When mentioning mead, many people often think of a common drink at many Renaissance Festivals where the participants will dress like Queens, Kings and peasants from the Renaissance era. Some may have chances of trying it, but the majority has never enjoyed this drink because it’s quite difficult to find.
If you’re one of them, you may wonder “What is mead?” “How is it made?” “How many types of mead?” and especially, “What does mead taste like?” In this post, we will give you the valuable answers to these questions. Let’s get started!
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What Is Mead?
Mead is known as an alcoholic beverage, which is made from honey, water and yeast. It was said to appear since 7000 BCE throughout the Europe, Asia and Africa. It has played an important role in the mythology and beliefs of many cultures.
What makes mead different from other alcohols is that honey is the essential ingredient, not grain or grapes. Some mead makers even add other components like fruits, finings, spices, hops, grains, stabilizing agents and yeast nutrients. Depending on the amount of each ingredient, different styles of mead will be made.
The term “honey-wine” is often used as a synonym of mead. However, in some cultures, for instance, in Hungary, these two terms mean different things: mead is the combination of honey, yeast and water, whereas honey-wine is the result of grapes or other fruits with watered honey.
How Many Types of Mead Are There?
There are many criteria to classify mead such as sweetness, alcohol level, color, fruity esters, tannin levels and honey expression. However, it’s usually classified based on the flavors which are added in.
- Traditional Mead: It’s made from natural ingredients without adding any chemical. You can watch the video below to explore how it is made.
- Basic Mead: It’s added a small amount of natural or artificial acid to balance the sweetness.
- Metheglin Mead: It’s added spices, such as tea, orange, coriander, hibiscus, cinnamon, peel, ginger, nutmeg, cloves or vanilla.
- Melomel Mead: It’s made by adding fruits, such as melon, strawberry, blueberry or fruit juice.
- Pyment Mead: It’s a variant of Melomel mead. It’s made by the combination of the grapes or grape juice with the traditional mead. Red or white grapes will create something unique.
- Bochet Mead: In the process of making this mead, honey is often burned or caramelized before the mead makers add it to water.
- Great Mead: A kind of mead that last for several years.
- Short Mead: It’s opposite to Great Mead. It’s brewed very fast, from 3 days to a month.
- Sack Mead: It’s superb sweet because of containing more honey than other kinds.
What Does Mead Taste Like?
Since there are many types of mead, the flavor of this drink varies widely. But in general, what does mead taste like? Usually, it has honey flavor because honey is the main ingredient. Some people say that it’s sweet, while some think that it’s semi-sweet.
The taste of honey depends on the kind of honeybees. Each kind will collect nectar and pollen from different plants and flowers that may be available only at certain times of the year to create the honey with different flavors, sweetness and colors.
Yeast is another important ingredient of mead. Therefore, the type of yeast used to ferment mead can affect its taste. Because mead makers can add some fruits, herbs, spices and chemicals into the drink, the final flavor is greatly affected.
For example, the Melomel mead made with strawberries will be likely to taste like strawberries. The Metheglin mead added chocolate or vanilla will be sweet, whereas the cinnamon or ginger Metheglin mead may be spicy. In addition, people often add potassium sorbate to prohibit further fermentation and increase the sweetness for mead.
However, when tasting mead, users always smell mead first. How long you wait before opening the bottle decides the drink’s taste and scent. Young mead has a fresh and floral scent, but mature one is softer, so its scent becomes more complex and drier. If you want to feel its fragrance, a swirling glass should be used. If you want to taste its pleasant and fresh flavor, you should use it at the temperature from 43 to 46 degrees F.
Why Should You Use Mead?
- The world’s oldest drink: A simple recipe of mead was explored by people all over the world from Europe, Africa to Asia before the civilization was even a thing. You should try it to explore why this recipe is still applied in our modern life.
- Do it for honeybees: Beekeepers think that the recent crisis of bees can be preserved by breeding more bees. So, why don’t we drink mead? It will raise the value of the bee’s work and increase the demand for the honey, which requires more bees to work.
- Do it on your own: You can get awesome mead at home by combining honey, water and yeast together, giving them a period of time to ferment, then adding some fruits, spices or flavors.
Through this post, I’m sure that you have achieved the interesting information about mead such as what it is, some kinds of it, its flavor and the reason why we should try it. However, there is no simple way to exactly describe the flavor of this drink.
The taste of mead depends on lots of factors, including honeybees, yeast and added ingredients. Each type has different flavors. As a result, the best way to discover “What does mead taste like?” is to try as many types of mead as you can and by yourself.
If you have any question, please let us know by leaving your comment in the box below! Thank you for reading!