The best thing you can do when you encounter good or bad mead ANYWHERE is to point it out to whoever is selling it. Then make a note of the meadery name and tell them, then post it up here in the Commercial Mead Review section.
That being said, I don’t mean for you to be a raging jerk about it if the mead is bad, or be overly generous if the mead is good. However there needs to be a constructive way to communicate this in a concise, specific, accurate and non-offensive manner. With that in mind its time that we outlinine the GotMead.Com standard format for mead reviews.
We have a lot of different people posting reviews in the forum and on the main content site. The problem is the we get everything from detailed reviews to two sentence comments. Mead makers need to have a frame of reference in order to relate to and understand how their mead is being evaluated, along with what the perception of quality, value and overall drinkability is of their product. In order to do so we need to follow a standard method of reviewing mead in a standardized format. While this might seem trivial it is very important to commercial meadmakers and home meadmakers alike. Simple comments like “I liked it ’cause it wasn’t too sweet,” or “this wasn’t something I’d buy again,” or “I’m not sure what I’m tasting but it’s pretty good” don’t help a meadmaker bring quality and consistency to their product.
As mentioned before, we need to give people a frame of reference for specifics about the product being reviewed in order to provide meaninful and useful feedback. Please see below for the template/format we will be using on GotMead.Com in the COMMERCIAL MEAD REVIEWS section of the forums.
This is a simple format that will be understood by the professional or home meadmaker:
Appearance – color, clarity, etc
Aroma – honey, floral, alcohol, acid, etc
Flavor – sweet, honey, apple, peach, citrus, oaked, oxidized, etc
Mouthfeel – body, fullness, viscosity, finish, crisp, hot, furry, young, old, etc
Overall impression – how it all came together, or didn’t, and the shades of gray in between, was it worth the price, would you buy another, would you drink a whole bottle, etc.
I get a lot of people that say “Well, I don’t know how to write these things and describe them.” I say neither did I when I started, but I did it anyway because someone needed to say something. Worse comes to worse, post up the review and ask for help in descriptors. There are plenty of folks here who can help including me. I’m kind of shy about expressing my opinion but if you ask nicely I will probably help!
The other thing that is VERY important is to be sure to include the name and location of the meadery, the name and location of where you tasted it, and as much other demographic, company and venue information as you can get.
It’s been my experience that there are a metric butt-load of people who are willing to complain about commercial mead, but when it comes right down to it most are unwilling to put in a little effort to get the ball rolling and nudge the ones who produce low-quality mead into producing better. The other part of this is when you get a resource like Got Mead constructively and consistently calling out producers who are peddling low-quality mead, the rest of the industry and the buying public stand up and take notice.
Again, this must be done in an organized, honest and un-offensive manner. Reviews in the forums that are perceived as just hurling insults will earn the poster some time in the penalty box.
Pete “Oskaar” Bakulic