BVC - Boiling honey and pasteurization.

Chuck_CTR_Graves@mmacmail.jccbi.gov Chuck_CTR_Graves at mmacmail.jccbi.gov
Thu Feb 10 07:03:47 PST 2000


And over his shoulder he could hear his wife:
    Tadhg be good. Tadhg be nice. Tadhg put down the big stick.

>As I said before I never boil by honey and I firmly believe that it hurts
>the honey flavor and more particularly the aroma.  There are clearly two
>camps to this.  I think that the boilers are just following traditional
>wisdom that really isn't based on any hard facts that it is beneficial or
>even necessary.

As you can tell, I always boil the honey. Within a period context, it is far and
away the most common technique. And what I attempt are period reconstructions.
For the most part, I view the "to boil or not to boil" debate from that
perspective.

Consider Digbie as an example, his ratio of recipes for boiled vs. unboiled
worts are better than 10 to 1. He does have recipes which effectively used
pasteurization rather than boiling but they are distinct minority. 

My case for boiling, within the context of the SCA, is that in period they did
not understand pasteurization, and did not get consistent results when they
employed techniques which resulted in pasteurization. When people get
inconsistent results, such as infections, they changed their process. I would
argue the most consistent results were obtained by boiling.

For myself, I'm trying to reproduce consistently what they did (within the
restrictions of my own kitchen). I could take extra steps to get an overall
improved product but not using the techniques I can document...so I don't
bother.

In the modern context, do what you feel gives you the best, most consistent
product. Eadric, obviously a fine mazer (who lives too far south), has presented
his case most admirably...but I'm still going to boil and encourage the folks
who attend my classes to do the same.

I have had similar discussions with others in this area regarding SCA vs.
modern. It is now and will remain (especially in the brewing community) a
difficult quandary for SCA A&S efforts.

>I can point you to a number of other nationally known mead makers that >never
boil their honey.

<and the devil on his shoulder quips> 
    Can you point me to nationally known mead makers that DO boil their    
honey?

I appreciate the notes on mead classes...where would you recommend entering a
short mead? Refreshingly cloudy.

Regards,
Tadhg

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