hist-brewing: cloudy meads
Scott.Mills at COMPAQ.com
Mon Feb 7 15:29:15 PST 2000
First let me preface by saying that I am an ANTI-boil
fanatic. I never boil my honey because in my mind I KNOW
that it drives off too much of the honey aroma and it alters
the flavor. I boil my water then remove from the heat and
add my honey. I have seen documents from the National Honey
board that mention a working temperature of 160 F and that
honey should be cooled quickly after heating to avoid changes
in its chemical composition. In the NHB brewing documents
they recommend pasteurizing by heating to 176 F and then
adding to the already fermenting wort at high kreusen.
This past weekend I shared a mead with a small group of local
brewers and a number commented that they had never had a mead
with so much honey character. Yet it not an overly sweet
mead. This honey character is as much from the aroma as from
the taste. Like Al I also have an AHA Gold medal for a
traditional mead and I did not boil the honey. Unlike Al's
mead mine was crystal clear (I assume Al's was not because he
says the judges overlooked the cloudiness in favor of the aroma).
There are a number of carbohydrates in mead that are not
fermentable (about 5% of them) as well as enzymes, minerals
(that's where the color comes from), amino acids, and other
organic acids that all make honey what it is. If you are
buying unmolested honey that has only been strained and not
heated and filtered then there is also going to be some wax
and pollen and a few other impurities. These impurities are
filtered out in commercial store honey not because they hurt
the flavor but primarily because they hurt shelf life by
promoting crystallization. All of these extras in honey can
cause a mead to be cloudy under various conditions but in my
experience the biggest cause of cloudy meads appears to have
been suspended yeast that will eventually settle out.
To my mind I have never had a lot trouble getting my meads to
clear. If your mead isn't clear just give it time and
eventually it will clear. Think like a winemaker who is
looking for a product to be ready in a year or two not like a
brewer wanting to serve in three weeks or even three months.
Better yet, as Al said don't worry about the haze and just
enjoy the aroma and flavor.
If you still cant wait and want to help the mead clear then
I recommend bentonite. (at times I also have been rushed to
get a mead ready for a wedding or other special event) Keep
in mind that bentonite is not an overnight clearing agent but
for me has usually enticed a mead to clear and be ready to
rack in about a month.
Scott.Mills at Compaq.Com
AKA Ld Eadric Anstapa
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