A traditional mead is an easy recipe for beginners to follow and learn the basics of making homemade mead.
1 GALLON BATCH
- 3 lbs of honey
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 packet of wine yeast
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient *
- 1 tsp acid blend *
- 1 airlock and stopper
- 1 funnel
- 1 hydrometer
- 2 Fermentation vessels (a primary and another to transfer into for secondary fermentation / re-racking):
– Glass jug (also called a carboy)
– Wide Mouth Mason Jar
– Large Bucket
– Large Conical Fermentor
- 1 large pot
- 1 stirring spoon
- Siphon hose
- Cleaning brush
- Sanitizer (such as Star San)
Step 1: Sanitize all of your equipment. This is a crucial step to ensure that your mead does not become contaminated with any unwanted bacteria or wild yeast. Follow the instructions on the sanitizer that you choose to use.
Step 2: Heat up 1 gallon of water in a large pot over the stove. Heat the water to around 150-160°F, but make sure not to let it boil.
Step 3: Add 3 lbs of honey to the hot water and stir until it dissolves completely. This new mixture is what is called “the Must”.
Step 4: Once the honey has dissolved, remove the pot from heat and let it cool down to room temperature. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the pot in a sink filled with cold water.
Step 5: Once the mixture has cooled down, use a funnel to transfer the mixture into your one gallon fermentation vessel. At this time it’s a good idea to take an original gravity reading. This OG reading will tell you how much sugar is suspended in your liquid and from this you can get an estimate of your final ABV %.
Step 6: Add 1 tsp of yeast nutrient and 1 tsp of acid blend to the must in that’s in your fermentation vessel. These 2 ingredients will help provide your yeast with the necessary nutrients and acidity to ferment properly.
Step 7: Add 1 packet of wine yeast to your fermentation vessel. You can pour the yeast directly into you fermenter, or rehydrate it in warm water first according to the instructions on the packet. Then give the contents a little stir or a quick swirl of the jug to be sure all ingredients are incorporated.
Step 8: Attach an airlock and stopper to the glass jug. The airlock allows gas to escape during fermentation while preventing air from entering the jug and contaminating the mead. Due to the pressure created within the jug sometimes the stopper will want to slowly slide out. We advice securing the stopper and airlock with a zip tie or similar to insure the stopper doesn’t work it’s way back out over time.
Step 9: Store the glass jug in a cool, dark place for about 3-4 weeks, or until the fermentation process is complete. Fermentation is complete or coming to an end when the bubbles stop working through the airlock. You can also check the progress of the fermentation by using a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity of the mead. If you measure the specific gravity once airlock bubbling stops and get the same reading for 2 consecutive weeks it can be assumed the primary fermentation is complete.
Step 10: Once the primary fermentation process is complete, use a siphon hose to transfer the mead into a second fermentation vessel. This process is call a re-rack. The purpose of this secondary fermentation is to separate the mead from the sediment at the bottom of the primary fermentation. The sediment of the primary is call “lees”. When siphoning from primary to secondary be careful not to disturb the lees. The idea is to transfer as little of the lees into secondary as possible.
Step 11: We recommend storing this re-racked mead in a cool, dark place for at least 2-3 months to allow it to age and develop its flavor. During this time your mead should further clarify and make for a more presentable final product. You can store the mead for more or less time if desired.
Step 12: Once your are satisfied with the time spent in the secondary. You can then siphon your mead in to small bottles to once again separate the mead from the sediment. From here you can store in a cool dark place or in the refrigerator.
Congratulations, you have made your first batch of traditional mead!
Remember, mead-making is a process that requires patience and attention to detail, but it can also be a fun and rewarding experience. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients and techniques to create unique flavors and styles of mead.
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