Passing the Test: How to Evaluate Mead

These slides from BJCP teach you what exactly you’re looking for when tasting a mead. They also released a Mead Exam Study Guide.

Mead is evaluated based on its style. The most common categories offered in competitions include: traditional, melomels, methelglins, braggots, and mixed category.

Factors that are taken into consideration when judging your mead:

  • Aftertaste:
  • Aroma:
  • Appearance:
  • Bubbles:
  • Carbonation:
  • Color:
  • Cork:
  • Drinkability:
  • Flavor:
  • Mouthfeel:
  • Strength:
  • Sweetness:

The most basic concern when judging your mead is BALANCE- balance between the acidity-sweetness-tannins, and balance between the honey taste and other taste like fruit or spice. You then want to make sure you can distinguish the honey in taste and aroma. Lastly you want to focus on the expression of the additional flavors (fruits or spices) that will affect certain factors when judging your mead such as color, taste, and aroma.

According to BJCP these are steps to take when judging mead:

  1. As soon as the sample of mead is poured, inhale the aromas and jot down your notes.
  2. Then check the sample for color, carbonation, and clarity.
  3. Smell the mead again and take a SLOW sip. Distinguish the flavors you are tasting, where in your mouth the flavors seem to be more prominent, and how the sample feels on your tongue. Was there a lingering aftertaste and what was it?
  4. Between each sample cleanse your palate with water or plain crackers and bread.

There are more resources available at the BJCP Mead Exam Resources

References:

Beer Judge Certification Program- Index to Mead Guidelines

BJCP Mead Scoresheet

Bella Online 

Preamble to “A Treatise on Mead Judging”

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