Mead Longevity?

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Bill W

Jul 12, 2009
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How long could a bottle of Mead stay drinkable? I know red wines can stay viable for a long, long time, but I was wondering if anyone knew how long a mead can last? I know it reaches its peak in about 6 years, but what about after that?
Honey itself is a natural preservative. Ive known people that had meads way over 6 years and they were awesome. It also really depends on your storing capabilities like stable temps and decent humidity.
Its not accurate to say 'mead hits peak flavor at 6 years'. I've had meads peak their flavor in under 12 months, others take 2 years. None have required 6.

My oldest mead is 10 years.
Re: Mead Longevity

Sorry Malkore, was just stating what I had read in a few places. Six years did seem like a long time to reach its peak. Have you tasted any of the 10 year old Mead you have? How was it?
Well my 10 year meads were started before I owned Ken Schramm's Compleat Meadmaker book, and before I learned about sulfiting to fight back oxidation, so these older bottles can be hit or miss.

the ones that didn't go very very smooth, you really can taste and smell the honey even though cheap Sam's Club (blended/filtered/pasteurized) honey was used.
I am just adding to this post to say this:

this past weekend I popped open a bottle of what I believe is a 9 to 10 year old raspberry melomel. It has to be close to that age because the other bottles done just before this batch are properly labeled as bottled Feb 1999.

I really thought this mead might be spoiled...there's a lot of sediment in the bottom that isn't just yeast. its real fluffly like its the raspberry remnants fallen out of solution and 'congealed' together.

I was wrong. I did have to pour to a caraf and sacrifice the bottom 2 inches to the wine gods...but what I did pour into glasses was exquisite. The raspberry was never strong in this, but you definitely get amazing honey flavors and aroma. Then there are after tastes of a more complex honey flavor that slowly fades.

I only have 3 bottles of this left. and 3 bottles of the 'known' 1999 vintage sweet mead.

No sulfites used, no sorbate added.
malkore> nice. might have made it better with the sorbate and sulphites. maybe no spoilage, but raspberry wine shouldn't last that long usually. who knows though with honey and good storage. i don't think many have really tried to age a good fruit wine or set one up to do so. i've opened 3 yr old blackberry and was amazed at how smooth it was. it seemed to have gain a slightly more complex flavor like a dry table wine. i wish i could store some bottles w/ extra sulphites and acid over 10 yrs to see how it ages.

hard not to open bottles after they get to a descent age!!!
In europe we once had a brewery called Feanor's finest selling 4-6 year old mead as old mead.
as its we had, the brewery no longer exists and everything (brewery+recipes) is sold as a unit (if only the'd give a license on the old mead.. o darn)..

Getting to the point: while clearing out the building they found 30 year old bottles of Old mead.
i bought 1 of 'm .. (30 euro's for 1 bottle) i wish i've bought at least 3.
the stuf is SOooooo good. if you take 1 nip, the taste keeps hanging in your mouth giving of aroma's over and over. (like very good cognac). though there isnt much alcohol in it.

-- any tips for letting any other mead gain the same quality and what kind of mead to start with for a balanced -5 year shelf time- taste?.

(our current 'local' vendor is

Greatings from Holland, Europe
wow 10 year meads, i cant even get a batch of anything to last 6 months, those darn wine gremlins seem to empty the bottles to quickly hahaha
I have a 12 year old ginger mead that I am dying to try. But I am down to my last 12 oz bottle of it. The last time I tried it was about 6 years ago. I've been holding this bottle for the right time. One of these days.
I have 5 year old meads that are wonderful. I am a patient man but would need to make 100s more gallons a year to get any to 10 years. I would never add sorbate to a mead and can see no good reason to. I have use K Meta in some but very few. None have gone bad. Oldest melomel is blackberry and it is 4. I havwe it in a stainless steel corney keg. They are easy to sample out of. O ya its good
Sauternes are characterized by the balance of sweetness with the zest of acidity. Some common flavor notes include apricots, honey, peaches but with a nutty note, which is a typical characteristic of noble semillon itself (cf. Australian noble (late-harvest) semillon). The finish can resonate on the palate for several minutes. Sauternes are some of longest-lived wines, with premium examples from exceptional vintages properly kept having the potential to age well even beyond 100 years.[6] Sauternes typically starts out with a golden, yellow color that becomes progressively darker as it ages. Some wine experts, like Ed McCarthy and Master of Wine Mary Ewing-Mulligan, believe that only once the wine reaches the color of an old copper coin has it started to develop its more complex and mature flavors.[1]

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