Do you think honey couldn’t make you drunk? Then try checking out the different types of mead, an alcoholic beverage that is mainly made out of honey, water and yeast. It is also incorporated with other ingredients such as various fruits, spices, grains, or hops, and sometimes referred to as honey wine.
Different Types of Mead
How old Is Mead
Mead is considered as one of the world’s oldest alcoholic beverages. It is dated in the ancient cultures of China, India, Greece and Egypt, and has lived its long and glorious history. 4000 years ago, earliest documentary evidence suggests that a fermented honey beverage was drunk in India.
There are also claims that the oldest known record of mead is the Sanskrit Rig-Veda of Ancient India. It can also be noted that there are writings of Plato where it was mentioned the Greeks practiced mead making as well. The oldest claim would be the historical mead recipe that originated at the Island of Crete 8,000 years ago.
Is Distilled Mead Legal
To come up with a mead, you would need to ferment honey with water. Just like other alcoholic beverages, other ingredients would be added to add some flavor. That includes fruits, spices, grains, hops and other ingredients with sweet flavors.
You can also achieve that brandy or liqueur strength by distilling mead. However, it is important to note that not all countries around the world are legalizing the production of distilled mead. The United States and the United Kingdom are the two most dominant countries with highly regulated production of this alcoholic drink.
There are various reasons why distilled mead is not legal in those countries. It boils down to the different methods of manufacturing, that include ingredients, the aging process, and brewing methods. Though there is a regulation that meads that are freeze distilled can be served in the UK and other states in the US.
That involves partially freezing the mead and pouring it once it unfreezes, similar to honey jack or more like the applejack from cider. This process though, will intensify the strength of the liquor with double and triple the normal strength.
Types of Mead
Now that you have some idea about mead or honey wine, let’s dig deeper into the different types of mead and their description.
Mulled mead is very popular to be served during holidays, especially in colder regions. If you want to know where to buy some of the best mulled mead around the world, check out the Three Broomsticks Inn, in Hogsmeade. You can also check the Leaky Cauldron, in London.
If you are looking for a sweet mead flavored like a late harvest ice wine or a barley wine, then get the sack mead. Sack meads are strong and a sweet mead, since they are made out of extra honey to create more fermentable sugar.
Sack mead can be considered as the dessert wine of meads due to its sweet taste. It can have an ABV from 14% up to 18%.
The real mead or traditional mead is naturally sweet. It comes in the simplest form and is made with the three major ingredients, which are honey, water and yeast.
Traditional mead’s sweetness is medium with a texture comparable to sherry, but with a distinct tone of honey.
Unlike the other types of mead that are served warm, this type of mead is best served chilled. Sparkling meads have that perfect balance of acidity that provides perfect sensation.
Those who want a lower alcohol content should get the short mead. This low alcohol mead has only 5% alcohol by volume ratio (low abv mead).
Short mead may have a short fermentation process, as what the name suggests, it may only take two to six months to be fermented. The bottling procedure will need another six months and these bottles should be untouched during that time.
The whole process to produce a good quality of short meads may take up to 8 months or longer. Berry juices are often added to add some flavor to these meads.
White mead is simply a traditional mead that has been transformed to a white color. There are several versions and recipes to achieve that product.
To create white mead, herbs, fruit or egg whites are used with diluted honey to achieve that white color.
Black mead is a fruity mead made from black currants and honey. Compared to the other types of mead, it is dryer, light bodied and produces that earthy and tangy flavor from the currants.
If you will have the aged mead from American Oak aging, you might get a spicy kick on it. Some mead variants of this type are also created, including the maple syrup black mead. It is also served at room temperature, just like serving dry red wine.
One of the meads with the shortest fermentation process, the quick mead is drinkable within 2 and a half months only. Once the solution is cleared, it is good to drink this mead.
However, the quality would also improve if the aging process is extended. The ABV strength of this mead is also the same as Champagne, which is why it is a low ABV mead.
Ethiopian meads are honey wines that are brewed and consumed in Ethiopia and Eritrea. They are fond of blending honey with berry juice, hops-like herbs and often made at home.
This mead is also served in a flask-like pitcher or bottle, called a berele. This is also called Tej and is a famous alcoholic beverage in Ethiopia.
Dwojniak Polish Mead
This type of mead is produced from a mixture of summer and autumn wild honey. Some aromatic home-grown herb blends honey very, that is why they are usually added into the beverage.
This mead is stored and aged in stoneware and glass bottles. Its ABV should be 15% at most. This mead may taste dry or sweet, depending on how long it has been aged.
How To Create Your Own Mead
Those are just some of the most common meads that you can find around the world. But there is a way on how you can make this beverage at home. You just need to have the right equipment and get the ingredients to start making your own mead.
A bucket/container for fermentation, bottles to store the product, sterilizers, good quality honey, a pack of wild yeast (or other yeasts), water, and some fruit. For the recipe, there are few that you can find online.
Basic method would only need you to combine honey and water together in a container of choice. Then you add the mead yeast and some sort of additional fruit mead ingredients to the honey water mixture.
Fit the airlock to your vessel and wait until the bubbling stops. That indicates that the first fermentation is finished. Second fermentation can be done, if you prefer to do so.