How to Make Mead

How to Make Mead

Mead is a wonderful beverage that is somewhat of a cousin to wine. While it’s not made from grapes it is made using the same process and yields similar levels of alcohol. There are an infinite number of variations that you can make with mead.This recipe uses only honey and water however, you could add fruit juices, tea, or even baking spices from your kitchen cabinet. Previously I outlined a recipe for making mead, however, I’d like to update that recipe as well as show you how to go through the steps from beginning to end. What You Need to Make Mead The recipe and method included here are all based on creating a single gallon of mead. You can feel free to scale this recipe up to make more than one gallon. To make this recipe you’ll need the following ingredients: D-47 Yeast 2.5 – 3lbs honey water yeast nutrient Additionally you’ll need the following equipment: 2 – 1 Gallon Glass Jugs 1 – No 6. Drilled Plug 3 Piece Airlock Kitchen Thermometer Wine Making Hydrometer Test Jar Racking Cane or Autosiphon You can either make slightly less than one gallon and ferment in the glass jug or if you have a small food grade bucket you can ferment in that instead. If you do decide to ferment in the glass jug just know that you’ll wind up with only four bottles of wine due to losses from racking. Getting Started Just like with wine the first thing we’ve got to do is sanitize all of your equipment and utensils. I use Star San but use whatever you’re comfortable with. Start with 1/2 gallon of water and add 2.5lbs or so of honey. Continue adding water until you’re a few inches below the 1 gallon mark if you’re fermenting in a glass jug. If you’re fermenting in plastic bucket or carboy go ahead and mix enough to fill up a little past the 1 gallon mark of your container so that when you rack you minimize the airspace. Now you need to measure the specific gravity. You’ll want it to be around 1.100 to produce around 14% alcohol when it’s all said and done. If your specific gravity is too high add water and add honey if it’s too low. Here’s a handy alcohol content calculator you can use to estimate your final alcohol levels. With your must at the correct sugar concentration go ahead and stir in 1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient (your specific brand of nutrient may vary so be sure to read the label). Set this aside. Pitch The Yeast There are two ways you can go about this. You can either toss the yeast in dry and wait for it to start or you can re-hydrate the yeast to get things going faster. I prefer to hydrate the yeast, however, you don’t have to. Here’s an article on how to hydrate yeast if you’d like to try it out. Otherwise just add your yeast straight from the packet. If you pitch the yeast dry expect that fermentation will begin within a day or two....

Read More

Learning How to Make Mead

Learning How to Make Mead

Mead was the first fermented beverage ever produced. It’s production dates all the way back to 7000 B.C which predates wine by three thousand years. To make mead is to partake in the oldest of traditions. While mead is not technically wine the process of making mead is very similar and, as a winemaker, you can learn a lot from doing it. Simply put, it involves creating a must that you add yeast to and let it ferment. After fermentation, you rack it, age it, and then bottle it. Why You Should Make Mead The beautiful thing about making mead is that you can make world class mead with honey from just about anywhere. You don’t have to buy Napa or Bordeaux honey. Find a local producer that sells raw and unfiltered honey, or just go to the grocery store. Honey is always available so you can make mead any time you like. You don’t have to wait for a harvest nor do you have to use it immediately after getting it like you do with wine grapes. Honey lasts a long time. To get the most out of your mead making experience skip any kits you might find and source all the equipment and ingredients yourself. It forces you to really think about what you need and how much to use. Picking the yeast for instance involves doing a bit of research to figure out what yeasts produce what flavor profiles. What temperatures work best for what yeasts. How long can you expect fermentation to take. You’ll need to know the alcohol tolerance of the yeast and how that will work with the amount of honey you put into your must. You may be thinking “But I’ve never made mead! How will I know what to do?” Good question. You may have to do a bit of research to iron out all the details for your particular mead. Even with the recipe and process I am providing here you may have to adjust it to suit you. But here’s the good news…mead is very forgiving. There are few mistakes you can make that time will not heal. The main exception being not properly sanitizing your equipment.  My Mead Recipe Here’s the recipe I used to make the mead pictured above. It’s a one gallon batch of dry mead. No spices, juices, or fruit added. Just a plain dry mead. A great place to start. While I’m not a seasoned mead maker I thought I would share what I’ve learned so far including the recipe I used and how I did it. Here we go. Ingredients: 13-14 cups of water 2.5 lbs unfiltered, raw honey 1 packet of dry yeast 1 teaspoon of yeast nutrients Equipment (affiliate links): 1 gallon glass jug long handled spoon drilled plug (#6 for 1 gallon jug) three piece airlock plug for long term aging (#6 for 1 gallon jug) large pot for heating water The Mead Making Process As always begin by sanitizing you equipment. Heat the water to approximately 190-200 degrees (F). This kills anything funky in your water or your pot and gets rid...

Read More