Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is mead?

    Mead is wine made from honey - simple as that. It can be sweet or dry, still or sparkling, fruited or unfruited, spiced or unspiced, low or high in alcohol...the possibilities are close to endless. This is clear to anyone who has seen the offerings from even just a handful of meaderies, which run the gamut from dry, low ABV sparkling meads in cans to still, unctuous dessert wines approaching 18% alcohol. If you start with honey and ferment it, it’s mead! At Beacon Meadery, our meads tend to be still (i.e., no carbonation), with alcohol content in the range of 12-16%. Most of them have some residual sugar - though that doesn’t always mean they’re sweet!

  • Is mead beer or wine?

    Legally, mead is wine. Beer is made from sugars extracted from grain through boiling. Mead contains no grain and (usually) does not involve heat.

  • What does mead taste like?

    Mead flavor depends on a number of factors. Different honeys impart different flavors. You should always be able to smell and taste honey to some extent, but will it be the familiar sweetness of American Clover honey, vanilla of a Meadowfoam or something with a little more bitterness like Buckwheat? Yeast can impart flavor in a few ways as well. It can determine how sweet or dry a mead will be by how much alcohol tolerance it can sustain, and different yeasts can produce fruity esters or spicy phenols to complement the honey and other fruits or spices added to the mead. That brings us to the last major factor that can determine flavor, which is additional ingredients (i.e. any fruits or spices).

  • Is mead always sweet?

    Absolutely not. Mead, just like grape wine can be fermented sweet, dry, still or sparkling.

  • How is mead different than traditional wines?

    Traditional wines are fermented with grapes as the primary source of fermentable sugar. Mead, or honey wine, is fermented with honey as the primary source of fermentable sugar.

  • Are there different types of mead?

    There are many types of mead. The list of different terms used for mead over the years and across different countries can get quite long. The most common terms used today are: - Melomel: honey wine with fruit - Cyser: honey wine with apple - Traditional: honey wine with nothing added to showcase the honey and yeast - Bochet: honey wine made using caramelized honey - Metheglin: honey wine made with spices - Hydromel: in the US, this typically refers to a session or low ABV mead, but in French language countries this typically just means honey wine

  • How do you serve mead?

    Dark fruited meads should be served like red wine, at room temperature or slightly chilled in a comfortable glass that permits aromas to concentrate and oxygenation of the wine to occur. Lighter meads, sweeter meads, or traditional can be served slightly chilled in a white wine glass. Then again, there is a time and place when any cup or glass will do.

  • Is mead gluten-free?

    Almost all mead, by design, contains no gluten, as none of the ingredients in mead may contain wheat products. The exceptions are meads aged in barrels that previously held products containing gluten (e.g., beer barrels) and braggots. Braggots can only be produced in the United States by licensed breweries. There is a strict separate licensing requirement wherein grapes, honey, etc., may be added to beer in the brewing process, but grains may not be added to wine without a separate brewing license. We can't guarantee that are products are strictly gluten-free since we have not conducted independent testing. However, our meads are made from gluten-free ingredients: yeast, water, honey, and whole fruit.

  • How much alcohol is in mead?

    Different styles and types of mead will have different levels of alcohol and can range from as little as 5% to as much as 17% alcohol. This is similar to most grape wines. Many honey-wine and mead yeasts are similar to grape wine yeasts, and so create a comparable alcohol profile.

  • Are there any health benefits of mead?

    Every so often an article will reach popular publications about how a glass of wine daily is good for you or how unhealthy alcohol is. To that end, we say that all good things are best enjoyed in moderation.

  • How long does mead last?

    A number of factors can play into how long a bottle can be aged, including ABV, tannins, and the quality of the closure on a bottle. Beacon meads are designed to be enjoyed at the time of release, but we have invested in high quality corks so that if you choose to cellar bottles for enjoyment at a later date, they can be laid down for at least 5 years.

  • Where can I find mead near me?

    Meads can be found at wine, beer, and liquor retailers, depending on your state. As most mead is had limited or regional distribution, the selection will vary. Many meaderies are now offering their [products online](https://www.beaconmead.com/products "Beacon Meadery Meads") to ship throughout the US. Beacon’s Meads can be found locally via [our retailer locator](https://www.beaconmead.com/distribution "Beacon Meadery Distribution") and {shop our meads} to have mead shipped to you and buy meads online.

  • What is the history of mead?

    You will often see references to mead being the oldest beverage in the world, or more specifically to Viking iconography, but the reality is that there is documentation from a number of ancient cultures that mead was enjoyed throughout Europe, Asia and north Africa. The prevailing theory is that mead dates back to hunter-gatherer societies, and that the first meads were created very simply, by placing honey comb into water skins. The simple dilution would allow honey to begin to ferment via yeast naturally occurring in honey, which in comb is typically too inhospitable for fermentation, into a mildly alcoholic beverage. While this is something a person can attempt at home today, modern mead making typically employs a little science to ensure that you end up with something extra delicious.

  • Where do meaderies age their mead?

    The best conditions for aging mead are cool temperaturs (about 55° F/ 13° C) and dry locations, similar to those found in cellars. Mead should kept away from direct sunlight. Collectors and enthusiasts will commonly store mead in a basement or cool closet. Commercial meaderies will age in climate-controlled facilities designed for optimal aging in tanks or bottles, perhaps even in barrels to add flavors. Meads do not all age similarily nor adhere to a specific aging timeline. Beacon's Meads are meant for aging and should be stored in cool and dry areas, safely aging for several years, developing exciting flavor profiles.

  • Beacon's blueberry mead looks red to me, why isn't it blue?

    During the fermentation process, our blueberry mead naturally becomes more acidic. The pigment in blueberries responsible for its characteristic blue hue, peonidin, is very sensitive to pH and turns red as the mead becomes more acidic. This results in a blueberry mead that looks reddish or purplish, but still contains 100% whole North American blueberries.

Beacon Meadery Emblem
Beacon Meadery Emblem

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