Mead or mead
Alcoholic drink obtained by diluting honey with water and subsequent fermentation. The dilution of the water causes the proliferation of the yeasts contained in the honey (with a humidity of less than 20% the yeasts remain inactive) which obtain energy from the consumption of sugars by using oxygen and freeing CO2 and water. At the end of oxygen, alcoholic fermentation begins where the consumption of sugars yields CO2 and ethyl alcohol. The process is not infinite because it stops when 15-18 degrees of alcohol are reached with the inhibition of yeasts or the exhaustion of sugars. If the limiting factor is ethyl alcohol, a hydromiele will be obtained with a high alcohol and sweet degree depending on the residual sugar content, while if the limiting factor is sugars, a dry hydromiele will be obtained. There is no relationship between the type of honey used and the hydromiele obtained.
Sometimes the hydromiele is also spiced, combined with fruit juices or added with hops and can be called melomel, metheglin, pyment, cytser, etc.
It has a color ranging from light to darker gold, an alcohol concentration ranging from 7 ° to 22 ° vol., It can have a taste similar to fruity, dry and passito white wines, with woody hints if it has passed the aging in barrel.
Very ancient drink, probably the first discovered by man. The first writings on its existence come to us from Egypt, but the spread of this drink was also found among the Etruscans, Greeks, Romans and Celts. It was believed that the mead ensured a place close to the gods, it was also consumed by the spouses in the belief that it could give strength to the couple in the procreation of male heirs; still today the first period after the wedding is called "honeymoon".
With the passage of time the religious values faded and the mead became popular consumption, but its strong spiritual value and the festivals linked to popular tradition remained alive.
It is obtained by oxidizing the hydromiele or by adding natural wine vinegar because a second fermentation is triggered by the acetic bacteria that consume ethyl alcohol and transform it into acetic acid. The fermentation temperature must not be lower than 15 ° C and the duration of two weeks approximately.
Probably the oldest vinegar in the world known since the Egyptians in 8000 BC, fell into disuse after the discovery of wine vinegar because it was cheaper.
Hydromiele can be distilled to obtain a brandy. It is necessary to remember that in Italy distillation is strictly regulated and cannot even be practiced for family use.