hist-brewing: Cloudy Metheglyns.

Nick Sasso Njs at mccalla.com
Mon Feb 1 14:44:22 PST 1999

Having judged numerous beers, fruit beers, vegetable 
beers, wines, meads, metheglins, and melmels in both
 the SCA setting as well as in the AHA as a card carrying
 judge, I must disagree with the assertion that cloudy 
mead does not make it taste worse.  There are some
 clouds that do not at all hamper the flavor profile, but 
some will deteriorate flavor over time.  

If you have 'chill haze' (the protein problem), you'll not 
likely taste any major flaws, though they can develop if 
the proteins break down, making it not as crisp or lively.
  If you have a yeast suspended in that liquid, it will die a
 gruesome death over time as autolysis breaks down the
 yeast cells and turns it into yeast soup.  There is also
 the possibility of a low grade infection that has not yet 
casued off flavor; these can also sneak up on a good 
mead.  Pectin is a big enemy of those fermenting with 
fruit and vegetable matter.  This is probably the least 
likely to offer off tastes, from what I have read.  You just 
live with it.  

You can try using different yeast strains to address your 
haze problem.  Some are more likely to end up with 
break down of proteins.  Without seeing your routine, it 
is hard to say exactly where to make inroads into the 
haze.  Heating ingredients prior to fermentation will bring
 proteins together and make them larger molecules as
 they make longer strands...enzymes will break those
 proteins down into smaller strands less likely to 'haze' 
your stuff.  Filtration will grab the larger molecules that 
may haze your beer and hang on the flavor profile.

Clear fermented beverages are not a modern invention.
  There are numerous references to techniques to 
prevent clouding of beer and wine.  Additives that would
 clarify beverage are positively medieval....see insinglas
 and animal bones/hooves; cock ale may not be such a 
myth as we think when you consider the gelatin content 
of chicken bones (gelatin being a wonderful fining).  
And, letting yeast settle out, as said before, is far from 
modern. \

niccolo difrancesco
At 10:57 AM 1/15/99 -0800, you wrote:
>The last year or so I've made an increasing number of metheglyns, and
>all of them has been cloudy or hazy to some degree.  The melomels,
>is what i make most all seem to turn out just fine after 4 to 6
>but the metheglyns seem to retain theii hazy appearance even after 6+
>The 1st metheglyn I ever made, still have a pint of it left is
>to the same problem.
>There are no particles left in it of any kind, and you can see
>the bottle, but it isn't as clear as the melomels.
>I've checked with friends that make metheglyns that turn out just
>my melomels and we haven't found any differences.  Could a small
>alteration in fermenting temperature, say 2 or 3 C/4-6F be the cause
>it all ?

Remember, our ancient brewers didn't so much care for crystal clear
A good deal of that haze you see in mead and beer is protein, a key
part of
daily nutrition at that time period. Cloudy mead, while aesthetically
displeasing, doesn't make the mead taste any worse. Clear brews are
a modern invention: Anhauser-Bush started filtering their beer around
War I. 

Generally speaking, if you want to make a "period" mead, let it stay
cloudy. If you want to make a batch of mead and you don't care if it's
period, I suggest Irish Moss. I generally throw in a half tablespoon
in the
last few minutes of the boil (or simmer if you don't like to boil
and I've had great results.

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