What Is Mead?
NINJA-LEVEL MEAD SKILLS 101
Here’s a few tips to help you along your way on your path to mead enlightenment. Soon you’ll be bathed in the light of mead knowledge and your friends, colleagues and admirers are all going to be super impressed. Prepare for unexpected high-fives from random people.
- Mead is an alcoholic beverage which is made from honey…but we can use all sorts of other ingredients as well. Pretty much everything except malt - that’s for people that make beer.
- MEAD IS NOT CIDER…that’s pretty simple. Just look at the label for cider and it will say “cider”. There is a style of mead that is made with apple cider called a CYSER but it is still not cider. Meaderies can and do make cider but don’t be misled in thinking that just because it’s made by a meadery it is a mead - - “informed consumer you now are”
- Mead does NOT have to be super sweet, super fruity, high alcohol and/or something you can only drink a few ounces of in a sitting. I mean…that’s ok if it is. But don’t let others sway you here…it does not HAVE to be.
- Even though it’s the world’s oldest fermented beverage the mead category is still in its early stages when it comes to awareness. Today’s mead is a wide range of styles, flavor and sweetness. You wouldn’t write off craft beer because you had a porter you didn’t like one time…explore the category!
- Just like malts in beer or grape varieties in wine, the honey varietal used in mead can lead to different flavors, colors and aromas all depending on what nectar source the bee visited - - crazy right!?
- Still mead is mead that is not sparkling...these are usually 12% alcohol and higher.
- Session mead is mead that is under 7% and sparkling...ours are usually 6% alcohol (although we're not fans of "categories" and sometimes make imperial session meads that are 10%...I know...we're rebels).
And now...the ubiquitous list of mead categories for your personal edification
Traditional mead consists of honey, water, and yeast. Traditionals allow the chosen honey to be showcased and the drinker to explore the characteristics of that honey. Tupelo, Clover, Orange Blossom, the list is long...there is a wide array of varietal honey available each with it's own unique flavor and aroma characteristics.
Melomels are mead crafted using fruit, honey, water and yeast. Fresh and local: any fruit can be used but we tend to stick to fruits that we can source locally to ensure the freshest and best product possible. We build relationships with our vendors and often times find ourselves hauling a trailer load of cider or blueberries back from their family operations. Ask us, we'd love to share with you how to find these great local farms.
Metheglins are mead crafted using spices and/or herbs, honey, water and yeast. Cinnamon, vanilla and hibiscus are just a few examples of the countless ingredients we can use. The name "metheglin" finds it origins in the welshtranslation "medicine" where these herbal elixirs were seen as have healing powers. We can't vouch for medicinal qualities but can say that a good metheglin is tough to beat.
Pyments are mead crafted using wine grapes, honey, water, and yeast. While being a type of melomel pyments are worth noting for their combination of elements of both wine and mead. While using red or white grapes honey is used to create something that is truly unique.
Cysers are mead crafted using apple cider, honey, and yeast. Being in Northeast Ohio we are in a prime location for some of the best tasting and freshest apple cider around. With our local sources we are usually able to begin a cyser fermentation within a day or two of the cider being pressed. With the number of apple and honey varieties available there is an endless array of flavors to create.
Hydromels are mead crafted to have less than or equal to 7.5% alcohol content. Made to be more drinkable than other mead styles hydromels are often carbonated and can be found in both bottles and kegs. Hydromels can incorporate any of the above mead styles as well.