Mead has to be one of the more creative beverages that a brewer can make. What’s cool about mead is at its core mead is pretty simple. It consist of: Honey, water, and yeast. What you can do with it is endless though.
There are five different styles of mead, with in these styles there are sub categories. In the future especially over the summer I will be posting mead recipes up, but wanted to give the 101 on mead first.
Before we dive into the different types of meads I would like to point out that making mead can be a little pricey because of the main ingredient, honey. So many mead makers make smaller batches (1 gallon and 3 gallon batches). Sooner or later though, mead makers start to get the itch to have their own honey production and that’s where two hobbies combine.
Many beekeepers started off as mead makers. When your hive can produce 50 lbs to 100 lbs of honey in a season it’s no wonder why the hobby of beekeeping is intriguing to mead makers. If you are interested in bee keeping check out your local bee club (yes there are bee clubs). In NoVA we have the Prince William Bee Club an BANV . Check out to see your different beekeeping clubs that are local, my guess is that there is one that is fairly close to you and normally beekeepers much like homebrewers are willing to help a newbie get started.
That last point that I would like to make is more of an observation. What I’ve seen is that a lot of homebrewers switch over to making mead after having kids. The reason is, mead doesn’t take nearly as much time in consideration to standing over a pot of boil wort and waiting for the process to be done. With exception to the bottling process mead is pretty quick and you let it sit and ferment for most of the time. So if you are planning on having kids soon or recently just had a kid and are trying to figure out how you can still stay active in the hobby – my suggestion would be that you might want to check out the world of mead.
Dry meads have little to no flavoring from honey. They typically contain 2.5 lbs of honey per gallon of mead.
This is the most historic style of mead. This mead is sweeter than any of the other styles of mead. Typically sack meads have honey as the only flavor. The honey content is usually 4 lbs per gallon of mead.
This is the quickest style of mead to make. It contains much less honey than the other styles. This style has 1 lb of honey per gallon of mead. The best way to think of this style of mead is it’s more like an ale then a wine.
Methelgin’s are pretty close to sack meads. They have complex flavors but you add herbs and spices to them. When adding the spices and herbs they can also be called, “Gruits”.
Adding fruit to a mead and having the fruit flavor as the primary flavor is called a melomel.
Having this information will be able to help distinguish between the different styles of mead that are out there. My plan is by the end of the summer having a few recipes on these different styles of mead as well as the opportunity to make all of these different styles of mead.