Mead, also known as “honey wine,” is classified as one of the alcoholic beverages made through the process of fermenting honey. This beverage is ancient and dates back as far as 4,000 years ago. Interestingly, Mead was very common across many ancient cultures from around the world, which included those in Africa, Europe, and Asia.
Even though mead is somewhat similar to cider, wine, or beer, it occupies its own beverage category since honey is its main fermentable sugar.
Does Mead Contain Gluten?
In general, mead is classified as a naturally gluten free beverage. Honey is the primary ingredient in mead. Bees make honey from pollen derived from flowering plants. Grains link to the family of grass which are typically wind-pollinated, so they typically won’t attract bees. Honey is known as one of the gluten-free foods.
Just about all mead, by design, does not contain gluten, since the ingredients used to make this product do not contain wheat. However, Mead that is aged in a barrel or a cask that once held a product containing gluten such as braggots or beer barrels are exceptions. Braggots are only produced in the U.S. by the licensed breweries.
What Is Mead?
Mead is a type of “wine” made from fermenting honey. Mead can be dry or sweet, sparkling or still, unfruited or fruited, unspiced or spiced, high or low in alcohol. The possibilities are just about endless when it comes to this popular, yet very traditional alcoholic beverage. This becomes evident to just about anyone that has noticed what the different meaderies sell, which often run a gamut from low, dry ABV sparkling meads sold in cans to the unctuous, still dessert wines that approach close to 18% alcohol. Many meaderies still produce Meads (which means they do not contain carbonation), while the alcohol content typically ranges from 12 to 16%. Most meads contain residual sugar but that won’t mean that they are always sweet.
Some meaderies will also add herbs or fruit to the brews. These are also usually gluten-free but it is still recommended to first ask the establishment that is producing these products to make absolutely certain.
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a type of protein present in the majority of wheat products. It acts as a “glue” to help grains like barley, wheat, bulgar, durum, kamut, semolina, spelt, and farro to hold their shape. Gluten is something that is naturally-occurring, which means it cannot be stripped or separated from the grains. If grains naturally contain gluten, then it is impossible to make these foods gluten-free.
However, many gluten-free brands have innovated to offer alternatives that mimic these grains’ textures and flavors without the gluten, providing safe options for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
Why gluten is bad?
Gluten has adverse effects on the health of individuals with specific conditions or allergies like wheat allergy and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Gluten intake in such cases can have triggering impacts on the immunity system and also affect the digestive system, specifically the lining of the small intestine. It also leads to problems in nutrient absorption in the body, leading to weakness and skin issues. Non-celiac gluten allergy can lead to problems in the gastrointestinal system and showcase symptoms related to gluten consumption. It is always advisable to consult a doctor for any such symptoms and conditions of allergy to treat effectively.
What Is The Alcohol Content Of Mead
The alcohol content of a product like mead typically ranges from as little as 5% to as high as 20%. To show you a comparison, most of the grape wines usually have alcohol contents are around 12% to 14%.
Consuming alcohol excessively can result in serious health-related risks such as impaired immune and digestive system function, systemic inflammation, and liver disease.
The ADG (American Dietary Guidelines), recommends limiting alcohol consumption to one serving a day if you are a woman, and two servings a day if you are a man. A single serving typically equals 148 mls or 5 fluid ounces of mead with a 12% ABV (alcohol by volume).
Since mead contains an alcohol content that is relatively high when compared to beer and wine, it is very easy to overdo it, especially when you are drinking the beverage as a type of health tonic.
Mead is just like all the other types of alcoholic beverages. It is wise to limit and moderate your intake, especially if you plan to drink the beverage every day.
It is recommended to conduct your own research before you buy mead and refer to the labels before you choose a mead that you would like to take home.
Mead is regarded as one of the safe drinks if you are following a gluten-free diet when it is made using wine yeast rather than brewer’s yeast. It is also important to make sure it has not been aged inside casks or barrels that once held bourbon, whiskey, or beer. There are only a few of the mead brews that meet up to these standards.
1. Can celiacs drink mead?
Yes, celiacs can generally engage in gluten-free drinking with mead. Mead is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting honey with water, along with possible additions of fruits, spices, grains, or hops. Since its primary ingredient is honey, mead fits well within the realm of gluten-free drinking, making it a suitable choice for people with celiac disease. However, it’s wise to verify the product’s gluten-free status to ensure no gluten-containing additives are present.
2. Is mead cider gluten-free?
While “mead cider” is not a commonly used term (as mead and cider are distinct), both beverages naturally fall under the gluten-free drinking category. Mead is honey-based, and cider is derived from fermented apple juice. Both are inherently gluten-free, but it’s important for consumers to check labels or inquire with producers about any added ingredients that could introduce gluten.
3. Is mead wheat-based?
No, mead is not wheat-based and therefore is a great option for gluten-free drinking. Traditional mead is crafted from honey and water, avoiding wheat or other gluten-containing grains. Though certain meads might incorporate flavors or be aged in barrels that could introduce gluten, the essence of mead itself aligns with gluten-free dietary restrictions.
4. Are ciders gluten-free?
Ciders typically offer a refreshing option for gluten-free drinking, as they are made by fermenting apple juice, which is naturally free of gluten. Nonetheless, attention should be paid to flavored ciders or those with added ingredients, which might not align with gluten-free standards. Always check for gluten-free labeling or consult with the manufacturer.
5. Is There Gluten-Free Beer Available for People with Gluten Sensitivities?
Yes, for those who are gluten-sensitive or have celiac disease but still want to enjoy beer, there are gluten-free options available. Gluten-free beer is specifically brewed from non-gluten grains such as sorghum, rice, or millet, avoiding traditional grains like barley, wheat, or rye that contain gluten. This innovation in brewing ensures that individuals with gluten-related disorders can partake in beer drinking without the health risks linked to gluten consumption. It’s important, however, to verify that the beer you choose is certified gluten-free or to confirm its manufacturing process to ensure it adheres to gluten-free dietary standards.