There are many different techniques that can be applied in the process of making mead, and the vast resources available both online and in print can both inform, but also overwhelm. It is probably a sign of a boom in mead and meadmaking interest that there is so much information available, and making sense of it all takes so much time.
The basic process (after procuring equipment and ingredients) to make a Traditional mead requires the following steps:
- Design a recipe, or wing it
- Clean and sanitize all of the equipment
- Mix honey and some hot water in a fermentation bucket
- Add cold water to the desired volume. This mixture is called “must”
- Measure the gravity, i.e. sugar content, using a hydrometer
- Re-hydrate some yeast (71B-1122 or S05 are good to start with)
- Pitch (add) the re-hydrated yeast to the must
- Put the lid and airlock on the bucket
- Set the bucket somewhere where the temperature can either be controlled or stays pretty constant. Cooler is better, somewhere in the 62-64 deg F range is ideal.
- Within 12-24 hours the airlock should be bubbling away. You have fermentation!
- Make sure you sanitize any equipment that will touch your mead
- Degas and feed nutrients daily for 3 days, and then once more when 1/3 of the sugar has been consumed
- Measure the gravity looking for it to stop and stay constant over several measurements taken over a week or so
- Rack (siphon) the mead, leaving behind the lees and yeast, into a sanitized carboy and affix and airlock
- Add stabilization additives (Sulfite & Sorbate), mix well, and allow several days before doing anything else.
- Allow the mead to clear on its own or use a clarifying agent to clear it
- Bottle or keg the mead
- Enjoy it!
Really, that can’t be all there is, can it? Not all the detail has been provided in the steps above, so you will need to do a little homework, but trust us, that can be both inspiring and a lot of fun! And where you go from here is as much art/taste/preference as it is science.
There are many great resources to help you understand how the other styles of mead can be made and additional measurements and techniques that can be applied, all of which can help you take your meadmaking to the next level. A full set of books and links can be found in the Resources page, several of which have also been presented below.
- Example of the equipment needed to start from MoreWine!
- The Compleat Meadmaker – Ken Schramm
- The Complete Guide to Making Mead: The Ingredients, Equipment, Processes, and Recipes – Steve Piatz
- Mead Makers Facebook Group
- Mead Made Right (TOSNA)
- Meadmakr (look in the Toolbox specifically)
- GotMead Calculator
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