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Discussion Starter #1
Does raw honey have beneficial properties that are lost when heated or boiled? I personally love raw honey and have often wondered if it is possible to make mead without heating the honey to the point it kills the beneficial properties.
 

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I saw a presentation by Ken Schramm who wrote The Compleat Meadmaker and he admitted he never heats the honey. He seemed to think inoculating it with the yeast you want gives it enough of a head start and heating ruins the flavor...
 

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I never heat mine, and the mead I make is alright. I read a report somewhere, though, of a guy who wanted to test if heating the honey had any impact. While the sample size was small, he still followed a good double-blind protocol to avoid bias and his results were that people appreciated the mead from heated honey more than the mead from raw honey.

Personally, I find using raw honey more authentic, though, and preferences as far as tastes go are far from universal. If you want to go down the raw path, however, you are probably better off using a strong inoculation dose. A stirrer can help form a good inoculate before starting the batch, because it will be a race between your desired yeast strain and all of the wild yeast and bacteria, and they will give their touch to the flavor of the final outcome.

Sometimes I feel like inoculating the hives or even the flowers with good wine yeast strains just to get a head start, though I've never done it. :D
 

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Hmm, super interesting. I wonder if the health benefits were greater with the mead with raw honey, even if the taste was lacking.
 

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Hmm, super interesting. I wonder if the health benefits were greater with the mead with raw honey, even if the taste was lacking.
Well I don't think it was bad, I certainly don't despise the stuff I make from my own raw honey, it's just the subjects they used preferred the cleaner taste of the sterilized honey. I don't recall his procedure, though, maybe the results were only due to a weak inoculate, and that if he had used a stronger one the results would have been different. It was somewhere on the internet, maybe even in this forum, so if you google for it you might find greater details.

If mead had any health benefits, I can only imagine they'd be better with raw ingredients to start off with, provided it is done correctly. I don't recall many health benefits being attributed to mead, however. I know around here, alcohol marketing laws are pretty darn strict, it'd probably not even be legal to allege any health benefits, which might be why I never hear of any.
 

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Yeah, I wasn't saying it tasted poor, I was just saying according to that study it might lack in taste a little bit, but like you said there could be other factors as well.

As far as health benefits, I just cant imagine that there WOULDN'T be any because raw honey has SO many.
 

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No reason to heat honey to make mead. Some recipes call for you to boil the honey/water mixture but that is mainly to carmelize some honey and get undigestible sugars that don't ferment so you have a residual sweetness. It was also for the times before sanitation and drinkable water was boiled water. Use your melter honey for recipes calling for boiled honey. same same.
 

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Yeah, I wasn't saying it tasted poor, I was just saying according to that study it might lack in taste a little bit, but like you said there could be other factors as well.

As far as health benefits, I just cant imagine that there WOULDN'T be any because raw honey has SO many.
So many? How many? Send me some and I will test it for you, me and my friends.
 

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So many? How many? Send me some and I will test it for you, me and my friends.
"Raw honey has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It promotes body and digestive health, is a powerful antioxidant, strengthens the immune system, eliminates allergies, and is an excellent remedy for skin wounds and all types of infections. Raw honey's benefits don't stop there. Raw honey can also stabilize blood pressure, balance sugar levels, relieve pain, calm nerves, and it has been used to treat ulcers. Raw honey is also an expectorant and anti-inflammatory and has been known to effectively treat respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and asthma."

http://www.naturalnews.com/035493_raw_honey_health_benefits_antibacterial.html
 

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You heat the honey, let it ferment for a while and once it contains enough alcohol you stirr in another batch of honey. Gives a better taste and it also brings back the enzymes.
 

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You heat the honey, let it ferment for a while and once it contains enough alcohol you stirr in another batch of honey. Gives a better taste and it also brings back the enzymes.
That sounds like the best way to do it. No one has suggested that yet! That way you get both sides of the coin! The yummy taste and the enzymes and benefits. :) Thanks for that.
 

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I also don't heat, but the "consensus" online suffers a bit when put to the test: many award-winning meads are heated or even boiled. There are multiple paths to great mead, just as there are to successful beekeeping.
 

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When I started my experiments I used raw honey, too. You get nice results - sometimes...other times you spoil 100 litres of mead and thus honey. Not a nice experience.

As is with other crafts it is all about getting solid reproducible results. (Like it is with playing soccer. :)) You do not need to get the best results in the first place, but reproducable results. Once you get reproducable results you can go from there, step by step correcting and improving your results. (Interesting enough I learned this through bow hunting.)

Boiling the first batch of honey is the only way to get a reproducable and predictable product. That is of course a bit boring, because there is no wild fermentation and no unexpected interesting taste. But it is reliable. A good point to start from into the mead mastership. :)

If you add honey after the first fermentation process, be aware, that the yeasts start again to ferment. (But more slowly.)
 

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I have been making mead for about 8 years. I don't boil or heat my honey at all before fermenting. Only use hot(ish) water to help it blend but nothing else. IF your water is good and your honey is fresh I would avoid heat. Heat is a flavor killer when it comes to honey.

Winemakers don't boil or heat wine must.
 
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