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View Full Version : What do you want to see in the IMA?



webmaster
12-24-2004, 06:52 AM
Jason has, I think, voiced a concern that many of you may hold, that the International Mead Association may not address the needs of the home mead-making community, or include us enough in the workings.

Dan and I have been discussing this, and I think we need to put out here the opportunity for you, the mead brewing community, to say what you'd like to see.

Tell me what you'd like to see from the IMA. What can it do that will help you, the home mead maker? Tell me, and I'll compile your answers and see they get addressed. Dan and I are on the research committee, along with Ken Schramm and several others. I chair the committee. So part of my job is to make sure your wishes are heard. And, as owner of GotMead, I sort of got volunteered to be the voice for y'all (since I was at the MeadFest IMA meeting).

Be as brief or as detailed as you like. And remember, if you don't vote, you can't bitch!

Vicky - wanting to make sure that Jason and others can get their .02 worth in for the formation

Talon
12-27-2004, 10:21 AM
As for the IMA from a homebrewer standpoint, what I'd love to see is a set of judging guidelines for mead specific categories or competitions. BJCP, their members and organizers do a knock-up job of trying to standardize testing for mead competitions however, the judges are usually beer and wine educated in their tasting and judging training. If the IMA were to be able to help standardize the judging guidelines and possibly even improve rather than replace the BJCP judging program by giving mead specific judging education that would give many home brewers that make only mead a more "comfortable" competition.

I understand that what is being asked is an even greater undertaking than trying to find basic descriptors for meads. The even larger, more frustrating fact for many is that this suggestion can not be implemented to any great or extensive degree until the ground-work has been done on the descriptors, etc. Wine, then beer went through this growing pain and so will mead.

This would solve a great many complaints that I've witnessed with competitions and mead tastings that have attempted to accomodate meads for that brewing community as a competitive genre.

So, now that we're piling up more work on poor Vicky and the rest of the IMA team, I will openly volunteer any time I can spare to helping the IMA once it's opened up it's membership to homebrewers or persons just willing to be of service to the community.

Talon.

Dan McFeeley
12-28-2004, 07:32 AM
As for the IMA from a homebrewer standpoint, what I'd love to see is a set of judging guidelines for mead specific categories or competitions. BJCP, their members and organizers do a knock-up job of trying to standardize testing for mead competitions however, the judges are usually beer and wine educated in their tasting and judging training. If the IMA were to be able to help standardize the judging guidelines and possibly even improve rather than replace the BJCP judging program by giving mead specific judging education that would give many home brewers that make only mead a more "comfortable" competition.

Hello Talon --

There is a judging committee chaired by Ken Schramm that is working on this. Vince Galet, Paul Gates, Scott Pirtle, and Gretchen Harrison are also on the committee. If you're on the Mead Lovers Digest, you probably saw the recent discussion on mead and honey descriptors.

I agree, this is an important issue that needs to be addressed. My feeling has been that mead is still lacking a basic working understanding and vocabulary that describes its uniqueness as compared to wine.

Although we're talking about IMA involvement, I'm also a big believer in the home crowd. If there are lots of folk tasting meads, giving special attention to what makes them a good or a great mead, and posting their experiences on forums like this, it'll help create a concensus.

Talon
12-28-2004, 09:23 AM
Hey Dan,

Yes, I did see the post on the MLD. Also resultant from that discussion was the desire for a mead-specific judging criterion. I may have missed the portion where stating that there was a committee working on this very topic. I knew Mr. Schramm specifically was getting his feet wet with finding descriptors, etc. No small task by any measure!

Should even a small amount of this task be completed, it would be a leap ahead for not only homebrewers but professional mazers too.

One suggestion I would have to make things a bit easier for honey descriptors would be more along the lines of regionalizing the descriptors. IE: Orangeblossom honey is different in Florida from that in California even though they are both classified as orangeblossom honey. The same is true for grapes. Those grown in Florida are different to those grown in California or France. So wine makers on a professional scale name their wines based on the region of their grapes and/or the type of wine they are producing. Following their example, we as homebrewers and professionals alike can come together to formulate a regional system of descriptors for the honeys we use. For my meads I'd state for a varietal that I'd used Central Florida Orangeblossom honey. As Central Florida is where much of the oranges are grown, one could expect a very distinct and pronounced orangeblossom note to the traditional and in a metheglin, one could expect to find a hint of that floral note. Now the orangeblossom honey from North Florida one could expect more of a wildflower influence on the orangeblossom floral note as more wildflowers are prevalent in that area.

Again, this is merely a suggestion and one man's opinion on a way to proceed for the consideration of the team undertaking this great task.

Also, to show my support to the IMA I'm willing to help in any way that I can with my current and future skillset for any of the organizations research teams.

Dan McFeeley
12-28-2004, 10:19 AM
One suggestion I would have to make things a bit easier for honey descriptors would be more along the lines of regionalizing the descriptors. IE: Orangeblossom honey is different in Florida from that in California even though they are both classified as orangeblossom honey. The same is true for grapes. Those grown in Florida are different to those grown in California or France. . . .

Great idea! It makes a lot of sense and would encourage connoisseurship (is that a word? :o ) in honey and meadmaking.

Oskaar
12-28-2004, 04:12 PM
From my perspective I think there are a number of things that as an industry and a community we can take a look at to see where improvements can be made, practices can be established and partnerships can be formed. We have several very good models out there in the wine, beer and distilled spirits industries. I don't see why we can't have a look at their business, marketing, advertising and partnering strategies as models that we can identify "best of breed" solutions for adaptation and inclusion into the mead industry.

I've seen a lot of stuff out there that is really resistant to concepts in the wine and beer industries. Mead is a unique beverage with a rich history; and it's special identity and history should be allowed to shine through. Howver, there are plenty of practices, concepts, methods and ideas from both the wine and beer industries that can be of tremendous benefit to the mead industry if we break them down into their basic building blocks, toss what we don't need or isn't applicable, replace it with something that is, and re-construct our own unique practices, standards, etc.

To me it would be very useful for the IMA to take a look at the following:

Industry strandards on mead production, production methods, appellations, regions, varietal honey, and ingredients in general Better communication channels to the customer/consumer via media, websites, newsletters, periodicals, etc. Establishing standards for mead tasting and judging (Dan and Talon touched on this) as an official publication of the IMA Board Establish the IMA as a credible, official and sanctioned entity in the eyes of the mead community Establish the IMA as a credible and official entity in the eyes of the wine, beer and liquor industry Expand and formalize the mead festival along with regional festivals, competitions, tastings and "how to" seminars Invite beer and wine industry luminaries to festivals for exposure to meadmaking, it's culture, tasting, judging and industry standards IMA participation in wine and beer industry functions to humanize and expose mead and mead production to a wider audience Build a "mead" centric honey database with information about beekeepers, honey distributors, processing, flavor database, etc.

OK, I'll stop at nine:)

Suffice it to say that I think there are a lot of things that are on the plate of the IMA, and I personally have high expectations and high standards that I feel should be met. To me it is tantamount to the success of this body to have enthusiastic and "rabid" support from all us non-professionals as well as professional mazers. Equally important is raising the awareness of a "formalization" of the mead industry by mead luminaries and producers to the rest of the other liquor industries (beer, wine and distilled spirits).

Strategic partnerships with the right people and businesses can really go a long way to promoting our craft.

Cheers,

Oskaar

GntlKnght
12-30-2004, 03:29 PM
[list] Industry strandards on mead production, production methods, appellations, regions, varietal honey, and ingredients in general Better communication channels to the customer/consumer via media, websites, newsletters, periodicals, etc Establish the IMA as a credible, official and sanctioned entity in the eyes of the mead community Establish the IMA as a credible and official entity in the eyes of the wine, beer and liquor industry

The trick here will be to walk that fine line between helping/guiding the industry and being just a mouthpiece for the industry.


Expand and formalize the mead festival along with regional festivals, competitions, tastings and "how to" seminars

Oskaar, I LOVE this idea!!!!!

Dan McFeeley
01-02-2005, 09:51 AM
OK, I'll stop at nine:)

Suffice it to say that I think there are a lot of things that are on the plate of the IMA, and I personally have high expectations and high standards that I feel should be met. To me it is tantamount to the success of this body to have enthusiastic and "rabid" support from all us non-professionals as well as professional mazers. Equally important is raising the awareness of a "formalization" of the mead industry by mead luminaries and producers to the rest of the other liquor industries (beer, wine and distilled spirits).

Strategic partnerships with the right people and businesses can really go a long way to promoting our craft.


You lied -- this is 10, maybe 11 or 12 more. ;D ;D ;D

I really like the way Oskaar put this -- well worded and well said. I hope everyone on the homemeadmaking front has these same standards and won't hesitate to let them be known. (hint, hint, keep posting on this thread. ;D )

webmaster
01-07-2005, 08:07 PM
Folks, please keep weighing in on what you'd like to see in the IMA. I'm hearing some good stuff. I'm proposing to the IMA folk (which includes myself, Dan and Ken Schramm), that we put together a home meadmaker council. It will consist of 6-8 folks who can help drive the home meadmaking aspects of the IMA.

One of the first tasks that will be asked of this committee is to plan, oversee and execute a home mead competition at the next International Mead Festival, which is tentatively scheduled for February, 2006. We've Meadlennium here on the East Coast, but no large competition (that I know of, please correct me if I'm wrong) on the Left Coast.

Also, since the IMFest is going to be the main public event for the IMA, a home mead competition will really raise the awareness of folk for our side of the industry.

There is also talk of operating 'regional' IMFest events and competitions around the country. This idea was floated at the first meeting, and met with some interest.

So give us your input, y'all. Lets hear from you, so I can carry this over to meadfest.org.

Vicky

Scott Horner
06-30-2005, 11:04 AM
What would I like to see in the IMA? Me in it!!!

I think this is a great idea, I am a novice homebrewer but would love to see some classes on judgeing so that I could get better in my brewing. I find that if you can learn what judges look for you can improve your product. I doubt I have the skills it takes to be a judge but really want to learn. I would love to help out in what ever capacity you think I would qualify for.

Thanks Oskaar for letting me hear about this at the B3 event!

Scott

webmaster
07-03-2005, 09:40 PM
I'm hoping that the Research Committee (chair: me) and the Hobbyist Committee (chair: Oskaar) can collaborate to create a judging certification for mead judging. It will necessarily be somewhat based in the AQHA rules and such, but I'm thinking we can create a standard that expands further on the specific things that happen with mead.

I'm planning on creating a section in the main website (there's a website with this forum? OMIGOD!) for National Mead Day, and part of that section will include competitions, and what we can put together on learning to judge meads, at least as a layman, if not as a judge (yet).

Thanks for the input, Scott! Oskaar and I have been running wild all over the IMA, and we hope to see lots of cool stuff happening over the next year as everything gets off the ground.

You planning on attending the IMA Mead Festival in February? Checkout http://www.meadfest.com for all the info. I'll be posting info about it here as it comes available too.

Vicky - making mead mods on existing batches and getting ready to pitch the July 4 recipes....maybe a ginger peach mead......