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I have some mead in bottles, which have been stored in a reasonably cool, dark place for possibly as much as two years old. I had intended to leave it for about a year for bottle conditioning, but now I'm curious what's likely to have happened after a couple years. Is it still safe to drink, and if so, how tasty is it likely to be?

  • I had a fellow homebrew club member who entered a mead in a contest that was 23 years old and it tasted wonderful. Another member brewed a batch the year he got married and drinks one bottle on his anniversary every year. Some get better with age some don't but they are safe to drink. – Northern Brewer Chris Jan 7 '11 at 17:37
  • well, how is it? – baka Jan 8 '11 at 3:12
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Absolutely safe to drink, and absolutely tasty. Schramm mentions keeping some for 5 years or more. And I've heard of people making mead for their children's 21st birthday that would be as old as the kid. :)

Enjoy!

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Mead generally ages very well and some of the best glasses I've had are from bottles that somebody forgot about. (The only reason I've never had a mead that's more than ten years old is that it's hard to resist drinking a bottle that's seven years old.) Even unfermented honey is good several years later, and many meads take several years to develop their full flavor profile. If you try a batch a year after bottling and it doesn't taste great, see if another year or two improves the outlook.

If your mead has ingredients besides honey (particularly fruit), the flavor may worsen after several years of aging. Storing bottles on their side, which keeps the cork wet and therefore a better filter from the outside air, can help avoid developing off flavors as a mead ages.

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I know of a VERY smooth bottle of mead that was 28 years old. Wish we had some more of that to drink.

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