How to Make Mead

old mead bottle

Mead making starts by choosing a recipe. There are several different kinds of mead styles and recipes available. Once you've decided on a recipe, gather the ingredients and equipment. Begin by preparing the must (the unfermented mead or wine mixture containing water, honey and fruit). After the must is prepared, it is time to start the fermentation process (the process of yeast converting sugars to alcohol). It is then necessary to rack your mead twice, a third racking is optional. Racking is the term for transferring the mead from one vessel to another during the fermentation process. After fermentation and racking, you're ready to bottle your mead for future enjoyment!

How to Prepare Must

In a very clean 16 quart or larger kettle, combine 1 gallon of bottled spring water (do not use distilled water) with the honey. Rinse honey jar with water from the pot.

Heat the mixture to 180°F. Reduce the heat and hold the temperature between 175° and 180°F for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and skim any white film (bees wax) off of the surface. Do not allow to boil.

Remove kettle from the heat and place it in a sink of cold water to reduce its temperature. Stir occasionally and change the sink water when it becomes warm. Do this until temperature is below 85°F.

Fermentation

Clean and sanitize your primary fermenter and airlock.

Place two gallons of bottled spring water in the sanitized fermenter pail. Allow the water to splash around so it picks up oxygen.

Add the pasteurized honey, then using a sanitized spoon vigorously stir in all the remaining ingredients except the campden tablets and yeast.

Pitch the yeast by sprinkling it on the surface of the must. Close the primary fermenter and attach the airlock. Allow it to ferment at room temperature for 14 days or until the activity in the air lock slows to less than 1 bubble per minute, whichever is longer.

First Racking

Move the primary fermenter into racking position at least 2 days before actually transferring the mead. This will allow time for the sediment to settle back down. Racking mead should be done by gently siphoning. Mead is very susceptible to oxidation.

Clean and sanitize a 3 gallon better bottle or glass carboy, rubber stopper, air lock and siphon set up.

Crush 3 campden tablets into a fine powder and place them into the better bottle or carboy.

To make semi-dry or sweet mead, add 1 or 2 lbs. of additional honey by first siphoning 1 quart of the mead into a separate container and mixing in the honey. Pour this into the carboy and continue to gently siphon the mead from the primary fermenter into the bottom of the carboy. Be careful not to disturb the sediment from the primary fermenter.

Add distilled water if necessary to bring the level of the mead up to the bottom of the carboy neck. Close the carboy with stopper and air lock. Allow to ferment in a dark place for at least 30 days but not more than 45 days.

Second Racking

Rack the mead to the sanitized primary fermenter pail.

Clean and sanitize the better bottle. Add 2 crushed campden tablets and rack the mead back into the better bottle.

Allow the mead to rest in a dark place at least 30 days. To check clarity, hold a flash light on one side of the carboy and look at the light from the other. When you can clearly see the bulb of the light the mead is clear.

Third Racking (optional)

There is no substitute for time when making mead. The more mature the mead is prior to bottling the better it will be. A third racking will allow the mead to brighten and age. Do not use any additives on this racking. You can allow the mead to bulk age for as long as you like but, as little as 4 weeks will make a difference.

Mead can be bottled as you would wine or beer. We recommend 375 ml wine bottles or 7 oz. clear beer bottles. These smaller sizes reduce waste caused by leftovers. If the beer bottle method is used the caps must be the oxygen barrier type. Wine bottles should be closed with a 1-3/4 inch cork.

You can make your mead still, sparkling or both. Sparkling mead can only be sweetened with a sugar substitute and must be bottled in beer bottles or champagne bottles with special corks and wires.

Clean and sanitize your bottles, caps, siphon and bottle filling equipment. Gently fill each bottle but do not cap until all are filled.

When filling is complete you have the option of making some of the mead sparkling. To do this, add ½ teaspoon of corn sugar to each sparkling bottle.

Cap or cork the bottles. Store them upright in a dark cool place.

Mead will take time to age and in my experience it will undergo many changes. A batch which tastes great at bottling time may taste bad after 3 months in the bottle and then fabulous at 6 months.

Melomel Fruit Mead

Melomel is made from honey, water and any fruit other than grapes or apples. We use seedless fruit puree in our Melomel for perfect results.Mead making starts by choosing a recipe. There are several different kinds of mead styles and recipes available. Once you've decided on a recipe, gather the ingredients and equipment. Begin by preparing the must (the unfermented mead or wine mixture containing water, honey and fruit). After the must is prepared, it is time to start the fermentation process (the process of yeast converting sugars to alcohol). It is then necessary to rack your mead twice, a third racking is optional. Racking is the term for transferring the mead from one vessel to another during the fermentation process. After fermentation and racking, you're ready to bottle your mead for future enjoyment!

How to Prepare Must

In a very clean 16 quart or larger kettle, combine 1 gallon of bottled spring water (do not use distilled water) with the honey. Rinse honey jar with water from the pot.

Heat the mixture to 180°F. Reduce the heat and hold the temperature between 175° and 180°F for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and skim any white film (bees wax) off of the surface. Do not allow to boil.

Remove kettle from the heat and place it in a sink of cold water to reduce its temperature. Stir occasionally and change the sink water when it becomes warm. Do this until temperature is below 85°F.

Fermentation

Clean and sanitize your primary fermenter and airlock.

Place two gallons of bottled spring water in the sanitized fermenter pail. Allow the water to splash around so it picks up oxygen.

Add the pasteurized honey, then using a sanitized spoon vigorously stir in all the remaining ingredients except the campden tablets and yeast.

Pitch the yeast by sprinkling it on the surface of the must. Close the primary fermenter and attach the airlock. Allow it to ferment at room temperature for 14 days or until the activity in the air lock slows to less than 1 bubble per minute, whichever is longer.

First Racking

Move the primary fermenter into racking position at least 2 days before actually transferring the mead. This will allow time for the sediment to settle back down. Racking mead should be done by gently siphoning. Mead is very susceptible to oxidation.

Clean and sanitize a 3 gallon better bottle or glass carboy, rubber stopper, air lock and siphon set up.

Crush 3 campden tablets into a fine powder and place them into the better bottle or carboy.

To make semi-dry or sweet mead, add 1 or 2 lbs. of additional honey by first siphoning 1 quart of the mead into a separate container and mixing in the honey. Pour this into the carboy and continue to gently siphon the mead from the primary fermenter into the bottom of the carboy. Be careful not to disturb the sediment from the primary fermenter.

Add distilled water if necessary to bring the level of the mead up to the bottom of the carboy neck. Close the carboy with stopper and air lock. Allow to ferment in a dark place for at least 30 days but not more than 45 days.

Second Racking

Rack the mead to the sanitized primary fermenter pail.

Clean and sanitize the better bottle. Add 2 crushed campden tablets and rack the mead back into the better bottle.

Allow the mead to rest in a dark place at least 30 days. To check clarity, hold a flash light on one side of the carboy and look at the light from the other. When you can clearly see the bulb of the light the mead is clear.

Third Racking (optional)

There is no substitute for time when making mead. The more mature the mead is prior to bottling the better it will be. A third racking will allow the mead to brighten and age. Do not use any additives on this racking. You can allow the mead to bulk age for as long as you like but, as little as 4 weeks will make a difference.

Mead can be bottled as you would wine or beer. We recommend 375 ml wine bottles or 7 oz. clear beer bottles. These smaller sizes reduce waste caused by leftovers. If the beer bottle method is used the caps must be the oxygen barrier type. Wine bottles should be closed with a 1-3/4 inch cork.

You can make your mead still, sparkling or both. Sparkling mead can only be sweetened with a sugar substitute and must be bottled in beer bottles or champagne bottles with special corks and wires.

Clean and sanitize your bottles, caps, siphon and bottle filling equipment. Gently fill each bottle but do not cap until all are filled.

When filling is complete you have the option of making some of the mead sparkling. To do this, add ½ teaspoon of corn sugar to each sparkling bottle.

Cap or cork the bottles. Store them upright in a dark cool place.

Mead will take time to age and in my experience it will undergo many changes. A batch which tastes great at bottling time may taste bad after 3 months in the bottle and then fabulous at 6 months.

Melomel Fruit Mead

Melomel is made from honey, water and any fruit other than grapes or apples. We use seedless fruit puree in our Melomel for perfect results.

homemade mead with mulling spices

Mead Making

Honey, Water and Yeast Make the Ancient Drink Called Mead