Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the mead last unopened?

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

How long does the mead last after opening?

Once opened, store the bottles upright in the fridge. If you have one of those vacuum pump wine bottle closures that pump out the oxygen, all the better. After that the flavour starts to change a little as the air gets to it.

The Atlantic Dry Mead starts to change in flavour after 7 days. The Wild Red Mead and the Hazy Summer Mead are fine for 2 weeks as there are more natural preservatives from the skins. Then they become more port-like. Good to drink still or use in cocktails or cooking.

The Atlantic Dry Barrel Aged Meads are fine for 2 weeks. The Wildflower Mead keeps longer than the others as it's semi-sweet. Up to 4 weeks if there's any left by then. Similar for the Merlot Barrel Aged Mead.

How do I store my bottles of mead?

Store the bottles similar to wine, upright in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight.

Once opened, store the bottles upright in the fridge. If you have one of those vacuum pump wine bottle closures that pump out the oxygen, all the better. After that the flavour starts to change a little as the air gets to it.

What is the alcoholic content of mead?

Our meads are all finished wine strength. The Atlantic Dry Mead and the Wild Red Mead along with the Barrel Aged meads are all 12% ABV which is on the light end of the wine strength spectrum. Hazy Summer Mead and our Wildflower Mead are both 11% ABV (so you can drink 10% more - mead maths!)
Other meads can be made beer strength, sometimes called Hydromels or session strength meads - between 4% and 8% ABV and often fizzy with a thinner mouthfeel. These are often served in cans or brown beer bottles.
They can go all the way to super strong, sweet sack meads, up to 16% or even more. This is more common with meads from Eastern Europe.

What is sack mead?

A sack mead is a strong, sweet mead made by feeding the yeast extra honey as it gets towards the end of fermentation. These are usually stronger in alcohol with an almost cloying mouth feel. Drink in small amounts!

What is a melomel mead?

Melomel meads are meads where fruit is added to the fermentation. We add our berries at the start, in primary fermentation as we find the flavours are richer but you can add fruit also in secondary fermentation or even as a flavouring.
We do a melomel mead with Forest Honey from Spain, Wexford Blackcurrants from Ballykelly Farm and dark sweet cherries. We mature this for up to 2 years so that its somewhere between a light red wine and a port when we bottle.

What is a metheglin mead?

A metheglin mead is made by adding herbs and spices to a traditional or melomel mead. Each herb and spice is different so you can add then in primary or secondary fermentation, fresh, dried, as a tea or a tincture. Historically, the herbs and spices were chosen for their medicinal benefits.
Is it said that this comes from the Welsh word for mead, medd and meddyglyn which in turn comes from a combination of meddyg (healing/medicine) and llyn (liquor).

What is a hydromel mead?

Hydromel is actually another word for mead and used in many Latin languages. Today it is often used for weaker strength meads. These would be made with less honey and finish beer strength, sometimes called session meads - between 4% and 8% ABV and often fizzy with a thinner mouthfeel. These are often served in cans or brown beer bottles.

What is a session mead?

This term is often used for weaker strength meads. These would be made with less honey and finish beer strength, sometimes called hydromels - between 4% and 8% ABV and often fizzy with a thinner mouthfeel. These are often served in cans or brown beer bottles.

Is Mead like gin/whiskey/beer? Is it distilled?

Mead is fermented from honey so it’s not a distilled spirit like gin or whiskey. The typical alcohol level for distilled spirits is 40%. Port and sherry are both fortified wines where they add brandy to a fermented grape wine. They would typically be 20% alcohol. Similar for vermouth and aperol style aperitifs. Beer is fermented from grains and would typically contain less alcohol than our meads and be carbonated. Similar for cider.

Our meads are still and 11-12% ABV on the light end of the wine-strength spectrum.

Is mead gluten free?

Yes all our meads are naturally gluten free and suitable for coeliacs. We won a Gold award from the Free From Food Awards in recognition of this and are on the recommended list published by the Coeliac Society.

Are your meads sweet?

No. Even though meads are made from honey, they do not have to be sweet. We ferment most of the sugars out to alcohol so they are finished off-dry. We leave a small amount of residual sugar in for the flavour, showcasing the honey and fruits. This would be comparable to a Reisling. The juiciest mead we make is the Hazy Summer Mead if you prefer a sweeter flavour. The exception is our Irish Wildflower Mead which we finish semi-sweet.

Do your meads contain sulfites?

We add a small level of sulphites to our meads, generally around 25ppm to preserve the freshness. Wines generally have 50-200 ppm. Our Mead is fermented from raw honey and honey/fruit and has quite a low pH (3.2-3.3), so we need to use very little. The lower your pH, the less sulphites you need to preserve your drink from infections and wild yeasts and oxidation. We don't use any in the pre-fermentation stage as wine makers do with grapes during pressing stage. Note also that you get some sulphites occurring naturally during fermentation and sulphites do degrade over time. We add sulphites in the form of potassium metabisulphite not sodium metabisulphite. We don't use any other preservatives.

Are your meads low in tannins or histamines?

Our meads are very low in tannins as we whole fruit ferment. We've had several people who have tannin and histamine intolerance tell us that our meads are fine for them to drink with no reaction or headache but we’ve never delved into that scientifically.

We’re not expert on histamines, so can’t really tell you what level is in mead relative to wine, but reading up on it, skins of grapes as well as malolactic fermentation are two sources neither of which we have in mead making.

We do our 3 main meads in 50ml mini's in a gift set so that might be something to try before venturing into a full bottle.

Is there yeast left in your meads?

We do an absolute sterile filter as part of bottling that has a 0.5um filter pore size that is primarily for removing any final yeast cells. We do our 3 main meads in 50ml mini's in a gift set so that might be something to try before venturing into a full bottle if you are intolerant.

Are your meads Dairy-Free?

Yes.

Is your mead vegetarian?

Yes!

Are your meads vegan?

Mead is fermented from honey and fruit only; we use raw honey, obviously produced by honey bees. We choose our suppliers carefully so we know the beekeepers look after their bees. We use no other animal products to make the mead.

Do you use finings? (Some wines use finings to clear cloudiness or haze in the liquid)

We don’t use any finings at all. We use filters that make finings unnecessary.
Some finings used in wineries are not vegan/vegetarian so some wines are not vegan/vegetarian.

Do your mead contain citrate salts?

No!

Do you produce any mead with Irish honey?

Ireland is the third lowest producer of honey in the EU – after Luxembourg and Malta so we can’t source it in bulk. Only about 7-8% of the honey we eat in Ireland is Irish, the rest is a blend of EU/Non-EU, mostly Chinese and often not honey at all but blended syrups. We use honey from a source we trust and has great flavours as well.

We make one honey only style mead with Irish wildflower honey from our local beekeeper in Ring in West Cork – this is early-mid summer honey – white blackberry blossom, late hawthorn, white clover, amazing intense flavour that we ferment medium sweet and let mature for 6 months. We only make a small quantity of this as honey like this is pretty rare and not available in large volume. Some Irish honey isn’t really great for making mead – for example, rapeseed honey which you can get earlier in the season is very thin in flavour for mead.

We do a melomel mead with Forest Honey from Spain, Wexford Blackcurrants from Ballykelly Farm and dark sweet cherries. We mature this for up to 2 years so that its somewhere between a light red wine and a port when we bottle.

Note you’ll also find a number of meads that are not fermented with honey but use white wine as a base and then sweeten it, which is not mead at all, technical a mulsum, and its a lot cheaper of course.

How long does it take to make mead?

Fermentation of our honey mead to 12% ABV takes anything from 4 to 10 weeks depending on the honey we use. Melomel meads, made with fruit and honey, ferment to 12% ABV very fast, within 7 days. We then leave them to mature in our steel tanks for between 6 and 24 months. Our Barrel Aged Meads then move into our oak wine barrels for another year.

What kind of mead would they have drunk in Ireland? I’m trying to source mead as close in composition to what the monks made.

We think that monks would have made several styles of mead not just with honey only but also honey/fruit, honey/herbs, honey/apples. We make both the honey only style and honey/fruit style (the latter is usually known as melomel mead).

We make one of the honey only style mead with Irish wildflower honey from a beekeeper in Ring in West Cork – this is early-mid summer honey – white blackberry blossom, late hawthorn, white clover, amazing intense flavour that we ferment medium sweet and let mature for 6 months. We only make a small quantity of this as honey like this is pretty rare and not available in large volume.

We do a melomel mead with Forest Honey from Spain, Wexford Blackcurrants from Ballykelly Farm and dark sweet cherries. We think the melomel style was made a lot in Ireland, our medieval red wine, summer berries and honey as it is akin to a light red wine in style, without the tannins though so smooth and easy to drink. We mature this for up to 2 years so that its somewhere between a light red wine and a port when we bottle. It’s also great with game dishes which would have been the norm back in medieval times. We also have a 3 year old barrel aged mead.

How do I de-crystalise my honey?

Crystallisation happens naturally in honey as it is 80 percent sugar. To de-crystalise honey, heat it up to hive temperature, roughly the same temperature as blood: 37°C.

Do you ship to …

We ship to Ireland and the UK as well as several European countries. Get in touch for where and for prices. We are not allowed to ship directly to most countries ourselves including the USA.

In Belgium we are stocked by Taranartos https://taranartos.be
In the Netherlands we are stocked by the online Mead specialists Meadme.nl
In Germany we are stocked by Metmarkt.de
Finally in Czech Republic we are stocked in Medovinara.cz

For other countries, we recommend the lovely guys in the Celtic Whiskey Shop in Dublin (just off Stephen’s Green) who also have some of our limited editions.

https://www.celticwhiskeyshop.com/index.php?route=product/search&search=kinsale%20mead

See list of countries and some states in the USA with costs here:
https://www.celticwhiskeyshop.com/index.php?route=information/information&information_id=6

Also the lovely people at Irish Malts in Cork have our mead and some limited editions. They ship to many countries :
https://www.irishmalts.com/brands/kinsale-mead-company

See list of countries including every state in the USA with costs here:
https://www.irishmalts.com/delivery

Also the guys Master of Malt in the UK ship to many countries:

https://www.masterofmalt.com/search/#search=kinsale%20mead

The more bottles ordered, the cheaper the shipping rate per bottle. Otherwise, you could plan a trip to Ireland and call in!

Do you ship to USA?

We are not allowed to ship directly to most countries ourselves including the USA.

We recommend the lovely guys in the Celtic Whiskey Shop in Dublin (just off Stephen’s Green) who also have some of our limited editions.

https://www.celticwhiskeyshop.com/index.php?route=product/search&search=kinsale%20mead

They can ship to 21 states in the USA. See list of states and costs here https://www.celticwhiskeyshop.com/index.php?route=information/information&information_id=6

Also the lovely people at Irish Malts in Cork ship to a every state from their UK shop. They usually have some of our limited editions too. You can check them out here https://www.irishmalts.com/uk/?s=kinsale+mead&post_type=product
And delivery info here: https://www.irishmalts.com/delivery

The more bottles ordered, the cheaper the shipping rate per bottle. Otherwise, you could plan a trip to Ireland and call in!

Do you ship to Australia or New Zealand?

We are not allowed to ship directly to most countries ourselves including the Australia or New Zealand.

We recommend the lovely guys in the Celtic Whiskey Shop in Dublin (just off Stephen’s Green) who also have some of our limited editions.

https://www.celticwhiskeyshop.com/index.php?route=product/search&search=kinsale%20mead

Also the lovely people at Irish Malts in Cork. They usually have some of our limited editions too. You can check them out here https://www.irishmalts.com/uk/?s=kinsale+mead&post_type=product
And delivery info here: https://www.irishmalts.com/delivery

Also the guys Master of Malt in the UK ship to many countries:

https://www.masterofmalt.com/search/#search=kinsale%20mead

The more bottles ordered, the cheaper the shipping rate per bottle. Otherwise, you could plan a trip to Ireland and call in!

Can you recommend any books or other resources on making mead at home?

Books:
The Complete Guide to Making Mead – Steve Piatz – great visual book for starting off home mead making
The Complete MeadMaker – Ken Schramm - our copy is covered in underlining and splashes of honey!
Let there be Mead!, Big Book of Mead Recipes and Let there be Melomels! - Robert Ratliff - great list of careful recipes for the home meadmaker

Online Resources:
AMMA (American Mead Makers Association) facebook group -
Modern Mead Makers (Facebook group)
European Mead Makers association (Official)
GotMead.com – All kinds of mead blogs including podcasts, radio station.

HomeBrew shops (to get all your mead making stuff):
https://www.homebrewwest.ie/
https://www.brouwland.com/en (Dutch)
https://www.thehomebrewcompany.ie/

Is your mead made in Kinsale?

Yes! The whole process from honey mixing to bottling is done by us in our meadery in Kinsale town, just off the Wild Atlantic Way.

Where can I learn more about Kinsale Mead? Do you have a newsletter?

Why yes! Thanks for asking! Join our newsletter to be the first to hear about new mead releases along with recipes and occasional exclusive offers.
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