An Introduction to Mead
Most simply, mead is a wine made with honey. It is fermented with three basic ingredients: honey, water, and yeast. However, there are many different styles of mead, which are based on the basic ingredients (e.g., honey) and flavorings (e.g., herbs, spices) added, degree of sweetness, alcoholic strength, degree of carbonation, and even country of origin.
According to wikipedia, mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains, or hops. The alcohol content ranges from about 3.5% ABV to more than 20%. The defining characteristics of mead is that the majority of the beverage's fermentable sugar is derived from honey. It may be still, carbonated, or naturally sparkling; dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.
Most of the meads that we make at Waldmet Cellars blur the lines between the traditional styles listed below. Our recipes highlight the ingredients and overall sensory experience, over adhering to a specific style. We also include ingredients that essentially create a new style of mead. Sweet sorghum syrup, or sorghum molasses, for example. If you use honey and maple syrup in a mead, you'd have an Acerglyn. But if you use honey and sorghum syrup, wouldn't it be a Sorglyn?
Basic styles of mead
This list is far from exhaustive, as there are so many styles of mead. But it should serve as a good foundation to illustrate the possible variety that mead has to offer.
Plain mead with not spices or fruit added
Mead made with fruit added
Carbonated mead, which is usually bottle conditioned
Mead with a very high honey content and alcohol by volume
Mead made with malted grain
Mead made with grapes or grape juice added
Mead made with honey and apple cider
Mead made with spices added
Mead made in a way that it matures quickly
Mead designed to be aged for several years
Mead made with caramelized honey