Making the Must
MAKING THE MUST.
The must is the mixture of honey, water, yeast and sometimes other ingredients used to enhance the flavors and color of the mead.
Choosing your honey. The type of honey you use will affect the flavor of your mead. You can use any type of honey, but many mead makers prefer to use local, raw honey for the best flavor.
Measure out your honey. For a one-gallon batch of mead, you’ll need about 3 pounds of honey (1 quart). You can measure the honey by weight or by volume, but be consistent in your measurements.
Heat your water. In a large pot, heat 1 gallon of water until it reaches a temperature of about 150-170°F (71-77°C). This temperature will help dissolve the honey and pasteurize the must to prevent unwanted bacteria growth.
Add the honey. Pour the honey into the hot water and stir until it is completely dissolved. You can use a whisk or a stirring spoon to help the honey dissolve more quickly.
Optional: add other ingredients. You can add additional ingredients to the must to give your mead different flavors or aromas. Some common additions include fruit (orange peels and raisins), tea, spices, or yeast nutrients.
Allow the must to cool. Once the honey is completely dissolved, remove the pot from the heat and allow the must to cool to room temperature. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the pot in an ice bath.
Take a gravity reading. Use a hydrometer and a graduated cylinder to take an original gravity (OG) reading of the must. This will tell you how much sugar is in the must and will help you in calculating the alcohol content of your mead. The calculation once you have the original gravity (OG) and final gravity (FG) readings of your mead is: ABV = (OG – FG) x 131.25.
Now you have a batch of must ready to begin its primary fermentation.
Remember to sanitize all of your equipment before adding the must and to follow safe food handling practices all throughout the mead making process.
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