Is Mead Sweet? (Quick Guide)

    Is Mead Sweet? (Quick Guide)

    Made with honey it can be easy to assume that Mead naturally makes a sweet tipple.

    But is that always the case?

    How sweet is Mead?

    And how does Mead compare to wine and beer in terms of sweetness?

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    Is Mead Dry or Sweet?

    Mead Drink

    Depending on the honey used and the amount of time the mead was allowed to ferment, mead can come in a range of off-dry to sweet styles

    You see, just because sweet honey is used to make Mead doesn’t mean that the sugar will survive the fermentation process and a lot of that sweetness will get fermented into alcohol. 

    Here is a list of different types of sweet mead and the ingredients used to make them:

    Mead Type Description
    Traditional Classic sweet mead made with honey and water.
    Melomel Sweet mead with added fruits, such as berries.
    Cyser Sweet mead made with honey and apple juice.
    Pyment Sweet mead made with honey and grape juice.
    Morat Sweet mead made with honey and mulberry juice.
    Metheglin Sweet mead infused with spices and herbs.
    Bochet Sweet mead made with caramelized or toasted honey.
    Rhodomel Sweet mead with the addition of rose petals.
    Acerglyn Sweet mead made with honey and maple syrup.
    Hippocras Sweet mead spiced with cinnamon and cloves.

    So why can Mead come in so many styles of sweetness? What works to make Mead sweet?

    Why Is Mead Sweet?  

    Sweet Mead Ingredients

    Unlike wine, where grape juice is the only ingredient, mead is a medley of honey, water and yeast.

    The amount of honey used in ratio to water and the amount of time the yeast is allowed to ferment that honey into alcohol will dictate the final sweetness level of the finished Mead.

    The more honey used and the shorter time the yeast is left to ferment the sweeter the Mead will be.

    Related Guide: How Long Does Mead Last?

    Both of these factors mean that Mead can come in a whole range of sweetness, which is partly what makes it such an exciting drink to taste.

    So, sweetness aside, what does Mead taste like?

    What Does Mead Taste Like?

    Mead tends to taste a little more like a wine than a beer, think of a cross between an off-dry glass of white wine and a very complex and aromatic sherry.

    Related Guide: Should Mead Be Chilled?

    The honey contributes lots of floral, aromatic flavours to the finished mead. But how does Mead compare to other wines?

    Sweetness of Mead Compared to Other Wines

    So if Mead tastes similar to other wines how does Mead compare as a drink?

    Well, to some, Mead can be more of an acquired taste in comparison to wine with honey contributing different tasting notes to those used to purely fermented grapes.

    When it comes to sweetness, both wine and Mead can come in a whole range of styles.

    Because they both use forms of sugar, whether it be honey or grape juice, as a starting point it's then up to the fermentation and the maker to dictate the final sweetness levels.  

    So what overall characteristics can you expect from Mead?

    Mead Characteristics

    Here are some characteristics associated with mead that may help you differentiate it from other wines:

    • Alcohol Levels - Traditional mead tends to be low in alcohol, think 7%ABV, with the capability to reach up to 20% for darker styles.
    • Sweetness Level - As we’ve discussed, Mead can come in all levels of sweetness, from dry to sweet, so it’s really important to check the labels.
    • Acidity Level -There’s a little natural acidity in mead but nothing overly zingy, think soft and smooth instead.
    • Tannin Level - Because there are no grape skins used in mead there are no tannins present in the final product.
    • Body - Meads come in lots of styles, from carbonated lighter bodied styles to richer, darker meads with a little more body to them.

    So how do you know whether a Mead will be sweet or not? What are the sweet types of Mead?

    Sweet Types of Mead

    Mead can come in dry to off-dry to super sweet styles, so it’s important to know what makes a sweet type of Mead and how to tell them apart.

    So always make sure to check the label when you’re buying mead and if in doubt ask the person selling the mead to you for their advice.

    But how does Mead compare to other drinks?

    Is Mead sweeter than wine, for example?

    Is Mead Sweeter Than Wine?

    Mead Vs Wine Sweetness

    Because of the honey used to make Mead it has a reputation as a sweet drink, but how does Mead compare to wine?

    Is Mead sweeter than wine?

    Now this really depends on the Mead and the wine in question, as both of these drinks can cover a whole range of sweetness, so it's always best to check the labels of the specific drinks you have in mind.

    Chances are most mead will be sweeter than most dry wines, but there will be some sweet wines out there capable of giving mead a run for its money!

    So how does this compare to beer?

    Is beer sweeter than Mead?

    Is Mead Sweeter Than Beer?

    Beer Vs Mead Sweetness

    Yes, chances are most mead will taste sweeter than beer.

    The hops present in beer work to add a bitter element to the drink, whilst the honey used in Mead will contribute a softer, sweeter mouthfeel in comparison.

    Why not try the two drinks together and see for yourself?

    Think of it as a fun little sugary science experiment!

    Before You Go... 

    Wine Barrels

    We hope this article answers any questions you may have on Is Mead Sweet?

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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

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