Did someone tell you about a healthy fermented drink made of honey, yeast, and water? Did they also tell you that it is known as a drink of gods? And you ended up buying a large bottle of mead!
Now you are wondering how to preserve this traditional drink and make the best use of it.
Or maybe you found an old bottle of mead in your cellar, and now you’re worried that it may be spoiled.
TLDR: Unopened classic varieties of mead can last for more than five years. Lighter types of mead are in their best form until the best-before date.
Let us find out the signs indicating that your mead is spoiled, the best ways to store it, and how long it can last.
How To Know If Mead Has Gone Bad
The best part is that store-bought mead does not get spoiled easily and can be consumed safely for a long time.
But if you make your mead at home, be warned. Your mead doesn’t have preservatives in it, so it will go bad faster.
The signs that your mead is ready to be discarded are:
- rancid smell
- color change
- bitter taste
Are there sediments at the bottom of your bottle of mead?
No worries – there’s no need to be concerned. A build-up of sediment is completely normal. Just filter it before serving.
How To Store Mead
There are many kinds of mead. Each variety has a different amount of alcohol. Most of the meads available on the market are classic types. They contain 15% – 18% alcohol. The alcohol content in lighter meads is 6% – 12%.
Keep in mind that if the alcohol content is high, the mead will be more stable and last longer.
If you have not opened the bottle, you can keep it just like you keep a bottle of wine. Find a cool and dry place for it where it will not get any direct sunlight.
Don’t keep your mead on a shelf for display. Exposure to sunlight may ruin the taste. Your wine cellar is the best place for it. But it is fine if you keep it in your pantry.
These rules are for all varieties of meads. Now let’s have a look at some “dos and don’ts” for each type of mead.
They mature with time, so it is a good idea to store them for an extended period. If you know you drink mead slowly, then classic is the one to go for!
Keep your bottle sealed with its natural cork. Lay the bottle flat. It will keep the cork cap moist and won’t deteriorate quickly.
There is no need to keep it in the fridge if you intend to use it within a few months because it has plenty of alcohol. You can place it in your pantry but do not forget to seal it tightly.
Did you know? You can buy sparkling meads, too!
Usually, after opening your lighter meads, you should keep them in your fridge. However, storage instructions for lighter meads vary, so your best bet is to follow the instructions on the label.
How Long Mead Lasts
The shelf life of each variety is different. Classic meads are more stable. They can last for years and even decades if the bottle remains unopened. After you open a bottle of this kind, it will retain its quality for several months.
Now: If you keep an opened bottle of classic mead in your cabinet for more than a year, its quality may deteriorate. It may not taste great, but it is safe to consume.
You should look for the best-before date for the lighter meads. Usually, they will be in their best form until that time, though you will be okay drinking your mead up to a few weeks after this date. However, there’s no harm in staying on the safe side – light mead has a shorter shelf life compared to the classic varieties.
Usually, producers recommend that you finish your mead soon after opening a bottle. Some varieties may last for just 24 hours after opening. They may not be spoiled but will lack their fantastic flavor!
Approximate shelf life at a glance:
- Unopened classic mead lasts for more than five years in the pantry.
- After being opened, a classic mead lasts for 3-6 months in the pantry.
- If a classic mead is stored in the fridge after opening, it lasts from 4-8 months.
- Unopened lighter mead lasts for more than six months after the best-before date in the pantry.
- If lighter meads are in the fridge after being opened, they last for one week.
The Bottom Line On Mead
Mead possesses a historical significance and has several nutritional benefits. In ancient cultures, it was supposed to be associated with good health. Studies show that the presence of honey is responsible for all the health benefits that it offers.
So enjoy your mead like the ancients, and make sure you keep it stored properly. You can store your unopened bottles of mead in your wine cellar or pantry. After opening them, shift them to the fridge to enjoy them in their best form.