, but am no stranger to home brewing. This seems like a natural step for me, as I am also a hobbyist beekeeper.

I picked up a copy of Schramms book, and I have a question on the preparation of Must. I understand not wanting to heat honey, for fear of losing that elusive "something", but can you actually get away with not sterilizing the must at all? (as Schramm says he does, or does not, as the case may be). As someone that minimally processes their honey, ( I strain through successively smaller screens, with the honey at room temperature) I know there are still "pieces parts" in my honey, however fine they may be. Will this junk come out during primary fermentation, or do you need a period of heating to bring those bits to the surface for skimming? Or does this "stuff" contribute in a positive way to the final character of the mead?

Curious in Ohio,

Gruffud

Oskaar
08-29-2007, 05:44 PM
Welcome to Got Mead?

You'll find answers to all of your questions here, and with a little search "Kung-fu" and some patience you'll find them all.

Short answer to your question about sterilizing your must is YES, you don't need to sterilize your must. As with wine, you may sulfite if you so choose. There are volumes written about sulfiting grape must, and honey must may also be sulfited in the same way. This risk is pretty much the same with honey must as with wine must when over sulfiting. Boiling, heating, pasteurizing are not what I would recommend because you cook your enzymes, protiens and subtle varietal and floral aromas off in my opinion.

Read through this recipe (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=412&topic=4657.msg38385#msg38385) from front to back and you'll get a very detailed view of how to process a batch of mead, along with cap management, killer factor and other neat little things that will help your technique.

The whole idea is to mix up a must according to the strength of the yeast you are going to use, and then the yeast will outcompete spoilage organisms. When I cite using Go-Ferm and Fermaid-K I mean those exact specific nutrients, not LHBS knock offs or generic nutrients. Get a lees stirrer if you don't have one as well. It is an invaluable tool and makes mixing up your must as easy as pressing the trigger on your cordless drill.

Read the link above and come back with some more questions.

Cheers,

Oskaar

ken_schramm
08-29-2007, 09:55 PM
I know there are still "pieces parts" in my honey, however fine they may be. Will this junk come out during primary fermentation, or do you need a period of heating to bring those bits to the surface for skimming? Or does this "stuff" contribute in a positive way to the final character of the mead?

Curious in Ohio,

Gruffud


This post is based on years of using the closest honey I can get to "straight from the extractor" with as little treatment as possible.

Your "pieces parts" will, in fact, flocculate to the bottom of the fermenter with the spent yeast when the fermentation is wrapped up. With careful siphoning, none of it will ever come in contact with a drinker of your mead. Some of this stuff actually is undesirable, but I doubt it will have any serious impact, much less ruin your mead. Some of the stuff does carry with it both nutrients that the yeast will like and some aromatic compounds that will give your mead character and appeal.

I have not boiled or sulfited a must in seven years. Having tasted around the horn some, I think my meads are pretty good, and decidedly better than when I was using alternative must treatments. Your mileage may vary.

Ken

Gruffud
08-31-2007, 01:52 PM
Wow,

I bow to the Great Gurus of Golden Goodness (alliteration, love it). Thanks for the tips and information. I think I'm going to start a batch in the next week or so.

Gruffud

Mahault
09-10-2007, 11:18 PM
Hey! My first post here...

We boil the water at a hard boil for about 10 minutes, remove from the heat and let cool for at least as long before adding the honey. Honey is by it's nature anti-bacterial so boiling it is not necessary and we've found that it loses all the subtle flavours if you do. Skim the big parts if you have to, but otherwise, they'll settle into the lees.

We also don't add anything like sulphites (I know a lot of people who are allergic to them) or other chemicals. Nice, simple and we haven't lost a batch in 6 years.

Cheers,
Mahault