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Oakwolf
02-19-2008, 02:10 PM
Hi, I'm new here, so if there's a FAQ answering this, please, point me to it. But here's the deal: I've made several meads before, but this one is the first I've made from a recipe that called for no heating of the honey. That made me nervous, but I did it. For a month or so it perked along nicely, staying quite cloudy throughout. When it went quiet, I re-racked.

That was two days ago. Since that time, the must has formed a light white foam on top - very thin, just a millimeter or two -- and the once-cloudy mead is verrrrry slowly clarifying, from the top down. There are about five inches of nice clear fluid below the foam. Below that, the same cloudly looking mead that I had before the transfer. The clarity continues to advance downward, which I take to be a good thing.

But is there a problem with the surface foam? I've heard of "film yeast," but wouldn't know it if I saw it.

wayneb
02-19-2008, 03:10 PM
That light foam is most probably a combination of spent yeast cells and the proteins naturally contained within the raw honey (from pollen, propolis, suspended bee parts, etc.). Much of it is formed from the stuff typically skimmed off in the boil before fermentation begins, in all those archaic recipes. Have no fear; if it is not apparently growing, and if it doesn't smell bad, that lacy film will do no harm to the mead that is clarifying below. Also, when you rack again 99% of it will be left behind since it will cling to the sides of your carboy as it drains.

Oskaar
02-19-2008, 03:26 PM
I call it yeast film or scum. Basically what WayneB was saying. Just a simple collection of spent yeast, protien and other stuff. No biggie.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Oakwolf
02-19-2008, 03:33 PM
Good to know, thanks! :icon_salut:

Again, very new here, but in my cruising the site, I'm getting a sense that heating the honey (normal in my experience) is frowned upon by people in the know. Do I have that right? I gather that it de-oxygenates the honey, harming yeast activity. Am I on target? Or is the heat vs. not-heat issue a... heated... topic?

Medsen Fey
02-19-2008, 04:50 PM
Welcome to GotMead Oakwolf!

On this site you won't find too much debate regarding boiling - generally folks here don't do it (unless trying to follow a historical/period recipe) because of the changes in flavor and loss of aromatic compounds that boiling produces. There are some (but a minority) who like to heat the honey to the point of pasteurizing the honey without boiling (in the 150-160F range), but again, at the risk of changing the final product.

Essentially, heating the honey is not required to produce good mead. Honey contains very few spoilage organisms as a rule, and the ones that can survive in honey generally cannot survive in the diluted must. Mead will usually clear on its own given time, so heating is not required for this either. The experience that most people here have had is that if you follow good sanitary practices in the preparation and handling, heating is an unnecessary, time-consuming, extra step, that may not improve the quality (or may be detrimental to) the finished mead.

Medsen

Oskaar
02-20-2008, 02:56 AM
Additionally, and to answer Oakwolf's question about oxygen issues when heating honey must. Whenever you add heat to a honey/water mixture you drive off oxygen, when you boil you drive off more. It is necessary therefore when heating or boiling the honey must to oxygenate/aerate vigorously in order to supply the yeast inoculum with the oxygen necessary for the formative stages of yeast reproduction. Failure to do so generally results in a weak or very slow ferment and the formation of off-flavors based on my experience.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Oakwolf
02-21-2008, 06:04 PM
Thanks for the patient help, all. :cheers: