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#1
Old 02-25-2007, 03:10 PM
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Why is mead so much less popular than beer and wine nowadays?

Is there a particular reason why mead is so rare these days, compared to beer and wine? Or is it just that folk's personal tastes went to beer and wine, and no particular reason?
#2
Old 02-25-2007, 03:17 PM
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It's probably because nobody knows what mead is. Why would you order something that you don't even know about?
#3
Old 02-25-2007, 03:22 PM
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I can't back this up, but I suspect a twofold cause. First, honey is and has been more expensive than fruit or malt sugar sources so mead fell into decline long ago (when beer was the main drink of the masses). Second, the crap that has been sold as mead is terrible stuff. The past few years have seen some quality mead become available, but you have to be looking for it to find it. The first "mead" I tasted was cheap wine flavored with honey, so not mead at all. The second was almost a syrup.
#4
Old 02-25-2007, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guizot
It's probably because nobody knows what mead is. Why would you order something that you don't even know about?
The point is that at one time, mead was a popular form of alchohol, at least in England. Since we are English by derivation (mostly), one would expect mead to still be around.

I might note that the alchohol of choice in America for decades was cider. Almost no one drinks that now, either.
#5
Old 02-25-2007, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guizot
It's probably because nobody knows what mead is.
This isn't really an answer. Why do so few people know what mead is, compared to the number who recognize beer and wine?
#6
Old 02-25-2007, 03:31 PM
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Here's an interesting History of Mead, I have no idea how accurate it is though it seems credible enough.

Quote:
Eventually mead making became well known in Europe, India and China. But mead making died out as people became urbanized. This happened 1700 years ago in India, 1500 years ago in China and about 500 years ago in Europe. Honey was prized throughout history, it was often available only to royalty. Somewhere about 1300 A.D., the Italian voyager Marco Polo (1254-1324) returned from the Spice Islands with sugar cane. This inexpensive source of sugar became dominant and honey went underground - well almost. The tradition of mead was sustained in the monasteries of Europe. The need for ceremonial candles made of beeswax necessitated managed bee colonies and surplus honey was used to make mead, which was enjoyed by the monks in their more secular moments. There are monasteries in Great Britain today that have over a 400-year tradition of mead making. The Industrial Revolution resulted in a significant decline in mead making.
The first centrifugal honey extractor was invented in 1865 by Austrian Major Francesco de Hruschka. As legend has it, the idea came to the inventor as he watched his son swing a bucket of honey around his head.


Prior to the mechanized extraction of honey, the honeycombs were simply crushed to remove the honey. This left loads of honey laden, crushed beeswax which could most easily be processed by rinsing the honey out of the wax with warm water. And what became of the honey water? Mead, of course. Mechanized extraction meant less left over comb and less honey water for mead making and a general decline in the craft.
#7
Old 02-25-2007, 09:13 PM
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Just in case someone is reading this and wondering why mead should be popular, it's freakin' good if done right. Redstone makes a mead that's almost as good as mine

I don't like wine, but a good mead has characteristics of wine without the stuff I don't like (tannins, I think). The variety of honey used adds subtle flavors to the finished drink (which doesn't generally have much honey flavor)
#8
Old 02-25-2007, 09:48 PM
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What is a distilled liquor made from honey called?
#9
Old 02-25-2007, 09:58 PM
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Gotmead.com claims it has no name, allaboutbeer.com tells of a person distilling mead, calling it "mead brandy" in passing but also stating that they're "still trying to get a classification from the ATF"

A couple of other places I checked out agree that "mead brandy" is probably about as good as it gets.
#10
Old 02-25-2007, 10:05 PM
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Trust the Welsh
"Reaullt Hir is said to have distilled 'chwisgi' from braggot brewed by the monks of Bardsey Island in 356 AD." from http://celticmalts.com/journal-a8.htm

I'm going to demand chwisgi next time I go a-drinkin'. "Bartender, chwisgi for everyone!"
#11
Old 02-26-2007, 06:01 AM
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I have only had mead once: this last fall at the ren faire. It was very sweet and I didn't care for it. Perhaps other types might be better.
#12
Old 02-26-2007, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq
I might note that the alchohol of choice in America for decades was cider. Almost no one drinks that now, either.
In the UK, cider has been making a very strong comeback - some clever marketing and decent brews have been instrumental in increasing sales, and the expense of beer sales.

Gotta get me some Magners this week.

Si
#13
Old 02-26-2007, 07:11 AM
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If something is cheap, easy to buy and you like it why go looking for something different? It would never be popular unless it met all three critirera mentioned fist. I doubt it could be cheep in large quantities, because honey production is never going to match grain and other sugar production. Nowhere near enough capital will ever be available to make it in mass quantity in todays world on the gamble they can get people to buy it. Somebody like Oprah might be able to swing it if she somehow became obcessed enough with to invest in it and convince other's to invest on her show. I don't think anybody else has the money and carisma to do it, and she uses her money on better things.

In the future during an isolating event, I could see people with only extra honey making mead for the whole community.

Last edited by Harmonious Discord; 02-26-2007 at 07:15 AM.
#14
Old 02-26-2007, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq
Since we are English by derivation (mostly), ....
I always thought "derivation" was for words; I'm as much Austrian, French, Scot and Mexican as I'm English, by blood. But even if I were John Bull, the last thing I'd order in a pub would be mead. I sounds like some kind of children's glue.
#15
Old 02-26-2007, 07:49 AM
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I can't speak for everyone else, but I know why I don't buy it-- it's too expensive and not very versatile. It's extremely sweet and doesn't go with a lot of foods, whereas you can find a beer or wine for just about anything. I've liked it alright the couple of times I've tried it, but a small bottle of it costs more than I like to pay for a nice bottle of wine, so I'm not inclined to purchase it on a regular basis.
#16
Old 02-26-2007, 08:20 AM
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I once found a recipe for "mead ale", basically a thin, low strength mead which was hopped and carbonated.

So I brewed it.

It was pretty forgettable. The hops did a good job of killing the sweetness, but it was bland and thin. Possibly a good hot weather thirst quencher.
#17
Old 02-26-2007, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guizot
I always thought "derivation" was for words; I'm as much Austrian, French, Scot and Mexican as I'm English, by blood. But even if I were John Bull, the last thing I'd order in a pub would be mead. I sounds like some kind of children's glue.
...so I'll order a Zima instead.
#18
Old 02-26-2007, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevermore
I can't speak for everyone else, but I know why I don't buy it-- it's too expensive and not very versatile. It's extremely sweet and doesn't go with a lot of foods
AAARRGGGHH! This is exactly what I'm on about! Khadaji and nevermore got served total crap - mead is only as sweet as you make it. The sugar should ferment out, leaving a wine-like drink as dry or sweet as any other wine. That junk they peddle at RenFairs and theme restaurants is an embarrassment and probably cheap grape-wine with honey mixed in.

Braggot (honey based beer) should also not be overly sweet nor at all honey flavored. I've made a couple of batches and it tastes pretty much like regular beer.
#19
Old 02-26-2007, 10:47 AM
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I've made dry sparkling meads that were as good as or better than 99% of the sparkling wines out there. Crisp, dry, with a hint of ginger to fill out the flavor. I've also made heavy, heavy, heavy raisin meads that needed to age for 10 years and be sipped out of sherry glasses. The stuff available to consumers is crap. Make your own.
#20
Old 02-26-2007, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobotheoptimist
Just in case someone is reading this and wondering why mead should be popular, it's freakin' good if done right. Redstone makes a mead that's almost as good as mine

I don't like wine, but a good mead has characteristics of wine without the stuff I don't like (tannins, I think). The variety of honey used adds subtle flavors to the finished drink (which doesn't generally have much honey flavor)
Absolutely do not make mead out of buckwheat honey.
#21
Old 02-26-2007, 11:29 AM
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I'd say it has a lot to do with manufacturing time.

Beer can be cranked from grain, water, hops & yeast into a bottled, ready for drinking product in just a few weeks. (especially light, mass produced, forced carbonated versions)

Mead takes weeks to ferment, then weeks in the bottle "aging." Longer manufacture times, combined with more expensive ingredients, reduces the profits.

Mead is on my list of things to try to make at home, but it's low on the list due to the excessive aging times required. I've got to build up my "big beer in aging" stocks before I get to that.
#22
Old 02-26-2007, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silenus
The stuff available to consumers is crap.
Now, now, that really depends on where you are. Here in Chicago, there's a homebrew/winemaking supply shop whose owner owns an apiary and manufactures his own mead under the name Wild Blossom Meads. I believe they are being sold in a few liquor stores in the area, as well, but I always get my meads from the supply shop. My favorite is the sparkling cranberry mead.
#23
Old 02-26-2007, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq
The point is that at one time, mead was a popular form of alchohol, at least in England. Since we are English by derivation (mostly), one would expect mead to still be around.

I might note that the alchohol of choice in America for decades was cider. Almost no one drinks that now, either.
Another favorite was rye whisky. George Washington had a distillery, and it was a lot more popular than British rum.
But it's rare today, and far down from 20 years ago even. I can get only two brands at a major liquor outlet.
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#24
Old 02-26-2007, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by si_blakely
In the UK, cider has been making a very strong comeback - some clever marketing and decent brews have been instrumental in increasing sales, and the expense of beer sales.

Gotta get me some Magners this week.

Si
I thought drinking hard cider was a "chavvy" thing to do. Is cider being reclaimed by the masses, then? (I'm a Woodchuck fan, myself.)

Oh and if anyone really does want a sweet honey drink with a bit of a kick (70 proof), I'd suggest Brenjger. More drink recipes here.
#25
Old 02-26-2007, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by According to Pliny
Another favorite was rye whisky. George Washington had a distillery, and it was a lot more popular than British rum.
But it's rare today, and far down from 20 years ago even. I can get only two brands at a major liquor outlet.
Pity, too, because rye is a nice contrast from the sweetness of bourbon. In fact, I generally prefer rye and my day-to-day whisky is Old Overholt. Here we can generally find three brands: Jim Beam Rye, Wild Turkey Rye, and Old Overholt Rye. Some bars even stock these (!). At the better liquor stores, you might also find Old Rip Van Winkle, Rittenhouse, and perhaps one or two others whose names escape me at the moment.
#26
Old 02-26-2007, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butler1850
I'd say it has a lot to do with manufacturing time.

Beer can be cranked from grain, water, hops & yeast into a bottled, ready for drinking product in just a few weeks. (especially light, mass produced, forced carbonated versions)

Mead takes weeks to ferment, then weeks in the bottle "aging." Longer manufacture times, combined with more expensive ingredients, reduces the profits.
Mead is more like wine as far as the manufacture process, I believe (having never made wine). Needs a month or three to ferment, year or more to age.
The first batch I made was terrible after 2 months, very discouraging, but I didn't need the bottles for anything so I stuck it in a corner of the basement for a year and it was sublime.



I feel the need, the need for mead.
#27
Old 02-26-2007, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bewildebeest
Absolutely do not make mead out of buckwheat honey.
Or at least, not solely out of buckwheat honey. I've made some mead with a pound or two of buckwheat honey added (out of a total 15 pounds), and they turned out decently.
#28
Old 02-26-2007, 01:08 PM
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Honey is exceedingly expensive. You can argue all day about whether mead should be made thsi way or that, but the fact is that you're making an alcoholic drink out of something that is, by weight, a hundred times more expensive than barley, and even more expensive than grapes. For drinks made and distributed on an industrial scale, beer is astoundingly cheap as compared to cider, For that reason alone, mead long ago lost the popularity battle.

Of course, there's also that there's no particular reason for mead to become popular. If you want a quick, refreshing alcoholic beverage, have a beer. Something to go with dinner? Wine's everywhere. Want to get stinking drunk? Vodka!
#29
Old 02-26-2007, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell
Now, now, that really depends on where you are. Here in Chicago, there's a homebrew/winemaking supply shop whose owner owns an apiary and manufactures his own mead under the name Wild Blossom Meads. I believe they are being sold in a few liquor stores in the area, as well, but I always get my meads from the supply shop. My favorite is the sparkling cranberry mead.
Awesome. I've been following this thread out of interest, because I like mead, but I rarely buy it because I have to go out of my way to find anything good.

As it happens, I'm going to be in Chicago over the weekend, so if I can convince my in-laws to stop (and if we have time), I may have to pick up some mead.

Thanks for the link!
#30
Old 02-26-2007, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by RickJay
Of course, there's also that there's no particular reason for mead to become popular. If you want a quick, refreshing alcoholic beverage, have a beer. Something to go with dinner? Wine's everywhere. Want to get stinking drunk? Vodka!

Want something that actually tastes good? Mead!
#31
Old 02-26-2007, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
Honey is exceedingly expensive. You can argue all day about whether mead should be made thsi way or that, but the fact is that you're making an alcoholic drink out of something that is, by weight, a hundred times more expensive than barley, and even more expensive than grapes.
6 pounds of malt extract - $13.50 at Midwest supplies, 5 pounds of orange blossom honey at Millers Honey - $8.00. Granted, I used to pay closer to $20 for 5 pounds of honey, but still not an unreasonable cost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
Of course, there's also that there's no particular reason for mead to become popular.
Except, you know, flavor.
#32
Old 02-26-2007, 01:47 PM
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Never had mead but I do like Ethiopian honey wine, called "tej". Very tasty and goes well with the food. Has anybody had both, and how do they compare?
#33
Old 02-26-2007, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger lily
I thought drinking hard cider was a "chavvy" thing to do. Is cider being reclaimed by the masses, then? (I'm a Woodchuck fan, myself.)
Depends on the branding and who is drinking it. Magners = classy. Strongbow = potential chav, White Lightning = untermensch.

Last edited by Dominic Mulligan; 02-26-2007 at 01:50 PM.
#34
Old 02-26-2007, 01:50 PM
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Tej is mead.
#35
Old 02-26-2007, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badbadrubberpiggy
Awesome. I've been following this thread out of interest, because I like mead, but I rarely buy it because I have to go out of my way to find anything good.

As it happens, I'm going to be in Chicago over the weekend, so if I can convince my in-laws to stop (and if we have time), I may have to pick up some mead.

Thanks for the link!
If their website is indication, it seems they also do mail-order. But if you are in Chicago, they are located deep in the south/southwest side at 100th & Western. Basically, take I-94 (Dan Ryan) to 95th Street, head west until you hit Western (2400 W), and head south five blocks. It will be on the east side of the street. Call ahead for hours (they are closed Sunday and Monday) and availability of the the meads you're looking for. I'm not sure if he stocks everything in-store or not.

Last edited by pulykamell; 02-26-2007 at 02:01 PM.
#36
Old 02-26-2007, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobotheoptimist
6 pounds of malt extract - $13.50 at Midwest supplies, 5 pounds of orange blossom honey at Millers Honey - $8.00. Granted, I used to pay closer to $20 for 5 pounds of honey, but still not an unreasonable cost.

Except, you know, flavor.
You're going to be able to make more beer with 6 lbs. of malt extract than you are mead with 5 lbs. of honey though. Like twice as much.

I've made mead, cider and beer and mead has always been the most expensive, with the possible exception of a Russian Imperial Stout I made exactly once due to the cost.
#37
Old 02-26-2007, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobotheoptimist
6 pounds of malt extract - $13.50 at Midwest supplies, 5 pounds of orange blossom honey at Millers Honey - $8.00. Granted, I used to pay closer to $20 for 5 pounds of honey, but still not an unreasonable cost.
Perhaps but brewers use barley grain to avoid the cost of extract. Mead makers on the other hand dont have that opportunity.

Well use your numbers (1 lb of extract costs $2.25, 1 lb of honey costs $1.60) and the $32 for 50 lbs of 2-row barley (1 lb costs $0.64) I found poking around.

5 gallons of beer needs 12lb of grain or 6 pounds of extract so the costs come to $7.68 and $13.50 respectively. 5 gallons of mead needs 10 pounds of honey costing $16.00. While Im sure there are savings if we increase the amount of honey purchased Im not sure we could cut the cost of mead in half.
#38
Old 02-26-2007, 02:25 PM
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Still, nowhere near "a hundred times more expensive". I wasn't trying to imply that it was cheaper, only that it's nowhere near as expensive as suggested. A good commercial mead might run $20 for 750ml. That's not 100 times more expensive than bottled water, much less beer or wine.
#39
Old 02-26-2007, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by silenus
Tej is mead.
Then I sure likes me some mead.
#40
Old 02-26-2007, 02:48 PM
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True but could honey production scale to meet the needs of mead producers if they wanted to capture 10% of the wine market? The US consumed 2.5 billion liters of wine in 2005. If mead were to capture 5% of the market mead makers would have to produce 125 million liters or about 33 million gallons. At 10 pounds of honey for every 5 gals of mead that would require 66 million pounds of honey.

The US produced 180 million pounds of honey in 2004 so if mead was to become more popular the price might jump to a price point above the 2:1.

But I would like to see more enjoyable meads, though mainly so I can see if the stuff I make is any good.
#41
Old 02-26-2007, 02:50 PM
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Honey is hwaaaay more expensive than Wheat and bad/cheap mead is really nasty stuff, while cheap beer is merely eh.

Mead can be sickly sweet or fairly dry.
#42
Old 02-26-2007, 03:04 PM
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There's also this problem:

U.S. bee colonies decimated by mysterious ailment

Add that to the problems with parasitic mites and the introduction of Africanized bees to the U.S. and the future of honey production here isn't looking too good, not to mention the problems with the pollenization of other crops.
#43
Old 02-26-2007, 03:29 PM
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Ok, so honey is frightfully expensive & about to vanish off the planet, but somehow current mead prices don't seem to reflect this.

Historically honey has been a low-yield luxury, which was my point back in post 3, but current honey prices are not responsible for the past adoption of beer, nor is the future of the honey bee the reason people drank wine.

The fledgling mead industry may well be facing some serious hardships, but the cost of their product doesn't appear to be the major hurdle. $12 - $30 per bottle is hardly exorbitantly expensive, except perhaps to Milwaukee's Best drinkers.

Product recognition (or lack thereof) and syrupy desert meads do more damage than honey being worth its weight in platinum. And the historic value of honey compared to malted grains or mashed fruits, I believe, played a major role in mead losing out to beer and wine lo those many years ago.
#44
Old 02-26-2007, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobotheoptimist
Ok, so honey is frightfully expensive & about to vanish off the planet, but somehow current mead prices don't seem to reflect this.

Historically honey has been a low-yield luxury, which was my point back in post 3, but current honey prices are not responsible for the past adoption of beer, nor is the future of the honey bee the reason people drank wine.

The fledgling mead industry may well be facing some serious hardships, but the cost of their product doesn't appear to be the major hurdle. $12 - $30 per bottle is hardly exorbitantly expensive, except perhaps to Milwaukee's Best drinkers.

Product recognition (or lack thereof) and syrupy desert meads do more damage than honey being worth its weight in platinum. And the historic value of honey compared to malted grains or mashed fruits, I believe, played a major role in mead losing out to beer and wine lo those many years ago.
So if you agree that the price of honey is what has historically made mead a less popular product than beer or wine, then I don't understand what your argument is here. You know honey was a luxury product long ago and mead was generally only consumed on special occasions. Other fermentable things were cheaper, so people used those instead. There hasn't been anything that's happened over the years to change that. Beer and wine taste pretty darn good to people who like alcohol, so what reason over all this time would there be to bring mead back into popularity again, given all the choices we currently have that are good and cost less? People tend to like what they are comfortable with, and that's beer and wine. Why risk spending $20 on a bottle of mead - even good mead - when there's a bottle of wine you know you like at half the price? Bad mead isn't ruining any chance at a resurgence - there isn't enough of any kind of mead around to make any sort of difference, and I can't think of a single reason that makes any sort of financial sense to bring it back as anything other than a boutique product. A producer is just not going to make enough money.
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Old 02-26-2007, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romansperson
So if you agree that the price of honey is what has historically made mead a less popular product than beer or wine, then I don't understand what your argument is here.
A couple of posts made the claim that the current price of honey is astronomical, and that is false.
Quote:
Originally Posted by romansperson
You know honey was a luxury product long ago and mead was generally only consumed on special occasions. Other fermentable things were cheaper, so people used those instead. There hasn't been anything that's happened over the years to change that.
Except that the price of honey is a fraction of what it once was and the quality of commercial mead has improved. Many people choose to not drink the cheapest fermented product on the market.
Quote:
Originally Posted by romansperson
Beer and wine taste pretty darn good to people who like alcohol, so what reason over all this time would there be to bring mead back into popularity again, given all the choices we currently have that are good and cost less?
This argument can be used against the introduction of any product. Why do we have so many microbrews when Bud is drunk by so many people and costs less? Why a good wine when Mad Dog is so popular and costs so much less?
Wine tastes terrible to some people, and mead tastes good. Some people are even willing to spend more than $20 on a bottle of wine that is nothing more than grape juice, right?
Quote:
Originally Posted by romansperson
People tend to like what they are comfortable with, and that's beer and wine. Why risk spending $20 on a bottle of mead - even good mead - when there's a bottle of wine you know you like at half the price?
Because wine is nasty and I'm not always in the mood for beer. Some people aren't afraid to try new things and appreciate choices
Quote:
Originally Posted by romansperson
Bad mead isn't ruining any chance at a resurgence - there isn't enough of any kind of mead around to make any sort of difference, and I can't think of a single reason that makes any sort of financial sense to bring it back as anything other than a boutique product. A producer is just not going to make enough money.
I guess it's a good thing you aren't running a meadery. "I have only had mead once: this last fall at the ren faire. It was very sweet and I didn't care for it." and "It's extremely sweet and doesn't go with a lot of foods" There's two people that might have more interest in mead if they were served a decent product.

There are two discussions going on here, mead historically and mead currently. While the historical issues with honey apply to why it hasn't been more popular, the current cost of honey doesn't. The future of the honey bee is completely immaterial to the history of mead, right? So, while vital to our future (not just for mead but for pollination), it can't really be said to have an effect on what people drank a thousand years ago.
#46
Old 02-26-2007, 08:13 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Massachusetts
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My fiancee is a big mead enthusiast, and there is a bar in Allston that serves a great mix of meads. Our favorite is Kasztelanski Mead. It's hard to find around here and about 40 bucks a bottle but it's a good little luxury. I definitely wish there were more choices, but it seems it's hard to get here in MA.
#47
Old 02-27-2007, 04:20 AM
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First of all, pure honey is the single most fermentable naturally found sugar (given no modern sugar extraction tech). Generally that's a good thing.

But that also means the flavor is mostly gone after fermentation, compared to malted barley or grapes. Grapes add many tannins and obscure flavors to the mix which are evident in the final product.

Furthermore, with beer, we use hops to further flavor and add a bitter, flowery taste.

Therefore, given a beer to wine level of alcohol, you're naturally left with the least flavor, when using nothing but honey.

QED.

Last edited by Eleusis; 02-27-2007 at 04:21 AM.
#48
Old 02-27-2007, 04:28 AM
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"QED"... heh... it's never really "QED", is it?

Also...

Meads are often double or triple fermented with stronger yeasts, adding more and more honey, until the yeast can no longer ferment the sugars into alcohol, leaving unfermented honey in the mix, which leaves a stronger, sweeter final product. Also, spices such as cinnamon are added to further enhance the flavor. These, imho, are called "ciders".

Last edited by Eleusis; 02-27-2007 at 04:31 AM.
#49
Old 02-27-2007, 08:30 AM
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Indian Land, S Carolina
Posts: 12,569
Quote:
Originally Posted by guizot
I always thought "derivation" was for words; I'm as much Austrian, French, Scot and Mexican as I'm English, by blood. But even if I were John Bull, the last thing I'd order in a pub would be mead. I sounds like some kind of children's glue.
So you would prefer a Bud instead?

Actually, this is a pretty uninformed opinion. You are saying you won't drink something because of what the name sounds like? God forbid anyone offers you a Screaming Orgasm.
#50
Old 02-27-2007, 10:42 AM
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Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: 221B Baker st. Colorado
Posts: 4,055
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleusis
First of all, pure honey is the single most fermentable naturally found sugar (given no modern sugar extraction tech). Generally that's a good thing.

But that also means the flavor is mostly gone after fermentation, compared to malted barley or grapes. Grapes add many tannins and obscure flavors to the mix which are evident in the final product.

Furthermore, with beer, we use hops to further flavor and add a bitter, flowery taste.

Therefore, given a beer to wine level of alcohol, you're naturally left with the least flavor, when using nothing but honey.
Mead is not beer, it's wine. Braggot (honey beer) doesn't taste quite like beer and the hops do tend to overpower the honey. Total waste of effort, IMHO.
Honey, after the sugar is gone, leaves behind plenty of flavor. A mead made from orange blossom honey is not going to taste like a mead made from clover honey or the almost tasteless alfalfa honey. Subtle flavors, perhaps, but the essence of mead nonetheless.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleusis
Meads are often double or triple fermented with stronger yeasts, adding more and more honey, until the yeast can no longer ferment the sugars into alcohol, leaving unfermented honey in the mix, which leaves a stronger, sweeter final product. Also, spices such as cinnamon are added to further enhance the flavor. These, imho, are called "ciders".
By whom, may I ask? A quick look online comes up with few meads with the 18-22% alcohol that this technique can produce, and those are specifically marketed as "after-dinner sipping wines ... similar to port or sherry".
Cider, btw, is made from apples. Apples are a fruit that grows on trees that may or may not be pollinated by honeybees. Fermented honey with spices is metheglin, not cider.

Sounds like someone got some Chaucer's - it comes with a bag o' spices that can't manage to cover up the cloying sweetness. Bunratty is another big name to avoid, IIRC it's white wine flavored with honey "A mixture of wine, honey, and herbs, Meade is a completely authentic Irish drink." - blech!
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