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Winemaking Terms - Maturation to Mead

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Maturation:

The process of aging in bulk or in bottles or both, to achieve smoothness (in acidity), mellowness (in tannins and other phenols) and unique character and complexity. The major activities in this process are the chemical reduction of certain compounds into others, primarily by hydrolysis or oxidation, and the joining together of short molecular chains into longer ones. Volatile esters, ethers and acids create bouquet, which is not the same as aroma.

Mead:

A fermented beverage made from honey, water, acid, yeast nutrients, and yeast. Tannin may also be added, but the only flavor is derived from the honey itself. Different honeys, meaning honeys made from different nectar sources (flowers), yield different flavors. Thus, a clover mead is made with honey produced primarily from the nectar of clover flowers, while a heather mead is made with honey produced primarily from the nectar of heather flowers. There are three kinds of "true" mead:

Dry Mead contain no flavoring other than honey and is made using about 2-1/2 pounds of honey per U.S. gallon of mead.
 
Sack Mead contains no flavoring other than honey but is sweeter than most other meads and is made using about 4 pounds of honey per U.S. gallon of mead.
 
Small Mead contains no flavoring other than honey but is made using only about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds of honey per U.S. gallon of mead and is fermented using an ale yeast. A small mead is closer to ale than to wine, while both dry and sack meads are closer to wine.

 A dditionally, there are other beverages made with honey that are generally referred to as meads but indeed have their own names. Just a few of these (there are scores of them) are:

Balche is a Mayan mead made with Balche bark
 
Bochet is a sack mead that has been burned or charred
 
Bracket is mead and ale combined
 
Braggot is mead made with honey and malt
 
Capsicumel is mead made with honey and chile peppers
 
Clarre is another term for Pyment and is a mead (actually, a Melomel) made with honey and grapes or grape juice
 
Cyser is a sack mead (actually, a Melomel) made with honey and apples (or apple juice) and is closely related to hard
cider. Another name for this kind of mead is Cyster.
 
Hippocras is a spiced pyment
 
Hydromel is a French drink of watered-down or diluted mead
 
Meddeglyn is a Welsh spiced mead

Melomel is a mead made with honey and fruit. Another name for this type of mead is Mulsum

Metheglin is a sack mead made with honey and herbs and/or spices. Also spelled Metheglyn

Morat is a sack mead (actually, a Melomel) made with honey and mulberries

Omphacomel is a mead made with honey and verjuice (the juice of unripened or immature grapes)

Oxymel is mead mixed or blended with vinegar

Perry is a sack mead (actually, a Melomel) made with honey and pears

Pyment is a mead (actually, a Melomel) made with honey and grapes or grape juice. Another name for this type of mead is Clarre

Rhodamel is a mead (actually, a Metheglin) made with honey and rose petals

T'ej is a mead made with honey and hops

Traditional is mead made with honey, water, acid, yeast nutrients, and yeast only

Varietal is a Traditional mead made with a pure variety of honey, such as Clover, Fireweed or Heather


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Source: Jack Keller

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