View Full Version : Mead Drinkers v/s others

Dan McFeeley
09-21-2005, 03:00 PM
I was leaning over the balcony at last year's meadfest and heard someone comment about the prescence of alcohol at a large gathering and the potential for trouble. The reply -- "They're mead drinkers. C'mon! Nothing's going to happen."

It's a real concern -- alcohol and crowds don't mix well. Everyone knows about mean drunks. On the other hand -- Mead and crowds? No problem.

Some time ago I passed on a bottle of mead to one of my co-workers. He's a male nurse, about 5' 7" 140 lb.s, a vodka and shot drinker, in the Army reserves, and *well* able to take care of himself. He's fast, I mean, *really* fast when things get combative. I would never want to be on his wrong side when he's mad.

The reaction of this vodka drinker to his first bottle of mead? "It was like nothing I've had before. It was a 'happy drunk'".

I'm wondering if others on this forum have similar stories. I'm guessing there's no such thing as a "mean drunk" mead drinker.

09-21-2005, 03:09 PM
The mead drunks I've seen have all been pretty happy-go-lucky. Whether that's cause they're at a faire/war event and in a good mood, or cause of something with the mead, I dunno.

I have, however, wintessed a couple very VERY ugly mead-hangovers ;)

Dan McFeeley
09-21-2005, 03:26 PM
I've heard about mead hangovers, and up until the early 1990's, this was an accepted part of mead lore. Drink too much mead, nasty nasty hangover. Meadmakers have improved their techniques and interestingly, the infamous mead hangover seemed to disappear. I'm guessing that the old time stories of mead hangovers were mostly due to bad mead, lots of fusel alcohols, other nasties, all hold overs from a bad fermentation.

Any one else, with long memories of meadmaking, have input here? What do you think?

09-21-2005, 03:32 PM

I'm guessing at this point it's more the quality of the people drinking mead.;) I'm sure if it ever equals the national beer consumption the same problems will arise. As far as Mynx observations on Happy Go Lucky mead drinkers... I'd have to agree with one caveat... The happy Go Lucky Mead Drinkers I've seen are Happy Go Lucky Drinkers in general.
As for your friend... could it be the atmosphere and company present was conducive to being a happy drunk?

Wrathwilde (Over analyzing as usual)

09-21-2005, 03:45 PM
I can attest that the infamous mead hangover is alive and well. :P I don't know about the happy-drunk though, I've never had a mean-drunk from anything. :)

09-21-2005, 05:35 PM

When having had to much to drink, I become the, put your head through a window, pull the side mirror from your car with my teeth (don't laugh, I've chipped teeth), bash your teeth out for being rude to my date (I might do that sober) kind of drunk.

While I've rarely drank that much in nearly 2 decades, I can say, It does not matter what I've been drinking, beer, mead, wine or spirits. To much alcohol and I get mean, period.


p.s. I do want to add, distilled spirits get me there faster then anything, has to be the higher ABV.

09-21-2005, 05:45 PM
I remember from my cultist days that the Vedic shastras speak of Varuni, the honey liquor that produced so much euphoria and lightheartedness that it would cause Balarama (Krishna's elder brother) to indulge in one of his favorite pastimes, which was imitating elephants at play.

09-21-2005, 07:21 PM
I have notice that at gatherings that are wine/mead oriented the drunks are much happier less obnoxious. Not to bust beer festivals, but I have been to a couple that the drunk crowd got rowdy with a fight or two.

I think it is a differnce in crowd. At beer festivals the crowds are younger, and maybe that has a lot to do with it.


09-22-2005, 02:55 AM
Personally, I've found most alcoholic drinks except mead to be major depressants. Depressed mood aside (though I've had many such exacerbated by the demon rum), this usually breaks down into sleepiness. Red wine will put me to sleep faster than any other booze, including large amounts of sour mash; beer is next on the list, and then white wine. Distilled spirits come up after this, though, naturally, because of the higher proofs, these can knock me out fast as well if I indulge too quickly. Mead is not depressive for me the way other alcoholic drinks seem to be. Happy? Yes, and (seemingly) alert too. I feel I can think straighter with mead than I can with other boozes, though I'm just as wrecked physically by it.

Easily the biggest factor though, with any drinkable, is whether or not I have an empty stomach. If I haven't eaten, I can get TRASHED on just half a glass of something, but then I'll flame out quickly, looking for a hole to crawl into in order to sleep it off.

As for the legendary mead hangovers, I'm with Dan on this -- the last bad one I had was from a cloudy show mead that had many off-flavors (but lots of booze too). That was, maybe, ten or fifteen years ago. Since my techniques have improved, my hangovers have actually diminished by an order of magnitude. Now, when I over-indulge, I can still function in the morning. A slower start, maybe, but with a couple glasses of water, and a couple Advils, the day looks just like any other. Back when J.D. was my drug of choice, the day was shot. Wine was even worse.

I'm into my middle years now, so I just don't bounce back like I used to, but mead -- my mead anyway -- is very kind to me. I have a glass stomach on the best of days, but I have rarely run to the porcelain altar from my own stuff, even when I was a falling down, stumbling, slurring mess from it. It's actually to the point where I just don't like anything BUT mead. We'll have other things in the house occasionally, and I'll take my share of them, yes (and then some), but it's just not the same.

Now here's a question: Have any of you noticed a difference in the kind of sensations you get from different types of meads? I ask this because a recent braggot recipe gave me a buzz like no other I've ever felt...all of the mead benefits I've mentioned before, but with a cottony softness around the edges. I got really, really drunk on it a couple of times without getting really, really wrecked, if that makes any sense at all. It was a failure, flavor-wise (tasted like a an old-time patent medicine mixed with flat stout), but the inebriation difference was striking.

In the end, if it's mead, it's good -- even if it ain't good mead!


09-22-2005, 03:12 AM
At first I thought, people who make mead tend to be different anyway. At least, so I've observed on this forum, and include myself. :)

But as an herbalist, something else occurs to me: could it be that honey, carrying a sort of essence of plant properties, is a "happy-making" ingredient in itself? Most flowers have medicinal properties, or properties that influence the body one way or another. I am extrapolating the calming properties of orange and linden essential oils into beneficial properties of orange and linden flowers, for example. Interesting thought.


09-22-2005, 03:40 AM
I find mead makes me contemplate things, good for writing poetry in a dark room alone. Lost I find Red wine puts me to sleep as well, after one glass I’m about ready to nod off.

The bee as a Masonic symbol

“W. H. Roscher thinks that both nectar and ambrosia were kinds of honey, in which case their power of conferring immortality would be due to the supposed healing and cleansing power of honey, and because fermented honey (mead) preceded wine as an entheogen in the Aegean world: the Great Goddess of Crete on some Minoan seals had a bee face: compare Merope and Melissa”
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambrosia

I think mead is a claming an insightful drink because of its nature. It was first (in my eyes at least) and so closer to perfection than anything else (I think everything devolves) for this reason it connects us with a source that other beverages can not, perhaps a link to the ‘center’.

Not to mention the work bee’s put into making it as a community, apposed to say grapes not made from the labor of a thousand workers.

Just some thoughts.


09-22-2005, 07:55 AM
I had just finished a chapter of "St. Wintson's Metheglin" that deals with the transferral of plant properties to honey and infused mead, which thus affect the mead drinker, which is why the thought of herb influence occurred to me. But the more I think about it, the more I like the idea. :) I'll post that chapter now.


09-22-2005, 06:34 PM
Well, the historical accounts I've read for making cordials often have honey as the carrier for the herbs. I'm inclined to agree with you, Miriam, that the honey *will* carry the properties of the herbs that it contains with it.

Don't forget too, that honey itself has been used as a curative for as long as we can find records to document it. Bee pollen is *still* used extensively....

09-22-2005, 09:44 PM
I had just finished a chapter of "St. Wintson's Metheglin" ......

Miriam, you will have to update "what you do" posting to include author. And just think of all the proof readers you have online ;)

09-23-2005, 12:10 AM
James, have you found 1 zillion errors? Oh dear. Well if I ever do anything more developed with the story, I guess I'd have a handy editor to check my spelling and typos.

Miriam, whose carpal tumnel syndrome can't possible account for all the mistakes :)

David Baldwin
09-24-2005, 11:15 AM
To be honest, I'm a regular yet light consumer.

I can count the times I've been rip-roaring drunk on one hand.

I am generally VERY careful not to over indulge, yet have been known to consume more than is safe or legal to drive.

I have never had a hangover from mead. Then again, I've never been really drunk on it either. I did share a half gallon with a couple of good friends one evening in a hot tub. One was a novice to mead and he got really pastered. The following morning I appologized for the hangover I expected him to have. He had no hangover whatsoever.

I was very surprised because he is normally a very light drinker, and only then on rare occasion. His tolerance was low, his consumption was high, and he was one VERY happy drunk.

Maybe we should apply for Federal grant money to study this question?


09-28-2005, 10:27 AM
Hate to say it, mead may average a warm happy drunk from most people, but for those that will be mean drunks there is no cure. I remember a friend of mine, we made our first batch togeather. The day we were going to open the bottles (may day) I was late and he opened and drank all but one of his--and he was not really a pleasent person to be with.

As for the mead hangover--very alove and well indeed. I have this batch of (fantatic!) strawberry and basswood mel. I made alot of mistakes on this batch but it seems to have been forgiving. Atleat untill I sweetend the last gallon before bottling though and *ouch*! The strawberry flavor is way stronger :D, but the day after. :'(

IW. H. Roscher thinks that both nectar and ambrosia were kinds of honey, in which case their power of conferring immortality would be due to the supposed healing and cleansing power of honey,

last note: I think it was last months issue of The Rake Magazine that had an article about recent advances in HIV/AIDS research and honey bees.