I know nothing about mead. What does mead taste like? Dry or sweet.
Jerre — TN
This is a very loaded question because there are is such a wide varieties of meads. There are meads made with herbs or spices added in addition to the honey (metheglin). There are meads made with the fruit (melomel). You can mix honey with apple juice to make a cyser. You can also mix honey with grape juice to make a pyment. This list goes on and on. This makes it hard to answer the question: “What does mead taste like?”
Not all honey is the same, either. What the bees use to spin the honey can make a great difference. There’s apple blossom honey, clover honey, buckwheat honey, tupelo honey… Again, the list is endless. The source of nectar will have an effect on the resulting mead. The cheapest, generic honey will be wild flower honey.
Just like any wine, mead can be made sweet or dry. This is completely up to you, based on your personal preference. It is simply a matter of sweetening to taste at bottling time with sugar, more honey, or anything else you’d like to experiment with. A wine stabilizer (potassium sorbate) should be added at the same time to prevent the chance of a re-fermentation in the bottle.
The point here is that there are an extremely wide range of flavors that can be experienced when drinking meads. For this reason putting a good description as to what a mead tastes like is almost impossible. It is similar to the question, “what does a grape wine taste like?” The flavors vary to greatly to encapsulate in a few words or paragraphs and there is nothing to accurately compare it to.
Here’s what I will say, all meads do have a subtle core flavor or character that can be identified. There is a flavor of honey. If it is a dry mead, imagine what honey would taste like without the sweet. Now take that flavor and imagine what it would taste like with the heat of alcohol. This is the best possible way I can think of to answer the question, what does a mead taste like? However ,I do confess that this is completely inadequate.
If you need more description than this, I would suggest buying a bottle. Actually taste a mead for yourself before expending time and effort on making your own mead. There is no other way to really know what a mead tastes like other than to try if for yourself. In my personal experience there is nothing to hate about a mead. I find most meads very pleasant and some even interesting. I also like to use honey two back-sweeten my other wine or to raise the potential alcohol of my other wines. Here’s a mead recipe to get you started.
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.