Preparing the Must

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The primary ingredient in every must is water. You can probably use municipal tap water without running into problems, but bottled spring water is typically a better choice since its pH is near neutral and won’t contain chlorine. Many people use tap water and well water without incident, but keep this issue in mind should you ever have problems with your home brewed mead.

The traditional method of brewing mead is to combine the ingredients, pitch the yeast, and begin fermentation without applying heat to the must. Another theory is to heat the mead to kill wild yeast and bacterial that could influence the mead’s final flavor. The argument against heating the must is that the subtle essences in the honey will be driven off. If you choose to heat your must, make sure to stir the honey vigorously until it is thoroughly

dissolved. If honey is allowed to sit on the bottom of your brew pot it can burn.

If you don’t have a stock pot or brew kettle large enough to contain all of the must, combine part of the water with all of the honey and other ingredients. Once the partial batch of must has cooled, bit can be combined with the rest of the water in another sterile container or the primary fermentation chamber.

measuring temperature of must I choose to add half of my water and all ingredients to the must and heat to 160°F for 30 minutes. This combination of time and temperature pasteurizes the must without torturing the honey (in my opinion). To speed the cooling of the must, I add the remaining spring water which has been chilling in the refrigerator. There is no ‘right way’ to make must; I recommend trying different methods and using what works best for you.

The final step before beginning fermentation is to aerate the must. Pouring the must from one container to another or stirring vigorously are simple ways of aerating the must. This simple step prepares the must for the addition of yeast and the primary fermentation.

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