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View Full Version : acid in mead vs.wine



richard lambert
03-27-2006, 11:07 AM
I knwon alot about wine and balance. The question I pose is, in order to have a well balanceed wine you need a balance of acid an fruit othewise you have syurp. when fementing mead why not the use acids? Or is this a preferance?Also acid in a wine can promote a long lasting beverage.

memento
03-27-2006, 12:45 PM
I think it is preference. I make mead both ways, depending on what it's for. I didn't use any acid for my vanilla dessert mead, but did for my chai mead. I didn't need it for my cyser because the cider already had enough.

Dan McFeeley
03-27-2006, 01:30 PM
It's definitely preference. In winemaking, you're balancing mostly tartaric acid, also malic acid, with the fruit. The primary acid in mead is gluconic acid, something altogether different from the acids usually found in fruits. And, there's no fruit to balance with the acid -- intstead it's the flavor of the varietal honey(s).

"Balance" in mead is something different from "balance" in wine. This is because the interaction of acid and sugar/honey flavor in mead works together in different ways compared to acid and sugar/fruit in winemaking.

Hope that's not too vague! ;D (sorry, it probably is)

kash
03-27-2006, 03:10 PM
when fementing mead why not the use acids?

I think the only real answer to your question is; "Don't use acid whent the Ph of the must is below acceptable limits for your yeast to survive."

Other than that, I don't think any Mead Police will jump out of the closet and arrest you for not following some set of best procedures. If the must is not acid enough, then I do give it a nudge, with the foreknowledge that the Ph will lower as the fermentation continues.

I check Ph before I pitch, and only bother with TA before bottling. I do think that TA has a lot to do with mouth feel. In that I bet I agree with you. However, I don't like to putter with the Ph or TA and the end of the cycle. correcting for too low of a Ph is, well, a shitty thing to have to do. I think the methods one has to use to do this are undesireable, so I would prefer to have a higher Ph during the ferment and wind up in the position of wanting it lower rather than vice versa.

Dan McFeeley
03-27-2006, 03:42 PM
Other than that, I don't think any Mead Police will jump out of the closet and arrest you for not following some set of best procedures.

I like this one -- there are no set laws or procedures in the making of fermented beverages. At best, you can talk about principles or general ideas, but that's about it. Fermentation is a living process, the Mead Police have no jurisdiction here.

*ouch* I'm starting to sound like Sigmund! God forbid! ;D With a grin and a wink at Miriam. ;D

Pewter_of_Deodar
03-27-2006, 04:36 PM
Miriam is Sigmund? ? ? ? ::) ::) ::)

Though there may not be any right answers, and I haven't measured any batches yet, does someone have some data on where their good tasting batches of mead or wine finish as far as acidity level? I plan on taking some measurements in the future.

Also, where do the batches start as far as Ph and does the Ph change much during fermentation?

Dan McFeeley
03-27-2006, 05:00 PM
Miriam is Sigmund? ? ? ? ::) ::) ::)

Though there may not be any right answers, and I haven't measured any batches yet, does someone have some data on where their good tasting batches of mead or wine finish as far as acidity level? I plan on taking some measurements in the future.

Also, where do the batches start as far as Ph and does the Ph change much during fermentation?

I think Micah Milspaw posted some info on the Mead Lovers Digest awhile back on pH and favorable outcomes for mead.

Testing acid levels doesn't work in mead. The gluconolactone from the honey skews the figures obtained using the standard acid kits used in winemaking. The lactone problem in any chemical titration process in testing honey has been known since 1958 -- it applies to mead as well.

I've only measured pH throughout the fermentation once, during a test for natural meadmaking. The recipe worked -- the pH hardly changed. Starting pH was 3.56, pH once I got tired of measuring it was 3.50. This was more or less following Joe's CW quick mead, which was based on Chuck Wettergreen's approach to meadmaking, along with a few other odds and ends here and there.

Buckwheat honey. Blending. It works.

Gotta get around to doing this with a control group. (says to self) Quit being lazy!

kash
03-27-2006, 05:59 PM
Though there may not be any right answers, and I haven't measured any batches yet, does someone have some data on where their good tasting batches of mead or wine finish as far as acidity level? I plan on taking some measurements in the future.
Good tasting? I'm pretty sure that's a subjective test. What I like probably doesn't equate to what you like. given that, there are some concensus on what makes a quality wine, but that's no guarantee that everyone will like it.

Again, the acidity that works best is what works best for the yeast. I'm no expert, but I'd think that wine yeasts work better in lower pH's. To be fair, I only use two or three yeasts, so I'm not really fit to discuss it entirely.






Also, where do the batches start as far as Ph and does the Ph change much during fermentation?


I do agree with Dan about the finish points. I find that mid to high 3's is where I like it. But I would disagree that the the pH doesn't move much. In my particular batches, I see about .3 to as much as .5 shift toward acid.

Just keep in mind that the difference between Dan and my observations are probably totally normal. I have no idea what yeasts Dan uses, what honey, and every other variable.

In fact, I had no idea that TA kits didn't work on honey as Dan explained above. I've tested mine and had some whacky results. I thought it was opperator error until now. Thanks Dan, my chem professors can quit posthumously rolling their eyes at what I thought was my inability to titrate correctly.

Dan McFeeley
03-28-2006, 09:31 AM
In fact, I had no idea that TA kits didn't work on honey as Dan explained above. I've tested mine and had some whacky results. I thought it was opperator error until now. Thanks Dan, my chem professors can quit posthumously rolling their eyes at what I thought was my inability to titrate correctly.

The information on TA kits and meadmaking isn't well known, although the lactone reaction in honey was identified in 1958 by John W. White jr.

I did the research and tested the reaction myself, duplicating John W. White's experiment but using mead instead of honey, publishing the results in Bee Culture magazine. If you have Ken Schramm's book, _Compleat Meadmaker_, you'll see it indexed there as well. Ken was kind enough to give it a mention.

Thanks for the feedback regarding the "whacky results" you've sometimes gotten using TA kits. It's nice to hear other people are also observing this.

kash
03-28-2006, 01:49 PM
To be more precise, my whacky results I attributed to using a TA test on must, rather than the finished product. It seemed to me that the amount of sugar produced off variations in the results. I could do the TA twice and get two results. I thought it was the high SG, or, at least my own inept titrations. At least that's what I thought up until yesterday.

I find that the TA of a dry mead dosn't produce the variations that I noticed in a sweet must. But that doen't mean that the results are correct. They're just more consistant, perhaps consistantly wrong.

Does that sound like what should/could happen? I must admit that my statistical base is all of about 4 or 5 batches. I wrote it off to newbee-itus and figured that as time progressed, I'd get better or stop sweating the details. Lately, given the success I've had with the TA kit, I've been using nothing but pH papers and the "Mark-1 Taste bud"

Dan McFeeley
03-28-2006, 02:51 PM
For the most part, it looks like, in meadmaking, measuring pH is good, but taste is better.

Honey is funny stuff, compared to the wine grape. Acid adjustments in wine can be critical, on the other hand, in mead, often acid adjustments have more to do with flavor profile than they do with balance.

richard lambert
03-28-2006, 05:47 PM
Being that it is my first affair with making mead, I feel encouaged that my fermenting nectar may have promise? The acid question was one of an avid wine drinker/hope soon to be mead drinker.There seems to no definative answer, no Robert Parker of mead, No Mead Spectator. If acid can't hurt the the mead ( only to much) then the question of balance is subjective. Thank you for your insight and I will truss my palate. Must retrive the :) :) :)Complete book of mead.