Is Mead Sweet?
Mead has a reputation for being extremely sweet. Many people are hesitant to even try it after having tasted one of those syrupy-sweet honey wines that so many commercial meaderies make. People assume that it’s sweet just because it was made from honey. What they don’t realize is that the sugar in the honey gets fermented and turned into alcohol, just like the sugar in grapes. Whether the final product is sweet or not is up to the mead maker. People have even asked us if mead is thick like honey. That of course is not the case, since the honey is broken down by the yeast and turned into alcohol and CO2, meaning there’s not much left of the original honey except flavor.
Here at Contrivance we are proud to say that we are NOT part of the “syrup mead circus”. We strive to make all of our products well-balanced, and are often accused of achieving said goal. We don’t over-sweeten our products just for the sake of sweetening. We prefer to make everything as sweet as it needs to be to taste perfect, and no sweeter. Sometimes that means completely dry (no sweetness at all). This also means we always have a wide range of sweetness levels in our available products, so we are sure to have something for every palate.
How is mead sweetened?
There are two main methods of making a sweet product. The first is to simply add honey to the mead after it is done fermenting (with steps taken to prevent it from fermenting again). The second is to add more honey than the yeast is capable of converting into alcohol, which leaves some sugar behind. Each strain of yeast can only tolerate so much alcohol before the alcohol they make actually kills them. This method is fairly unpredictable, in part because there are usually several strains of yeast in any given fermentation, not just the one added by the wine or mead maker. The nutrient regimen and other factors can also impact how much alcohol the yeast can produce.
Hopefully this helps clear up some confusion about mead sweetness. If you haven’t tried mead lately, you’re missing out!
Come visit us in our tasting room, or you can order mead online!