Written by: Tim Edison

Updated: July 13, 2023

What Does Mead Taste Like?

What Does Mead Taste Like ?

The “Nectar of the Gods”, the famous “Ambrosia”, the most beloved drink in the Greek mythology and probably the oldest alcoholic drink on Earth.

I’m talking about mead, a drink made of three simple ingredients: water, honey, and yeast.

Also known as honey wine, mead is a really ancient drink, much more ancient than wine or beer.

But despite being so old, mead is almost (if not completely) unknown to many people.

The first question that comes to mind when hearing about mead for the first time is: what does mead taste like?

If you would like to make your own mead but you are unsure about the taste, read on. We will not only reveal more about this delicious drink, but we will also tell you what taste to expect.

Mead – A Short History

Deep Honey

Mead, essentially a drink made by the fermentation of honey and water, it is believed to be the first alcoholic drink ever produced by humans.

It is extremely simple to make and there is evidence that ancient people, such as the Romans, the Greeks, and the Egyptians were drinking it a few thousands of years ago.

However, around 1000 BC, mead has been replaced by wine.

Some Roman writers, such as Appius, describe the honey drink in their writings as a drink for the rich.

The masses of people started to prefer the more accessible grape drink. Until the Middle Ages, mead almost disappeared, being used only in the Northern Europe during rituals.

Nevertheless, this delicious drink did not go forever. More and more people are slowly starting to discover its interesting flavor again, and the passionate winemakers start are producing it.

A Little About How Mead is Made

Mead, despite being made through a fermentation process exactly like wine, beer, and cider, is not at all similar to any of these drinks.

First of all, mead has a higher sugar concentration compared to wine.

For this reason, after the main fermentation process is finished and after the drink is bottled, there is a probability of having a second or even third fermentation.

First of all, mead has a higher sugar concentration compared to wine. For this reason, after the main fermentation process is finished and after the drink is bottled, there is a probability of having a second or even third fermentation.

These additional fermentations will determine the final taste of the drink, and you will be able to notice this process in the form of a “chain” of bubbles that rises when the bottle is shaken.

In addition, if you will open a bottle, you will hear the typical sound of sparkling drinks and the enjoyable tickle to the palate when drinking.

So, if you notice that the mead is sparkling, don’t worry too much. Your drink will still be delicious. After all, mead is a home-made drink and doesn’t have to respond to any industrial standards.

Secondly, know that mead can have different colors. The color can change over time, as a consequence of the maturation process, or because of the different characteristics of the honey used.

During the maturation process, you could also notice a deposit on the bottom of the bottles. This is perfectly normal and has no influence on the quality of the drink.

However, you will need to check your mead periodically. The mead making process is simple but delicate and you should treat this drink with special attention and care.

What Does Mead Taste Like?

And we finally got to the main question: what does mead taste like?

That is really a good question that can have multiple answers. Because mead can have a wide range of flavors, nuances and aftertastes.

To answer the question, we will first tell you what mead doesn’t taste like.

First of all, the mead produced in our century will definitely not taste like the mead produced by ancient Romans. It tastes way better.

This is because the modern recipe include the use of high-quality yeasts, which weren’t available back then.

On the other hand, if made with poor quality products or with the wrong technique, it is very unlikely to get an excellent taste. The honey used for the production of mead must be of the best quality.

Also, taste the honey before starting to make the mead, because it will determine the final taste of the drink.

The water used for the production is equally fundamental for the quality of your mead. Experts recommend the use of rainwater. If you don’t feel like gathering it, you can use spring water or distilled water, but don’t make mead with tap water. Never.

If you used only high-quality ingredients, your mead will probably have a heavenly taste. But remember that the final taste will always be influenced by the maturation process as well as the taste of the primary ingredients.

Mead can be sweet and sparkling or extremely dry, depending on how long you wait before opening the bottle.

If you like sweet wines, or if you want to serve your mead with dessert, a two-year-old mead should be perfect. The drink should have a fresh floral taste with hints of honey and with a low alcohol concentration.

Due to the effects of the second fermentation, you might even drink a sparkling mead.

With the passing of time, mead will become drier and drier. However, if you wish to drink a dry mead, you will probably have to wait for a really long time before tasting a drop of your “nectar”.

Mead Tasting

Mead Drink

Mead tasting is very similar to wine tasting and begins with smelling the drink.

The scent of a young mead is disruptive, standing out the genuine fragrance of honey and ferment, which resembles the scent of alcohol.

With maturation, the scents become softer, so you will be able to smell a more complex range of fragrances.

However, the primary scent will always derive from honey. The secondary scent is given by the fermentation and the tertiary scent is given by the maturation.

To feel the fresh and pleasant taste, mead should be consumed at a temperature between 43-46 degrees Fahrenheit. And to perceive the fragrance, it is recommended to use a swirling glass.

In general, for a very young mead of fourteen months or less, the predominant taste is fresh and floral, dictated by the honey’s primary taste. With maturation, the floral freshness is tempered, the drink becoming drier.

So what does mead taste like? Difficult to say. Mead is one of the most versatile drinks and it is difficult to find two drinks with the same taste.

You can change its taste using different qualities of honey, or leaving it to mature. You can even add some extra flavors to this heavenly drink, by adding fruits or spices in the production process.

So if you want to find out what mead tastes like, you should make your own and taste it. It’s as easy as one, two, three!

Have you ever made or tasted mead before? If not, would you try it? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think about this drink and why do you like it.

If you like this post, please share it with your friends. It doesn’t cost you anything, and maybe your friends will discover what does mead taste like too!

Now, go have a glass of mead! Cin-cin!


1. History of Mead - Beer100.com

2. Mead Is Making a Comeback - Eater.com


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About the Author Tim Edison

Tim started Wine Turtle way back in 2015.
These days he contributes to Wine Turtle (and other renowned wine publications) while continuing his wine education.
Tim's wine of the month is the Coates & Seely Reserve Brut NV (from Hampshire, England).

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