Mead StylesA short guide to some of the many styles of mead
Most of our meads are not traditional meads, which are made with only honey, water, and yeast. Since we usually use fresh pressed apples instead of water to ferment our meads, we produce cysers, which are meads made with apples or apple juice. Another type of mead is a metheglin, which uses added herbs or spices.
A melomel is a mead that uses fruit or fruit juices. Of course, to be mead, it still has to be fermented with 51% or more honey sugars. The sharp-eyed might notice that this makes cysers a type of melomel, as cysers are based on apples, which are a fruit.
Braggots or brackets are a unique type of mead, as they are produced from mixing malted grains or beers with mead. They are difficult to find, as most meaderies must hold both a brewery and winery license to be able to sell them.
Sweetness, Carbonation, and Strength
Like other beverages, you can classify meads based on their sweetness: dry, semi-sweet, or sweet. While fruitiness and body can be related to sweetness, the actual sweetness determination is based on the residual sugar in the mead, and mead can be produced that taste anywhere between bone dry and cloyingly sweet. We generally produce semi-sweet and sweet meads.
Similarly, carbonation levels include still, petillant, and sparkling meads. Still meads are not carbonated, but may have light bubbles. Petillant meads may have moderate carbonation, and sparkling meads can range from a mouth-filling feeling to the volume of bubbles you’d find in champagne or soda.
The strength of a mead is based on its alcohol content; hydromels or session meads have the lowest alcohol content, standard meads are moderate, and sack meads are the strongest.
Grapes and Spices
There are many subcategories of melomels involving grapes and spices. For example, if you add grapes or grape juice to your mead, it’s a pyment (and also a melomel). If you take that pyment and add spices, you create hippocras.
Many specialized categories of mead exist, as you can ferment most edibles in mead. For instance, acerglyn is mead made with maple syrup, capsimel or capsicumel is made with hot peppers, morat is made with mulberries, and rhodomel is made with rose petals or hips.