hist-brewing: Historical Wine Sweetening

Kirsty Pollock kirsty.pollock at mpuk.com
Tue May 30 01:02:03 PDT 2000


Yes, I had a similar problem with mead recipes from the 'net. I had never
encountered a 'beer type' mead and was most disappointed to follow one
recipe and get a weak fizzy brew. I'd never seen anything like that either
commercially (normal malted beers that used some paprt honey aside) or that
anybody had made at home (and still haven't apart from the one I did). The
recipes in question all seem to be be US in source. Is it just my experience
is limited or is it, as it seems to me, that in the UK 'mead' will virtually
always mean a 'wine type' mead???


Kirsty


> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-hist-brewing at rt.com [mailto:owner-hist-brewing at rt.com]On
> Behalf Of Weird House
> Sent: 28 May 2000 16:40
> To: Mills, Scott; hist-brewing at pbm.com
> Subject: Re: hist-brewing: Historical Wine Sweetening
> 
> 
> 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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