View Full Version : Curious "problem"

10-06-2004, 02:50 AM
I've been trying to sort this out in my head and it's bugging me. It's a question of relating hydrometer readings to the sweetness of the product. I know beginning and ending readings will give a fairly accurate idea of the alcohol content, but I don't see how the final reading can really tell you anything about the taste of the mead, except for it's viscosity. Well, maybe it would be a good indicator in a show mead, but as soon as you add fruit, spices, or malt the added solids will increase the reading without effecting the sweetness, although some additions will also add sweetness. Of course, such additions will also effect the original reading making the must look sweeter than it possiblely should be. I know this doesn't really constitute a problem, but It's been my experience that some people don't take this sort of thing into account when judging a recipe.

10-06-2004, 04:44 AM
Good question Wikdwaze,
When solids are present there can be significant errors however when the mead is finished it is relatively clear and the hydrometer reading will correlate to residual sweetness for the most part usually marked in a BRIX scale on the hydrometer. Now, having said that-- sweetness is a sensory perception. Therefore a final gravity of 1.030 has a meaning to me but is relative to you. Also this meaning to me changes as other factors change like acidity and alcohol content. With experience you will get a feel for where you want a particular mead to end up to be for the desired effect. I would suggest the best method to determine sweetness is to taste it rather than measure it. For now BRIX or SG is our common reference point for communications even though it is only relative. If your looking for something more definitive, you may find it but it will still be a relative perception to the drinker.

10-06-2004, 04:39 PM
That seems to be a common theme, both with mead and beer, that the numbers are good for tracking the progress of the recipe, but pretty much useless for anything else. I've had two commercial beverages, one mead and one beer, which others described as cloyingly sweet, yet I found them to be nothing of the sort. I suppose it's something like taking a big gulp of apple juice when you expected tea. It may be delicious apple juice, but it still causes you to wince because your expectation was for something different.

10-06-2004, 06:27 PM
I've come to pretty much the same conclusion as you, Wikd. It's all about how I like the taste.