Introduction: How to Make Mead

Mead is simple and turns out great!

Step 1: Ingredients

For this recipe we used:

~ 3/4 gallon water
3 pounds of honey
One packet of yeast (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)
3/4 of a cup of roughly chopped mint
10 key limes
One gallon jug (glass is best) with cap
One balloon (red is best)

The flavor can be almost anything you want. We have made orange/raisin (awesome) and huckleberry/cherry (pretty good) recently, be creative.

Step 2: Prepare the Flavor

First chop the key limes in half, or smaller if the neck of your jug is narrow.
Also roughly chop the mint.

Cutting up whatever fruit or herb you use helps to release the flavor.

Step 3: Add the Honey

First fill the jug with an inch or two of water. This will help keep the honey from sticking to the bottom too much.

Then add the honey.

Once the honey is mostly in the jug, it can be helpful to fill the honey jar up with water and swish it around to help get the last little bits of the honey out.

Step 4: Add the Rest of the Ingredients

Next add the key limes, mint and yeast.

Then fill the jug most of the way full with water. It's important to leave some air space at the top of the jug for the foam that will be produced during the fermentation.

We accidentally did the water and ingredients backwards because we were distracted by the documentation. Thankfully we remembered to stop adding water while there was still enough room to add the other stuff.

Step 5: Shake, Shake, Shake

Next screw the lid on the jug nice and tight, and shake it for a couple of minutes.

This helps disperse the yeast throughout the mixture. The honey will mostly settle out in the bottom anyway. That's okay.

Step 6: Bubble Cap

After you are satisfied that everything has been well mixed, remove the lid of the jug.

Stretch the balloon over the mouth of the jug and poke a small hole in the balloon with a pin.

You can also use a bubble trap if you have one. They are available at your local brew shop.

Step 7: Label and Wait

It is a good idea to label your mead at this point. We usually put the date and flavor on our tags.

After about 20-30 minutes - or at least within several hours - the balloon will inflate and the mixture will start foaming. The foam is normal and is a sign of healthy yeast growth. Once the balloon is no longer staying full, cap the jug and put some place where it won't be disturbed.

The pictures below show a couple of stages along the path to finished mead.

NOTE: Keep an eye on the balloon for the first 24 hours or so. If it's threatening to pop off the jug, secure with a rubber band and/or poke another pinhole in the balloon.

***Note: The foam grew enough to lift the mint into the balloon after about 24 hours. If this happens to you, take the balloon off and push the mint back down into the liquid, rinse out the balloon and replace it. This will help keep the CO2 moving out of the jug.***

Step 8: Bottling

After your mead has been fermenting for a few months it can be bottled. The longer you wait to bottle it the less carbonation the final product will have, so keep that in mind.

For bottling you'll need 4-5 wine bottles, ~ 3 feet of tubing (aquarium type), corks for each bottle, and a pan of some sort for when you accidentally spill some of the mead next to the bottle.

I use zork brand corks because they seal without need of a corking machine. You can get zorks at your local brew store or online.

Step 9: Fill the Bottles

Siphon the mead from the jug into the bottles, being careful not to suck up the solids that are on the bottom of the jug. This is probably best done with 2 people so that both ends of the tube stay under control.

We siphon by placing the jug on the kitchen counter and having bottles ready on a little kitchen stool (and in a tray) that allows the tops of the bottles to sit below the bottom of the jug, then we suck the mead through the tube to get it started*.

Consider beforehand what you might do with an odd volume of mead. Of course you can use differently sized bottles if you have a good way to seal them, and there's nothing wrong with aging a less-than-full bottle. But if it's a really meager serving, maybe just hand a couple of shots to some friends to watch them breathe fire. (We promise it mellows beautifully)

*Some instructions recommend swishing a mouthful of scotch before siphoning. For sterilizing purposes.

Step 10: Done

Once the bottles are full press the zorks all the way down. Despite the pics here, we think the best way is to put the bottle on the floor and brace it well between your knees while you push.

When you're finished corking, you might consider labeling with the flavor and "born-on" date again, so that you know how long your mead has aged.

Wait for the mead to reach about six months old before you drink it. The longer you let it sit the better it gets. Enjoy!


ti2gr made it!(author)2017-07-06

I used white wine yeast from a brewing/wine making store when I make mead (different, but similar recipe)

SitiH7 made it!(author)2016-06-24

amazing brother

Pbyrd made it!(author)2012-05-29

My papaw raises bees and has copious amounts of raw honey. Will this be better than store bought? And will a bit of honeycomb harm the mead?

MarkJ66 made it!(author)2015-11-02

Yes, it'll be "better". It is supposed to give it a more unique flavor and aroma. A lot of the time the pasturized/big name honey brands will substitute in corn syrup for a portion of the honey to save on costs.

beekinfarms made it!(author)2012-08-16

Raw honey will require more steps. Store bought honey most of the time is pasteurize. You would bring water and honey just before a boil and skim off the froth substance (bee parts and wax). A mesh strainer type spoon will help. When You can remove all that you can of the froth. Allow it to cool to room temp before you fill the bottles (I use a 5gal carboy). You can follow the rest of MoleMans steps.

I myself made gallons of mead with strange flavors. Strawberry, mandarin orange and raisin.

*****Label all your bottles in case of allergies****

obax17 made it!(author)2012-06-25

I have heard that raw honey does indeed make for a better flavour, but I have yet to give it a try. Depending on the brand, the store-bought stuff can be a mix of corn syrup with just enough honey to make it yellowish and taste kinda honey-ish (not all store-bought stuff is like this, but the cheaper stuff can be). Part of the flavour of honey comes from the impurities that pasteurization kill off.

I have no idea about the honeycomb though...

lostcaptain69 made it!(author)2013-07-13

Hey I just recently made a batch of this, and I was wondering how long to leave the balloon on? Because mine still is holding up and bubbles are moving through and its been about 3 days

MarkJ66 made it!(author)2015-11-02

It can take weeks or months

DarylS3 made it!(author)2015-09-11

I made a batch of mead using 5 pounds of honey to one gallon of mead. I also used fliechmanns yeast. It came out smelling of sulfur after about two weeks? What did i do wrong?

MarkJ66 made it!(author)2015-11-02

I know it's about 2 months too late, but for future investigators, just let it age. That will get rid of the sulfur smell.

imorgan made it!(author)2014-06-21

When you're first adding the water does it matter if its cold or hot water?

El+DJ made it!(author)2011-05-15

Would it be possible to use a funnel and just poor it into bottles instead of siphoning it?

chrispybites made it!(author)2012-08-19

[caveat] I dunno if this applies to mead at all; this comes from beer brewing experience [/caveat].

The problem with pouring as opposed to siphoning is oxygenation. Oxygenation is GREAT for yeast, pre-fermentation, but at any other time in the process tends to produce off-flavors (commonly described as a moldy, wet-paper taste).

So, anyway, I dunno if mead is affected by that, but oxygenation is a huge concern in beer-making.

MoleMans made it!(author)2011-05-16

Yeah that would work fine. Just be careful not to get any of the dregs into the bottle.

El+DJ made it!(author)2011-05-16

Alright, thanks. Everyone says siphon it, and I was just wondering if there was any specific reason that it was siphoned.I'll probably use a coffee filter on one end of the funnel to make sure only liquid goes through

xmobisx made it!(author)2011-06-11

people usually say to siphon it so that you dont get oxygen. if you pour to fast you can create oxygen bubbles, so pour slow.

FireKracker made it!(author)2012-05-17

Has anyone tried mango? I just started a small batch of mango apricot and was wondering if anyone had any past experience with it. This is an awesome instructable btw, very easy to follow.

xmobisx made it!(author)2011-04-06

From left to right. Manzanilla Mead ready in 2 months, lemon Mead ready in 1.5months and beer ready in 2weeks.

MoleMans made it!(author)2011-04-07

Nice! I am trying to get brave enough to try brewing some beer. For some reason beer is more intimidating to me than wine or mead.

macgyver71 made it!(author)2012-04-02

I am finding this more intimidating than brewing beer....I have an idea of what I want, but dont know what amounts, etc...and with smaller batches, I dont have the wiggle room of tossing an extra gram of ingredient x in.
But, I had a small bottle of licorice (and clove, I believe) mead from a bottle exchange at Xmas, and I must make some! Can't find any darn recipes for licorice/clove though.
(I also have an excess of madagascar vanilla bean, opeen for suggestions :)

xmobisx made it!(author)2011-04-07

you should try buying a kit first. its kinds like buying a cake mix box instead of making it from scratch. all you really do is boil about 2 gallons of water, add the malt to it and cool it as fast as you can and then put it in the carboy with 3 more gallons of water and the yeast....theres a little more to it but thats pritty much it

xmobisx made it!(author)2011-04-06

so i got bit by the brewing bug and decided to give it a try

JesterPoet made it!(author)2011-04-06

Out of curiosity, how does one sterilize the tubing you use for the siphon in between uses? It seems like a difficult thing to sterilize.

xmobisx made it!(author)2011-04-07

you dont really have to sanitize between using just wash it really good. to sanatize the inside of the tube, i have a spigot on my bucket so i just attach the hose to it and fill it with sanitation solution and plug the hole when hose is full. once its full i take ot off the spigot and submerge the whole thing in the same solution. i use star san so it only takes 1 min to sanitize.

macgyver71 made it!(author)2012-04-02

Xmo is correct, a good cleaning will work (soak in Oxyclean, its the same stuff we homebrewers use [aka PBW]) Star san is good, Iodophor if you have it (SS is much easier though),

MoleMans made it!(author)2011-04-07

Thats a good suggestion. I have never sanitized my siphon tube. I just rinse it well, which is probably gross. I guess I never really thought about the siphon before.

cheesefannumba1 made it!(author)2012-03-20

Great recipe! Is it possible to over ferment it? My friend and i who are planning to make it will only be able to check on it periodically and would be letting it ferment for 3-4 months. Would that be too long? or does it not really matter?


MoleMans made it!(author)2012-03-21

That's (one of) the great thing about mead, it can handle being ignored for long periods of time. If you want a dry mead you can let it sit for up to a year (maybe longer) as long as you keep it cool and dark.

If you want a sweeter mead then you need to decant the yeast after a month or two, but then it can sit in the dark/cool for as long as you want and it gets better with time.

I have a couple bottles that I have laid up for two years and its fantastic!

cheesefannumba1 made it!(author)2012-03-21

Great advice! Thanks so much!

PyroBonsly made it!(author)2012-02-26

Great recipe, i just started my first batch yesterday.
Here's my lime/mint batch
Hope it turn's out good

meade 006.jpg
flashj made it!(author)2011-11-03

This sounds awesome. I must try it in between batches of homemade cider. ('Structable using similar supplies also available herein!) I just need a place I can put it out of the way for 6 months so I'm not tempted to open it early and that won't drop below freezing for several months as well. :)

P.Bechthold made it!(author)2011-10-14

Going out to buy honey in a few minutes. Wanted to ad a comment for the OP and all the guests here.

While sterilizing your mouth with vodka is a good idea, it isn't necessary. The best way to start a siphon is to just fill the hose with water from the tap, plug off the ends with your fingers, then put the hose in your mead and the other into a spare cup.

when the water is done draining, you can pinch the tube and move to the real bottles.

Just a tip from a winemaker :)

xanxer82 made it!(author)2011-10-27

Autosiphon or magnetic impeller pump FTW :)
Another vintner here.

P.Bechthold made it!(author)2011-10-27

Homebrewing FTW!

xanxer82 made it!(author)2011-10-28


Continuo made it!(author)2011-10-25

Great 'ible, makes the whole process seem totally in reach of anyone, and another nice thing about it is the small batch size helps it to be less intimidating. I will probably give this a try in a few weeks, I read that you used plain "bread" yeast, but I'm curious of which brand and/or type it is? (for instance, could I use a packet of active dry yeast?)


MoleMans made it!(author)2011-10-25

Thanks! I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

I use Red Star brand yeast, but that's only cause I work in the ethanol industry and that's what we use at the plants. You can use Fleischman's or any other active dry yeast and should have no issue.

The only thing you want to make that your yeast isn't too old. I tried making some hard cider with a packet of yeast that was sitting in the fridge for a year (or more, not really sure) and it didn't go well because the yeast seemed to be mostly dead. I have never had problems using yeast that was recently purchased though.

Meuryn made it!(author)2011-10-18

About the sterilising your mouth with scotch/vodka - there really is no point. Alcohol has to be in concentrations of 60% or more in order to have any germicidal effect; so your 45 - 50% vodka won't really do anything.

wtf24 made it!(author)2011-10-16

I stumbled upon this today and I plan on trying it this week. I plan on using cherries but I was wondering how many you would recommend using. Any advice would help. Thanks!!

MoleMans made it!(author)2011-10-16

We put a handful in for a gallon, so maybe 8 - 10. Just make sure to cut them small enough that they will come out later when they swell up.

wtf24 made it!(author)2011-10-16

ok, thanks. And the time between putting the balloon on the jar and capping the jar can be a few weeks, correct?

MoleMans made it!(author)2011-10-17

Yeah, in fact you want to make sure to wait until the balloon begins to get limp so you don't over saturate with CO2 and slow the yeast down too much.

capricorn made it!(author)2011-10-13

This must be the easiest and user friendlier 'Ible about mead making I ever saw in my life

Thank you for sharing this mate, just a stupid question:

How do you get everything out from the main jar so that you can reuse it to brew another batch?

MoleMans made it!(author)2011-10-13

Thank you! That's about the highest praise I could hope for.

Getting the chunks out at the end isn't trivial, as everything swells up during the fermentation. I have had good luck holding the bottle upside down and running a knitting needle or crochet hook in and out through the chunks catching whatever I can. It can take a little persistence.

It is definitely a good idea to cut the fruit much smaller than the neck of the jar at the start (like half the diameter) to allow for some swelling.

cloclo59 made it!(author)2011-03-20

I understand the mixture water + honey + yeast
but why add mint and lemon?
je comprend le mélange eau + miel + levure
mais pourquoi ajouter menthe et citron ?

xmobisx made it!(author)2011-03-21

the mint and honey are just for flavor

SnuffyDaPenguin made it!(author)2011-07-29

The mint and FRUIT are mostly for flavor.
The yeast gets the majority of its sugar from the honey, and obviously some from the fruit, but the basic mead is made with only honey.

MoleMans made it!(author)2011-03-21

Exactly, my wife and I like to experiment with all kinds of flavor combinations. Lately we have been trying different kinds of honey in a plain mead. So far its hard to beat fresh orange blossom honey. Someone posted about using Avacado honey, which I'd love to try but haven't been able to find yet.

arpoky made it!(author)2011-07-27

What exactly does the pinhole in the balloon do? Don't you want to keep the carbon dioxide in so that the mead stays carbonated? Also, when you say to put the pinhole in the bottom of the balloon, do you mean we should put it in the end opposite the opening?

MoleMans made it!(author)2011-07-27

The pinhole allows the CO2 to escape while maintaining enough back pressure on the jug to keep oxygen out. If you capped it right away you would get a lot of carbonation, but the yeast would shut down fermentation once the CO2 levels got to high and you'd end up with a very sweet mead without much alcohol (which is fine if that's what you like).

If you want a fizzy mead that is higher in alcohol you can add a little simple syrup to the bottles right before you cork them.

Yeah I meant the end opposite the opening, I guess its really more like the top isn't it.

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