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STYLE: Open Category Mead

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An Open Category Mead is a honey-based beverage that either combines ingredients from two or more of the other mead subcategories, is a historical or indigenous mead (e.g., tej, Polish meads), or is a mead that does not fit into any other category. Any specialty or experimental mead using additional sources of fermentables (e.g., maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar, or agave nectar), additional ingredients (e.g., vegetables, liquors, smoke, etc.), alternative processes (e.g., icing, oak-aging) or other unusual ingredient, process, or technique would also be appropriate in this category. No mead can be "out of style" for this category unless it fits into another existing mead category. Aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel generally follow the standard descriptions, yet note that all the characteristics may vary Since a wide range of entries are possible, note that the characteristics may reflect combinations of the respective elements of the various sub-categories used in this style. Refer to Category 25 for a detailed description of the character of dry, semisweet and sweet mead. If the entered mead is a combination of other existing mead categories, refer to the constituent categories for a detailed description of the character of the component styles. Overall Impression: 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. Whatever ingredients are included, the result should be identifiable as a honey-based fermented beverage.

Comments: See standard description for entrance requirements. Entrants MUST specify carbonation level, strength, and sweetness. Entrants MAY specify honey varieties. Entrants MUST specify the special nature of the mead, whether it is a combination of existing styles, an experimental mead, a historical mead, or some other creation. Any special ingredients that impart an identifiable character MAY be declared.

Commercial Examples: Jadwiga, Hanssens/Lurgashall Mead the Gueuze, Rabbit's Foot Private Reserve Pear Mead, White Winter Cherry Bracket, Saba Tej, Mountain Meadows Agave Mead Introduction to Cider Guidelines (Categories 27- 28) Cider is fermented apple juice. Perry is fermented pear juice. There are two categories for cider/perry: Standard (Category 27) and Specialty (Category 28). The Standard category covers ciders and perries made primarily or entirely from the juice of apples or pears (but not both at once). The only adjunct permitted in the Standard category, and only in some sub-categories, is a limited addition of sugar to achieve a suitable starting gravity. Note that honey is not a "sugar" for this purpose; a cider made with added honey must be entered either as a specialty cider or as a cyser under the appropriate mead sub-category. Other sugar sources that also add significant flavors (brown sugar, molasses) would also create a specialty cider (such as New England style). 37 Aroma and

Flavor: Ciders and perries do not necessarily present overtly fruity aromas or flavors?in the same sense that a wine does not taste overtly of grapes. Drier styles of cider in particular develop more complex but less fruity characters. In fact, a simple "apple soda" or "wine cooler" character is not desirable in a cider or perry.
  • Some styles of cider exhibit distinctly UN-fruity tastes or aromas, such as the "smoky bacon" undertones of a dry English cider. o Dry: below 0.9% residual sugar. This corresponds to a final specific gravity of under 1.002. o Medium: in the range between dry and sweet (0.9% to 4% residual sugar, final gravity 1.002 to 1.012). Sometimes characterized as either ?off-dry' or ?semi-sweet.' o Sweet: above 4% residual sugar, roughly equivalent to a final gravity of over 1.012. If a cider is close to one of these boundaries, it should be identified by the sweetness category which best describes the overall impression it gives.
  • The sweetness (residual sugar, or RS) of a cider or perry may vary from absolutely dry (no RS) to as much as a sweet dessert wine (10% or more RS). In sweeter ciders, other components of taste?particularly acidity?must balance the sweetness. The level of sweetness must be specified in order to arrange flights of tastings and entries within flights. Tasting always proceeds from drier to sweeter. There are three categories of sweetness:
  • Acidity is an essential element of cider and perry: it must be sufficient to give a clean, refreshing impression without being puckering. Acidity (from malic and in some cases lactic acids) must not be confused with acetification (from acetic acid?vinegar): the acrid aroma and tingling taste of acetification is a fault.
  • Ciders and perries vary considerably in tannin. This affects both bitterness and astringency (see "Mouthfeel" below). If made from culinary or table fruit, tannins are typically low; nevertheless some tannin is desirable to balance the character. The character contributed by tannin should be mainly astringency rather than bitterness. An overt or forward bitterness is a fault (and is often due to processing techniques rather than fruit).

  • Clarity may vary from good to brilliant. The lack of sparkling clarity is not a fault, but visible particles are undesirable. In some styles a "rustic" lack of brilliance is common. Perries are notoriously difficult to clear; as a result a slight haze is not a fault. However, a "sheen" in either cider or perry generally indicates the early stage of lactic contamination and is a distinct fault.
  • Carbonation may vary from entirely still to a champagne level. No or little carbonation is termed still. A moderate carbonation level is termed petillant. Highly carbonated is termed sparkling. At the higher levels of carbonation, the "mousse" (head) may be retained for a short time. However, gushing, foaming, and difficult-to-manage heads are faults.

  • In general, cider and perry have a mouthfeel and fullness akin to a substantial white wine. The body is less than that of beers. Full-sparkling ciders will be champagne-like.

    Ingredients: The apple and pear varieties are intended to illustrate commonly used examples, not dictate requirements when making the style. up to a level considered safe for avoiding bacterial contamination and off-flavors (typically pH 3.8 or below). Entrant MUST state if malic acid was added.
  • In general, adjuncts are prohibited except where specifically allowed in particular styles, and then the entrant must state them. Common processing aids, and enzymes, are generally allowed as long as they are not detectable in the finished cider.
  • Yeast used for cider/perry may be either "natural" (the yeast which occurs on the fruit itself and/or is retained in the milling and pressing equipment) or cultured yeast. Malolactic fermentation is allowed, either naturally occurring or with an added ML culture.
  • Enzymes may be used for clarification of the juice prior to fermentation.
  • Malic acid may be added to a low-acid juice to bring acidity
  • Sulfites may be added as needed for microbiological control. If used, the maximum accepted safe level for sulfites (200 mg/l) should be strictly observed; moreover, any excess sulfite that is detectable in the finished cider (a "burning match" character) is a serious fault.
  • Sorbate may be added at bottling to stabilize the cider. However, any residual aroma/flavor from misuse or excessive use of sorbate (e.g., a "geranium" note) is a distinct fault.
  • Carbonation may be either natural (by maintaining CO2 pressure through processing or by bottle-conditioning) or added (by CO2 injection).
  • Wyeast Strains:
       4028 - Red™
       4184 - Sweet Mead™
       4267 - Summation Red™
       4632 - Dry Mead™
       4783 - Sweet White™

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