Mead is an ancient potable beverage from olde England ensuring the people had something safe to drink as water at that time was unsafe or unpalatable. Using honey rather than grapes was simply the result of climate. Today, England produces some excellent wines and while the French might have a fit for us saying, the English sparkling wine is in some ways comparable to Champagne.
The quality of the honey is one of the first considerations when making mead. In general, a lighter honey yields a lighter colored and more refined mead, and a dark honey a more robust, richer colored mead. Choosing which honey to use is a matter of personal taste. There will be variations in the amount of sugar, minerals and vitamins between honeys. The specific composition of any batch of honey will depend largely on the mix of flowers consumed by the bees that produced the honey.
The basic ingredients for any mead are honey, yeast and water though there can be many variations when other ingredients are added like spices, herbs and fruit. If you would like to learn more on the whole mead making process the following book is a mine of information and is highly recommended.
- 3 pounds Acacia or Orange blossom honey
- yeast nutrients as required
- 1/4 ounce tartaric acid
- Champagne yeast
- 1/2 ounce Malic acid
- 1/8 ounce Tannin
- water to 1 Gallon
- Dissolve the honey in 2 liters (1/2 gal) warm water together with the nutrients, acid, and tannin.
- Make the volume up to 4 1/2 liters (1 gallon) with cold water and add 100 ppm sulphites (optional).
- After 24 hours add the yeast starter and allow to ferment to dryness.
- Thereafter follow the basic procedure.
- This mead can be made into a sparkling wine if preferred.