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What is Mead? Dispelling the Myth about an Ancient Drink

When the word Mead is mentioned the first thing that comes to mind is a group of Vikings sitting around a fire quaffing down large mugs of a rough and tough alcoholic beverage. This is the stigma that mead has endured for centuries and it is unwarranted. Mead is an extraordinarily delicate and delicious wine.

To dispel the misconceptions about mead we have to first take a look at the misconceptions about wine. Wine is not an alcoholic beverage that is made from grapes. Wine is a fermented beverage made from any number of food or fruit. You can make wine from just about anything that has a high natural sugar content. This is the definition of wine, and grapes are only one thing that wine is made from. So, once you understand this fundamental thing you can more easily understand mead.

Two carboys of fermenting mead

Mead is a wine fermented with honey and honey is a perfect food for making wine because it is very sweet and stays preserved for long periods of time. The natural sweetness of honey can be used to make extraordinary tasting wine. How many times have you tried a traditional wine and tasted the tartness or the earthiness of the grapes? You don’t get this with mead because there are no grapes, there is no tartness, and of course there is no earthiness.

In Medieval Europe mead was the de-facto drink of choice but it was reserved for special occasions and for royalty or people with wealth. This was because it took a lot of effort to harvest the honey. And this difficulty in production helped mead fall out of favor as the techniques for fermenting wine from grapes were discovered and perfected. It is much easier to grow large numbers of grapes than it is to grow large numbers of beehives. The problem of mead was also further exacerbated by the discovery of how to brew beers from hops and various grains that are even easier to grow.

With beer and grape based wines readily available, and available to the masses, mead quickly became a drink that was almost forgotten. But thankfully this wonderful drink is still made and still enjoyed. If you want to try a wine that is quite distinct from other wines I recommend you give mead a try. You might be surprised.

Amazon now has a whole department of wines and meads Right here: Mead Department on Amazon


Book How to Make a Batch of mead

Love Kindle Books? I just published my kindle book on how to make mead. It is a no-nonsense easy guide to making a batch of mead. You can get it in the kindle store.


pear and pomegranate melomels

New, I and a friend made two wonderful meads (melomels) - a pear and a pomegranate. Just a few pictures and notes on what we did. Simply a lot of fun! See the pics here