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What Does Mead Taste Like? A Detailed Answer

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Mead! Is it a wine? Is it a beer? Well, mead is actually an alcoholic beverage made with honey. It has a long history of around 9000 years old when humankind only had access to honey. Today, mead is having a comeback. Many of you are wondering, “what does mead taste like?’ Let’s answer all your questions. 

Mead bottles

Mead has a sweet, bitter, and sparkling taste. It has slightly floral undertones with traces of citrus and vanilla. The main ingredient of the mead is honey. The higher the quality of honey, the more complex the flavor. Some meads are sweeter than others. 

Mead is made out of honey, water, and fermented yeast. Its popularity was since ancient times when humankind had only access to the natural ingredient honey. Mead was born out of honey; later on, wine and beer were also made out of honey with the same concept. 

So for many of you wondering what mead tastes like, this article is for you! Let’s dig more about mead taste, nutritional profile, and different types of mead. 

What Is Mead?

mead in bottle

Mead is an alcoholic drink sometimes known as ‘honey wine.’ It is produced by fermenting honey and is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages with a history of 4,000 years. Mead was popular in ancient cultures all around the world, including those in Asia, Europe, and Africa.

Mead is compared to the taste of beer, wine, and cider because its primary fermentable sugar is honey. It is made with honey, water, and yeast. Moreover, it is mixed with fruits, herbs, spices, cereals, roots, and flowers for better flavors and taste.

The alcohol concentration in mead varies but is commonly between 5% and 20%. It comes in sparkling and still varieties in the market. Ancient people such as Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians used to drink mead after their battle. Therefore, it is also known as the ‘drink of gods.’ Now that you know mead’s history let’s discover what it tastes like in detail. 

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What Does Mead Taste Like? 

Honey mead

As mead is derived from honey, many imagine it tastes sweet. But in reality, mead tastes stronger, with a sweet honey edge. It has a slightly acidic taste of fermented yeast.

Mead contains a diverse spectrum of subtleties. Traditional mead’s flavor is best with a delicately sweet and acidic taste. The best way to describe mead is a medium sweet wine with a sherry texture and identical honey tone. 

Mead is made with a variety of ingredients of fruits and spices. The spices will likely appeal to stout enthusiasts due to their thicker mouthfeel and strong flavor characteristics. Mead’s flavor can be influenced by its carbonation level. Some are “still,” meaning they have no carbonation, while others are highly bubbly and drink like beer.

The taste of mead can vary depending on the type of honey used, the fermentation process, and other ingredients added to the mixture. This drink has been around for centuries and is enjoyed by many cultures.

Does Mead Actually Taste Like Honey?

mead in spoon

Mead is derived from honey; many imagine it tastes sweet. That is not always the case. Traditional mead’s flavor is best described as a delicate blend of honey sweetness and the slightly acidic taste of fermented yeast. It tastes like wine with an edgy sweet flavor of honey. 

Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey, water, and yeast. Some people say that mead tastes like a cross between wine and beer, while others say it tastes more like honey. There is no right or wrong answer, as the taste of mead is a personal taste preference.

Is Mead Actually Sweet?

If you’ve never had mead before and are curious whether it’s sweet, bitter, or a combination! The answer is yes and no. It is determined by the type of honey used and how long it was fermented. Also, as the type of yeast employed and the other components used in the brewing process. Mead has a sweet edgy honey touch in its taste, but it doesn’t exactly taste sweet like honey. 

The unique taste of mead is beyond sweet or bitter, creating a broader palate for people who enjoy this ancient honey wine. Still wondering if mead actually tastes sweet, then try out each type of mead with its unique taste. You will get to know the actual flavors of mead. However, the taste of mead is a personal taste preference.

Does Mead Taste Like Kombucha?

Mead can vary in taste depending on the ingredients like fruits and spices. Some meads taste sweet, and some taste sweet and acidic. While kombucha has more tart and tangy flavor than mead. It has sharp notes of tartness rather than sweetness. So, mead does not taste like kombucha. 

Vikings loved to drink alcoholic drinks. They did not only brew their own Viking mead. Mead was the biggest part of their celebration and rich feasts. Viking mead is made the same way as regular mead, fermenting honey with water and yeast. They used to add different herbs, fruits, grains, or spices for stronger flavors. Viking mead tastes a little spicier and more strong. It had around 20% more alcohol content than beer but less wine.  

What Does Viking Mead Taste Like?

Viking mead is a type of mead that is traditionally made in Scandinavia. So, what does Viking mead taste like? Well, it depends on the recipe, but Viking mead is generally a sweet and fruity drink. Some Viking mead recipes include spices like cinnamon and cloves, which give the drink a warm and spicy flavor. Other recipes may include fruits like berries, which give the mead a tart and tangy flavor. 

Regardless of the recipe, Viking mead is a delicious and unique drink that is perfect for enjoying with friends and family. So, if you’re looking for something new to try, why not give Viking mead a taste?

Does Mead Taste Better Than Beer?

Most people wonder if mead tastes better than beer. Mead is honey-based alcohol produced by fermentation.

It tastes sweet, but not in an overbearing sense. It’s more delicate on its sweetness part. Beer is bitter, slightly sweet, and sour. However, mead is stronger than beer because it has around 8-19% alcohol content which is higher than beer. They are fermented in a similar process, but mead has its category.  

Is Mead Stronger Than Wine?

Mead is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting honey and water. It has a long history, dating back to ancient times. Mead is usually around 14% alcohol by volume (ABV), but it can range from 6% to 20%. In comparison, the wine typically has an ABV of 12%. So, yes, mead is stronger than wine.

Mead can be sweet or dry, and it can be still or sparkling. It’s often flavored with fruits, spices, or herbs. Mead is a great choice if you’re looking for a strong alcoholic beverage. Just be sure to drink responsibly!

What Does Dry Mead Taste Like?

Dry mead can taste sweet or semi-sweet and sour. Mead can be sweet and sparkling or extremely dry, depending on how long you wait before opening the bottle. The reason for this is the use of high-quality yeasts in modern recipes unavailable in the past.

In contrast, if you make it with poor quality ingredients or incorrect techniques, you won’t get an amazing taste. Mead must be made with high-quality honey. Moreover, the taste of the honey also affects the final taste of the mead.

By now, you know that mead is made of honey and water. Using rainwater, distilled or spring water also affects the taste of mead. Dry mead is lower grading than regular original mead. So, using top quality is a priority. 

What Does Spoiled Mead Taste Like? 

If you’re used to drinking mead, you’ll spot the difference if it’s spoiled right away. Most spoiled mead looks cloudy and smells like sauerkraut or nail polish. If you don’t notice either of these, the flavors in spoiled mead will taste off. The flavor of this type of alcohol will be very sour rather than the typical fermented honey wine and residual sugar. Also, the very likely reason for mead to get spoiled is using low-quality ingredients. 

Features Of Mead

mead in glass

The fermentation process is the same for mead as for cider, wine, beer, and other beverages. However, the sugar concentration may vary and bring a unique taste to the drink. Mead contains more sugar than wine, leading it to ferment long after it has been bottled. This additional fermentation will alter the taste of the drink. 

Moreover, the fermentation process and the type of honey are used to determine the color of the mead. The quality of the honey fermented the first time is the most important factor influencing the taste of mead. When mead is created with low-quality honey, the flavor is flat, and the drinking experience is unpleasant.

When wondering what mead tastes like, let’s discover the features of mead. Other aspects to consider include:

  • Aroma
  • Appearance  
  • Flavor 
  • Mouthful 

1. Aging

The process of maturing mead can result in either a high-quality or a low-quality brew. Like wine, the longer mead ages, the smoother it becomes. Eventually, it will aid in the development of flavor and the enhancement of subtle characteristics. Moreover, if the mead’s ABV (alcohol by value) is higher, it must be aged for a longer period.

2. Appearance 

Mead gets its golden color from honey, which is the main ingredient. Some honey is lighter in gold colors, while others are more amber in hue. Due to this, the appearance of the mead range from pale gold to a dark, rich brown.

3. Aroma 

Mead’s flavor is greatly influenced by its aroma, which is intrinsically correlated with the taste senses. Honey is the most strongly identified fragrance with mead. Because honey is natural sugar, it will always be relatively sweet. 

The alcoholic portion of the drink takes the edge off the sweetness. The scent of mead becomes similar to that of acidic sugar. Adding fruit or spices to mead can also change its aroma. In most cases, added flavors are more noticeable in the aroma than in the taste of the mead.

4. Flavor 

The flavor of mead has a distinct sweet acidic flavor. The drink contains subtle flavor variations from fruits and spices. Depending on the flavor used, oranges have a sweet taste. At the same time, spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg have a slightly bitter taste. 

The first sip of the drink tastes light on your tongue, but later on, it becomes harsh. Overall, the tasting experience of mead is smooth and has a decent rich taste. Mead has a longer aftertaste than other styles of alcohol.  

5. Mouthful

The texture of mead is fairly rich. It tastes like a fruit wine with a notably rich taste and dense texture. Its texture is similar to sherry. Mead’s mouthfeel can range from thin to full-mouthed.

Factors Affecting The Taste Of Mead

mead served in glasses

Many factors can affect the taste of mead. The type of honey used, the type of yeast, the fermentation process, and even the type of water can all have an impact. The type of honey used is one of the most important factors in determining the taste of mead. 

  • Different kinds of honey will have different flavors, which will be reflected in the final product. Darker honey usually results in a darker, more robust mead, while lighter honey produces a lighter, more delicate flavor. 
  • The type of yeast used can also greatly impact the mead’s flavor. Different yeasts will produce different flavors, and this is something that should be taken into consideration when making mead.
  • The fermentation process is also a key factor in the taste of mead. If fermentation is not done correctly, it can result in off flavors and a less desirable final product.
  • Finally, the type of water used can also have an impact on the flavor of the mead. Different waters will have different mineral content, which can affect the mead’s final flavor.

Different Flavors And Types Of Mead

mead flavors

If you’re interested in trying mead, many different types are available on the market. You can find meads made with different types of honey, as well as those that are flavored with fruits or spices. It can be sweet or dry, light or dark. There’s sure to be a mead out there that you’ll enjoy! 

If you think honey couldn’t be drunk, explore 8 different types of mead and their taste profile.

TypesTastes
Traditional meadSweet
Mulled meadSweet, fruity, a bit spicy
Sack meadStrong and sweet
Sparkling meadMild sweet, strong
Short meadLess bitter, mildly sweet
White meadMild sweet, strong, bitter notes
Black meadTangy, earthy, sweet
Ethiopian meadStrong, bitter

1. Traditional Mead 

Traditional mead, also known as genuine mead, is naturally sweet. It is made in its most basic form with three major ingredients: honey, water, and yeast. The sweetness of traditional mead is medium, with a texture similar to sherry but a distinct honey tone.

2. Mulled Mead 

Try mulled mead if you want something warm with your alcoholic beverage. This mead is made by brewing a mixture of water, honey, spices, and various fruits as flavorings. It gives us sweet, fruity, and spicy flavors. Mulled mead is a popular holiday drink, especially in colder climates.

3. Sack Mead

If you want a sweet mead, that sack mead tastes like a late-harvest ice wine or a barley wine. Sack meads are strong and sweet meads made with extra honey to create more fermentable sugar. Because of its sweet flavor, sack mead is known as the dessert wine of meads. It can have an ABV ranging from 14 to 1%.

4. Sparkling Mead

The production of fine sparkling wines and Champagne is similar to that of sparkling mead. However, instead of grape wine, honey is used. Unlike other types of mead, this mead is best served chilled. Sparkling meads have the perfect acidity balanced to provide the perfect strong sensation.

5. Short Mead 

Short mead has lower alcohol content and tastes less bitter and mildly sweet. This low alcohol mead contains only 5% alcohol by volume. Therefore, it has a short fermentation process, taking only two to six months to ferment. The bottling process will take another six months, during which time these bottles should remain untouched.

6. White Mead

White mead is simply a traditional mead that has been colored white. It is mildly sweet, strong, and has a slightly bitter taste. There are various versions and recipes for making that product. Honey is diluted with herbs or fruit whites to make white mead.

7. Black Mead 

The fruity black mead is made from black currants and honey. Compared to other types of mead, it is dryer, lighter in body, and has an earthy and tangy flavor from the currants. If you drink the aged mead from American Oak aging, it may have a spicy kick to it. There are also variants of this type of mead, such as maple syrup black mead. As with dry red wine, it is also served at room temperature.

8. Ethiopian Mead

Ethiopian meads are honey wines made and consumed in Ethiopia and Eritrea. They enjoy blending honey with berry juice and hops-like herbs and making it at home. It tastes strong and bitter. It is often served in a flask-like pitcher called Tej, a famous Ethiopian drink. 

Things To Keep In Mind While Buying Mead

mead in bottle glass

Mead is an alcoholic beverage that combines two ingredients, sugar and yeast. Buying a perfect mead is not that difficult, but you must keep a few things in mind. It can sometimes be cloning, too sugary, or too syrupy, making it undrinkable. Young and brewed meads are both available, depending on your taste. 

But you can also brew at your home. The best place to begin is with traditional mead, with no fruits or spices. If you want to buy mead, you should also smell it before buying it.

How To Store Mead Properly?  

Whenever we buy any alcohol, perfectly storing them is very important. Every alcoholic drink has a different method of storing. After opening, a classic mead does not need to be refrigerated since it contains a lot of alcohol.

It’s fine to keep it in the pantry; just make sure the bottle is firmly sealed. If you want the mead’s quality to last longer, refrigerate it. The best flavors are obtained from mead when stored for three to six months. It can also be stored longer than this period, but the flavor will not hit the spot.

Health Benefits Of Mead 

Pouring mead

A fermented honey beverage, mead or honey wine, is produced from honey. Since it is an alcoholic drink, it does not have many health benefits, but it does have some. It has some healing properties.

Due to its potential microbial content, mead is frequently recommended as a health tonic, and it also has honey in it. It is made from its potential probiotic content. 

Nutritional Content Of Mead 

Mead

Mead is an alcoholic beverage that combines two ingredients, sugar and yeast. Mead is not packed with any kind of nutrients. It has a lot of sugar and carbohydrates in it. Mead does not have any protein or fibers. It has 1130 calories per ( 1 container 6.4.o.z ).

Nutrients Amount (1 Container of Mead 6.4.o.z )Amount
Calories1130 kcal
Carbohydrates127 g
Protein0 g
Sugar127 g
Fat0 g
Sodium0 mg
Magnesium0g
Cholesterol0 mg

Conclusion

We have talked about the flavor, appearance, and benefits of mead. It is an alcoholic drink which is also known as honey wine. True great meads will have a dazzling look and a powerful balance of scent and flavor. After drinking mead, one is left with a rich, particularly sweet honey flavor that leaves a nice fullness on the tongue.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Does Mead Taste Similar To?

Mead tastes like white wine but it depends on the flavor you choose to drink.

Does Mead Give You a Hangover?

Mead has a bad reputation for causing terrible hangovers in the past, but this was also when there were a lot more bad meads. But good meads do not give that much hangover.

Is Mead Bitter Or Sweet?

Mead has some sweetness in it because of honey but it is not completely bitter it has zing on it.

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