You wonder how long a half-full bottle of drinks will last when you open it and leave it half-full. The drink mead, which has the appearance of being a cross between wine and beer, does not escape this confusion.
Does mead go bad? Mead manufactured commercially does not go bad, but its flavor will deteriorate over time until it becomes unsuitable for drinking. It will keep its flavor for several months after opening or years unopened. When mead gets infected, it can turn bad.
Here’s your guide on how to store mead and how to determine if it’s still good or not.
What is Mead?
Mead may have been shown in movies, but you’ve never really been aware of what it is, so you avoided drinking it.
Fermented honey wine, mead is made by fermenting honey. Yeast is used to ferment the honey and water mixture. Various flavors can be added to mead, from fruits to spices.
People who drink mead refer to it as a cross between beer and wine. Mead usually contains 6 to 20 percent alcohol.
The alcohol content of classic meads ranges between 15 and 20 percent. As their alcohol content ranges from 6 to 12 percent, lighter meads are perfect for those who don’t like strong alcoholic drinks.
When it comes to drinking mead, check the alcohol percent even if it isn’t important to you. Alcohol content is a measure of the shelf-stability of mead.
Does Mead Go Bad?
As with kahlua and prosecco, commercially-produced mead does not go bad easily in a way that makes it unsafe to consume, but it deteriorates slowly and reaches the point where it is no longer desirable to consume.
Without being opened, commercial mead can last years, if not decades. The quality of the mead can be retained for at least six months after opening (lighter meads).
Brewing at home, on the other hand, can lead to mead going bad more quickly. The drink can become contaminated if yeast is used to ferment it. It can grow mold, as well, like many foods and drinks.
Even though commercial meads are technically possible, they are often well-sealed and contain preservatives, which means they do not go bad as frequently.
Mead is a hard substance to gauge how long it will last, but how it is prepared and stored will likely affect how long it lasts. The best way to store homemade mead is in a tightly sealed container. It is reasonable to expect that the more you open it, the sooner it will go bad in both taste and safe-drinking quality.
The best way to ensure your mead has the longest shelf life is to store it properly, whether it has been opened or not.
Does Mead Get Better with Age?
Traditional meads in bottles with corks can improve with age. Store classic mead sideways if you plan on aging it. The cork will remain moist.
Meads with natural corks may not all be good for aging. A bad cork and a bottle that isn’t designed for aging could make your attempt to age classic mead a failure.
For information on how to age a particular mead variety, refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
You will experience the opposite effect if the mead is not suitable for aging. Over time, the drink will become less tasty. When you open the bottle, you’ll discover that the mead tastes even worse than when it was first opened.
How Long Does Mead Last?
Buy a classic mead with an alcohol content of 15 to 20 percent if you want the flavor to last for many months and even years.
The lighter meads are good for people who finish a bottle after opening it within a few days.
Let’s look at how long classic mead and lighter mead last:
Meads that have not been opened are very shelf-stable. Classic mead lasts for at least five years if it is stored properly. Unless your house is very hot, you won’t need to refrigerate unopened classic mead.
Opened bottles of classic mead should be consumed within 6 months if kept in the pantry, or within 8 months if kept in the refrigerator.
As soon as possible, drink the mead for the best flavor experience. Drinks that are stored at room temperature or in the fridge gradually lose their flavor after they are opened.
Shorter shelf-life is associated with lighter meads. Light meads should be checked for the ‘best by’ date on their bottles. After the printed date, light mead remains good for only six months.
We recommend drinking the light mead as soon as possible after opening the bottle. Drinking the mead within a day is recommended for some brands, or else its flavor will fade. Generally, however, light meads can be consumed within seven days of opening the bottle.
In any event, make sure the mead bottle is up to date and read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to store it.
How Can You Tell If Mead Has Gone Bad?
Unlike other products, mead rarely spoils. In most cases, it just degrades in quality so that eventually you don’t want to drink it.
Look for these signs to determine whether the mead is still drinkable:
- Rancid smell: Make sure you smell mead in your refrigerator before drinking it. Mead with an odd rancid smell should be discarded, and a new bottle should be opened.
- Color changes: Check to see if the mead has changed color if the bottle is dark-colored. Mead that is cloudy is another indicator that it shouldn’t be consumed.
- Flavor changes: Taste the mead to determine whether it is good enough to drink. Opened bottles of mead that have sat in the refrigerator or pantry for a long time may not taste as good as fresh mead. Mead can be safely consumed if there are no significant changes in taste.
When homemade mead becomes infected, throw it away. It can be difficult to detect infected mead if you are not a brewer.
Pellicles form on the surface of infected mead as a sign that it has been infected. The shapes of the pellicules that form on the surface may differ. The surface may have multiple bubble-like spots.
There is no evidence that these two things indicate infected or bad mead:
- You may assume that the frothy layer on the surface of your mead is a sign that it is infected if this is your first time brewing mead at home. Don’t be alarmed. The foam is due to fermentation taking place in the mixture.
- There is no reason to worry if your mead develops sediment at the bottom. A completely good mead will also have sediment at the bottom of its brewing container. You can still drink your mead if you don’t notice any other signs of spoilage.
How to Store Mead?
Since mead is similar to beer, wine, and cider, its storage conditions can be confusing. Here are some tips.
First of all, keep your unopened bottles of mead in a cool, dry place. Keep the bottle of mead out of direct sunlight. Despite some manufacturers producing mead in dark bottles, it doesn’t offer complete protection from sunlight.
As long as it meets the above mentioned criteria, keep unopened bottles of mead in any room or cabinet. You can put opened bottles in the refrigerator to keep them fresh and safe from mold and infection.
Regardless of the type of mead, these rules apply.
Should Mead Be Refrigerated?
It’s not necessary to refrigerate unopened mead bottles. It is enough to keep the bottles in a cool, dry place as long as the cork or the cap is not damaged.
If a mead is light, you should definitely refrigerate it once it has been opened.
Depending on whether they are opened or not, here is how you should store classic and light meads:
1. Storing Classic Mead
Classic meads contain more alcohol, as we have already mentioned. As a result, they last longer. As a result, if you see classic meads on sale at your local grocery store, you can easily pick up multiple bottles since they keep quite well.
Once opened, classic meads should be stored in a cool, dark pantry or cabinet. You can enjoy high-alcohol mead even if you don’t refrigerate it if you seal the bottle tightly.
It is okay to store an opened bottle of classic mead outside if it is hot where you live. It can also be stored in the refrigerator. You can also preserve the freshness of the drink by storing it in the fridge.
When you know you won’t finish a half-full bottle of classic mead within 3 months, you should store it in the fridge.
2. Storing Light Mead
Because light mead contains less alcohol, it is more susceptible to poor storage conditions. A bottle of light mead should be stored in the refrigerator after opening.
When dealing with sparkling wine, it is especially important to keep the bottle tightly sealed at all times.
It should be kept in a cool, dark place, such as a cabinet or pantry, until it is opened.
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