Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Need for Mead: Sensory and Chemical Analysis of Traditional American Meads
by Senn, Kaylie, M.S., University of California, Davis, 2020, 125; 28086419
Abstract (Summary)

Mead is an ancient fermented drink composed of three basic ingredients: water, honey, and yeast. This alcoholic beverage has experienced a modern revival in the United States. According to the Association 2017 Mead Industry Report, new meaderies cropped up in the United States every three days, faster than the average global rate of one new meadery every seven days (AMMA). Only 6% of the businesses surveyed had been open for more than a decade, whereas 67% had been open for less than five years. In 2018, the global mead market was valued at just over 408 million USD and industry analysts predict a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 7% and 10% in the next five years. Mead production employs a costly fermentable sugar and can be time intensive, therefore the salability of the final product is crucial. This industry boom has led to improvements in mead processing and production, yet studies on mead sensory analysis are limited and focus on hedonic attributes of laboratory-produced samples (Pereira et al., 2019). This work seeks to formulate a cohesive means of evaluating and describing mead and to understand the sensory profile of the current American mead market.

The first aim of this work was to generate a lexicon and open-access aroma wheel specific to the traditional mead style. Using the consensus method, a sensory panel (n = 14) established a vocabulary of 86 terms (75 aroma, 5 basic taste, 6 mouthfeel) to describe differences between 40 commercial meads produced in the United States. These terms were grouped, arranged, and visualized as a three-tiered Traditional Mead Aroma Wheel that provides suggestions for mead evaluation and may be used by producer and consumer alike.

The second objective was to characterize the compositional and sensorial profiles of traditional American meads on the market. A descriptive analysis panel (n = 11) established 33 attributes (22 aroma, 5 basic taste, 6 mouthfeel) to describe the differences between 40 commercial meads and evaluated the intensity of each attribute for each sample. The most intense attributes included sweet and sour tastes and hot and viscous mouthfeel sensations. These attributes were primarily driven by residual sugar, titratable acidity, and ethanol content. Volatile headspace profiling, determined using headspace solid-phase microextraction coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (HS-SPME-GC-MS), found ethyl octanoate, phenylethyl alcohol, ethyl decanoate, and ethyl acetate to be the most relatively abundant volatile compounds across the sample set. Ethyl octanoate and ethyl decanoate were correlated with manure aroma, phenylethyl alcohol with yeast and green aromas, and ethyl acetate with citrus, solvent, and green olive aromas.

This work is a step towards a more unified means of evaluating and describing mead. Future research may improve the Mead Aroma Wheel by expanding its application for other mead styles and international meads. The relationship between mead composition and sensory properties can be further validated through targeted volatile profiling with validated internal standards and omission and reconstitution tests. Further sensory analysis should investigate other mead styles and include consumer panels to elucidate the drivers of mead preference.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Heymann, Hildegarde
Commitee: Mitchell, Alyson, Oberholster, Anita
School: University of California, Davis
Department: Food Science
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 82/5(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Food Science, Chemistry
Keywords: Aroma wheel, Descriptive analysis, Honey wine, Lexicon, American meads, Sensory profile, Fermentation, Yeast, Microextraction, Ethyl octanoate, Ethyl decanoate, Alcoholic beverages
Publication Number: 28086419
ISBN: 9798691213311
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