Drawbacks of using clearing agents in fruit meads

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Noontime

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Very interesting article with a bunch of good insights and information. I am baffled by a couple of things though. I mean this literally, not me making judgement of anything but actually being perplexed. I've been making wine, mead, and melomels for years with much success (and a few losers as well), but I am by no means an expert. Why would you conduct this test with a carbonated mead? Seems like an unnecessary variable, and carbonation often masks and/or changes the flavor of beverages drastically and the carbonic acid may affect changes as well. Also, were the cherry and vanilla flavors contributed just by the honey? I was confused by the "cream soda" name with no ingredients other than honey in the recipe, and then how they wished it had more vanilla and less cherry flavor; none of these things seem to be congruous. Was an interesting read though.
 
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Raptor99

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The "cream soda" recipe has cherries and vanilla added later on when fermentation is mostly finished. They are not listed in the recipe but are mentioned further down. At first I was confused by that as well.
 
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I agree with David -- using a carbonated beverage seems odd, although initially the experiment appears to be well founded and executed. However, a few things nagged at the corners of my mind.

So I read through the document again and identified a few problems with the test. A main premise is determining which mead is different -- what does this tell us? IMO very little, as there is a 50% chance of blindly choosing correctly. 2/3 being able to choose the different mead is not as statistically relevant as it appears to be. The fact that 1/3 couldn't tell the difference indicates a high similarity, which is not surprising. Also, the author notes that he failed to correctly identify the odd wine on his first 2 tests -- it took experience for him to determine them.

His conclusions harp on things that are not statistically supported. 2 people out of 30 noted bitterness and 1 noted astringency in the fined mead -- this is 6.7% and 3.3% of the participants. If either point was a real issue, I'd expect more folks to note this.

Having the participants know that there is a Baseline and Treated mead may bias the experiment. They go into the experiment with preconceived notions.

If I was conducting the experiment, I'd provide 2 bottles and ask the participants to score the meads according to a known scoring method, and to describe the points of each wine -- clarity, aroma components, taste components, etc. With no preconceived notions nor any explanation of why the meads are different -- label one A and the other B.
 

Raptor99

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I agree with @winemaker81 that there are a lot of weaknesses to this experiment. What I do like is that they were attempting to set up experiments to to test various things such as nutrient schedules and clarifying agents. It would be great if someone could set up some better experiments. That would give us something more reliable than what we usually have when someone says "I tried this and liked the result."
 

Raptor99

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Winemaking is both science and art.
True. In the end it is about what we enjoy drinking. These articles are helpful to me to help me be aware of the danger of overusing nutrients, Kmeta, or clarifies. Through science and art I want to find the right balance in how much of each I use.
 

hounddawg

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Winemaking is both science and art. While the science part appeals to the lets do controlled well-planned experiments, the art part sneaks in at the oddest times and confounds the results. Unfortunately we often end up with the old "I tried this and liked the result".
Amen, i was reading this post, eyes glazed over, then up @cmason1957 piped up like a breath of fresh air,
Dawg
 

Rice_Guy

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As Noontime said the article had interesting insight, I would take the comments of bitter/ astringent to be related. I see that type of flavor with my cherry wine as a storage defect at about 18 months in the bottle and currently am guessing that short chain flavorless tannins in cherry are condensing to give that flavor note. I have picked hints of it out in wine that was good enough to rate a silver at Winemaker Magazine contest, and then felt it was obvious with a year age. One possible theory is that the clarifying agents speed up a condensation reaction that is time related. Another theory could be the untreated mead has complexity/ more flavors and masks flavors better.

* six panelists with five repetitions would not give a lot of statistical confidence. We would do this in the lab to guess which product is worth spending real money on. We like higher than 95% confidence level.
* the panel was composed of experts, I would like to know how consistent the preceived quality traits were with each panelist/ repetition of the product. It is more likely to be real if one or two panelists are 100% accurate.
* the triangle test is common for picking out which product is different, as in we are cost reducing a company brand with a cheaper ingredient and want to find a detection level or we have been tasked to copy a competitive retail product and use this to gauge how close our private label copy is. The question normally forces a decision as “ here are three which is different?” or “here are three samples, which one do you like best?
* I am surprised that each sample wasn’t scored on color again to see how consistent the data was. OR on sweetness OR on acidity.

good food for thought, , , to put more science in mead making.
 
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hounddawg

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As Noontime said the article had interesting insight, I would take the comments of bitter/ astringent to be related. I see that type of flavor with my cherry wine as a storage defect at about 18 months in the bottle and currently am guessing that short chain flavorless tannins in cherry are condensing to give that flavor note. I have picked hints of it out in wine that was good enough to rate a silver at Winemaker Magazine contest, and then felt it was obvious with a year age. One possible theory is that the clarifying agents speed up a condensation reaction that is time related. Another theory could be the untreated mead has complexity/ more flavors and masks flavors better.

* six panelists with five repetitions would not give a lot of statistical confidence. We would do this in the lab to guess which product is worth spending real money on. We like higher than 95% confidence level.
* the panel was composed of experts, I would like to know how consistent the preceived quality traits were with each panelist/ repetition of the product. It is more likely to be real if one or two panelists are 100% accurate.
* the triangle test is common for picking out which product is different, as in we are cost reducing a company brand with a cheaper ingredient and want to find a detection level or we have been tasked to copy a competitive retail product and use this to gauge how close our private label copy is. The question normally forces a decision as “ here are three which is different?” or “here are three samples, which one do you like best?
* I am surprised that each sample wasn’t scored on color again to see how consistent the data was. OR on sweetness OR on acidity.

good food for thought, , , to put more science in mead making.
makes since, on 99% of the time, i use time, once i started bulk aging my biggest problem is short on space,
Dawg
 

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