Last updated on September 3rd, 2023 at 06:40 am
When most people hear about mead, they wonder what it tastes like, mainly because it’s becoming a popular offering in taprooms that serve beer and cider.
Mead tastes sweet, bitter, and effervescent. It features flowery undertones with hints of lemon and vanilla. Honey is the primary component of mead. The more complex the flavor, the higher the quality of the honey. Some meads are more flavorful than others.
Mead has a rich history dating back over 4,000 years. This well-known honey-powered drink, however, has been restored to its former splendor.
So, if you’ve ever wondered what mead tastes like, this post is for you! Let’s learn more about the taste.
What does Mead mean?
Mead is an alcoholic beverage prepared from fermented honey blended with water and sometimes other components such as spices, fruits, cereals, and others. Mead is technically a sort of wine; however, it is typically sold in places that also sell beer and cider.
Because mead is made from honey rather than grapes, it has a velvety mouthfeel and a golden color. Mead brewers are moving away from traditional methods. Meads made with spices or fruit, known as metheglins and melomels, are now available.
Mead is typically served cold at room temperature, although it can also be served warm for special events such as Christmas dinner with family.
How is Mead Made?
There are countless recipes available. Some will appear complex, while others will seem simple. However, the majority of them adhere to the same ideas. The following are the steps for producing a simple, still mead:
- Combine honey and water in your preferred container, such as a bucket or demijohn.
- To the honey water mixture, add mead yeast and some more nourishment. Fruit, such as raisins, could provide additional nutrition.
- Attach the airlock to your vessel and wait. The yeast will ferment the sugar, converting it to CO2 and alcohol. The airlock prevents pollutants from entering while allowing CO2 to exit with a gratifying ‘bloop.’ Depending on the recipe and climate, the first fermentation could take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month.
- When the bubbling ceases, the first fermentation is complete. Remove the sediment from the mead and transfer it to a second bucket or demijohn. Keep in a cool, dark area for about 2 months.
- Bottle and Label
Mead, like many other brewed beverages, improves with age. It is absolutely up to you when you decide to drink it. We usually leave it for at least three months. If you opt to consume the mead immediately, don’t be surprised if it tastes different a few days later.
What Sets Mead Apart from Beverages Like Cider Or Wine?
While wine and mead are defined as “non-distilled fermented beverages,” their essential constituents are substantially different. In a nutshell, wine is manufactured from grapes, whereas mead is made from honey.
Honey, water, and yeast are the primary ingredients in the traditional mead recipe. Wine is made from the must of crushed fruits, typically grapes, though strawberries, plums, and dandelions are other famous non-grape fruit wines. In most cases, additional sugar is added to the wine and the water and yeast, but honey in mead includes all the sugar needed for fermentation.
Ciders differ from mead and wine in that they are pressed and employ simply the juice of the fruit rather than the pulp of macerated fruits, and added sugars are added to aid fermentation. Although sugar can be added to mead occasionally to aid fermentation, it is not strictly necessary.
The most basic distinction between mead and other alcoholic beverages is its fermentable sugar source: Mead obtains its sugars mostly from honey, whereas beer and wine get their sugars from grains or fruit.
What does Mead Taste Like?
And then we got to the big point: what does mead taste like?
There is no definitive answer to what mead tastes like because, like any alcoholic beverage, it can have a wide range of flavors, subtleties, and aftertastes.
Instead of telling you what it tastes like, I’ll let you know what it doesn’t.
Mead created in our time will not taste the same as mead produced in ancient times. In reality, current mead tastes far superior since we use high-quality yeast unavailable in the past.
However, if brewed with poor-quality yeast or incorrect procedure, mead will likely taste terrible and be of poor quality. To get the most out of the mead, the honey used in the fermentation process must be of the highest quality.
Also, alcohol enthusiasts advised that you sample the honey before preparing it because it will influence the final flavor of the drink.
Your mead will most likely taste divine if you solely utilize high-quality components. However, keep in mind that the maturing process, as well as the taste of the fundamental ingredients, will always have an impact on the final flavor.
Depending on how long you wait before opening the bottle, mead can be sweet, effervescent, or exceedingly dry.
A two-year-old mead should be great if you enjoy sweet wines or wish to serve it with dessert. The drink should have a light floral flavor with traces of honey and low alcohol content.
You could even consume sparkling mead from the results of the second fermentation.
Mead will become drier and drier as time passes. However, if you want to drink dry mead, you will likely have to wait a long time before you can taste a drop of your “nectar.”
What Influences Mead Taste?
The amount, type, and quality of honey used is the first factor impacting the taste of mead. Honey can be black and almost bitter, or it can be extremely sweet and syrup-like.
The flavor of honey varies depending on the plant. Rich black honey is produced by orange blossom, tupelo trees, and buckwheat. Blueberry blossom honey is flavorful and rich as well. Sweet clover, alfalfa, and bluegum contribute to a lighter, more delicately flavored honey.
Darker honey makes stronger-flavored mead, while lighter honey produces milder-flavored mead.
The amount of water used in the fermentation process also impacts the flavor of the mead. Even if you choose strong-flavored honey, adding more water will make it taste milder. A Hydromel has a milder flavor than a Melomel if the same honey is used.
The type of yeast employed can also have a significant impact on the flavor of the mead. Different yeasts will generate different flavors, which should be considered when making mead.
The fermentation method also influences the flavor of the mead. Off tastes and a less acceptable end product might arise from improper fermentation.
As a result, the ultimate flavor of your mead will be influenced by how long you leave it to age. Consider maturing your mead for two years if you want it to be sweet.
A two-year mead will have a light floral flavor with honey undertones and a modest alcohol percentage. During the second fermentation, the mead may have a sparkling taste. The aging period of the mead will cause it to become drier. As a result, if you want it dry, you should consider storing it for a bit longer.
Mead dates back to the Middle Ages, yet it is still a popular drink. It’s called “honey wine” because it’s made with honey, but it’s not usually sweet. Because the fermentation process is highly acidic, mead is always a sweet and sour blend.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does mead taste good?
“A pure traditional mead can range from dry to sweet, low to high alcohol content, and thin to the substantial mouthfeel,” Martin explained. “Generally, a well-crafted sample should be suggestive of its floral source.”
Is it possible to taste the honey in mead?
Honey is a crucial ingredient in mead; therefore, you will taste it. However, honey isn’t always dominant because fruits and spices can be added to mead, masking the honey flavor.
Does mead taste like kombucha?
The flavor of mead can vary based on the ingredients, such as fruits and spices. Some meads are sweet, while others are sweet and acidic. Kombucha has a tarter and tangier flavor than mead.
Is mead bitter or sweet?
Mead’s primary ingredient is honey, and its sweetness distinguishes the drink. However, the fermenting process to make mead imparts a slightly bitter flavor to the drink. The mead will be sweeter if there is more honey, but drier if there is more yeast in it.
Is mead stronger than wine?
The alcohol percentage of beer, wine, and mead is another distinction. Meads have an ABV of 6 to 20 percent, depending on the fermentation, whereas wine and beer have significantly lower ABVs.
Is mead good for beginners?
Mead is a good drink for novices, but not all meads are created equal. So, if you’re going to try mead for the first time, stay away from places that charge $9 for a glass.