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UKTony
12-29-2012, 10:15 PM
Hi Guys,

Somewhere recently in the last few days, I saw page, somewhere in this site, I found an article that compared winemaking vs mead making and their pros and cons. Can anyone point me at this article? I've been searching all night and now, not to proud to ask for a pointer from one of you nice folk.

If the site wasn't so chocfull of awesome information, it would be much easier ;-)

Thanks in advance.

Tony

UKTony
12-30-2012, 02:39 PM
OK, I found the article, but it wasn't on this site :( but just for the purposes of interest I thought I'd paste it here because I thought it was quite interesting.

The discussion came about when I discussed mead with a winemaker the other day and they were a little unsure as to whether mead was more like beer, or more like wine.... so I wanted to send this. I'd love to see this, maybe in the newbie guide or one of the FAQ's tho.



Why it is easier to make mead than wine:


no need to worry about ripeness, the acid or sugar content of the fruits,
lower risk of bacteria infection in honey and no risk of having sulfur at all,
no tight schedule because of harvest, the production can be scheduled more conveniently,
nobody knows mead: if you have friends taste wine you made, comments could be like: "it tastes like Bordeaux, just not as good". If people do not like the mead you made, it is possible to pretend that they just do not like mead in general.


Why it is harder to make mead than wine:


absolute lack of milestones, references, reliable recipes.

Why it is easier to make mead than beer:


hops can be troublesome and they are sensitive to light (hence the brown bottles),
precise temperature cycles,
as for wine, there can be a good prejudice: most of the time the mead maker is the better specialist of mead among the tasters.


Why it is harder to make mead than beer:


same: lack of milestones, references, recipes. Beer brewers can even describe the kind of water that best fits every kind of beer whereas there are not even two mead makers who agree about what honey to use.



Not wanting to steal IP from the other site. The information came from: http://www.meadmadecomplicated.org/

Chevette Girl
12-31-2012, 12:19 AM
I'll let the beermakers chime in on the beer comapraison as I've only dabbled with beers so far, but as far as my experiences and reading have indicated, the procedure for making mead is more closely related to winemaking than beermaking.

I started with winemaking eight years ago (mostly fruit wines rather than grape wines, so like the article says, nobody knows what it's supposed to taste like because nobody else really does it, and it's harder to get information because most research has been done with grape must.

For this reason, I've always tried to make my fruit wines match a grape must in acidity, tannin, nitrogen and sugar content. I used to also do this with my meads, until I came here.

On Gotmead, I learned that honey has its own acidity which can mess with your must's pH, especially since honey (unlike fruit) has no buffering capacity (ability to maintain a relatively steady pH despite unstable conditions like fermentation that may be trying to affect the pH).

This is the first part where I disagree with this article, you DO need to worry about your pH with meads, perhaps even moreso than wines, as excessive acidity/low pH can cause your yeast to make off-flavours or odours or to stop working altogether.

The second part I potentially disagree with is regarding the lack of sulphur in honey... I'm pretty sure I've read reports of sulphorous emissions from traditional meads, I could be wrong as I've not done enough traditionals to have my own anecdotal evidence, but underfed or stressed yeast will usually find a way to make stink...

The third part I disagree with is the supposed lack of milestones. Look around here, you'll find them to be similar to winemaking milestones. You usually want to start in the same neighbourhood as wine when it comes to initial specific gravity. You want to aerate and add nutrients to your must before 1/3 of the fermentation has progressed (look up 1/3 sugar break). You want to rack it out of your primary vessel and into a vessel which will limit its headspace when the specific gravity hits 1.000 or stops changing, and you want to keep checking the SG to make sure it's not still changing when you bottle it, or else you get bottle bombs.

And if it's taste milestones they mean? Well, you don't want the alcohol to taste so strongly that you think you're drinking rocket fuel, you don't want to taste or smell off-flavours that can develop under certain circumstancs, you want the acidity and sweetness to balance each other, you want some body or mouthfeel to it so it feels thicker than water... in short you don't want any of the things in your mead that would render a wine to be flawed...

This article also doesn't mention oxidation. Beers are very susceptible to oxidation, wines less so, and meads even less so than wines.

UKTony
12-31-2012, 08:02 PM
That's all really good feedback, I just figured it would give people (like my brother) some benchmarks in regard to brewing mead and where some similarities lay, and I'm sure more than a few people that brew mead are coming from the ale or wine brewing to these hallowed boards.

fatbloke
01-01-2013, 06:33 AM
That's all really good feedback, I just figured it would give people (like my brother) some benchmarks in regard to brewing mead and where some similarities lay, and I'm sure more than a few people that brew mead are coming from the ale or wine brewing to these hallowed boards.
if you read enough posts (here and other home brew forums), you often can easily "get the measure" of where someone is coming from, especially the beer makers, as they often use technique and/or method that is more in keeping with making beers. sometimes is just the language used that gives you a clue. They often want to boil the hell out of their honey until they learn better, or they're paranoid about opening a ferment to take a gravity reading, often citing oxidation worries.....

Wine makers can be harder to spot as their method/technique is much closer to mead making.

Chevette Girl
01-01-2013, 07:39 PM
Wine makers can be harder to spot as their method/technique is much closer to mead making.


;D We're stealthy!! Although if you see a recipe that calls for acid blend or lemon juice, it's either old or has been converted from a wine recipe without regard to honey's acidity :)

fatbloke
01-02-2013, 04:23 AM
;D We're stealthy!! Although if you see a recipe that calls for acid blend or lemon juice, it's either old or has been converted from a wine recipe without regard to honey's acidity :)
Exactly.....