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Old 08-23-2010, 02:33 PM   #11
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Regardless of the labels, honey musts and wine musts behave differently. The same equipment is used, but the techniques required differ quite a bit.

Grape must are usually nutrient rich. While grape musts may require a bit of supplementation, honey musts have minimal YAN and require much larger doses of nutrient than the recommended doses for wines (unless you want a slow agonizing fermentation that lasts for 6 months or more).

Honey musts are very clear, and that can slow some yeast down. Many grape musts have plenty of particulate matter suspended.

You actually have control over the starting gravity with honey, whereas with grape musts, you must pick them within a certain window of time.

Honey musts have little buffering capacity and are prone to sharp pH drops during fermentation where this is not the case with grape musts. Measuring TA in honey musts is impractical, and the acid balance is different that with wines.

Grape musts are more sensitive to oxidation than are honey musts.

Different varieties of honey will yield as many different flavors as you have different types of grapes (maybe even more).

These are just some of the things that require a different approach when fermenting honey as opposed to grape juice (or other fruit juice). So while there are many similarities, the differences are quite important and understanding them will help you get better results.

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Old 08-23-2010, 07:25 PM   #12
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Ok, not to stir up more arguements but at what point does a wine that has honey some flavoring become a mead, or must a majority of the flavoring be form the honey to be considered mead?

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Old 08-23-2010, 07:28 PM   #13
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Traditionally to be called a mead it must have 50% or more of its flavouring from honey, anything less and its a wine variety.

Wine is any fermented beverage that gets 50% or more of its flavouring from fruit juices.

At least that's what I've always been told.

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Old 08-23-2010, 08:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chip82 View Post
Ok, not to stir up more arguements but at what point does a wine that has honey some flavoring become a mead, or must a majority of the flavoring be form the honey to be considered mead?
It doesn't........
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Originally Posted by CuAllaidh View Post
Traditionally to be called a mead it must have 50% or more of its flavouring from honey, anything less and its a wine variety.

Wine is any fermented beverage that gets 50% or more of its flavouring from fruit juices.

At least that's what I've always been told.
Not sure whether there's a glossary section here, there is over at gotmead, but that whole site is aimed at mead making.

To start with, the only reason why meads are made in a similar way to wines and/or country wines, is because in recent years the making of meads has developed that way.

It also helps to make it much quicker.

If you find a historical recipe, you'd see that it's very, very different.

As for the nonclamenture? Well if it's just honey, water, yeast and maybe some nutrients etc then it's mead, if it's made with apple juice as well, then it's cyser, grape juice it's pyment, other fruit juices would make it a melomel, etc etc etc.

It can be as anal as you want it to be - there's a lot of different names depending on what the other ingredients are - there's no percentage cut off.....

Historic methods took (and still do) a hell of a long time. We've learned better to use some wine making techniques so it's actual making is considerably quicker - though a lot of meads and other honey based mixes still take a hell of a long time to age - I keep mine 12 months minimum - but the difference you'd notice from when it first comes off the yeast to 12 months down the line is incredible. It's as if it's a totally different brew......

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Old 08-24-2010, 11:27 PM   #15
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Same procedures, same yeasts, etc. With wine you just have to know specifically about wine grapes. That's where knowledge of ingredients comes in.
Luckly im only making fruit wine so I don't have to know jack about grapes....
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Old 08-25-2010, 08:24 PM   #16
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Historic methods took (and still do) a hell of a long time.
I beg to differ, it all depends on the recipe. I have made historical mead in a weekend (started in on Friday night, drank it Sunday night) it was weak, but perfectly accurate. The original recipe only called for a couple of days worth of aging. The recipe was a slight variation of Digby's Weak Honey Drink.

Another recipe from 14th century by the Archbishop of Würzburg is ready in less than 20 days, from start to finish. and he recommends drinking it in the first six weeks.

De Re Rustica by Columella from about 60AD has a recipe which takes 40 days to actually make, though he recommends rain water collected for several years, so I guess you could use that as evidence that historical meads took longer.
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Old 08-25-2010, 08:27 PM   #17
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As for the nonclamenture? Well if it's just honey, water, yeast and maybe some nutrients etc then it's mead, if it's made with apple juice as well, then it's cyser, grape juice it's pyment, other fruit juices would make it a melomel, etc etc etc.
Well yes, however pyments, cysers, melomels, metheglins, etc are all varieties of mead, and not separate entities themselves.
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Old 08-29-2010, 05:45 AM   #18
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I am going to say that the difference is in time to drinkability. Sure, some meads may be drinkable early, but I do not think that anything made with honey is drinkable at an equal time to that of wines or beers made from other sugars or fruit. For example, 13 months ago I made a blueberry wine and a blueberry mead on the same day (I used 26 pounds of berries for each 6 gallon batch). The wine is absolutely beautiful tasting and will be bottled in a week or so, while the mead, thought OK, could use another year or so bulk aging. Same yeast, same ABV, same nutrients. The only difference was sugar versus honey.

I am making a braggot. It has been in the secondary for 25 days and should be ready to drink/bottle/do something with if honey were equal to sugar in brewing. However, it tastes like a young mead, meaning it has many, many months to go bulk aging in the secondary before it is ready to drink. I am thinking about racking it again and then forgetting about it for 6 months and trying again.

I would really like to taste the meads that take only a few days to be drinkable. Maybe it is the recipe, but maybe those folks were just desperate for alcohol, and anything was good.

Oh well. Back to my beer.

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Old 08-29-2010, 06:06 AM   #19
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Everything you use for wine is good for mead, I agree The Compleat Meadmaker is not necessary but is a great read.

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Old 08-29-2010, 01:16 PM   #20
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Everything you use for wine is good for mead, I agree The Compleat Meadmaker is not necessary but is a great read.
Oh, yes, The Compleat Meadmaker is on my bedside table! I read portions of it all the time. I really love that book. Ken Schramm is a good guy, and the book is enjoyable as well as informative.
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