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    How Long Does Mead Last? (Opened, Unopened & Expiry)

    How Long Does Mead Last

    Mead, for those of you not in the know, is a fermented drink made from yeast, honey and water.

    Mead is such a traditional way of fermenting drinks that it has often been referred to as the Drink of the Gods. Quite the claim to fame.

    So tradition aside, how long does Mead last?

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    How Long Does Mead Last?

    Generally, an unopened bottle of Mead can be stored for 4 to 5 years. While an opened bottle of Mead lasts 1-5 days. The shelf life of Mead varies depending on its style (light or dark) and whether the bottle is opened or unopened. 

    How Long Does Mead Last Opened?

    Shelf Life of Opened Mead Bottle

    Credit: Bottle of Traditional Mead From Lyme Bay Winery

    Mead comes in lots of shapes and sizes so this really depends on the style of Mead you’ve currently got opened. 

    Lighter styles of Mead, with a lower alcohol percentage to match, won’t last as long as darker styles of Mead which often tend to have a higher ABV.

    • So try and drink light and low alcohol styles of Mead with 1 day after they’re opened, to make sure they’re at their best.
    • For darker and more alcoholic styles you’ve got a little more time, but dry and drink them within 3-5 days of opening.

    Always check in with the instructions on the label if you’re not sure.

    But what about unopened bottles?

    How Long Does Mead Last Unopened?

    Unopened Mead Shelf Life

    Treat your unopened Mead like your favourite bottles of unopened wine and try to consume within 4-5 years of purchasing.

    And exactly the same as with wine, the better you store your Mead, the longer it is your Mead is likely to last you. 

    So how can you store your Mead to keep it fresher for longer?

    How To Store Opened Mead 

    So you’ve got an opened bottle of Mead that you’re not going to finish this evening.

    Not to worry, Just like all wines, we can recommend storing your opened Mead in the fridge with a stopper. 

    Doing so will help to keep the oxygen at bay for as long as possible, preserving the freshness and flavour of the Mead in the process.

    Related Guide: Is Mead Sweet?

    So should unopened Mead be stored in the same way?

    How To Store Unopened Mead

    Storing Unopened Mead

    The key to storing unopened bottles of mead is to keep them as undisturbed as possible, treat them like a sleeping friend.

    This means no exposure to light, cool and consistent temperatures and away from loud noises or vibrations.

    This should keep your mead happy for longer periods of time. 

    So if you keep your Mead in these careful conditions, does that mean mead won’t go bad? 

    Does Mead Go Bad?

    Even the sturdiest of drinks can go bad, and Mead is unfortunately no exception, which is why it’s so important to store it well.

    Here at Expert Wine Storage we sell everything you need to make sure you’re storing your bottles in the best conditions possible.

    So if you have any questions about wine or about mead don’t hesitate to get in touch.

    So how can you tell if your Mead has gone bad?

    How Can You Tell If Mead Has Gone Bad?

    Ways To Test If Mead Has Gone Bad

    If you have a sparkling Mead on your hands then a sure sign it has gone bad is if the carbonation is no longer there. 

    When it comes to still Mead, look out for weird smells or unpleasant flavours. Cloudiness or haziness and a complete change of colour is also a telltale sign that your Mead has gone bad. 

    But can a fridge help to keep your Mead fresher for longer?

    Do You Keep Opened Mead In The Fridge?

    Storing Mead In The Fridge


    When you've opened your Mead simply put a stopper in the bottle to reduce the oxygen impact, place it back in the fridge and, depending on the style, your mead should be drinkable for up to 4-5 days. 

    No extra steps necessary.

    So does that mean unopened Mead should go in the fridge, too?

    Related: Should Mead Be Chilled?

    Do You Keep Unopened Mead In The Fridge?

    Wine Fridge

    Your unopened bottles, whether they’re a wine like Chardonnay or honey-fermented like Mead, don’t always have to go in the fridge. Save the space for important things like the cheese you plan on serving alongside them. 

    So keep any unopened bottles of Mead somewhere cool and dark and they can happily reside there for months, if not years.

    If your Mead has a cork try to store it on its side if you can.

    This will stop the cork from drying out and save your Mead from spoiling too soon. 

    So does Mead have a use by date?

    Does Mead Expire? 

    Mead may be the drink of the Gods, but like many man-made things in life, the freshness and flavour of Mead will diminish over time.

    Remember it’s always better to drink your Mead a little too early than far too late, so why not gather some friends and crack open that bottle this weekend.

    All in the name of waste management!

    Summary of How Long Does Mead Last

    Here's a summary of all you need to know about how long Pinot Noir Lasts:

    Topic Information
    Opened Mead Lasts up to 5 days after opening for darker Meads or just 1 day for lighter varieties
    Unopened Mead Can last 4-5 years in cellar conditions
    Storing Opened Mead
    • Use a stopper or cork
    • Keep in a cool, dark place
    • Avoid exposure to light and vibrations
    Storing Unopened Mead Store in a cool, dark place with minimal vibrations and noise
    Mead Going Bad Over time, Mead will go bad and become undrinkable
    Signs of Bad Mead
    • Change in appearance (brown, hazy and sediment)
    • Off-smelling aromas
    • Vinegar-like taste
    Keeping Opened Mead
    • Slight chilling is beneficial, but domestic fridges may be too cold
    Keeping Unopened Mead Avoid prolonged storage in domestic fridges, opt for cool, dark conditions
    Mead Expiration No set expiry date, but it will eventually become undrinkable

    Before You Go... 

    Wine Barrels

    We hope this provides you all the information you may need on how long does Mead last?

    Interested to know more about how long wine lasts? Check out our full guide here:

    How Long Does Wine Last

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    philip thompson Author: Philip Thompson
    Philip is the General Manager at Expert Wine Storage, and is very knowledgable about all things relating to wine and wine storage, including wine fridges. He is regularly featured in media outlets sharing his knowledge on wine. Connect on Linkedin