Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from honey. It’s older than beer and just as complex and varied, but mead isn’t very well-known despite its history and antiquity. This is why people ask what does mead taste like?
On the most basic level, it tastes like a sweet, alcoholic drink and because of the addition of fruits and spices, it can taste like wine or beer, depending on the flavor. It depends on the specific style, but most meads will have a sweet taste because of the honey.
The sweetness level will vary based on the amount of honey used. Just as you would taste the fruit in wine and hops in beer, you will also be able to detect flavors from fruit or hops like those beverages.
Mead tastes like molasses, honey and spice. It’s sweet and can be compared to sherry semi-dry wine. It has a warm alcoholic taste which shouldn’t surprise you since it is an alcoholic drink (usually around 9% or higher).
It is usually served cold on the rocks or in a wine glass at room temperature. Mead can also be flavored by fruits, herbs and spices like cherry mead (cherry wine) or spiced apple mead, where apples are added during the brewing process.
In addition, mead has a strong honey flavor, with a sweetness anywhere from very dry to very sweet. While Mead can be made from either wildflower or fruit honey, each type of honey imparts its flavor characteristics to the finished product.
Also, mead, or honey wine, is an alcoholic beverage made using honey instead of grapes. Mead can have a sweet or dry flavor, and its color can vary from light to dark. Though there are several different types of mead, the flavors and aromas tend to be consistent across varieties, including dry mead, which has a similar taste to white wine.
Mead vs beer
Mead and beer are enjoyed by people all over the world. To understand their creation, it’s first important to understand their main ingredients. Honey is used in mead, while barley, wheat and other grains are used in beer.
Honey beers exist, but it is called mead if most of the sweetness comes from honey. Mead can be brewed with honey as the only ingredient or with barley nuts or grapes. Both have been booming in popularity around the country for their unique tastes.
Also, mead has a powerful and complex flavor, with notes of honey, fruit, and sometimes even spices, whereas beer’s flavor is entirely based on grain, hops, and yeast. Hops are flowering plants that were originally used for medicinal purposes.
The flowers of the hops plants made their way into beer as bitter flavoring agents. Many people enjoy the flavor of hops and use them to flavor their beer. Mead is an ever-popular alcoholic drink that has been around since at least 700 B.C. Mead was a delicacy among royalty, served during events and celebrations.
In addition, mead is closer to wine than to beer, while beers are made by fermenting cereal grains. Beer can be flavored with fruits and spices, but no honey is used in the brewing process.
Types of mead
The taste of mead varies based on the region it’s produced, the type of honey used, the yeast used to ferment it, and any ingredients used to flavor it. The most common meads are traditional mead, melomel, metheglin, cyser and payment.
Most of the mead is labelled as semi-sweet to dry. Semi-sweet meads have up to 0.5% residual sugar, whereas dry meads have no detectable residual sugar and are fully fermented. Dry meads typically have an alcohol by volume content of between 12 and 16 per cent, while semi-sweet varieties range from 7 to 12 per cent.
Semi-sweet and sweet meads are not considered true mead products because their higher sugar content means they can be fermented into wines.
Here are some types of mead:
Melomel, sometimes called fruit, berry or honey wine, is made from fermenting fruit and honey. There is virtually no limit to the kinds of fruits that can make melomels, but some of the most popular include apples (much like a cyser), berries, bananas, cherries, peaches, plums, and pears. They can range from very sweet to dry.
Metheglins are flavoured meads, often infused with fruit or spices like cinnamon or vanilla. Metheglin is a mead that has been spiced or flavoured with herbs or spices
A braggart is a hybrid of beer and mead made using malted grains instead of honey. It’s also sometimes spiced like a metheglin.
Cyser is a type of mead blended with apple juice. This is the only difference between cyser and other meads.
Omphacomel uses the juice of unripe grapes because it adds sourness to the mead!
Best yeast for mead
Yeast is to mead what grapes are to wine. The type of yeast you use and the temperatures at which it ferments can hugely affect the flavour, aroma, and overall quality of your finished mead. The best yeast for mead depends on the style of mead you wish to create.
Mead can be made with either beer or wine yeast, and you can also use champagne yeast if you are making a dry mead. The best yeast for mead is:
Red Star Premier Cuvee
Red Star Premier Cuvee is a great yeast choice for mead production. It is the most popular high performing yeast in the world. Red Star Premier Cuvee can ferment from 12 to 20 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV).
Lalvin 71B-1122 is a great yeast because it has a HIGHER TOLERANCE FOR ALCOHOL. It seems to be popular with mead makers. It attenuates better than others and has a higher alcohol tolerance, up to 14%. You will find it very versatile and dependable, especially during the winter.
Lalvin KIV-1116. The unusual thing about this yeast is that it needs to be fed nutrients as the fermentation progresses to continue producing alcohol at a steady pace. Still, if you keep feeding it nutrients, you’ll end up with wine without any residual sweetness.
You can make a dry or a sweet mead with this yeast, depending on whether you feed it nutrients or not. Lalvin K1V-1116 doesn’t produce a lot of fruity esters so that it won’t compromise the flavour of your honey, but it will eat all the glucose and leave you with fructose (sweet) and alcohol.
White Labs Sweet Mead Yeast
The White Labs Sweet Mead Yeast (WLP720) can ferment at higher alcohol levels and will result in a slightly sweet mead. White Labs is also known for producing very clean-tasting beers and meads, so this yeast would also be a good choice.
Does mead go bad?
Mead is a very hardy beverage, and it takes a lot of abuse to spoil. While most meads rarely spoil, they do go through the process of ageing. As the mead ages, the taste becomes more complex. The taste is broken down into four stages: early, developing, mature and old; you can enjoy mead at each stage.
The amount of time spent in each stage depends on the style of the mead and how much it was sweetened.
In addition, mead generally contains a large proportion of high-proof alcohol along with sugar and fruit, and it has a very long shelf life. If you keep the temperature of your mead constant and store it in the right container, it should never go bad.
The bottle should be fine unopened in the pantry. Once opened, with the cork back in place, the contents don’t go bad but will develop off-flavors over time. You can store mead in an airtight container to slow this process down.
How long does mead last?
The precise answer depends to a large extent on storage conditions. Mead can last decades if properly stored. Store it in a cool, dry place and keep it tightly sealed.
Mead that has been continuously refrigerated will keep for about one month after opening. To maximize the shelf life of mead, do not open until ready to use. Once opened, you must refrigerate.
Also, for best quality, store unopened mead in a cool place away from sunlight. You can store opened mead in the refrigerator for several weeks or freeze it for longer storage, but ice crystals may form, and the color and flavor may change slightly. Mead does not improve with age past about two years.
In addition, if your mead is two months old or younger and it is foaming like mad, there is no need to worry. Still, try to avoid this, as foam can contaminate the rest of the batch.
It’s best to avoid transferring the headspace into another carboy until the fermentation is well underway and the headspace has quieted down. Stirring gently may also help aerate and kick start fermentation.
Is mead good for you?
Mead can be good for you, as long as you don’t have an allergy to it. It contains antioxidants and provides a sustainable source of energy. Mead is also rich in Vitamin B complex, which helps prevent diabetes, improves your immune system and blood circulation.
There are not many things that can boost immunity and improve skin, but mead is one of them. Although mead has been around since ancient times, it is often forgotten when considering healthy beverages, but this may be changing. Modern medical studies indicate that the honey used to make mead can offer many health benefits.
In addition, mead is a great source of vitamins and minerals. It provides ample amounts of vitamins B6, B12, and C, as well as important minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese and zinc. Additionally, mead also has a full spectrum of amino acids. Mead is also high in antioxidants.
How long is mead good for?
The shelf life of mead depends on the type, how it was stored and if it was opened. Keep it in a cool place and drink it within 2-5 years for the best flavor. Mead, if sealed properly and refrigerated, can last for anywhere from 3 to 25 years. The type of mead that you buy and the alcohol content within it can affect its shelf life.
In addition, traditional meads will continue to mature in flavor and become stronger over time, much like any other alcoholic beverage. Simple session meads can be consumed within months, and carbonated varieties should be drunk by the date on the bottle.
If unopened, the mead will last indefinitely. In general, the longer a mead ages, the better it tastes. It is best to let a mead age for at least a year before drinking it.
Is mead a wine?
While mead contains some of the same ingredients as wine, it really doesn’t fall into the same category. The simplest definition of wine is An alcoholic (ethanol) beverage made from fermented grape juice. Since mead is made from honey and not grapes, it satisfies the ethanol criteria but not the grape juice criteria.
Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains, or hops. The alcoholic content ranges from about 8% ABV to more than 20%.
It may be still carbonated or naturally sparkling. It takes several months to years for this unique drink to ferment. Honey wine is made by adding water and yeast to honey; eventually, the mixture becomes alcoholic.
Is mead healthy?
Yes, mead is healthy and good for you if you don’t drink too much. Mead is a type of alcoholic beverage which is fermented from honey. Honey is an excellent source of antioxidants and respiratory soothing compounds, so mead will be healthy as well.
Furthermore, the yeast used in making these wines has been found to provide health benefits such as helping prevent disease since it contains several vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help reduce your risk of infection from cancer.
In addition, drinking mead can be a way to get needed vitamins and minerals into your diet. Many of the minerals, like iron, zinc, and phosphorus, will help with other dietary needs like not anaemic or low phosphorous levels.
How much alcohol is in the mead?
The percentage of alcohol in mead will depend on how much honey is used. Mead is made from fermented honey, so the amount of alcohol in your mead will depend on the sweetness of the honey and how long you let it ferment.
Mead, or honey wine, often carries an alcohol content similar to that of beer. The amount of alcohol in mead can vary greatly depending on the kind of honey used, its water content, and the brewing process employed.
In most cases, mead has an alcohol percentage ranging from six to fourteen per cent by volume. Wine coolers with a combination of fruit juice, wine and spirits may have an even higher level of alcohol than traditional mead.
Although each mead is unique, most commercially made meads will fall into one of these five categories: Session Mead (Less than 12% abv), Standard Mead (12-14% abv), Traditional Mead (14-20% abv), Melomel (Fruit Mead) (12-25% abv), Payment (Grape Mead) (12-18% abv).
Can mead go bad?
The short answer is. Yes, it can go bad. However, mead will last in the bottle for several years, assuming it’s properly capped and not “over-carbed”. Unlike the fermented honey itself, or honey in general, mead doesn’t last forever. If left unchecked, it will spoil and lose its unique and delicious flavor after about two years past the bottling date.
Furthermore, the complexity of mead makes it very interesting, as well. Mead has a lifespan governed by whether it is sparkling. If it is sparkling, you have about four months before the bubbles go away. BUT this also depends on how long you age your base wine and how long your carbonate is.
The two factors give an indication of how much flavor your mead would change through time. For example, if your mead has nearly no residual sugar with CO2 carbonation added to it and has been aged for at least one year,
How long does mead last after opening?
Once opened, the mead will last while refrigerated for 3 to 5 weeks. If unopened and refrigerated, mead can last up to 1 year. It’s best to finish a bottle within a short amount of time because oxygen can cause the honey to become oxidized, which in turn makes it taste stale. However, you will still be able to enjoy the mead a couple of months after opening the bottle.
Generally speaking, an opened bottle of mead will last between six months to one year. Like other fermented beverages, they will continue to age after opening and may improve with time. In many cases, the bees will change their flavour, sweetness, and colour over time.
What alcohol does not have yeast?
Yeast is what turns sugar into alcohol and CO2. This is called fermentation. If you want to make alcohol without using yeast, then you’re going to have to find some other way of turning your sugar into alcohol.
There are a number of alcohols that don’t have yeast. Vodka, for example, is derived from a yeast-free source; grain, potatoes or corn. Gin, on the other hand, is made from grain and juniper berries and is distilled, so it has no yeast content.
Rum also does not contain yeast. Additionally, some customers choose to filter tequila after distillation to remove any trace of yeast.
In addition, pure alcohol does not have yeast. The lack of yeast in pure alcohol is due to the fact that it is produced in a very effective way, which eliminates any traces of yeast from the product.
Mead health benefits
Mead is one of the sweetest, most refreshing beverages you can find. If you’re wondering whether mead is a healthy drink, here are some good reasons to consider it:
- Mead can help you sleep better. The fermented honey wine contains melatonin that regulates your sleep-wake cycle (aka circadian rhythm) and serotonin, which helps boost your mood and keep you happy while also serving as a natural sedative to help you relax before bedtime.
- The antioxidant properties of mead have been linked to anti-ageing effects, including the prevention of wrinkles and age spots, as well as reversing other signs of ageing such as grey hair and a weakened immune system caused by free radical damage.
- It helps the liver to remove toxins.
- Strengthens your immune system.
- Treats lung infections (mead with honey and various spices).
- Mead with lemon can prevent or treat colds and flu.
- Mead can help cure an upset stomach.
- Mead can help to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar.
- Mead is good for weight loss.
- Mead is beneficial for your heart and can also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
- Mead may prevent cancer, especially breast cancer.
- Women who are having trouble with menstruation are said to be benefited from drinking mead
If you’re asking, “what does mead taste like?” and you’re expecting a good mead to taste like beer or even wine, you’re in for a surprise. Mead is its own thing entirely, and it’s hard to describe the flavor of something that only has honey and water in it.
The closest comparison would be a light, sparkling wine with a touch of sweetness. Anything more than that would be an attempt at one of the many varieties of this ancient drink.