View Full Version : New to the forum! But not making mead...

02-13-2015, 09:52 PM
I've make a few batches of mead over the past year or so but have a question about honey.

Some years back (8+) a friend gave me close to 2 gals of honey in 1 gal milk jugs. I never used it to make any mead. Its almost black now but hasn't crystalized. Lately I have been going with the no pasteurize/heat the must. It has been working well. My question is with this 8+ year old honey is: A. I have heard that honey doesn't go bad, can I still use it for mead?; B. Do I heat/pasteurize this honey just to make sure nothing got in to it? Would you do anything different with 8+ year old honey before starting the mead making process?


02-14-2015, 02:40 AM
My understanding is this: Honey found in ancient Egyptian tombs is still edible after 5,000 years. Here's a link to the Smithsonian (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-science-behind-honeys-eternal-shelf-life-1218690/?no-ist=) page about it...

I think your fine there, it's been sealed, but I'm not an expert, just know what I read. If nothing else it proves the longevity anyway!

Other more experienced guys will come along, just thought it was interesting...

Medsen Fey
02-14-2015, 08:42 AM
Over time, a honey will lose varietal character, aroma elements and will darken. It won't have spoilage if it is stored in a container that keeps moisture out. This darkening and loss of aroma can be prevented by freezing honey.

If the honey smells and tastes OK, you can use it as usual without heating. You will wind up with a dark colored mead


02-18-2015, 11:50 PM
EJM3 : refute of the ancient edible honey found in egypt story, sadly : http://irna.lautre.net/Honey-in-the-pyramids.html

02-19-2015, 06:29 AM
EJM3 : refute of the ancient edible honey found in egypt story, sadly : http://irna.lautre.net/Honey-in-the-pyramids.html

From what I understand, they didnīt find honey ?

As for the refutation of being edible , in the apiacta article essncialy talks about the alterations in presence of heat.

The other link lacks fundamentation and somehow contadicts istself :

" Honey stored in sealed containers can remain stable for decades and even centuries! However, honey is susceptible to physical and chemical changes during storage; it tends to darken and lose its aroma and flavor or crystallize. These are temperature-dependent processes, making the shelf life of honey difficult to define. For practical purposes, a shelf life of two years is often stated. Properly processed, packaged and stored honey retains its quality for a long time."

" For practical purposes, a shelf life of two years is often stated" - this is only stated by the sellers for itīs the time in which they can garantee the product quality and stability. It can be extented much more.

In fact as it can be seen in the apiacta article, in time or with heating, enzime activity goes down as diastase index , and hmf goes up. The last one is limited in EU to 40 mg / Kg (with some exceptions). But for honey stored out of heat, hmf takes more than four or five years to go beyond this limit. And that doesnīt mean that is spoiled. Candies have hmf levels of thousands and there is no problem.

I am not saying that after 10 or 20 years the tast and aroma will be the same, but there is a huge difference between that and spoilage. Just keep moisture away and you will be fine.

02-19-2015, 12:47 PM
I don't pasteurize or boil any honey I use when making a mead, and I think the evidence is very strong that the lack of moisture and hydrogen peroxide found in honey is sufficiently antibacterial to inhibit any growth of bacteria or pathogens (I am ignoring the rare occurrences of the presence of clostridium botulinum - which is why honey is not given to babies younger than 12 months) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8880294
Bottom line: not sure that there is any reason to be overly anxious if the honey is 8 plus years old. What I might do, to feel safer, is to add a campden tablet to every gallon of must 24 hours prior to pitching the yeast... Don't see any down side and see a little upside... But to each his or her own..