What is Mead?
There are a lot of misconceptions about Mead. The first thing that comes to mind, if you even heard of it, is a bunch of vikings drinking down lots of large mugs full of a macho drink. And well, nothing could be further from the truth. We don’t mean that viking warriors didn’t drink their own version of mead. What we mean is that Mead is not some kind of a drink that is rough and tumble. Mead is an astonishingly delicious and delicate beverage that will absolutely take you by surprise.
So, what exactly is Mead? It is a wine made from honey. Simple as that. Instead of using grapes the mead maker uses honey! Can you see how this would be something special? It is a wine and it is made from one of the tastiest creations in nature. (This concept of making wine from honey isn’t unusual). Wine doesn’t have to be made from grapes. It can be made from any number of sweet fruits.
- 3 pounds clover honey
- 1/4 ounce Tartaric acid
- 1/2 ounce Malic acid
- yeast nutrients as required
- 1/8 ounce tannin
- Steinberg yeast (or any good wine yeast)
- water (to 1 Gallon)
- Dissolve the honey in 2 liters (1/2 Gallon) warm water together with the nutrients, acid, and tannin.
- Make the volume up to 4.5 liters (1 gallon) with cold water and add 100 ppm sulphites. After 24 hours add the yeast starter and allow to ferment to dryness. Thereafter follow the basic procedure.
An overview of the Process
1. You mix a batch of water and honey (typically it is 4 gallons of water and 12 to 15 pounds of honey. This 12 to 15 pounds of honey is about 4 to 5 quarts. Typically you heat this mixture to make it more fluid but it isn’t mandatory.
2. You add yeast and yeast nutrition to the honey water mix. The yeast will gobble up the honey and transform it into Mead. You should add some kind of nutrient to the mixture so the yeast can grow. This nutrient can be store bought or it can be a variety of things like lemon peels and tea leaves.
3. You let it sit for a period of time. Typically about two weeks is the amount of time it takes for the initial fermentation to occur. At this stage your mixture should be bubbling nicely. You then move it to a large clear bottle so you can keep an eye on it. Keep it in this new glass bottle for another two weeks to two months until it isn’t doing anything anymore. (no more bubbling and no more activity)
4. Put it in individual bottles and store it! Depending on how much honey you put in the mixture it will be ready to drink anywhere from 3 months to a year. (Less honey means faster ready time)
That’s pretty much the whole process in a nutshell. You really don’t do much and you can even fudge a lot of this. The yeast does all the work for you! Just make sure you keep impeccable sanitation for everything because it is a foodstuff you are making and you want to make sure no external molds, bacteria or living organisms get a chance to find your mead. It will grow like crazy and you don’t want anything to grow in your mead except your yeast!