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Common Myths about Mead

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

Myth #1 - Isn't Mead Very Sweet?

Answer: Can be, might be, but not necessarily.

It's easy to understand why this would be a myth, especially with people who may never have tried a well made mead. Honey is incredibly sweet---much sweeter than the varietal grapes used to make a Chardonnay for example. In fact, honey is so sweet that it will not ferment until it is mixed with water and the sugar content is thereby diluted. The sugar content of raw honey is in fact toxic to most microbes.

However, mead has historically been all over the map when it comes to sweetness, and this has never been more true than in the current explosion of creative recipe ideas in this craft beverage niche. We sell a Traditional Sweet Mead which has a similar sugar content to commercial Moscato wines, and also a Traditional NTS (not too sweet) that would be closer to a Reisling or Pinot Grigio. Our Muskipye blend of Mead with Muscadine and Blackberries is in fact as dry as your typical Cabernet or Red Zinfandel wine.

Myth #2 - Isn't Mead Usually Very High in Alcohol Content?

Answer: Can be, might be, but not necessarily.

I was surprised to be asked this question recently by a person unfamiliar with our drink. If this misconception exists, it might be due to Hollywood and TV portrayals of drunken vikings. In fact, honey is difficult to ferment beyond typical wine strength due to it having a lack of nutrients for the yeast.

That being said, as with sugar content, alcohol content is all over the map with Mead. We sell Session Level Meads that have 5 - 6% alcohol. Our wine strength Meads range from 11 to 15%. Other Mead makers produce drinks called hydromels that have less than 5% alcohol, and Dansk produces fortified Meads in excess of 20% alcohol.

Myth #3 - Mead is a Viking Drink

Answer: Yes, but...

...the fact is that different versions of Mead have been enjoyed in ages past on every continent. Mead is believed to be, on good evidence, the first fermented drink enjoyed by humans, only being replaced by grape wines and grain beers in the Mediterranean coastal regions after the Neolithic Revolution (the advent of organized farming). Mead did hang on into the Middle Ages as the drink of choice in Northern Europe because the climate was not as conducive to growing grapes and excess cereals for beer. This included not only the Scandinavian countries, but also the peoples of Briton, Spain, Germany and France. Eventually, easier modes of travel and trade made access to Mediterranean wines more feasible to Northern Europe, and Mead fell out of favor.

We are now witnessing the revival of this ancient drink.

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