If you are a mead drinker, you may be wondering how long your mead is good for before you need to get rid of it. Mead is a strong spirit, and if you know the proper steps to store it, it will be good for years to come!
Mead does go bad. The time frame of its life depends on storage conditions. Mead can last unopened for a couple of years; while opened, and it can last a couple of months. If the mead has added spices in the brew, the flavor may wain after a year and cause a lack of taste in the mead, but that does not indicate the mead is unsafe to drink.
If you want to know the best way to store your mead, so it does not spoil, read on to determine the best ways to keep your mead fresh!
Does Mead Go Bad? How Long Does Mead Last?
Mead is a strong spirit with a high alcohol content making it challenging to spoil if stored correctly. The different mead types can have other expiry dates, but they can last a decent amount of time when stored properly.
How Long Does Mead Last Outside?
Mead should be stored in a liquor cabinet or a dark storage cabinet. The dark storage conditions are perfect for storing classic mead. The absence of light should help it to stay pure and not be destroyed by the light.
If the bottle is unopened, it can last for a couple of years past its expiration date. When stored correctly in a pantry, an unopened bottle will not be oxidized and can keep its flavor. The darkness and coolness of the pantry will keep the bottle in its best condition.
An opened bottle of mead left in the pantry can last up to 6 months. As soon as the open mead is exposed to the air, it begins to oxidize and goes bad a lot quicker. When storing the opened mead in a pantry, make sure you have tightened the seal to the bottle as much as possible to keep it from oxidizing.
How Long Does Mead Last in the Fridge?
The two different mead, light mead and classic mead have other refrigeration expiry dates. This is because the fermenting process is different, and a lighter mead contains less alcohol making its expiry date a lot longer.
Unopened bottles of mead are not usually stored in the fridge. The unopened bottle is better in a dark area away from light. Typically fridges have a light source making it unfavorable conditions for mead.
Opened bottles of light mead should be stored in the fridge. This is because there is a one-week timeline for the mead to be drunk due to a lower alcohol content alcohol’s quick oxidation process. Opened bottles of classic mead can be stored in the pantry or fridge. If stored in the refrigerator, it is still drinkable for up to 8 months.
How Long Does Mead Last in the Freezer?
Mead should not be stored in the freezer because it can ruin the flavors of the alcohol. Like any other alcoholic beverage, you can store your mead in the freezer if you choose to.
If the mead is stored in the freezer in an unopened bottle, it can be stored for an indefinite amount of time. The freezer helps to eliminate the expiring process and keeps the alcohol fresh. But the taste will change and become diluted if left in the freezer.
An opened bottle of mead can also be stored in the freezer. If you choose to freeze your mead to make it usable longer, it can be stored in the freezer but make sure it is in an expandable bottle, so it does not explode in your freezer.
The best way to store mead is in your pantry because it keeps your mead from becoming oxidized and damaged by sunlight. If you choose to store it in the fridge or freezer, it may lose its taste faster and become undrinkable.
How To Tell If Mead Has Gone Bad / How To Know Mead is Fresh?
Mead does not go rancid quickly, but it is typically because of an infection of homemade mead. If you want to know if your mead is still usable, you can check the following things.
Smell: One of the best ways to know if the mead has gone wrong is if it smells rancid and bitter. The scent will immediately hit your nose, and it should be quite overwhelming. Fresh mead will have a pleasant aromatic smell of the spices used in the alcohol.
Appearance: If the mead has gone wrong, it will look cloudy and lose its rich auburn color. It may begin to look white or clear and can be hard to see through. Fresh mead will maintain its color and not be cloudy. It is important to note that sediment can be in the bottom of your mead, but that is a normal part of the appearance.
Taste: Bad mead will taste too bitter. This is because the oxidation process may have caused the spices to turn rancid. Mead should taste fresh and full of flavor instead of bitter.
How to Store Mead?
There are a couple of different ways to store mead, depending on if the bottle is open.
Unopened Bottle: When storing an unopened bottle of mead, keep it in a pantry away from sunlight. The dark area will help keep your mead fresh and make sure it does not turn due to sunlight and oxidation.
Opened Bottle: Depending on if it is classic mead or light mead, a bottle should be stored correctly. A classic bottle of mead can be stored either in the pantry or in the fridge. When opened, light mead should be stored in the refrigerator because of its lower alcohol content.
Can You Freeze Mead? How?
Yes, you can freeze mead just like any other drink. The temperature at which it needs to be frozen is lower than water, so you must look at these next steps.
Place mead in an expandable container: Just like in any other frozen liquid, mead will expand. If you are not using an expandable box, it could break the container and cause the drink to spill out and quickly oxidize.
Use a tight lid: If you place the mead in the freezer, make sure the cap is secured and is not letting air into the bottle. The original top is the best lid!
Wait: Because mead has alcohol in it, it requires a lower freezing point and takes a longer time to freeze. This can take longer than water and may need a night or two to freeze fully.
How to Thaw Mead?
If you have chosen to freeze your mead, there are two easy ways to thaw it completely.
Thaw at Room Temperature: You can thaw your mead at room temperature by placing the bottle out on the counter. The temperature will slowly warm the bottle to room temperature. This may take a while. But until then, you can enjoy a mead slushy.
Thaw in the Fridge: You can also thaw the mead in the fridge overnight. The refrigerator will keep the mead cool while melting the ice. It is important to note that it may cause condensation on the bottle and cause a mess in your fridge.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mead’s Shelf Life
Does mead improve with age? Mead will improve with age, but there is no specific time frame for reaching peak perfection. It is essential to check the alcohol often as not to have missed the window in which it is good. The aging process allows the mead to mellow and have different tastes come through depending on when you drink it.
Can mead mold? Yes, mead can mold. Mold can form on mead if the sanitation process and cooking process are not healthy. It can cause there to grow mold spores in the alcohol that will come off as specks in the mead itself. The process can cause the mead to taste bitter and expire a lot faster, especially if it is exposed to sunlight.
If you find a bottle of mead in your pantry or fridge, you may be wondering if it is still good. Since the mead has a high alcohol content, it does not spoil quickly, but you need to store it correctly to get the most of your mead. Now that you know the correct way, you can enjoy your mead for years to come!