Definition - What does Mead mean?

Mead is/was a historic wine made throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. It is also called "honey-wine" and is made with only three ingredients: honey, water and yeast. Some versions, however, also have fruits, grains, spices and hops added. Some meads are also produced using grapes to produce a red wine.

It can be made as a still, dry wine, semi-sweet or sweet and naturally sparkling.

WineFrog explains Mead

The earliest known description of mead (honey-wine) dates back to 1700-1100 B.C.E. It was during the Golden Age of Ancient Greece and in that time, it was the preferred drink.

In northern China, pottery vessels from 7000 B.C.E. showed chemical marks consistent with rice, honey and organic remnants associated with the fermentation process.

Making mead is similar to making wine with grapes. The same yeast is used and the specific gravity is recorded and tracked during fermentation using a hydrometer. The flavors of mead vary depending on where the honey is sourced but also depending on the additives utilized, such as spices and fruit. Some common spices used may be nutmeg, cloves and/or cinnamon. Herbs like lavender, hops and chamomile are also added.

Some meads are fermented with grape juice and can be red wines. This is called pyment.

Some producers market sweet wine which is flavored with honey and call it "meade," but the fermentation is not done with honey, but rather other sugars.

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