The Ultimate Guide to Types of Mead

Mead! It’s not just the elixir of the Gods or the water of the Vikings. In fact, mead has seen a resurgence as of late which many mead enthusiasts have coined the Game of Thrones Effect’, despite the tasty “honey wine” never appearing on the show (sorry mead heads, Tyrion Lannister prefers red wine). 

So what is mead? And how many types of mead are there? The short answers: Glory in a cup and a lot. Mead is made from fermenting honey (no grapes or grains!)

Popular Types of Mead


All the usual suspects, but the big difference? Some of the honey is substituted out for all natural maple syrup!


Made with both honey and barley malt. Translation: This is the closest you’ll get to a “beer mead.”


Bochet likes to be fancy and caramelize its honey; it also often includes elderberries. 


Like your alcohol with a little spice? Capsicumel uses chile peppers!


The key difference here is cyser’s use of apples. You know what they say - a mead a day keeps the doctor away. 

Great Mead

Drink in elegance...if you can wait a bit. Great Mead is bottled first and then allowed to rest...for awhile. 


Wine (hello there old friend!), cinnamon, spices, and sugar - if you’re looking to steal the show at your office Christmas party (and you’re allowed to drink), bring this!


Much like there’s session beers, there’s session meads. Enter Hydromel, a low ABV  mead typically mixed with fresh fruit. 


Known primarily as just a flavored mead, Metheglin often features simple spices and occasional fruits. 


Fan of mulberries? Just learned from reading this that mulberries are a real fruit? Regardless, give Morat a try! 

Mulled Mead

“Heated.” That’s right fans of warm alcohol - this one.


Incorporates the juice of unripened grapes. Why? Because it adds a sourness to the mead!


The added dimension here is vinegar. Interestingly enough, this mead can also serve as the base liquid for a medicinal herb creation. 


A luscious blend of grapes with the standard fare ingredients. 


Concocted with rosehips, rose petals or rose attar. 

Sack Mead

Brace yourself - this one packs a punch! High density and often wildly sweet. There’s usually a little extra honey, honey. 

Short Mead

This gets its name from the little time it takes to make. Also typically a low ABV mead - great for starting (or finishing) your day of libation testing. 

Show Mead

As simple as they come - honey, water, yeast. “The standard.”

Sparkling Mead

It’s carbonated! A little extra sugar/honey added before bottling does the trick. 

Sour Mead

This uses wild yeasts and a lacto strain of bacteria to achieve the “sour” effect. Best way to prepare yourself for this special flavor? Drink some sour beers!

Spoiler alert: There are even more types of mead than what we have listed! The above list, however, should serve as a good starting point. So grab your upturned horn and join us in the mead hall!

Mead: A (Brief) History
As suggested above during our shameless attempt to reference pop culture, mead is a honey wine that is arguably one of the oldest alcoholic beverages around, dating back thousands of years. It’s honey wine definition is completely designatory; while beer is made with water, barley, hops, malt, and grain, mead is made with water, yeast and - you guessed it - honey!

Hold the phone beer aficionados - you’re right, you’re right. Beer uses yeast too; however, it uses an ale yeast whereas mead uses champagne or wine yeast (pending the type being concocted).

Hollywood has trained us to hear the word “mead” and picture a group of chivalrous (or slovenous, for that matter) men weighed down in chainmail and laughing hearty laughs around a table. In actuality, mead has left its imprint on the ancient cultures of Greece, India, Egypt, and China! 

It was the ancient Greeks, of course, that coined the phrase “nectar of the Gods,” as they commonly referred to mead as “ambrosia” or “nectar.” So yes - your boy Socrates? He was probably kicking back goblets full of mead while writing about philosophy.

Another great thing about mead is its versatility. It has a wide ranging ABV (anywhere from 5-20%), and the types of mead are substantial. Let’s check’em out!

Would you like to try some mead? Order here!

Or check out our article on Viking Mead.

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