hist-brewing: Re: Pasteurizing

Mills, Scott Scott.Mills at COMPAQ.com
Wed Jul 14 16:15:42 PDT 1999

> In a message dated 7/13/99 10:40:24 AM EST, osrik at JUNO.COM writes:
> << Pasteurized honey will not ferment properly. This wisdom 
> was brought to
>  you by years of failed meads all of which were made in 
> exactly the same
>  way as the successful ones only with pasteurized honey. >>
> 	Funny.  All my meads, including the awesome first Bayou Talla, 
> were made by boiling for an hour, which has got to be even more 
> denaturing than pasteurizing is.
> 	Please describe the failure modes you have encountered.
> 	In joy and service,
> 	Scotti

Pasteurized or even boiled Honey absolutely will ferment properly.  Unless
you are trying for a spontaneous fermentation from wild yeast.

Assuming that you plan on pitching a yeast starter, pasteurized or boiled
honey will ferment just as a boiled malt wort will ferment.  All you need to
ferment is a solution with some fermentable sugar, other trace nutrients, a
favorable temperature, and the yeast.  However, that does not mean that you
want to boil your honey/must.

Many meadmakers, myself included, do not boil their must because we feel
that it drives off or destroys much of the honey character that is desirable
in a finished mead.  I have done side by side tests with the same must, half
boiled, the other half not, and I can tell a pretty big difference in the
aroma of the finished mead.  Much more honey character in the aroma of the
one that was not boiled.  This seems particularly true of varietal and
floral honeys where you are looking for specific characteristics in the
aroma.  I think that boiling effects the taste much less but the aroma is
such a large part of the enjoyment of the mead.

The same is thought to hold true for commercial off-the-self, grocery store,
filtered honeys.  The products are filtered to remove things such as wax,
pollen, bee parts, etc.  Many believe that extra stuff adds character to the
finished product.  It is also pasteurized to make it shelf stable AND often
watered down so that it won't crystallize and get rock hard on the shelf.  I
always try to buy raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized, undiluted honey straight
from the beekeeper if possible.

While I never boil my must, I always pasteurize it.  I want to be as sure as
possible that the only organism at work in my mead is the yeast that I put
there.  My typical process is to bring my brewing water to a boil, then
remove my pot from the burner, pour in my honey, and stir to dissolve the
honey.  At this time the solution is still plenty hot to pasteurize.  It
only takes about 15 seconds at 165F to pasteurize.   After the honey is
dissolved I chill the must, transfer it to a fermenter, and pitch lots of
happy yeast.



Scott Mills	 
Engineering Problem Management	 
Industry Standard Server Division	 
Scott.Mills at Compaq.Com <mailto:Scott.Mills at Compaq.Com> 	 
AK Ld Eadric Anstapa

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