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 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.
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.
4 thoughts on “Is Mead Gluten-Free?”
Are your meads peanut and tree nut free??
Yes they are, with the exception of the Kings Cyser(apple mead) which has black walnut extract.
So after reading your paragraphs about whether Mead is gluten free or not, I ask the question: do you use brewer’s yeast or wine yeast in the meads you produce? And are they stored in barrels that contained beer or bourbon in the past?
I cannot have gluten or traces of it.
Thanks for the information
WE use Wine Yeast for all of our meads, and they are fermented in stainless steel tanks. Only very occasionally do we barrel age a special addition, and then we use wine barrels primarily(those will be noted on the bottle)