Before the invention of beer and wine, mead was the only way to catch a buzz. While its exact origin remains a mystery, there’s reason to believe the “nectar of the Gods” is as old as the Gods themselves. Now, mead is a trendy farm-to-table way to impress dinner guests. It’s relatively easy to make, and you can have fun doing it, especially with this guide.
If this is your first mead making adventure, you’re going to need some specific equipment to get the results you want. You might have some of these items lying around your home, or you can find them online. All the equipment and ingredients we used are as follows:
- One Large Stainless-Steel Pot
- One Large Stainless-Steel Spoon
- One Large Funnel
- One Gallon Glass Jug w/ Airlock and Rubber Stopper
- Kitchen Thermometer
- Fermenting Bucket (OPTIONAL)
- Auto Siphon w/Tubing
- A Bottling Wand
- Flip Top Bottles
- 2-3 Pounds of Adee Honey Farms Honey (Per Gallon)
- ½ Gallon Non-Chlorinated (Filtered) Water (Per Gallon)
- One Container of Blackberries
Once you’ve got your equipment and ingredients, it’s time to make some mead magic. This recipe is enough to yield one full gallon, but you can easily make up to five gallons with one package of yeast.
Everything involved in the brewing process needs to be thoroughly sanitized before you begin. This includes the gallon jug, airlock, funnel and stainless-steel pot and spoon. Keep your sanitizer nearby just in case you drop something on the floor during the process.
Making Honey Water (Must)
When everything’s clean and sanitized, it’s officially time to start making your mead. Start by filling your pot with a ½ gallon of non-chlorinated water on medium heat. You want it to get warm, but not boil, before adding in your honey. Once the water is warm, add the honey and stir until it dissolves. The amount of honey you add will determine your mead’s sweetness level. Two pounds tends to keep a drier taste, while three pounds will end up sweeter.
When all is said and done, turn the heat off. You may notice an abundance of foam on top, which is completely normal. This finished product is called ‘Must.’ Let it rest so you can prepare your gallon jug.
Begin by filling the bottom of the jug with a fruit of your choice. If you’re trying to impress your friends, you can tell them that this technically turns your mixture from a mead into what’s called a melomel. You can give your yeast a nutrient boost by adding raisins without changing its flavor.
Grab your funnel and carefully pour the honey water mixture (Must) into the jug, and top it off with more non-chlorinated water. You’re going to want at least two inches of available space at the top.
Introduce the Yeast
Before you can add the yeast, you need to make sure your liquid isn’t too hot (greater than 90o F).
Once cool, it’s time to incorporate your yeast. There are different types of yeast you can use to get a different taste from your mead. We’re using a Premier Blanc Wine Yeast, which is good for melomels, but you can use champagne yeast or any other type of brewing yeast you prefer. You don’t need to use the whole package for a single gallon (a half package works), and it doesn’t have to be an exact measurement. Put the lid tightly on and begin to shake the jug to thoroughly combine all the ingredients.
Next, put your rubber stopper into the jug. Then, fill your airlock with water and stick it through the stopper into the jug. This will begin a pressurization process, so you might want to make sure your stopper is placed firmly to prevent air from leaking out.
Then, set the jug aside to ferment in a cool and dark place for five to six weeks, or until there aren’t any more bubbles in the jug and airlock. Check periodically to ensure everything is working properly, and top off the stopper with water if you notice it’s empty.
Bottle It Up
When it comes time to bottle your mead, there are a few methods you could try. A straining method uses regular kitchen strainers or coffee filters, but the sediment that’s created from fermentation will be too fine and cause more headaches than excitement. The most efficient and least headache inducing way is by using an auto siphon and bottling wand.
Since these items will be in direct contact with your mead they’ll need to be thoroughly sanitized before use. You might need an additional hand to help you with the actual bottling so grab a friend—they’ll be in awe to see what you’ve created. Next, place your jug on a counter or table, and your bottles on a lower pedestal because the mead flows better when it’s moving downstream. One person is dedicated to siphoning the jug, without touching the sediment on the bottom, and the other is the bottler.
When using the bottling wand, you’re going to push it into the bottom of the bottle to create flow. It might take a minute or two to get the hang of it, but the reward is well worth the wait. A gallon of mead should be enough to fill eight 16-oz. bottles.
Voila! You’ve just created your first official batch of Adee Honey Farms mead. You can enjoy it as it is, or you can store it for an additional month or two to really get the flavor to pop.
NOTE: Mead is easy to make and easy to drink, as long as you’re 21 years or older. While mead may look like a refreshing drink for all ages, it’s actually an alcoholic beverage and should be consumed responsibly by those old enough to enjoy it.