hist-brewing: Heather Meath

Al Korzonas korz at xnet.com
Thu May 14 15:06:35 PDT 1998

Owen ap Robert writes:
>In a message dated 98-05-14 00:03:21 EDT, wyliesmith at isomedia.com writes:

>> Heat water to 160 (F) and put in spices in fine mesh bag. Let it pasteurize,

>although it appears that, in period, no form of wort cooling was used, it's
>not a good idea to emulate this. The wort will spend a significant amount of
>time between 120 and 140 F, prime bacterial growth range.

Actually, I believe the original poster said it took 5 hours.  Unless you
are actually pitching bacteria or wild yeasts, you will not get a significant
amount of activity (not enough to cause flavour damage) in 5 hours.  This
presumes, however, that you are pitching enough yeast and that when you do
eventually pitch, the yeast will consume all the dissolved oxygen and begin
fermention within a few hours.  A slow cooling period followed by a long 
(several days) lag time is when you have problems with wort-spoiling bacteria.
In beer, the issue with slow cooling is with DMS buildup... that's not an issue
with meath.

>Also, 160 is the
>bottom of the pasteurization range, and it might not stay there long enough to
>actually pasteurize, making the situation worse. Better would be to raise it
>to ~180F, hold for 20-30 min, then chill, either with a immersion chiller (
>only type i think we should use at home), or by simply placing pot in tub of

Actually, 160F is well up into the pasteurisation range.  I don't have the book
here, but in "The Practical Brewer" they explain the concept of pasteurisation
units.  If memory serves correctly, 1 minute at 150F is one unit as are 10
minutes at 140F.  The book was not exactly clear as to whether one unit
was enough or were several units necessary for some spoilers...  I had great
success pasteurising raspberries by heating the pulverised fruit to 140-150F
for 10-15 minutes (which would be roughly somewhere between 1 and 10 units).
Even after a year there were no gushers!

>what type of yeast did you use? beer or wine types, there should be no reason
>to use a heat belt, unless your fermentation area is below 60-62F. just pitch
>the right amount of yeast. for dry yeast (red star wine, etc), i use 1 pkg per
>gallon. dry beer yeast, 21-28 gm for 5 gallons (2 yeastlab, 3-4 most others).
>liquid, use a pint or quart starter for 5-7 gallons.

I used one package (about 10 grams) of wine yeast in each of my meads (4
gallons) and they fermented admirably (and did pretty well in competition).
Rehydration and tempering are crucial.  See Lallemand's website
(www.lallemand.com) for more on this.  If I was to use liquid yeast for
meade, I would want to use about 1/5 of the slurry from a previous batch,
however, meade is so strong (mine are typically 1.120 OG) and therefore
damage the yeast, I would probably work my way up to a 1-gallon starter made
from dried malt extract, pour off the spent wort and pitch the slurry.


Al Korzonas, Palos Hills, IL
korz at xnet.com

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