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BJCP categories

The following taxonomy is from the beer judge certification program (bjcp.org.)

A. traditional mead

Description

Made from water, yeast and a blended honey (wild flowers) or a blend of honeys. For meads made from a single variety of honey see below "B. varietal honey traditional mead."

Flavor

Honey aroma should dominate, which may be sweet and may express the aroma of flower nectar. Aromas produced during fermentation, such as fruity esters and alcohol, may also be present. The flavor of honey should be featured and may include residual sweetness. Any additives, such as acidity or tannin, should enhance the honey flavor and lend balance to the overall character of the mead.

Other characteristics

Color may range from pale straw to deep amber depending on honey used.

B. varietal honey traditional mead

Description

Same as traditional mead but made from honey from a particular flower source.

Flavor

Same as traditional mead plus: the distinctive flavor of the nectar honey is made from must be evident (it is the flavor of the honey not that of the fruit, orange blossom for instance doe not taste like oranges.)

C. cyser (apple melomel)

Description

A mead made with the addition of apples or apple juice. Traditionally, cysers are made by the addition of honey to apple juice without additional water.

Flavor

Should have distinct apple character with a pronounced honey aroma, which may be sweet and may express the aroma of flower nectar. The Apple character may supply tart acidity to cut the honey sweetness, so one may notice tart acidity first and residual sweetness thereafter. In well made examples of the style, the fruit is both distinctive and well-incorporated into the sugar-acid balance of the mead. Some of the best examples have the taste and aroma of an aged Calvados (apple brandy from northern France).

Other characteristics

There should be an appealing blend of the fruit and honey character but not necessarily an even balance. Generally a good tannin-sweetness balance is desired, though very dry and very sweet examples do exist.

D. pyment (grape melomel)

Description

A mead made with the addition of grapes or grape juice. Alternatively, the pyment may be a grape wine sweetened with honey, a mixture of grape juice and honey that is fermented or a mixture of grape wine and mead mixed after fermentation.

Flavor

Should have distinct grape wine character, manifested in acidity, tannin and other grape characteristics, but the honey character should balance the fruit flavors. Grassy white wine character or buttery (diacetyl) Chardonnay character is appropriate in pyment only. In well made examples of the style, the fruit is both distinctive and well-incorporated into the sugar-acid balance of the pyment.

Other characteristics

Color would reflect the grape source, whether white, red or other.
There should be an appealing blend of the fruit and honey character but not necessarily an even balance. Generally a good tannin-sweetness balance is desired, though very dry and very sweet examples do exist.

E. melomel (fruit mead)

Description

A mead made with the addition of other fruit or fruit juices. There should be an appealing blend of the fruit and honey character but not necessarily an even balance.

Flavor

Should exhibit the aroma of the fruit(s) present in the mead. In a melomel with a blend of fruits, one fruit may dominate. Fruit flavor contributions to the mead range from subtle acidic notes to intense, instantly recognizable fruit flavors. There should be a balanced honey character as well. In well- made examples of the style, the fruit is both distinctive and well-incorporated into the sugar-acid balance of the mead.

Other characteristics

The particular fruit(s) used may or may not impart color to the mead.
Generally a good tannin-sweetness balance is desired, though very dry and very sweet examples do exist. Some fruits, notably darker ones like Blackberries, may contribute a tannin presence not unlike dark pyments

F. metheglin (spiced mead)

Description

A mead made with the addition of spices/herbs/petals.

Flavor

The spices/herbs may be expressed in the aroma. Metheglins containing more than one spice should have a good balance among the different spices/herbs, though some spices/herbs will tend to dominate. The spices/herbs should be expressed in the flavor but the honey character is still the backbone of the mead and should appear in the flavor but will vary in intensity depending on the spices/herbs used. The spices/herbs should be expressed in the flavor as a distinctive enhancement to the honey flavor, whether harmoniously or by contrast, and should achieve a pleasant balance when a blend of spices/herbs is used.

Other characteristics

The color usually won't be affected by the spices or herbs.

G. braggot (with malt)

Description

Meads made with both honey and malt providing flavor and fermentable extract. Originally, and alternatively, a mixture of mead and ale.

Flavor

Aroma of both honey and malt should be apparent and in balance. There should be some balance between the beer aspect and the mead aspect of a braggot, especially with regard to maltiness and bitterness versus honey character. Malt character ranges from light pale malt-type flavors to rich caramel flavors, depending on the malt used. Hop bitterness and flavor may be present but are not required.

Other characteristics

Straw to dark brown depending on the type of malt and honey used.
Some head retention is expected.
The fermentable sugars should come from a balance of malt and honey, otherwise the beverage is a specialty beer with the addition of honey. Hopped examples of this style should exhibit the hops distinctly and should have at least 15 IBUs.

H. mixed category

Description

A mead that combines ingredients from two or more of the other mead sub-categories.

Flavor

Aroma, appearance, flavor and other characteristics may vary and be combinations of the respective elements of the various sub-categories used in this style.

Other characteristics

This mead should exhibit the character of all of the ingredients in varying degrees, and should show a good blending or balance between the various flavor elements.

Other properties

In each of these categories, meads can be:

References



January 24th 2003