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Old 11-05-2007, 10:46 PM   #1
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Mead, fermentation

I guess I will post it on this thread since its the most linked with it. I posted a question about this when i introduced myself.

but I am testing some fermentation techniques with yeast and honey to make mead. I know honey contains the botulus spores which can grow into bacteria and produce toxins that can kill

the spore grows under anerobic conditions (no oxygen) as well as the yeast

the yeast does well in sugar, the botulus does not grow well in high concentrates of sugar

the yeast produces alcohol that will in the end kill the yeast

my questions...

Will the alcohol produced kill any other foreign bacteria that may be produced during the period of fermentation?

Did boiling the honey before mixing it with water and yeast kill any spores of botulum in the honey (if any at all)?

The information I have on making mead is from a site on how to make mead called..... doubleu double u double u dot essortment.com/food/makingmead_tvlr.htm ( cant post URL until 20 posts)

For sterilization purposes (or as much as I can do at home) I boiled the honey, and put boiling hot water and liquid soap into the glass conatinaer that it is currently fermenting in. I'd think this is enough.

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Old 11-05-2007, 10:51 PM   #2
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Hey Pippo, I made mead once way back when I was brewing my own beer and it turned out wonderful after it sat for year. I am glad to see you are thinking about all possible failures but don't fret. When you boil the wert, it kills all "nasties" that are in there. The only thing you need to worry about is the cleanliness of your equipment. If that is in tact, then you are "in there like swimwear". Good luck and enjoy.
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Old 11-05-2007, 11:17 PM   #3
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Put in a call to the Palisades Colorado Meadery and they can lead you in the right direction. I have bought a good deal of mead from them and it is great
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Old 11-05-2007, 11:26 PM   #4
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well if u mean "wert" as in my case honey then i guess I am fine! As for time, how long should I leave it to ferment? Until it dosnt ferment anymore or about 2 weeks? Id say Its maybe half a gallon in size.1/3 honey 2/3 water
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Old 11-06-2007, 07:50 AM   #5
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Hi Pippo!

First off, no known human pathogens can survive in mead. (That does of course, leave things that would make it taste/smell like something you'd never put near your lips, but that's a different issue. )

To address some of your other questsions and comments...

Yeast needs Oxygen and nutrients to ferment. If you don't have a copy, Ken Schram's book "The Compleat Meadmaker" is an excellent source of information. (Full disclosure: I know Ken casually, he lives in my area and I see him at brewing events now and then). The book is published through the American Homebrewing Association. Plain sugar will, past a certain point, prove to be a poor source of fermentables.

As for the yeast being killed by the alcohol, don't be too sure. It may go mostly dormant, but I've seen (and had) meads that were pushing 15% alcohol still ferment in the bottle (carbonating the mead, and in a few cases, blowing the corks out of the bottles). If you want to really make sure the yeast is dead, you'll need to use sulfites.

As for boiling the honey.....
It won't kill the spores, but it will drive off the more delicate aromas in some of the different honey you'll find. Virtually all of the meads I make these days are of the "dump and stir" variety. I dump the honey (often raw, bulk honey) into the pail, add the water, and stir.

For sterilization...
This is the single biggest cause of "bad" beers and meads. I'd strongly recommend finding a local homebrewing shop, or if there isn't one, there are plenty online (Local ones are great because you can "talk shop" and get info). They'll offer a variety of no rinse sanitizers that will work far better (iodophor is the one I go with). The problem with soap is that it can create off flavors unless it's rinsed VERY well.

And you can always ask away here too.

Oh, most importantly - have fun!

John
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Old 11-06-2007, 10:11 AM   #6
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Thanks for all of your information. But I thought that yeast needs to be in a non-oxygen enviornment to ferment? Otherwise it will produce Acetic Acid (vinegar)?
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Old 11-06-2007, 10:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pippo90 View Post
Thanks for all of your information. But I thought that yeast needs to be in a non-oxygen enviornment to ferment? Otherwise it will produce Acetic Acid (vinegar)?
Hi Pippo,

Nope, yeast needs oxygen for a healthy fermentation. Especially for higher starting gravities. I actually have an O2 tank and a diffusion stone for aerating some beers and meads that I make. Oxygen is a especially important during the reproduction phase of the yeast, which ensures a healthy fermentation. For lighter batches (especially with beer) a good splashing going into the bucket or carboy provides plenty of aeration.

Acetic Acid is produced by acetobacter, not yeast. (It is possibly to make a vinegary "brew", but the acetic acid itself comes from acetobacter)

John
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Old 11-06-2007, 05:37 PM   #8
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so what would be the best and simplest way of airating my mixture? I was using an idea off of the internet that had tiny holes poked in a balloon, this would let the CO2 produced out and not let any air in. should I just make some larger holes in the original cap of the container and leave that on it?

Edit: i did some research and what i think you mean is that I should airate it every once in a while with a quick mix of the mixture?


How do I know if it has been contaminated or spoiled? because today I was going to airate it and the ballon snapped and I tried getting 3 more balloons on and they couldn't so I gave up and just screwed on a lid with 3 tiny needle holes
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Old 11-07-2007, 07:49 AM   #9
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If it's not a really high gravity mix (The more honey you add, the higher the starting gravity and the higher the potential final alcohol %), then shaking, or vigorously stirring will probabluy introduce enough air.

The aeration is important before the yeast start to really ferment. What happens is that when the yeast are added, they adapt to their new environment and reproduce up to the needed cell count, then they go to town fermenting and creating the ethanol.

If it's already fermenting, I would not worry anymore about aerating. For a cover, I use little airlocks, but a loose fitting cover of some sort will work as well. The fermenting mead will give off CO2, so it's not so much a matter of keeping air out as much as dust, fruit flies, or other potential contaminants. Once the fermentation has slowed, it becomes more important to sort of seal it off. Your cover sounds like it should do fine.

How will you know if it's contaminated? If it's a bad one, you'll know because you'll possibly see mold or something growing on or in it. Or you may not be able to tell until you try it. If it looks ok, and smells ok, it's probably ok. If it tastes or vinegar or sewage, you may have a bug in there. If it simply doesn't taste "right", give it time. The trick is to remember that mead is not a quick drink, it might just need some time to age.

John
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Old 11-07-2007, 10:31 AM   #10
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And aging would just be filtering the mixture after the fermentation is done. And then putting it in a bottle, cool dark place and wait?

Which method would be best to filter the mixture? Just coffee filters?

Thanks for your help
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