How Should You Store Your Meads? | Hidden Legend Winery (2023)

Wondering how to store mead, now that you have (or are interested in starting to) enjoy it? Like wines or spirits, mead can be stored long-term and aged.

Since mead is closer to wine than cider or beer, are the rules just like storing wine? There are some similarities, but there are some significant differences. Just like storing wine, you need a temperature-controlled or at least temperature-stable environment for storing mead, with relatively controlled humidity.

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Aging Mead vs Storing Mead

At this point, it’s relevant to define aging mead versus storing mead. Mead, like wine, cider or beer, needs a certain amount of time in the bottle before it reaches a suitable “age” to drink. Just like with wine or certain spirits, there’s a minimum age and then there’s a peak age, usually much later.

Bourbon, for instance, is a blended spirit and usually requires about three years in the barrel before it’s aged enough to truly enjoy. Single-malt Scotch, on the other hand, can take up to ten years before it has sufficiently mellowed.

Mead should ideally age between six months to three years of aging before its ready to drink, depending on the mead. Just as with wine, lighter meads tend to be ready sooner; heavier, darker meads take longer.

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Most classic meads generally are ready to drink within one year.

Storing mead, on the other hand, is done to further age the delicious beverage so that it truly become all that it can be.

What You Need To Store Mead

To store mead, you need a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight with safe storage that can falls or bottle shock, at least within reason. If you live in an area where earthquakes don’t occur, you probably don’t need a bomb-proof bunker.

Temperature should ideally stay between 45 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, with relatively low humidity. Temperature factors into aging, with higher temperatures accelerating the aging process. Somewhere between 50 to 60 degrees is perfect.

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As to humidity, keeping the mead indoors is generally all that’s required. If stored outside or in a garage, some sort of sealed container is advisable, such as a wine cabinet or refrigerator. Storing upright is perfectly fine, but racks have the advantage of increasing storage capacity.

You must also make sure that the mead is not exposed to direct sunlight, or at least only exposed minimally. Just like wine or beer, sunlight will oxidize the liquid, which can skunk it in the bottle. This is why a lot of beer and wine is bottled in dark glass.

How Long Can I Store Mead?

Meads, like wines, have a definite peak age beyond which they aren’t as good to drink as they are before it. However, that peak age depends a lot on the mead.

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Lighter, sweeter meads are best consumed more or less as soon as possible. These meads don’t stand up well to long-term aging, so anything beyond a year – maybe two – is not going to be beneficial. This is also true for lower-alcohol meads.

Darker meads will last longer, as will meads with higher alcohol content. Depending on the mead in question, it may be able to last up to a decade or longer. What’s recommended is to buy a few bottles of a specific mead and start aging it. Sample one every year or every six months, and you’ll notice a peak age for that mead.

Just like aging and storing a wine, you’ll know when it peaks. From there, you’ll know how long to store that brand and bottle.

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Does mead wine need to be refrigerated? ›

Since it consists of quite a bit of alcohol, you can store a classic mead in the pantry even after uncorking. It's okay to keep the mead in there as long as the bottle has been resealed tightly. However, to retain the quality of your mead for longer, we recommend storing it in the fridge.

Should mead be stored upright? ›

Store the bottles similar to wine, upright in a cool place away from direct sunlight and they should keep for at least a year.

How long does mead last unrefrigerated? ›

An opened bottle of our classic meads can easily last three or more months at room temperature or refrigerated. An unopened bottle of our sparkling meads can last 1-2 years unopened if stored in a cool place away from direct sunlight.

How long does mead last unopened? ›

For example, unopened classic mead can last for 5 years, while unopened lighter meads usually last 1-2 years. Once opened, however, mead's shelf-life decreases, especially for lighter meads. It is usually recommended to consume lighter mead within 24 hours of opening.

Does mead get better with age? ›

All our meads will improve, over time. This is a simple fact. Practically speaking, some will improve more than others and there really is no way to know, in advance, exactly what your result will be.

Does mead spoil like wine? ›

As already mentioned, classic meads are much more stable due to higher alcohol content. An unopened bottle can easily last years or even decades. Once you open the bottle, the classic mead will easily last a few months in great shape.

How often should I rack my mead? ›

Mead gets smoother and more complex as it ages, so let it. However, you should rack whenever there's a half inch (1.3 cm) or so of sediment on the bottom.

Why should I rack my mead? ›

The purpose of racking is to move the wine, beer, mead or cider away into a fresh, clean, sterile vessel, leaving the sediment behind.

Can I leave mead in primary? ›

Primary fermentation for most Meads can last as long as 4-weeks. During this time, it is not necessary to rack the Mead unless you have added fruit. When fermentation slows down, there is typically a deep sediment on the bottom on the order of 2-inches or more. That's O.K!

How long should I let my mead sit? ›

Mead can take longer to ferment than hard cider or beer, depending on the ambient temperature it will take anywhere from 3-6 weeks. I usually give it 5-6 weeks before bottling to be on the safe side, as you don't want any broken bottle explosions! I've definitely had some very champagne like mead before.

Should you drink mead cold or room temp? ›

The temperature of the mead you drink is really up to you. We suggest that lighter dry meads should be served chilled, like many white wines. Darker, sweeter or stronger flavored meads can be served either at room temperature or chilled.

Should mead be drank cold or warm? ›

What Temperature Should Mead Be Drunk At? Mead can be enjoyed either hot or cold, so the serving temperature will depend on which way you are looking to enjoy your beverage.

How do you store mead long term? ›

Somewhere between 50 to 60 degrees is perfect. As to humidity, keeping the mead indoors is generally all that's required. If stored outside or in a garage, some sort of sealed container is advisable, such as a wine cabinet or refrigerator.

Can you get food poisoning from mead? ›

Wild yeast, fungi and bacteria are found naturally among the main grains that go into both beer and mead. Raw honey, which is used in mead and some of the more fanciful micro-beers, can be a source of botulism.

How do you know if mead is infected? ›

If you have a persistent off-flavor that continues to appear with every batch you make, you either have an infection or need to clean / replace your siphon lines. Another more obvious sign of a hidden infection is a continuous over-attenuation.

Why does my mead smell like vinegar? ›

its got to be quite concentrated to make 5.5 gallons of mead taste like vinegar as i see it. Other option is the yeast was so dead, it got contaminated by a mix of bacteria and other yeast (some present in the honey even) that produce much more acid than the strains we pitch. But it could definitely be yeast problems.

Why is my mead fizzy? ›

Mead can be carbonated, and this begins during the initial fermentation process. As the mead starts to age, the carbon dioxide gets released, which causes the mead to become still. However, if mead is fully carbonated, carbon dioxide has been introduced into the fermentation process in a targeted fashion.

How long should mead be bottled for? ›

Cap the bottles and store them in a cool and dark location. I would give them two or three weeks of aging time at the very least, but you can also let them age for up to a year! The taste will only get better and smoother as time goes on.

Why is mead not more popular? ›

Given how foundational mead is, it is a curiosity as to why it isn't more popular. The answer is simple: Industrialized Agriculture. Grains and grapes can be grown faster and cheaper than honey can be harvested.

Is mead healthier than other alcohols? ›

no. There are no clinically proven health benefits to mead. Historically, though, mead has been believed to be healthy to both drink as well as to make into healing tonics. The mead of preference was one infused with spices or herbs, using the sweet drink to mask some other flavors.

Should mead be clear or cloudy? ›

Mead usually stays cloudy due to suspended particles that resulted from chemical reactions during fermentation. These particles have either a positive or negative charge.

Is mead more alcoholic than wine? ›

And like wine, mead is also left to age comparatively longer than beer – an average of 2 to 3 years. Another difference between beer, wine, and mead is alcohol content. Meads range between 6 and 20 percent ABV, depending on the fermentation; whereas wine and beer typically come in at a much lower ABV.

Do you drink mead cold? ›

As a light wine, mead is good served cold. Simply chill and pour straight glasses of the chilled wine from the bottle to serve with main courses. Mead compliments all meat and fowl courses, and most fish. Some people who prefer dry white wines for fish courses may be skeptical of trying mead at first.

Is wine healthier than mead? ›

Because honey, which is easier for the body to process than alcohol, is used to make mead, it is thought to be healthier than beer and wine. Additionally, mead contains the nutritional advantages of honey. Honey has inherent bacterial and antimicrobial properties.

How often should I burp my mead? ›


When the bubbles begin to die down, sometime between days 10 through 14, the young mead is ready to enjoy. Remember to continue burping your jar daily until empty.

Does mead need to be kept dark? ›

Your mead will need a cool, dark place to ferment for the next 30 days. The ideal fermentation temperature range is between 65°-73°F.

Can you drink mead after 2 weeks? ›

To make the most basic mead, add one pound of honey and top off the jar with water. Pitch the yeast and mix well. After two weeks, the mead is ready for drinking.

How long should I wait to rack mead? ›

Racking Your Mead

Generally speaking, it's best to rack your mead as soon as the primary fermentation has completed, or to wait no longer than a month to avoid any sort of spoilage.

Can I drink cloudy mead? ›

It will simply need to be discarded. Your Mead Could Still Be Cloudy Because It Has A Pectin Haze: I saved this for last because it is the least likely.

Should I remove the fruit from my mead? ›

Bottom line, you might remove the fruit after a few days in the primary if you think that most of the flavor has been extracted and is now in the mead or you might choose to add the fruit to the secondary to extract the flavors using the alcohol.

How long should mead sit in secondary? ›

Secondary Mead Fermentation: The Waiting Game

Just like making cider or beer, several rackings and re-rackings will likely be necessary, until the mead maker is satisfied with the liquid. At this point, it may be 90 or more days from the initial cooking of the must!

How much honey is needed for 1 gallon of mead? ›

The ratio ranges from 1 lb. honey per gallon of water for a very light "soft-drink" to 5 lbs. per gallon for a sweet dessert wine. The less honey, the lighter the mead, and the quicker it can be made.

How much honey is needed for 5 gallons of mead? ›

A typical mead batch consists of 15 pounds of honey for a 5 gallon mead batch.

How do I know when my mead is ready? ›

If there are still bubbles in the airlock after 14 days let it sit for another few days, or at least until there is no bubbling for at least a minute or two. Once there is no activity in the airlock, fermentation is complete.

How did Vikings drink mead? ›

Norse drank their mead from intricate drinking horns or in elaborately decorated silver cups. Mead is a simple beverage brewed with honey, water, and yeast. Many regard it as the oldest alcoholic drink known to man, and it has also gone by the names honey wine, ambrosia, or nectar.

What food pairs with mead? ›

What Foods Go Well With Mead?
  • Try spicy and fruity flavours together. ...
  • Dry meads taste good with cheeses. ...
  • Try fruit meads with matching desserts. ...
  • Apple cysers work with meats, especially as marinades. ...
  • Floral and citrus blend with salads. ...
  • Sparkling mead makes a perfect finger food pairing.
Sep 10, 2014

Should you let mead breathe? ›

As with most beverages, the key to unlocking a meads complex flavor lies in serving it at optimum temperature and allowing the meads to "breathe" before serving. The preferred method is to serve it from a decanter.

Can you mix mead with Coke? ›

I mixed 2parts mead with 1 part coke and the taste was much better.

Should mead taste like wine? ›

Depending on what your experiences are, mead tastes like wine, but with the flavor of honey and whatever was used to spice/flavor it,” Adams added.

What glass do you serve mead in? ›

Most modern craft mead found in pubs and tasting rooms are served in glassware similar to that used to serve wine. Wine glasses are a great complement to sweet or semi-sweet meads with crisp, sweet notes of fruit and honey.

What bottles are best for storing mead? ›

A corked bottle is best for mead meant to age – make sure to use a high quality cork though! Dip it in Bottle Sealing Wax for an added barrier and style.

Can you store mead in mason jars? ›

Yes you can bottle in mason jars. No you should not heat them as it will damage the delicate mead. It is probably not the best container as I don't think the lid provides the best seal without a vacuum in the container, however it will still work for shorter term storage. My personal preference is to use beer bottles.

Is mead good for gut health? ›

Generally, mead is known for its probiotic content. Probiotics are good bacteria that can have a positive effect on your immune system and digestive health. Research indicates that these bacteria can help prevent and treat chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, allergies and gastrointestinal illnesses.

What are the dangers of mead? ›

Mead is a high-calorie beverage, thus, overconsumption could negatively impact your health. Drinking too much of any alcoholic beverage, including mead, can increase your blood triglycerides, blood pressure and your risk of obesity and diabetes ( 8 ).

Why do I get diarrhea after drinking mead? ›

1. May Cause Diarrhea. Anecdotal evidence suggests that excessive consumption of mead may cause diarrhea as it contains honey. The sugar content in honey may cause loose stools if consumed in excess.

What is the white stuff floating in my mead? ›

It's a normal part of the fermentation process. It's mostly different proteins, dead yeast cells and other effluvia that are naturally occuring byproducts. It might look icky but don't worry about it. As your fermentation progresses, it will fall down and become part of the "lees" at the bottom of your fermenter.

What is the white stuff on my mead? ›

It's likely beeswax or yeast. Don't worry if it smells good and tastes fine.

Can mold grow in mead? ›

It's actually kind of difficult to get mold to grow once most of the honey is fermented out, since there aren't any complex sugars or starches present in finished mead like can be found in beers, so there is very little for the mold to grow on.

Should mead be served cold or room temp? ›

The general recommendation here is to treat your mead like a red wine, and serve it at cellar temperature (around 52 – 70 degrees fahrenheit). Lighter meads can be slightly chilled to a similar temperature at which you'd serve a full-bodied white wine.

How long can you let mead sit? ›

Primary fermentation for most Meads can last as long as 4-weeks. During this time, it is not necessary to rack the Mead unless you have added fruit.

Do you drink mead warm or chilled? ›

Mead can be enjoyed either hot or cold, so the serving temperature will depend on which way you are looking to enjoy your beverage.

How long will mead keep once opened? ›

Because of the high alcohol content in the classic mead, it is more stable and can last up to 3 to 6 months after opening. Just like many other alcoholic beverages, it might not get spoilt after 6 months but the flavor might not be the same as when you just opened the bottle but it will still be good.

When should I rack my mead? ›

Racking Your Mead

Generally speaking, it's best to rack your mead as soon as the primary fermentation has completed, or to wait no longer than a month to avoid any sort of spoilage.

How often should I stir my mead? ›

Stir at least 2x/day the first 3 days to aerate the must to get the yeast oxygen. Thereafter you de-gas at least once a day to get the carbon dioxide out.

Should you shake mead before drinking? ›

You'll get best results if you stir the mead during the first third to half of the fermentation. The best way to stir is with a stir-stick, such as The Stainless Steel Mix-Stir, that you can attach to a drill for more effective stirring.

Can you drink mead straight? ›

Yes. Absolutely. Most people drink mead for the very first time by itself without any mixers. It shares a few similar properties to wine in that some mead tastes better chilled whilst some should only really be served at room temperature.

Do you sip or drink mead? ›

These days, mead is mostly sipped neat from a wine glass. In Ethiopia, honey wine known as tej is served in a berele, which concentrates the aromas into a thin spout, and you might also find it served in bowl-like German mazer cups. Mead can be served at room temperature or chilled, depending on type.


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