hist-brewing: Historical Wine Sweetening

Weird House kirin at adisfwb.com
Sun May 28 08:40:17 PDT 2000


I like these definitions.  A few years ago I got into a heated debate with a
brewer over the designation of the word mead.  He was dead set that it was
strictly a beer whilst I was positive it was a wine.  Eventually we started
comparing recipies that we were using and lo and behold his "mead" was
indeed a honeyed ale while the one I was arguing for was a pure honey wine.
Both right and both wrong.  Before sticking up for what is right, make sure
you are on a level playing field.
----- Original Message -----
From: Mills, Scott <Scott.Mills at COMPAQ.com>
To: <hist-brewing at pbm.com>
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2000 3:35 PM
Subject: RE: hist-brewing: Historical Wine Sweetening


>
> > It's a common practice today to add sugar to
> > "country wines," but aside from
> > meads and similarly honeyed brews, were
> > historical/period "country" wines
> > sweetened?  Were they all-juice or did they add
> > boiling water as is common
> > now?
>
> There are period references  (Digbie, etc.) of adding sugar to wines to
> sweeten then sometimes after the primary ferment.  But unless you are
trying
> to closely follow a period recipes I think there are better ways to get it
> done.
>
> IMHO the best way is to simply know your yeast and it's alcohol tolerance.
> Take an original gravity reading of you must and adjust accordingly.  Once
> you have the OG and therefore the potential alcohol of the raw must you
can
> choose a yeast that with the appropriate alcohol tolerance that will leave
> the desired amount of residual sugar/sweetness for you.  With my meads I
> will often adjust my OG up by adding more honey, or down by diluting with
> water until I get it to a point where I know the yeast will leave the
amount
> of sugar that I desire.
>
> If you want something more sweet don't be afraid to use an Ale yeast on
your
> wines.  I like a sweet cider and most "wine" yeasts just leave the cider
way
> to dry for me.  Therefore I most often us American Ale "Chico" yeast to
> ferment my ciders so that I get the residual sweetness that I wan't.
>
> > On a different but related note:  Cider is fermented
> > apple juice.  Perry is
> > fermented pear juice.  Would a non-sweetened,
> > all-juice ferment be a "wine"
> > or more "cider"-related?
>
> To my mind all fermented fruit is a wine.  Cider is an apple wine, perry
is
> a pear wine, there is peach, strawberry, and of course grape wines, etc.
> etc. etc.  I also consider mead a wine.  To me these are all wines
> regardless of their final alcohol content.
>
> Likewise in my mind all fermented grain is a beer regardless if that is
> barley, oats, wheat, rye, rice, etc.
>
> Then there are the hybrids like braggots and fruit beers.  Then it just
> depends on what the primary source of fermentables were.  Some braggots I
> would call honey-beers and others I would call malteglins (malted meads).
>
> I guess to me it boils down to if you are starting from sugars then it is
a
> wine, if from starches then it is a beer.
>
> Keep in mind that legality is a completely different matter and in those
> cases the distinction in beer and wine might simply be alcohol content.
> Different states have different laws for instance here is Texas all strong
> beers have to be called "bock" even if they nothing like a traditional
> German bock.
>
> Regards,
>
> Scott Mills
>
> aka Ld Eadric Anstapa
>
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