View Full Version : heating mead prior to fermentation

bathtub brewer
11-24-2014, 02:48 PM
I have made 4 batches of mead and always heated my mead prior to fermentation. I have done this because the brewers guide and multiple recipes told me to.
I mentioned this in another thread and some one far more experienced then I said don't do it. I didn't want to hijack someone else's thread so I started a new one.
In my reading I noted many sources say if you boil mead you will loose the honey essence, so I have always avoided boiling and heated it just enough to get the foam to appear. Then I skim the foam and cool it down till I can pitch the yeast.

So what I am wondering is if I don't do this am I gambling that the raw honey may have a bacteria or wild yeast that will adversely affect the mead?

Midnight Sun
11-24-2014, 03:16 PM
This is strictly my opinion so take it for what it's worth. I figure it is a little bit of a gamble to use honey that has not been heat pasteurized but that the odds are so strongly in my favor that I needn't worry about it: think of a sapling standing up to an avalanche. You can improve your odds even more by using a yeast like KV1116 which has a kill factor (produces proteins that disables other yeast). If you truly are concerned, you could consider dosing with a campden tablet. Just let it sit for a day after before pitching your yeast.

My best advice, though, is do an online search for boil vs no boil. Lots of folks have done anecdotal tests to see what differences result. Here (http://www.washingtonwinemaker.com/blog/2008/10/28/making-mead-testing-the-controversy-over-boiling/) is one such example. Loosing the delicate honey aromas and altering the body when boiling seem to be consistent themes. You may actually find that you prefer boiling. Most here prefer not to loose the aromas. My own reason for not boiling is simply that I am too lazy.

11-24-2014, 03:35 PM
There is a middle ground..... Pasteurize. I use it sometimes with honey that has crystalized... The link is apparently broken, but the quote is still valid from Ken Schramm . In short, 150 F for 5 min does the job (I use a candy thermometer).

The temperatures and exposure times needed to kill yeasts in honey have been proven to be far lower than we mead makers have been using. Dr. White has noted that honey heated at 145 F for thirty minutes will be free of yeast contamination. The actual time required to kill yeast is 22 minutes at 140 F, and drops well below 5 minutes at 150 F and above. Using temps in the 145 F range will preserve many of the aroma compounds, and cuts down on time, fuel usage and the hazards of dealing with large volumes of boiling-hot concentrated sugar water. As shown in the following graph, sufficient pasteurization may be achieved in as little as 1 minute at 155F. (Data taken from White, J.W., The Hive and The Honey Bee, pp 513.)

Google found another instance of his paper. Look under Sanitation in the following link....