The content below is from Episode 97 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast

The audio version will be a few hours behind this blog version as I am recording with someone else. I appreciate your patience.

What Is Mead?

This week’s episode is going to be a little different. Instead of a typed-up script that I follow, I decided to have a conversation with my fiancee about our mead making. This post contains certain points we wanted to touch on during the AUDIO PODCAST, but not a full script.

How To Make Spiced Mead - 5 Best Recipes You Need To Try – Advanced Mixology
  • What is Mead?
    • Wikipedia’s Definition
      • Mead, or fermented honey water, is an alcoholic beverage, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains, or hops. The alcoholic content ranges from about 3.5% ABV to more than 18%. The defining characteristic of mead is that the majority of the beverage’s fermentable sugar is derived from honey.
    • Honey wine
      • Simplest ingredients: Water, Honey, and Yeast
    • Oldest form of alcohol
      • It is referenced in the ancient cultures of China, India, and Egypt. The earliest documentary evidence suggest that a fermented honey beverage was drunk in India some 4000 years ago.
      • NORSE – The Norse drank their mead from intricate drinking horns or in elaborately decorated silver cups. Mead is a simple beverage brewed with honey, water, and yeast. Many regard it as the oldest alcoholic drink known to man, and it has also gone by the names honey wine, ambrosia, or nectar
      • GREEK – The history of mead may go back more than 8,000 years. The oldest known meads were created on the Island of Crete. Wine had not yet been created. Mead was the drink of the Age of Gold, and the word for drunk in classical GREEK remained “honey-intoxicated.”
Sugar substitutes - honey explained | BBC Good Food
  • Different kinds of mead
    • Acerglyn: A sweet mead made with maple syrup.
    • Rhodomel: A mead made with rose petals or rose hips.
    • Capsicumel: For the capsicum lovers, this mead is flavored with chili peppers. It doesn’t always result in a spicy mead, but can lend balance to the sweetness of honey.
    • Braggot: A braggot is a mead that’s closer in style to a beer. Braggots are mixed with beer or brewed with malt or hops. It’s a mead with an identity crisis.
      • When I first got in to mead I started to make Braggot without knowing it was a thing. I went to a local liquor store and got a cheap bottle of mead for around $18 and then I bought a case of expensive IPA’s and mixed the 2.
      • The bitter taste of the IPAs was balanced out by the super sweet mead. It was DELICIOUS… but the hangover was fearce lol.
      • Looking in to Braggot I found historians claim the Vikings used to drink it. Apparently, when a norseman was short on money, but still wanted to party he would mix the expensive mead with cheaper beer to save some coin. Funny how my experience was the opposite with the mead costing less than the IPAs.
    • Coffee Mead: A mead brewed with coffee or espresso beans.
    • Bochet: Meads made with honey that has been previously heated or toasted to add caramelized flavors.
    • Sack Mead: Sack meads, also known as great meads, contain the highest amount of alcohol (14%+) and require the largest amount of honey to produce. These meads pack a lot of flavor and can be similar to full-bodied dessert or even red wines. Because of the high level of alcohol and residual sugar, these meads are better suited to aging and can take quite some time to make! Many will get better after several months, and in some cases, years!
    • Quick Mead: Also known as small meads, are meads that ferment quickly and don’t require a long time to age. These are great when time is of the essence.
    • Hydromel: Hydromels are the lightest meads, and contain the least amount of alcohol, usually between 3.5% to 7.5%. These meads will drink like a light beer and are easy to drink. These meads may also be carbonated and sold in a can; these are commonly called session meads.
      • These meads also contain the least amount of honey. Because the yeast converts the honey into alcohol during fermentation, the amount of honey determines how much alcohol the final mead will contain. Sometimes, hydromels will be created by diluting a standard mead. (A quick side note: while in English hydromels refer to a type of mead, in France and other European countries, this word means the same thing as “mead.”)
Making Medieval Mead like a Viking - YouTube
  • Why you should make mead.
    • To make mead you have to use honey. Bees are what make honey and bees are a lot more beneficial than you might think.
      • These hymenoptera insects, besides providing us with a tasty sweetener, are the most important pollinators on the planet, ahead of birds and bats. A quarter of the flowering plant species depend on them. The overexploitation of agricultural land to feed the human population is causing a decline in the population of these insects, whereas in reality, 70% of these crops depend entirely or partly on their pollination.
      • Without bees, humans would not survive.
      • But if you make mead then you are helping the bee industry, because you have to buy a lot of honey to make mead.
      • So you are boozing it up, but for a good cause lol
    • It is completely Legal to make mead in all states. Individual states remain free to restrict or prohibit the manufacture of beer, mead, hard cider, wine and other fermented alcoholic beverages at home.
      • Now selling it is different. You need to jump through all kinds of hoops like getting a permit to sell alcohol.
      • But if you just want to drink it yourself or give away for free, that is totally legal…
        • This is because the government wants their cut of the profits if you are making money off of it.
What is Mead? "Nectar of the Gods" – Crafty Nectar
  • Why isn’t mead more popular?
    • The bee population is dwindling due to the use of pesticides and other farming techniques. So, meaderies are having to produce their own honey and that can be very tough nowadays.
      • But you can help change that by making your own mead!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s