What is mead? What does make it different from and what makes it close to wine or beer? From a taste point of view, it is rather easy to make one's mind, but from a chemical point of view, from a fermentation point of view? This matters for there are a lot of data about wine and beer and almost nothing about mead. Is information about either of these beverages applicable to mead?

The alcohol content of mead is the one of wine. The absence of tannins makes it different from red wine and the taste is more like white wine. Aging is definitively not the same as beer. So mead is more like white wine. Which means that when lost, white wine making should be mimicked.

  white wine red wine beer
alcohol content X X Ø
tannins/bitterness X x ? Ø
fermentation temperature ? ? ?
aging x? x ? Ø
oak ? ? ?
taste x Ø Ø
Comparison of mead and white wine, red wine and beer. X : strong resemblance, x : weak, Ø : none.

But for every specific issue one must find what properties of mead are relevant and what mead is like as far as theses properties are concerned.

An interesting difference with wine is that water, acids, nutrients, etc. have to be added to mead, which are already contained in grape. So there should be no problem of too much acid or lack of sugar and like problems due to the composition of some harvest of some grape.

Knowing different points of view can be instructive. Beer and wine makers do not have the same obsessions. Even authors writing about the same topic have different standpoints, one focusing on SO2, another on air and oxidation, etc.

May 28th 2002