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MattHollingsworth
05-23-2011, 10:46 AM
So, reading about the no heat method for making mead, doesn't sound like most people pre-boil their water to sanitize it (then letting it cool before adding honey). Is this not necessary? Just use filtered tap water or bottled water without boiling it first?

veritas
05-23-2011, 11:05 AM
I would just use spring water if available and never found a need to boil it. When I cant get time to go get spring water I use RO water. If the water tastes good the mead tastes good that's what Ive always read.

As long as your water is cooled before making your must though you could boil all you want if your concerned.


If I had great tasting tap water that had no issues I would use it.. But for me that is not the case.

Chevette Girl
05-23-2011, 11:06 AM
That is correct. I usually do boil water when I make wine using sugar (partially because it's great for dissolving the sugar, partially because I don't know whose fingers have been in the bulk sugar bin at the store), but I rarely ever bother boiling water for anything I do with honey now.

Mix it straight from the tap and hit it with yeast, no problems so far. Sometimes I do use a small amount of boiling water to scald my fruits, sometimes it helps fix the colour and sometimes I do it to thaw frozen fruit.

Of course, I have city water containing regulated quantities of chloramines so there's nothing exciting in that water anyway... however, untreated well water is known for being bacterially contaminated (generally with harmless little buggies, but most of them have something - an indicator is if your toilet tank has slime on the inside surface. In which case, I would probably boil if I needed the 24 hours for pectic enzyme to work but not if it was something where I could pitch the yeast straight away.

MattHollingsworth
05-24-2011, 03:05 AM
Thanks guys!

TheAlchemist
05-24-2011, 01:27 PM
Thanks guys!

Umm...
And gals?

MattHollingsworth
05-24-2011, 04:10 PM
Umm...
And gals?

I wasn't trying to leave Chevette Girl out. I was using "guys" as including both sexes.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/guys


2.
Usually, guys. Informal . persons of either sex; people: Could one of you guys help me with this?

And:

(Colloquial. Very old. Not necessarily male in the plural.)

Chevette Girl
05-24-2011, 04:35 PM
I wasn't trying to leave Chevette Girl out. I was using "guys" as including both sexes.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/guys

...and I'm fine with being one of the guys... :)

kudapucat
05-24-2011, 05:44 PM
I wasn't trying to leave Chevette Girl out. I was using "guys" as including both sexes.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/guys

Down under here is Aus. Guy means Man. Guys means ppl. There is no discussion on this point.

It's sort of like in Spanish, where you have Pera and Pero, for Bitch and dog, but unless every dog in the pack is a bitch, you call them Peros, whether their all male or mixed.
I believe this applies to any number of nowns in most European languages. It's rare to see it in English,but it's a language of exceptions. ;-)

In reality it's simply highlighting the chauvinistic nature of all languages, but it's hardly worth getting upset about, as CG points out.

Loadnabox
05-24-2011, 07:40 PM
...and I'm fine with being one of the guys... :)

I kinda took you for a country girl, bet ya grew up/live on a farm too? (My wife is a farm girl too, baits her own fishing hook and everything!)



Down under here is Aus. Guy means Man. Guys means ppl. There is no discussion on this point.

It's sort of like in Spanish, where you have Pera and Pero, for Bitch and dog, but unless every dog in the pack is a bitch, you call them Peros, whether their all male or mixed.
I believe this applies to any number of nowns in most European languages. It's rare to see it in English,but it's a language of exceptions. ;-)

In reality it's simply highlighting the chauvinistic nature of all languages, but it's hardly worth getting upset about, as CG points out.

English is sorely lacking in a formal gender neutral plural pronoun that the majority of other languages have. The best we can do is slang terms, y'all, youns, youse, etc.

TheAlchemist
05-24-2011, 10:30 PM
I wasn't trying to leave Chevette Girl out. I was using "guys" as including both sexes.



If "guys" is "inclusive" then so is "gals."
Try spending a whole week using "gals" instead of "guys" and you'll find out that "guys" don't think "gals" is an inclusive term...I've said it before and I'll say it again: The way we use language shapes the way we think.

Chevette Girl
05-24-2011, 10:43 PM
I kinda took you for a country girl, bet ya grew up/live on a farm too? (My wife is a farm girl too, baits her own fishing hook and everything!)

I suspect I fall somewhere between country girl and redneck, I took auto shop all through high school and shoveled horse manure from the age of 12 to support my horse habit. I am guaranteed to wear makeup once a year on Hallowe'en and I do currently have enough spare parts for the 'vette squirrelled away in the garage to qualifiy as a redneck...




English is sorely lacking in a formal gender neutral plural pronoun that the majority of other languages have. The best we can do is slang terms, y'all, youns, youse, etc.

Technically, "they", "them" and "their" are generic plural, although they're often misused in cases of gender-neutral singular requirements, "When the person is finished their work" etc, is technically incorrect because the pronoun is plural and everything else is singular.

Most of the commonly used slang terms make my skin crawl so I stick to using generic drivel like "Hey, folks". But this is what I get being schooled by a stickler for grammar.

However, back to water, the guys at my LHBS seem to think that the water makes a HUGE difference in beermaking. When I get more honey, another side-by-side traditional mead comparison's going to be chloramined city water, mom's untreated well water and bottled distilled water, gimme a year or two and I'll post some results :). I've already got a boil/no-boil show mead side-by-side going but it's taking its sweet time finishing up...

MattHollingsworth
05-25-2011, 03:38 AM
However, back to water, the guys at my LHBS seem to think that the water makes a HUGE difference in beermaking. When I get more honey, another side-by-side traditional mead comparison's going to be chloramined city water, mom's untreated well water and bottled distilled water, gimme a year or two and I'll post some results :). I've already got a boil/no-boil show mead side-by-side going but it's taking its sweet time finishing up...

Water *does* make a huge, massive difference in beer brewing. I'm a stickler for adjusting my water when brewing beer and it works out quite well. It affects pH in the mash which, if too high, can lead to astringent beer and it affects flavor perception and balance in the resulting beer. It's one of the reasons that I asked about water. That, and the fact that our bicarbonate is *so* high. I suspect that, like with beer, the salt ratios DO affect flavor perception in mead but that nobody has studied it.

I'm torn between using 50/50 distilled and tap water and just using straight tap water (carbon filtered). We'll see when the day comes. Still awaiting my yeast and nutrients arrival from the States.

MattHollingsworth
05-25-2011, 05:50 AM
And, just as I post about my supplies showing up, they showed up today with no customs trouble, thank goodness. So, now I'm set to make my first batch. I'll be getting everything set up this weekend, probably make the first mead the weekend after. I'll probably brew beer this weekend so need the temp controller for the week, so mead the week after. Nice to have the supplies on hand finally though.

TheAlchemist
05-25-2011, 09:02 AM
I used spring fed lake water, first boiled then filtered for Pumpkin Pie, which is turning out to be a rather yummy batch, tastes like autumn, pairs well with venison...

MattHollingsworth
05-25-2011, 10:00 AM
I used spring fed lake water, first boiled then filtered for Pumpkin Pie, which is turning out to be a rather yummy batch, tastes like autumn, pairs well with venison...

There's a spring near here where I've seen locals filling up their water bottles. I might give it a go at some point but figure I'll get some normal batches done first. Could be tasty though.

Getting excited now that the supplies showed up. Gonna be fun.

Loadnabox
05-25-2011, 01:00 PM
If "guys" is "inclusive" then so is "gals."
Try spending a whole week using "gals" instead of "guys" and you'll find out that "guys" don't think "gals" is an inclusive term...I've said it before and I'll say it again: The way we use language shapes the way we think.

Good point




However, back to water, the guys at my LHBS seem to think that the water makes a HUGE difference in beermaking. When I get more honey, another side-by-side traditional mead comparison's going to be chloramined city water, mom's untreated well water and bottled distilled water, gimme a year or two and I'll post some results . I've already got a boil/no-boil show mead side-by-side going but it's taking its sweet time finishing up...

I can't scrounge it up right now, but I could swear I read it somewhere that distilled water should never be used, the yeast are too reliant on the minerals in it. Filtered or mineral re-added should be used instead.

Darn, so many things I read and now I can't find them :-/

Chevette Girl
05-25-2011, 01:06 PM
I can't scrounge it up right now, but I could swear I read it somewhere that distilled water should never be used, the yeast are too reliant on the minerals in it. Filtered or mineral re-added should be used instead.

Darn, so many things I read and now I can't find them :-/

I know the feeling... but yeah, I've heard that about distilled water. Which is why it's going to be part of the experiment. But mixing it half-and-half with heavily mineralized water isn't a bad idea.

kenour
05-26-2011, 12:10 AM
I siphoned water directly out of the top of my big tank. I didn't want it travelling through the pipes as it does pick up a slight flavour from the copper/plastic pipes (also going through the pumps impeller would aerate the bejebus out of it, which I suppose isn't a bad thing). It's tasted great coming out of the tank ;) Hopefully this is reflected in the final product.

MattHollingsworth
05-26-2011, 02:50 AM
I know the feeling... but yeah, I've heard that about distilled water. Which is why it's going to be part of the experiment. But mixing it half-and-half with heavily mineralized water isn't a bad idea.

Yeah, partially diluting with it should be fine. It's the same with beer: You don't want to use distilled water on its own because it contains no trace minerals for the yeast. With beer brewing, you can use it on its own if you add back salts. I usually don't use even close to 100% of it, usually more like 50% with beer. And the reason I was going to use it here is because in Croatia, even the spring water has tons of bicarbonate, so diluting with spring water wouldn't reduce the bicarbonate, which was going to be the reason for diluting in the first place.

Anyway, for mead, I ran across something that says 250-500 ppm hardness as carbonate is optimal.

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/4795/Mead_Maker_of_the_Year_Panel.pdf

Search for carbonate to see the quote.

Anyway, reading that, I think I'll give the first one a go with just my tap water since it *tastes* good. It's just that 386 ppm bicarbonate that gave me pause but that should help buffer the mead anyway, so may as well give it a go.

wayneb
05-26-2011, 11:15 AM
Given that there is really no quantitative analysis of the optimal amount of dissolved carbonate in water used for meadmaking (at least none that I've ever seen published), you should take blanket statements like the one in Steve's paper with a grain of salt (tangential pun there). That said, as Steve was AHA's Meadmaker of the Year back in '08 he has had more than a little success with his batches. ;D Still, I'd rather something like this be phrased more along the lines of "I have consistent success with water containing 200 to 500 ppm hardness as carbonates," or something similar. Calling that level of salts "optimal" without substantiation is a stretch.

There is a lot of meadmaking "lore" out in the community, some of it quite well founded, and some of it based on very loosely tracked anecdotal experience. A portion of that latter info is quite frankly, simply wrong. I'm not saying that Steve's position is one of those - I'm merely suggesting that you need to be careful to find the basis of the substantiation of any claims or conclusions cited anywhere in the online meadmaking literature. In the absence of such data, then take the recommendations that you read for what they are - the conclusions of one meadmaker.

That said, I can state that I've had excellent success with water in the 300 ppm range, but I've also had good success (including a couple of meads that earned medals and mazers at IMF and Mazer Cups past), using my current source of relatively soft (hardness less than 100 ppm) water. I think the range is wider than Steve believes it to be.

MattHollingsworth
05-26-2011, 01:06 PM
Given that there is really no quantitative analysis of the optimal amount of dissolved carbonate in water used for meadmaking (at least none that I've ever seen published), you should take blanket statements like the one in Steve's paper with a grain of salt (tangential pun there). That said, as Steve was AHA's Meadmaker of the Year back in '08 he has had more than a little success with his batches. ;D Still, I'd rather something like this be phrased more along the lines of "I have consistent success with water containing 200 to 500 ppm hardness as carbonates," or something similar. Calling that level of salts "optimal" without substantiation is a stretch.

There is a lot of meadmaking "lore" out in the community, some of it quite well founded, and some of it based on very loosely tracked anecdotal experience. A portion of that latter info is quite frankly, simply wrong. I'm not saying that Steve's position is one of those - I'm merely suggesting that you need to be careful to find the basis of the substantiation of any claims or conclusions cited anywhere in the online meadmaking literature. In the absence of such data, then take the recommendations that you read for what they are - the conclusions of one meadmaker.

That said, I can state that I've had excellent success with water in the 300 ppm range, but I've also had good success (including a couple of meads that earned medals and mazers at IMF and Mazer Cups past), using my current source of relatively soft (hardness less than 100 ppm) water. I think the range is wider than Steve believes it to be.

Thanks. But yeah, I always take anything online with a grain of salt. Not just with brewing. I've been online for 16 or so years now and have seen a lot of BS online over the years, especially in the comics and homebrewing communities. My point wasn't that it actually IS optimal, more that yes, this guy who's won awards seems to think it's optimal. Meaning I don't think I need to be overly concerned using my tap water as is, after carbon filtering.

I've never lived anywhere before I moved here with water this high in bicarbonate. I did most of my brewing before when I lived in Portland, which has quite soft water. So, when I started up again brewing here, I was a stickler for trying to get the water right so it wouldn't bite me in the ass.

Anyway, yeah, I've been reading a LOT of stuff online now about meadmaking. As with beer brewing, if you read about one topic all over the place, you'll see a thousand opinions. If someone is winning lots of awards, though, I might take a second look at what they say. A lot of experience is just that, experience. Might not be tested as a scientific experiment, but someone's experience may indicate something worth noting.

Thanks for the heads up though. Cheers!

MrMooCow
06-04-2011, 10:35 AM
Just a note on distilled vs tap vs spring, etc, etc. I can't speak for other countries, but something to keep in mind is that the health standards for bottled water in the US are lower then that for tap. Or, more accurately, bottled water is treated like food, which has lower standards then water. Plus fewer inspections, tests, etc.

Personally, I use filtered tap water. If I'm doing a small brew, I just use the in-sink filter. For large brews, I use the filtered water station at the grocery store (which is carbon filtered, reverse osmosis, with a UV light on tap water).

As for distilled water, my understanding is that the really big problem comes if you're using distilled water to rehydrate dry yeast, as the lack of minerals causes greater stress on the cell walls of the yeast. Or something. These are not my words, these are the words of people who know what they're talking about! ;D

MattHollingsworth
06-04-2011, 01:52 PM
Thanks for the heads up. I'd never use distilled water for yeast starters or rehydrating. As it turns out, I'm just not using any of it at all. Making the first batch tonight, just using carbon filtered tap water, which tastes very good here.

Meriadoc
06-04-2011, 05:16 PM
If "guys" is "inclusive" then so is "gals."
Try spending a whole week using "gals" instead of "guys" and you'll find out that "guys" don't think "gals" is an inclusive term...I've said it before and I'll say it again: The way we use language shapes the way we think.


Good point

Well, it's been years since I looked at a linguistics text, but I know that modern Romance languages (as well as Greek and Latin) don't work that way -- and so, I'm guessing that this is the way that Proto-Indo-European worked: the masculine plural always meant a group of all men or a mixed-gender group, while the feminine plural made the distinction of a purely female group. So, to say that "if 'guys' is inclusive, then 'gals' must be, too, or else your idea doesn't work", doesn't really hold water.

Using that as a nice opportunity for a segue...


I can't scrounge it up right now, but I could swear I read it somewhere that distilled water should never be used, the yeast are too reliant on the minerals in it. Filtered or mineral re-added should be used instead.

Darn, so many things I read and now I can't find them :-/

I recall reading that, too. I also recall reading in homebrew books that water is what makes for the distinctive flavors of particular recipes (and explains why it's so hard to make a perfect knock-off of Guinness, for example). I can vouch that the current version of Iron City Beer is nothing like the good ol' "Heavy Iron" I remember, back when it was brewed from water pulled from Pittsburgh rivers... ;)