There are so many different kinds of mead, which makes the question “what does mead taste like?” a little tricky to answer. In addition to honey, traditional mead contains herbs or spices. Fruit is also used in the production of meads. Combine honey and apple juice, and you will get a cyser. You may also produce a pyment by combining honey and grape juice. This list could go on and on and on, ranging from sweet meads to meads that aren’t as fruity or sweet.
Honey isn’t all the same. The flowers visited by the bees can greatly influence the taste. Among the honey varietals most commonly used are, apple blossom honey, buckwheat honey, and tupelo honey. The final mead taste will differ depending on where the nectar comes from.
Mead typically tastes sweet or dry, just like honey wine. It’s only a matter of adding more or less sugar, honey, or whatever else you’d like to experiment with at bottling. Let’s understand first what is mead:
What is mead?
Mead is defined as an alcoholic beverage or alcoholic drink made with honey-derived carbohydrates obtained using a fermentation process. Honey, water, and yeast make up a classic mead. There are other subtypes of mead beyond the most basic. Here are a few of the most well-known:
Melomel: A mead with fruit added to it during or after fermentation. This is the most common form of mead today, with various recipes.
Metheglin: Metheglin is a mead that has been spiced or drugged. The word metheglin is derived from the old Welsh word for medicine. Try a lovely warm spiced mead instead of a hot Toddie the next time you have a cold, and you’ll see why.
Braggot: A Braggot is a combination of mead and beer. Malted grains are used to make Braggots.
Cyser: Cysers are apple or apple juice-based meads.
Pyment: Pyment is a hybrid of wine and mead. Pyment is the name for the mead made with grapes and wine made with honey.
Honey, which is used in the production of mead, was one of the earliest essential sources of sugar used in the production of alcohol. There is evidence that early civilizations such as the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, and even Asians drank this beverage in the past. However, only those who were wealthy and powerful were allowed to consume a glass or two.
After the invention of wine, which occurred somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago, mead’s status as an aristocratic beverage was demoted, making it possible for peasants and other members of lower social strata to enjoy the beverage.
Because it was only consumed in Northern Europe for religious purposes, mead became almost extinct throughout the medieval ages. Despite this, more and more people in modern times are starting to rediscover its distinctive flavor, and more and more winemakers are beginning to produce it.
Mythology and tradition
Countless cultures worldwide have used mead in religion, royalty, and bloodshed stories. Legends from Greek mythology also revealed accounts of gods giving a goddess a cup of mead to seduce her when the alcoholic beverage weakened her inhibitions.
Mead also makes an appearance in Greek mythology. They refer to Bacchus, who was revered as the God of Mead for a considerable time before he came to be known as the God of Wine.
Because of the mead’s reputation as an aphrodisiac, the ancient Greeks made it a tradition to consume it during the wild celebrations that marked the beginning of each new year. Mead was also one of the beverages that Queen Elizabeth enjoyed daily. She even had her own formula for making it.
The most common use for mead was at weddings, which is also where the phrase “honeymoon” comes from. Following weddings, people would drink copious amounts of mead to bless the newlywed pair and enhance their fertility.
In some traditions, the bride was put to bed early, and the bridegroom would drink mead before being taken to his new wife to consummate the marriage. In other traditions, the bride would be drinking mead herself. If the wife became pregnant on that night, the mead-maker would receive compliments on the quality of the mead delivered. Beer and other drinks that are more readily available at lower prices eventually surpassed the popularity of mead.
What does mead taste like?
The question of what mead tastes like cannot be answered with absolute certainty since, like other alcoholic beverages, mead can have a wide variety of flavors, subtleties, and aftertastes. The taste of mead can be semi-sweet, like light wine, or a little stronger. This article will not describe the flavor to you; instead, it will start by describing what it does not taste like.
Mead made now will not taste like mead made in the past (traditional mead). In fact, modern mead tastes far superior to earlier versions since people now use better quality and more yeast that wasn’t available back then.
However, if the yeast used to make the mead is of low quality or if the improper technique is used, the finished product is likely to have an unpleasant flavor and a low quality overall. The fermented honey needs to be of the highest possible quality to obtain the most flavor from the mead. Additionally, connoisseurs of alcoholic beverages urge that you sample the honey first before using it in the fermentation process, as the honey flavor will have the most significant impact on the finished product.
The water that is utilized throughout the procedure is of equal significance. Rainwater is highly recommended for use by specialists. You may also try using spring water or distilled water as an option. Never, ever use water from the tap to create mead!
Does it taste good?
Comparing simple mead to honey wine is one way to explain how it tastes. There are three types of mead: effervescent, drier, and sweeter. It tastes like a mild wine with a hint of honey sweetness. The flavor will be determined by the herbs and spices you choose, such as cinnamon or cloves. A better product will be made with high-quality ingredients.
Honey always has a characteristic golden hue, although the hue can range from very light gold to a hue that is considerably closer to amber. The golden hue of mead is because honey is the primary component of this alcoholic beverage. This can be a light golden color to a dark, almost chocolate brown.
Even though all meads share a distinctively sweet and sour flavor profile, variations in a mead’s flavor profile can be rather subtle. Mead is a fermented honey beverage, and different types use different kinds of honey. Varietal honey, clover honey, and wildflower honey are some common types that brewers use when making mead.
The flavor can vary depending on anything that is added to the mixture throughout the brewing process that contributes to different flavors. Oranges, which have a naturally sweet flavor, can be contrasted with spices like cloves and cinnamon, which have a flavor that is more earthy and slightly bitter. On the tongue, the former leaves a pleasant and light feeling, while the latter leaves a more bitter feeling.
The mead does not have the flavor of the fruit or spices added to it; rather, it has a touch of the recognizable flavors mingled into the distinctive flavor of the fermented honey.
Sense of smell
Due to the tight connection between the senses of smell and taste, the scent of a beverage is one of the factors that determine its flavor. Honey’s scent is more prominent among those who associate mead with its aroma. Because honey is natural sugar, the sweetness will remain relatively consistent. However, because of the alcohol concentration in the beverage, the sweetness is not as overpowering, and this gives mead an aroma comparable to that of an acidic sugar.
The aroma of the mead is altered by the addition of fruit or spices, both of which affect the flavor. The aroma of the mead is typically where additional flavors like these first make their presence known rather than in the flavor.
The mouthfeel of mead is best described as being quite wealthy. It is said to have a flavor comparable to that of fruit wine, characterized by an exceptionally full-bodied flavor and a thick consistency, much like that of sherry. The texture of mead can range anywhere from watery to thick and syrupy.
Mead’s Nutritional Advantages
Drinking mead was considered beneficial to one’s health and energy in ancient Greece. In addition to satisfying your appetite, mead can also improve your overall health. The honey and other ingredients in mead make it a suitable substitute for alcoholic beverages like wine and beer.
Mead’s honey provides a medicinal benefit. Treatments for many bodily ailments rely on its high concentration of antioxidants and antibacterial substances. Traditional mead can help alleviate symptoms such as a runny nose, a sore throat, and an itchy throat.
Because of the potential antibiotics that it contains, mead is frequently given as a health tonic. Human immune function and intestinal health are boosted as a result. Chronic ailments like heart disease, cancer, and gastrointestinal disorders can all be helped with this therapy.
There are additional health benefits to drinking mead because of its alcohol content. Health care providers have claimed that it can help alleviate anxiety symptoms and other mental health issues such as sleeplessness, restlessness, tension, ADHD, and excitability.
Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of what the flavor of mead is like and how to get started on your journey. This beverage is one of a kind and can be tailored to virtually any flavor profile imaginable. Even classic types of mead might be difficult to get in stores. However, the proliferation of craft beers was largely responsible for helping jumpstart the revival of this beverage. And seeing how other people are experimenting with their brews will only inspire others to develop their creative solutions. Enjoy!