Hello all, I am new to home brewing and have decided to undertake the process of mead for a school projet. I’ve gotten a bit spooked by the risks associated to fermenting mead (methanol/harmful mushrooms) and was wondering if anyone had any tips to prevent these substances from forming or ways to verify it is safe to consume?
I’ve made mead a few times (though not recently, I’ve been meaning to pick this up again) and never had any issues or even concerns about harmful byproducts. I’m not a microbiologist (@ergau43 maybe you have an opinion on the subject?), my understanding is that if you dilute the honey in relation to your desired mead strength, maintain a reasonable fermentation temperature and pitch an adequate starter of yeast, there shouldn’t really be any cause for concern. The sugars will quickly be consumed by the yeast and the beverage will become stable thanks to the alcohol.
You have any interesting leads on bulk honey? I’d be down to split a 10-20lb bucket.
I want to start by saying that I have never made mead, so I was just biding my time till someone with actual experience showed up.
Here is in an article from the AHA that discusses the different things people do when making mead and what their thinking is behind it in relation to your doubts. You have a lot of options and if you want to take extra care you definitely can do that through heat or additions. But you certainly don’t have to.
After reading the article and even without ever having made mead I agree with Kurt’s logic. Stuff with alcohol in it is really hard for bugs to live in, the yeast we use are super voracious and hard to compete with for bugs, and the fact that people have made it successfully for so long is a good indicator that, in a way, honey wants to be mead and malt wants to be beer.
Just follow best practices, keep everything clean and sanitary and treat your yeast right and you’ll be fine.
As for methanol, discussions of it are really overblown, don’t worry about it.
Good luck, you might have inspired me to try making one too!
As Kurt says, with good sanitation and vigorous yeast fermentation, there shouldn’t be any microbiological issue! Personally, I would use pasteurized honey, but it’s a personal preference. If you see anything unusual floating around in your mead, send us a picture so I can try to tell you if you have potential spoiler molds in it, but I doubt it’ll be an issue
Agreed with Jesse and Eric. I should have mentioned it, but I guess I take it for granted. Good sanitation practices are a must. No pun intended.
I made a Rasberry Ginger mead about 10 years ago, based on the Charlie Papazian recipe. It was delicious and I fully intend to make it again one day.