General characteristics of meads

Meads are defined as beverages obtained through alcoholic fermentation of an aqueous solution of natural honey (wort) or honey, fruit juice, and the possible addition of aromatic herbs and spices resulting in a finished product containing 9 – 18% alcoholic volume.

Bee honey, prior to being subjected to fermentation, must be diluted. Frequently  water is used for dilution though sometimes fruit juice is also used. The ratio of bee honey and water in the wort is the basis for the classification of meads:

 

Półtorak – 1 part honey to 0.5 part water:

Dwójniak – 1 part honey to 1 part water;

Trójniak – 1 part honey to 2 parts water

Czwórniak – 1 part honey to 3 parts water

 

The more diluted the wort, the drier the mead tends to be.  From czwórniak wort, dry mead is produced.  From trójniak wort, semi-sweet mead is produced and from dwójniak wort, a sweet or dessert mead is produced.
Meads can also be classified according to different criteria, depending on how you prepare the wort. The classification is as follows:

Boiling honey is widely practiced in the mead industry. This process involves boiling bee honey which is dissolved in water. Herbs or spices are often added with hops, cinnamon, cloves, celery leaf, ginger, vanilla, juniper berries, rose oil, lilac flowers, and black currants being the most popular.

Unboiled mead is produced when fermented bee honey is dissolved in cold or lukewarm water. A very high quality honey with a delicate flavor should be used in this process.

 

The wort can be seasoned with various additives, and can be distinguished by:

The addition of fruit juice is usually not less then 30%. Different kinds  of mead are produced depending on the type of juice used: wiśniak (cherry juice), maliniak  (raspberry juice), agrestniak (gooseberry juice), dereniak (dogwood juice ).  Porzeczniak (currant) and  jabłczak (apple) are produced less frequently.


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