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Friday, December 19, 2014

Mead Categories

I've been curious about the various types of mead, but nobody has answered my questions well enough until now. (I suppose I could've done a Google or Wikipedia search, but it wouldn't have been have as much fun as walking around with a mystery. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

Anyhoo, my DH gave me a copy of Ken Schramm's book The Compleat Meadmaker awhile ago, and I just started reading it. [Note: beekeeping is the gateway hobby. You start by keeping bees (and if you're a TBH person, this probably involves taking up some basic woodworking, too), but then you begin gardening (or expanding if you already have a garden). Next, you start researching wild flowers and trees. Then it's finding recipes for honey, candlemaking, cooking up beauty potions and whatever else you can do with wax. Eventually, one comes around to mead, too.)

I'm still only up to page 20, so I won't discuss the book, but I do like how he defines all the various types of mead. I won't list all the types, but here is a basic description of the kinds that I normally see.
  • Traditional mead: Generally describes mead made only with honey, yeast, and water. However, some people contend that Anglo-Saxon post-Renaissance meads contains small amounts of additional flavorings
  • Show mead: A distinction made in some competitions. Mead made with only honey, yeast, and water -- no additional flavorings
  • Sack mead, or sack: A strong, sweet mead
  • Melomel: A mead made with fruit
    • Cyser: A melomel made with apples, apple juice, or cider
    • Pyment: A melomel made with grapes or grape juice. Can also refer to a wine that has been fermented with or sweetened with honey
      • Hippocras: A pyment that has spices added to it
  • Metheglin: Mead fermented or flavored with herbs or spices
  • Braggot, bragot, or bracket: Mead made with malted grain, usually malted barley
He also defines some terms for mead used in ancient/foreign cultures, but these terms are the ones I encounter most frequently. It's nice to know what I've been drinking.

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