Hydromel Vs Melomel: 5 Exciting Differences and Similarities

Brewing with honey is always fun. However, most people do not know the hydromel vs melomel key distinguishing brewing, flavor, aroma, mouthfeel, and appearance characteristics of alcoholic drinks.

This article jotted using my decades of experience in brewing will give you all the information you need to differentiate hydromels and melomels. We will also aid you in developing your distinct brew from honey and ensure your family or colleagues enjoy your expertise.

Before we start, it would be nice to know that a hydromel is a lighter mead with lower alcohol content, while melomel involves the addition of fruits, resulting in a more complex flavor profile.

Short Summary

  • Hydromel is clear and pale whereas a melomel exhibits a colorful and vibrant appearance, reflecting the added fruits.
  • Hydromel is characterized by a light-bodied and crisp mouthfeel compared to melomel whose mouthfeel varies from light to full-bodied, providing a smoother and more rounded experience.
  • Melomel presents an aromatic mix of honey and specific fruits contrasted with a hydromel which has a delicate honey aroma.
  • Hydromel features a milder honey flavor with subtle sweetness whereas a melomel offers a complex taste with a blend of honey and various fruit flavors, allowing for varying levels of sweetness.
  • Hydromel has a lower honey-to-water ratio, leading to a lighter product compared to a melomel which involves additional fruits, increasing sugar content, and requiring a longer fermentation.
Hydromel Vs Melomel

Hydromel Vs Melomel

Hydromel and Melomel both derive from the fermentation of honey, constituting distinct beverage categories distinguished by the inclusion of additional ingredients, specifically fruits, and variations in their alcohol content. While hydromel features a lower honey-to-water ratio, resulting in a lighter and crisper product, melomel involves the infusion of fruits during the brewing process, contributing to a more complex flavor profile and often a higher alcohol content.

Let’s go deeper into what the two honey-based brews are:


Hydromel, frequently recognized simply as “mead,” stands as the most prevalent variety within the diverse realm of meads. This alcoholic beverage emerges through the fermentation alchemy of honey blended with water, encapsulating a rich tradition of honey-based brewing that spans cultures and civilizations.

The origin of “Hydromel” comes from two Greek words “hydro” (water) and “meli” (honey).

The Brewing Process of hydromel

Typically has a lower honey-to-water ratio, resulting in a lower alcohol content. Hydromel distinguishes itself through a brewing process characterized by a lower honey-to-water ratio, resulting in a measured alcohol content.

It involves mixing honey and water in a ratio that results in a lighter, lower-alcohol beverage usually between 3.5% and 7% ABV. The mixture is then fermented using a brewer’s yeast.

The fermentation process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the desired alcohol content and flavor profile.

Hydromel can be still or carbonated, and it can be consumed young or aged for a more refined flavor. This deliberate formulation allows for a swifter fermentation process, facilitated by the lower sugar content inherent in this style. The fermentation process may be shorter due to lower sugar content.

Varieties of hydromel

The world of Hydromel is diverse and rich, offering a spectrum of varieties, each distinguished by its unique characteristics and ingredients. One notable variant is Metheglin, which elevates the Hydromel experience by incorporating a medley of herbs or spices, infusing the beverage with intriguing aromatic and flavorful complexities.

Another captivating type is Braggot, where the inclusion of malted grains introduces a dynamic interplay of honey sweetness and malty richness, resulting in a distinctive Hydromel profile.

The vast variety within the realm of Hydromel presents enthusiasts with an exciting journey, exploring an array of flavors that span from delicate floral notes and fruity hints to bold spicy undertones and rich, malty textures. Each type brings its unique charm, making Hydromel a beverage category rich in diversity and exploration.

Taste of hydromel

Hydromel gives you a lighter and more refreshing, with a milder honey flavor. The taste profile of hydromel is defined by its lighter and more refreshing nature, presenting a milder honey flavor.

This simplicity offers a palate experience characterized by subtle sweetness, and an absence of overwhelming complexity from additional fruits, allowing the pure essence of honey to prevail. Subtle sweetness without the complexity of additional fruits.

Aroma of hydromel

Hydromel presents delicate honey notes with a less pronounced fruit presence. The aroma of hydromel unfolds with delicate honey notes, where the subtle fragrance takes center stage.

In this composition, the presence of fruits remains understated, allowing the natural essence of honey to emanate with grace.

Mouthfeel of hydromel

Hydromel offers a light-bodied and crisp, often comparable to a light white wine. Hydromel delivers a light-bodied and crisp mouthfeel, akin to the characteristics found in a light white wine.

This attribute provides a refreshing experience, and the lower viscosity resulting from the lower honey concentration imparts a clean and easy-drinking quality. Moreover, it has a lower viscosity due to the lower honey concentration.

Appearance of hydromel

The visual allure of hydromel manifests in its clear and pale appearance, reminiscent of a white wine or a light beer. This clarity not only enhances the visual appeal but also contributes to the overall light and refreshing perception of the beverage. You can be sure that hydromel will be clear and pale, resembling a white wine or light beer.

Plain, hopped or fruit hydromel


Melomel is a distinctive type of mead crafted through the fermentation process of honey in tandem with the infusion of fruits. The inclusion of fruit in melomel can occur at different stages, whether during primary fermentation, secondary fermentation, or even after the completion of the fermentation process, contributing to a diverse range of flavor profiles and aromatic nuances.

Brewing Process of melomel

Melomel, a captivating type of mead, is meticulously crafted through the harmonious fusion of honey and fruits during the fermentation process. The brewing process for a melomel involves the addition of fruits during the brewing process, contributing additional sugars. The brewing process of Melomel is similar to that of Hydromel, with the notable addition of fruit.

The fruit can be fresh, frozen, dried, or in juice form. It’s added to the honey and water mixture before or after the fermentation process begins.

This artful combination results in a beverage with a higher sugar content, offering versatility in fruit integration at different stages—be it during primary fermentation, secondary fermentation, or even post-fermentation.

The alcohol content of Melomel is typically higher than Hydromel and can range from 8% to 14% ABV. A longer fermentation period may be needed to accommodate the higher sugar content from added fruits.

This flexibility contributes to the creation of a diverse array of melomels, each uniquely influenced by the chosen fruits and the timing of their introduction.

Varieties of melomels

The world of Melomel unfolds into a diverse array of varieties, each characterized by the specific fruits infused into the mead-making process. Cyser, a standout among Melomels, features the incorporation of apples or apple juice, resulting in a delightful fusion of honey sweetness with the crispness of apples.

On the other hand, Pyment elevates the Melomel experience by integrating grapes or grape juice, introducing a rich vinous dimension to the mead.

Beyond these classics, Melomel offers endless possibilities, embracing a spectrum of fruits to craft unique and delicious variations. Berries, peaches, cherries, and even exotic choices like mangoes or passionfruit can be employed, imparting distinct flavors that range from the familiar to the exotic.

This variety within the realm of Melomel showcases the boundless creativity and experimentation that defines the world of mead-making, enticing enthusiasts to explore and savor a cornucopia of delightful and diverse fruit-infused meads.

Taste of melomel

Complex flavor profile with the interplay of honey and various fruit flavors. The taste profile of melomel unfolds as a symphony of flavors, where the sweetness of honey interlaces with the distinct characteristics of the added fruits.

This complex interplay creates a multifaceted taste experience, ranging from dry to sweet and providing an expansive spectrum for exploration by discerning palates. Sweetness can range from dry to sweet, depending on the amount of added fruits and their sugar content.

Aroma of melomel

An aromatic blend of honey and the specific fruits used in the recipe. The aromatic allure of melomel is a sensory delight, offering a rich blend of honey and the specific fruits chosen for the brewing process.

This complex aroma enhances the olfactory experience, providing a preview of the intricate flavors that await in each sip.

The mouthfeel of a melomel

The mouthfeel of a melomel varies from light to full-bodied, depending on the types and amounts of fruits used. This mead variation, enriched with the infusion of fruits, presents a diverse spectrum of textures on the palate.

The initial notes dance with the sweetness of honey, seamlessly blending with the nuanced characteristics of the chosen fruits. As the mead caresses the taste buds, the mouthfeel evolves, offering a range from light to full-bodied, depending on the fruit composition.

This dynamic interplay creates a harmonious and rounded experience, leaving a lingering impression that invites enthusiasts to savor the multifaceted delights of Melomel. A melomel can have a smoother and more rounded mouthfeel compared to a hydromel.

Appearance of a melomel

A melomel is colorful and vibrant, reflecting the hues of the added fruits. Melomel captivates the eyes with its vibrant and varied appearance, reflecting the rich hues of the fruits incorporated into its composition.

From pale tones to deeper shades, the visual presentation of melomel adds an element of allure and diversity, setting it apart as a visually dynamic beverage. The color can range from pale to deep, depending on the fruit choices.

My experience brewing and taking hydromels and melomels

I’ve had the delightful opportunity to brew and savor various mead variations, each providing a distinctive brewing journey and an exhilarating flavor palette.

Having crafted melomel with pineapple and recently sharing my blueberry mead recipe, both concoctions delivered delicious results, albeit with a flavor profile that diverged from the crisp and clean characteristics found in a traditional hydromel.

Hydromel, distinguished by its lighter body and lower alcohol content, stands as an excellent choice for individuals seeking a refreshing and approachable brew. It serves as an exceptional canvas for exploring various herbs, spices, or grains, allowing for creative experimentation and flavor customization.

On the other hand, Melomel, characterized by its lush and fruit-forward profile, has brought immense delight to both the brewing and drinking experiences. The boundless potential of fruit combinations transforms each batch of Melomel into a distinctive and thrilling adventure, offering a myriad of possibilities for crafting unique and flavorful meads.


Melomel stands as a testament to the artistry of mead-making, inviting enthusiasts to embark on a journey of flavor exploration. From its captivating appearance to its aromatic richness and nuanced taste, melomel embodies the epitome of a meticulously crafted beverage, elevating the mead experience to new heights.

The alcohol content of Hydromel is typically between 3.5% and 7% ABV, while Melomel can range from 8% to 14% ABV. The flavor of Hydromel is primarily derived from the honey used, while the flavor of Melomel is heavily influenced by the type of fruit used.

A hydromel on the other hand features a milder honey flavor with subtle sweetness but has a lower honey-to-water ratio, leading to a lighter product. Therefore, a hydromel has a delicate honey aroma. The following are the similarities between a hydromel and a melomel:

  • Both melomel and hydromel can be carbonated or still.
  • Melomel and hydromel are types of mead, made from fermenting honey with water.
  • Both melomel and hydromel offer versatility in terms of flavor experimentation and recipe variations.