Aroma: Honey aroma may be subtle, although not always identifiable. Sweetness or significant honey aromatics should not be expected. If a honey variety is declared, the variety should be distinctive (if noticeable). Different types of honey have different intensities and characters. Standard description applies for remainder of characteristics

Appearance: Clarity may be good to brilliant. Crystal clear, reflective examples with a bright, distinct meniscus are highly desirable. Observable particulates (even in an otherwise clear example) are undesirable. Highly carbonated examples usually have a shortlasting head similar to Champagne or soda pop. Some aspects of bubbles or head formation that may be observed and commented upon include size (large or small), persistence (how long do they continue to form?), quantity (how much are present?), rate (how fast do they form?), and mousse (appearance or quality of foam stand). The components of bubbles (or head) will vary greatly depending on the carbonation level, ingredients and type of mead. In general, smaller bubbles are more desirable and indicative of higher quality than larger bubbles. The color may vary widely depending on honey variety and any optional ingredients (e.g., fruit, malts). Some honey varieties are almost clear, while others can be dark brown. Most are in the straw to gold range. If no honey variety is declared, almost any color is acceptable. If a honey variety is declared, the color should generally be suggestive of the honey used (although a wide range of color variation is still possible). Hue, saturation and purity of color should be considered. Stronger versions (standard and sack) may show signs of body (e.g., legs, meniscus) but higher carbonation levels can interfere with this perception.

Flavor: Subtle (if any) honey character, and may feature subtle to noticeable varietal character if a varietal honey is declared (different varieties have different intensities). Residual sweetness levels are minimal to none. Dry finish. May have more noticeable acidity due to low sweetness levels. Tannin levels may make a sweeter mead seem dry. Sulfury, harsh or yeasty fermentation characteristics are undesirable. Standard description applies for remainder of characteristics.

Mouthfeel: Standard description applies, although the body is generally medium to light (but not watery). Note that stronger meads can have a fuller body. Sensations of body should not be accompanied by noticeable residual sweetness.

Impression: Similar in balance, body, finish and flavor intensity to a dry white wine, with a pleasant mixture of subtle honey character, soft fruity esters, and clean alcohol. Complexity, harmony, and balance of sensory elements are most desirable, with no inconsistencies in color, aroma, flavor or aftertaste. The proper balance of sweetness, acidity, alcohol, and honey character is the essential final measure of any mead.

Ingredients: Mead is made primarily from honey, water and yeast. Some minor adjustments in acidity and tannin can be made with citrus fruits, tea, or chemicals; however, these additives should not be readily discernable in flavor or aroma. Yeast nutrients may be used but should not be detected. Oak aging is allowable in any category as a subtle to noticeable enhancement without causing the mead to be an Experimental Mead; excessive oak is a fault.

Entry Instructions: See Introduction to Mead Guidelines for entry requirements. Entrants MUST specify carbonation level and strength. Sweetness is assumed to be DRY in this category. Entrants MAY specify honey varieties.

Commercial Examples: White Winter Dry Mead, Sky River Dry Mead, Intermiel Bouquet Printanier