Mead is essentially a sweet, honey-flavored light wine with two flavors competing for our attention: sweetness (from the honey) and sourness (from the yeast).
Since both types of flavor fluctuate with temperature, cooling mead will highlight one over the other. How a person responds to such changes will impact how he enjoys his mead.
Although simple meads, such as those made from water, honey, and yeast, and more elaborate meads with a veritable smorgasbord of malted grains, herbs, spices, fruit, and even vegetables all change their taste-profile with temperature, the more complex the mead, the subtler the differences between its warm and cold instances.
- 1 Do You Chill Mead?
- 2 How Chill Is It To Chill Mead?
- 3 Why Do We Humans Even Like Cold Drinks?
- 4 Different Varieties of Mead And How They Chill
- 5 Afterword: Do You Chill Mead?
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions on Do You Chill Mead?
- 7 FAQs
- 7.1 Are you supposed to chill mead?
- 7.2 Is mead best served cold or room temperature?
- 7.3 Should you let mead breathe?
- 7.4 What is the best temperature to ferment mead?
- 7.5 How long should I cold crash my mead?
- 7.6 When should I stop shaking my mead?
- 7.7 Do you sip or drink mead?
- 7.8 How long does mead last unrefrigerated?
- 7.9 What is the best way to drink mead?
- 7.10 Does mead get better the longer it sits?
Do You Chill Mead?
There is no commonly acknowledged guideline for determining the temperature at which mead should be served. Numerous polls have revealed that, although the majority of individuals (in the mid 60s percent) like mead served warm, a sizable part of the American mead-drinking population prefers mead cooled, at least to some extent.
How Chill Is It To Chill Mead?
Why worry about how cold it is to cool mead? If you’re a cool cat (I’m a little older than you may imagine, so please pardon the obsolete terminology), you won’t care what others say. It all depends on what you want and how you want things.
It’s not like you’re going to shackle folks and force cold mead down their reluctant gullets despite their flailing bodies and their voiced reservations. Moreover, it is not even a simple question.
The same goblet of mead will taste quite different depending on whether it is cooled to ice-cold, chilled in the fridge, or merely iced.
The active components in mead, like many other beverages, influence our taste receptors differently depending on the temperature at which they are consumed. For example, when the temperature of the drink lowers, the impression of sweetness rises. A chilly pina colada is significantly more delicious and pleasant than a heated, disgusting one.
The feeling of bitterness is similar. A warm lager tastes bitterer than a cold one, and lagers should not be bitter in the first place, which is why they are often served chilled.
On the other hand, what Americans call a bitter and the British call a beer, although not very bitter, is served warm, which helps preserve its bitterness.
IPAs can be served cold, but the best thing about them, apart from the punch most of them provide, is that they improve with age.
Why Do We Humans Even Like Cold Drinks?
In the first case, we prefer cold beverages over lukewarm drinks because cold drinks help us chill down and our bodies interpret this aid as pleasant.
When the weather is cold and damp, however, the perspective changes dramatically. In such circumstances, the last thing we want on a gloomy day with bad weather is a cold drink, preferring instead a warm beverage.
Another reason we appreciate cold beverages is because manufacturers develop current drinks for us to consume at precise temperatures, mostly in the 3F to 5F range, for our enjoyment. This is the temperature range at which beverages cool when left in refrigerators. Fizzy pops, lagers, and a variety of other drinks are all meant to be consumed inside that tight temperature range.
Coffee and tea, on the other hand, lend themselves to the reverse situation; they taste considerably better when served hot. Have you ever observed that many hot beverages may also be served cold and are as delicious? Ice-cold coffee is popular in Greece, just as ice-cold tea is popular in our southern states during the summer.
Different Varieties of Mead And How They Chill
How Mead Is Affected By Chilling
Unlike wine, which is made from sugar and grapes, and beer, which is made from sugar and grains, mead is made from sugar and honey.
If you’re familiar with honey, you’ll know that there are various honey types, just as there are different grape kinds. This implies that, like wine, mead may taste drastically different from bottle to bottle.
Mead created with just one kind of honey takes on the flavor of that particular honey, but many brewers mix and match multiple types of honey, constantly looking for the right mixture.
Mead producers may use fruit juices, fruits, vegetables, and even grains in addition to honey. Practically anything may be used to make mead as long as the end result is agreeable.
Yet, each extra component alters the drink on a molecular level, and its physics changes permanently. One such statistic is specific gravity (the weight of the fluid in layman’s words), and another is heat capacity (how difficult it is to heat or cool the liquid).
Technical Considerations When Chilling Mead
It is not required to become a scientist to understand what happens when mead is chilled. The knowledge I’m going to share is mostly common sense, and most people can figure it out for themselves.
The specific gravity of mead and how it affects chilling
In layman’s words, a fluid’s specific gravity is its density, or how heavy it is in a given volume. For example, which would be heavier if we compared a glass of beer to a glass of water? What if we weighed our mead in the same glass? Is it going to be more or less?
The argument is that the higher the specific gravity of a fluid, the heavier it is and the more energy it takes to chill or heat it (because there is more of the stuff to cool or heat). The quantity of energy required to freeze or heat fluids is described by scientists as the fluid’s specific heat capacity.
Specific Heat Capacity of Mead and How It Affects Chilling
If it takes a lot of energy to chill a volume of liquid, it will also require a lot of energy to heat it back up. If you drink a mead with a high specific heat capacity, your body will have to use more energy to bring it up to body temperature than if you drink a mead with a lower specific heat capacity.
Anecdotal data suggests that humans prefer beverages that heat up slowly than those that heat up rapidly. As a result, when brewed using ingredients that produce mead with a greater specific heat capacity, it tastes better cold.
In summary, adding fruits, grains, and vegetable debris will result in a cooler mead. Simpler meads, such as those created from simple ingredients, will cool faster, warm faster, and taste less palatable when cold.
All of this is subject to a simple but obvious caveat. If your mead tastes bad in the first place, it won’t matter how cold you cool it; it will still taste awful!
Afterword: Do You Chill Mead?
A glass of mead, like many other types of drinks, does not taste the same hot, warm, or cold. Each temperature range provides a unique experience, and much relies on the ingredients used to make the mead.
Warmth accentuates rich tastes while cold diminishes them.
Humans’ culinary tastes are rather variable, thus some individuals will appreciate strong, pungent odors and flavors, whilst others will want them to be subtler and more transitory.
Each individual will subconsciously gravitate for mead served at the optimal temperature for their unique taste.
Frequently Asked Questions on Do You Chill Mead?
Is Mead Better Served Cold or Warm?
It depends on the individual’s preferences as well as the components in the mead. Mead will have a distinct taste or character based on the ingredients used and the temperature at which it is made. Meads containing more complex components, such as fruits, vegetables, and spices, may taste better cold.
What is Mead Made Of?
Mead is a sweet wine that is prepared by fermenting honey and water. Similar to wine, flavors from fruits, spices, and other ingredients may be added to produce a wide range of variants.
Are you supposed to chill mead?
Mead may be sipped hot or cold, so the temperature at which you serve it will depend on your preference.
Is mead best served cold or room temperature?
The basic rule of thumb is to treat mead like red wine and serve it at cellar temperature (around 52 – 70 degrees fahrenheit). Lighter meads may be gently cooled to the same temperature as a full-bodied white wine.
Should you let mead breathe?
Like with other drinks, the key to bringing out a mead’s rich taste is to serve it at the proper temperature and to let the mead to “breathe” before serving. The best way to serve it is in a decanter.
What is the best temperature to ferment mead?
Fermentation: Maintain fermentation temperatures between 70° and 75° F. Fermentation should take 10 to 20 days. Rack onto a conditioning vessel and leave for 3 to 6 months to bulk age.
How long should I cold crash my mead?
Refrigerate your wine, cider, or mead with the top loosely on! Air should be allowed to enter and exit. Wait at least 24 hours. The more time you wait, up to four days, the more sediment will come out and settle on the bottom.
When should I stop shaking my mead?
Stop when the mead has almost completed foaming (usually within 30–90 seconds). In most cases, stirring twice a day is adequate (if you have a fast fermentation, you might want to stir three or four times a day).
Do you sip or drink mead?
Take Little Sips
Mead cannot be gulped, which is a key distinction between it and beer. Superb meads, especially those with modest alcoholic strength, should be experienced in the same way that a wonderful chardonnay or whiskey is.
How long does mead last unrefrigerated?
At room temperature or refrigerated, an opened bottle of our traditional meads may easily survive three months or more. If kept in a cool environment away from direct sunlight, an unopened bottle of our sparkling meads may last 1-2 years. We suggest that you consume them within 24 hours after opening.
What is the best way to drink mead?
We suggest consuming meads that are sparkling at 45 degrees in a wine glass if the ABV is more than 8%. If the mead is still and fruity, we suggest serving it at 45°F (slightly chilled). Whether the mead is still and barrel aged or oak aged, we suggest serving it at 65°F (similar to a red wine).
Does mead get better the longer it sits?
This is an undeniable reality. In practice, some people will progress faster than others, and there is no way to predict your outcome in advance. But, while the mead rests in the bottle, it will “mellow,” allowing certain notes to emerge while others recede.
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