View Full Version : Boil the water?

08-12-2010, 12:54 PM
l'm making a no-heat mead using bottled spring water labelled as filtered and "ozonated". I thought this should indicate the water was sanitized and did not boil it before making the must. My beer making son castigated me for not using sterilized water. I don't recall seeing "boil the water first" in the instructions for no heat method I've read. are you supposed to boil the water to be used in a must?


08-12-2010, 01:19 PM
Don't worry about beer makers, they're scared of everything we mead makers do - aerating, taking multiple gravity readings during primary, etc. Boiling water is a good idea if you're worried about it, but boiling will strip it of all usuable O2 so you will neeed to really aerate like nuts to give the yeast what they need.

Non-boiled is fine. I use water right out of the tap and haven't had a problem.

08-12-2010, 01:29 PM
You should be fine.
The addition of honey has been enough for me (even with fruit) to kill anything that might be living in my must. I do boil my water, but I use tap water. As long as your equipment was sterile, you should be just fine.

EDIT: I always do no-heat. The only heat that my must ever gets is from having warm water poured in top of it in the fermenter.

08-12-2010, 02:03 PM
Ozone is put into bottled water because any leftover nasties in the water can't live in such a rich environment. Shortly after it converts back to regular old oxygen and it's fine (which means this water also should be rich in oxygen). I used to work for a water company that sold spring water and the only dangers with spring water and using ozone was that if the spring water had Bromine in it the ozone would convert it to Bromate and that can be toxic. I recall we stopped selling spring water because the cost of converting the plants to safely ozonate while keeping the water from forming Bromate was too costly. Spring water was not our major product and was only really sold in very few areas. I believe any water company still selling spring water and using ozone for sanitizing purposes has been converted so this is no longer a concern. I use bottled water that has been put through many steps of filtration until it is pure H2O, has food grade minerals added back in small amounts for taste and then is ozonated and it seems fine to me.

08-12-2010, 02:18 PM
Generally speaking, if the water is safe enough to drink without further treatment, then you can make mead without having to boil/pasteurize it. Virtually all municipal and regional government licensed water sources in North America are safe to use right out of the tap.

I use water directly from our well, which is 550' deep, drilled into the mountain that our house is built on. Even though most of the water in that well accumulates from surface sources (rain and snow melt) that percolates down through small fissures in the rock (not by any means a sterile filter), our water is not contaminated with anything that causes us any harm, nor anything that would spoil my mead.

Historically (pre-1900) all mead musts were boiled, but that was back when water was obtained from surface sources or shallow wells and you'd never know what else might be living in it, without subjecting it to some kind of heat sterilization.

Chevette Girl
08-13-2010, 02:04 AM
Even the chloramines in the city water I use will dissipate after a really good aeration anyway... if I have to add water to top up a carboy, I do use boiled and cooled water because I'm paranoid. Now that I think about it, it's not a terrible habit as it will also deoxygenate the water...

I haven't tried making beer yet, but perhaps the reason the beermakers are a bit obsessive about it is that they're making something with a much lower alcohol concentration so it's much more likely to spoil if exposed to any spoilage organism, while our nice hearty wines and meads just laugh at the little bacteria...

08-14-2010, 12:56 PM
Thanks to all for the good information.