Mead Styles

Mead and other honey brews are classified as follows:

Throughout the rest of this book, I'll be lumping most of these styles together as meads, although a few recipes will be identified more exactly.

Few of these styles have survived into modern times, due to the rise in popularity of beer. The chief factor in the ascent of beer and the decline of mead was that the ingredients for beer could be cheaply and easily grown and combined. In contrast, the herbs and spices in gruits were comparatively expensive, and, as stated above, the recipes for gruits were often kept secret. Also, the cost of keeping bees and collecting honey compared unfavorably with that of producing barley malt or grapes. (A decline in the amount of forested areas for producing honey further contributed to its drop in production.)

The honey meads that you found in stores when this was initially written were most likely overly sweet drinks, many of which are made by the addition of honey to neutral grain spirits. There were a few brands of true mead available, but for the most part, the only way to have a good mead was to make it yourself. Thankfully that has changed in the decades since.

Enough history for now. On to brewing mead.


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