Introduction: Raspberry Mead

Picture of Raspberry Mead

This is hands down the best mead I make. It's easy and DELICIOUS. And it won the praise of my local homebrew guy, who also happens to the be National Meadmaker of the Year for 2003. So I must have done something right!

This instructable is for a 5 gallon batch (roughly 25 bottles). You can scale it up or down to whatever you plan on making. You'll need 3 pounds of honey and roughly 6 ounces of raspberries per gallon. Honey is expensive. I have since made a Raspberry Wine, exactly like this, but with Dextrose (Corn Sugar) as the fermentable sugar instead of honey. It's considerably cheaper. BUT, you can no longer call it a Mead. And there will be obvious texture/mouth-feel/flavor differences. But they are both delicious. If you do end up going the sugar route, you don't need 3 pounds/gallon, closer to 2 pounds/gallon. Use your hydrometer to fine tune, you're aiming for about 1.10 or so as the starting gravity. I think I ended up needing about 12 pounds of dextrose. Anyway, on to what you'll need. I'm assuming you've brewed before and already have basic brewing equipment. If not, take a look at my other Instructables, or any of the other ones on this site to see what you need.

15 lbs of honey. I got my honey from These are the nicest people in the world, and their honey selection is AMAZING. I've also used Dutch Gold for bulk (60 pound bucket), or worked out deals with local apiaries. What turned me on to Flying Bee Ranch was their selection and prices. Really good. I went with the tried and true Orange Blossom. But I imagine if the Raspberry honey is available, that would work quite nicely as well.

32 ounces of Raspberries. It's hard to say precisely how much I used, I was very fortunate that my Aunt had several raspberry bushes and would pluck the best ones for me. I asked for about 2 pints. Store bought bags are just as good. The trick I've mentioned before is to freeze them. Allegedly this breaks the cell walls of the raspberries, which caused them to release more flavor. Whether that's true or not, I can't say. But that's what I do.

Yeast. For this first batch, I used Lalvin 71B. I read that it's supposed to be a nice pairing with fruit. But it fermented extremely fast and had some initial off flavors that took a while to tame out. Some of that was because it was quite hot. Since then, I used Lalvin D47. I've never had a problem with this yeast, everything has always came out delicious.

Yeast Nutrient. This is a good one. I've also had success using regular yeast nutrient/yeast energizer. And frankly, I'm not even sure it needs it. The raspberries will provide a decent amount of nutrition.

Spring Water to fill the rest of your carboy up. I'd avoid city water since it has some chemicals in it. Not to say it won't be good, but if you can get a good, clean water source, use it.

Step 1: Le Sanitation

Sanitize your stuff. It takes all of 15 minutes and reduces the risk of infection. Again, I'll leave you to research your own method of sanitizing. I use C-Brite. 

Step 2: Add the Honey.

Picture of Add the Honey.

Pour all 15 pounds in the carboy. Some people heat it up so it flows easier. Some people boil it. That's a long standing debate whether to boil it or not. I don't. But plenty of fine meads have been made with boiled honey. It does make it easier to mix later on. But since I have the fancy drill attachment, I don't bother.

Step 3: Fill 'er Up!

Picture of Fill 'er Up!

But not all the way! You'll need to leave room for the raspberries.

Step 4:

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Mix it up good. Again, I can't speak highly enough about this drill attachment. Seriously, get it if you're really getting into this hobby. It does such a thorough job mixing. Then I took a reading with my hydrometer, to make sure I hit my target gravity (usually do) and that it was mixed well.

Step 5: Add the Raspberries

Picture of Add the Raspberries

I mentioned this in my last Instructable, when to add the fruit. Every blind taste test I've read about says adding after primary fermentation has been completed makes for a better tasting mead/wine. I don't have the guts. In fact, if you're doing this with just dextrose to make the wine version, you'll probably run into the same problem I ran into. Fermentation just did not kick off very well. Even though I added nutrients, plain old sugar water just doesn't seem to be enough to get it going. Once I added the raspberries. the thing took off like Old Faithful. Seriously. I had to store it in the shower.

Anyway, take your raspberries out of the freezer, and carefully put them in the carboy. I made a real mess doing this haha.

Step 6: Pitch the Yeast.

Picture of Pitch the Yeast.

Also follow the instructions for the nutrient (if you're using any). Mix it up again. And make sure you don't store it in a stupid place. Like your carpet. Like I did. I learned my lesson after the first fruit explosion, and kept it in my awesome shower. Just don't, you know, shower with it in there.

Step 7: The Waiting Game

Picture of The Waiting Game

Once the raspberries have lost their color, rack off them and the lees. Take a gravity reading. If it's at the ABV% you want it to be, I'd recommend adding some Super Kleer, and storing it in a cool place (or fridge, if you have room). After a few days, it should clear up beautifully. You can rack it off the lees again and get ready to bottle. While you're waiting, make up some cool labels. I used

If you've lost quite a bit of volume from the rackings, you can add more water. I've done this with every batch without issue. In fact it's even helped with some off-flavors. But you need to be careful not to add too much. It will dilute the potency and flavors.

Step 8: Bottling!

Picture of Bottling!

One it's done fermenting, and clear, it's time to bottle. You can use a siphoning hose or a funnel. I've been using a funnel lately. It's just quicker and I'm too impatient! Look at these babies. The last time I made this in wine form, I made an amazing discovery. It fermented a little too sweet for me, but not so sweet that I was going to re-pitch more yeast and hope it fermented out. I decided to see if adding anything to counter the sweetness would help. Enter, the cinnamon extract.

I had one I made a while ago kicking around, and I happened to smell it as I walked by my brewing area. It was a wonderful combination. Hands down, how I'll be making this again. So if you have a cinnamon extract, or make your own, try experimenting with adding it to your mead/wine. Do it in a small sample size until you find a good ratio, and scale up. It was a truly delicious pairing. And the spice of the cinnamon balanced the immediate sweetness of the raspberries.

That's it. Hope you enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions, and happy brewing!


Nitr0 made it! (author)2016-11-29

Berry Mead! Great instructable!

Nitr0 (author)2016-11-10

How long did you age the mead for? I just followed the instructible but instead of only raspberries I used a mixture of all kinds of berries. I just recently siphoned and bottled the mead in mason jars. I am thinking of aging it two months or so. The mead itself smells more like wine rather than mead. Maybe I added very little honey? Smells amazing though!

TedT13 (author)2016-06-30

Hi Jimbles
Is it possible to re-inoculate before bottling and get a sparkling mead?
Just a thought.

jimbles (author)TedT132016-06-30

Sure is. Some people add a little bit of honey at bottling. You just want to be careful to not add too much so as to not create bottle bombs. They sell pre sized carbonation sugar tabs at most homebrew shops.

dianabloom (author)jimbles2016-10-07

I am having bottle bombs with some of my raspberry mead. Is it possible to have used too much honey? Tastes wonderful though. I used 15 # honey for 5 gallons. Had a beginning s.g. of 1.11, bottled at 1.06. Any suggestions? Have aged it for 10 months.

jimbles (author)dianabloom2016-10-07

You used the correct amount of honey, but your final gravity of 1.06 is extremely high. Roughly half the honey you used wasn't fermented at the time of bottling, which would absolutely result in bottle bombs. That means you bottled it well before the yeast finished eating all the sugar. At this point, when you go to open a bottle it will probably shoot a geyser like Old Faithful, so I'd be careful! My best advice to try to salvage it would be to open them in a sanitized bucket to collect the off shoot, and put it back in the carboy to finish fermenting, then rebottle when the FG is closer to 1.00. I'm sure it tastes amazing though, I love sweet meads. If you're happy with how it tastes and just don't want any more explosions, you'll need to still open them and add potassium metabisulfite. It will be extremely carbonated as well, so you might want to let it go flat for a couple of days. Good luck!

dianabloom (author)jimbles2016-10-07

Thank you for your help. I did as you said last week, used a de-gassing device, let it sit in gallon jugs for 4 days, saw signs of carbonation, and rebottled again. Then yesterday had another bomb!!!! I need to test my FG again. Maybe I will just sit and drink the rest- haha.

dianabloom (author)dianabloom2016-10-07

I should have said, saw NO signs of carbonation.

otiz79 (author)2016-04-23

Hey Im considering making this recipe as my first mead recipe. Im going big with the 5 gallon recipe, due to the fact that i only have 5 gallon carboys. I have been brewing beer for a number of years now and want to try my hand at mead. My questions are:

1. Im racking after 5 days or until the rasberries lose there coloring, correct? From the secondary rack, How long do i wait to rerack and bottle? I am assuming after all bubbling has ceased?

2. I want to make this now (01 May) and not drink it till around thanksgiving or christmas. I understand that meads taste particularly better when they age. Is this a good ammount of time to let sit and if so can i refrigerate while i wait?

Sorry for all the questions, but i want to do this right and not be completely pissed off at my first batch, thus never wanting me to try my hand at mead again. Any help you can throw my way will be greatly appreciated.



jimbles (author)otiz792016-10-07

Hey John, so sorry for not seeing this. Seems my notifications aren't consistent. I'm very late to your first question, but you rack off the raspberries after they lose their color, which in my experience is about 5 days. 6 months is a great time to let it age, it should be a very nice and well rounded mead by now. Hope it came out great!

digitalmonkeyman (author)2016-05-28

Can I use Mason jars instead of Bottles?

jimbles (author)digitalmonkeyman2016-10-07


UnclTodd (author)2016-05-15

I have never even SEEN a raspberry, but blackberries are abundant here in Oklahoma... I would imagine that the blackberries would be more acidic than a "tame" fruit like a raspberry. Would adjustments need to be made in the fermenting chemistry? I have made ciders, but never attempted mead. Anybody? :-)

liteluvr (author)UnclTodd2016-07-17

I'm fixing to start a batch this week that will have some local blackberries, so I'll post back as it goes.

Located just north of Tulsa.

jimbles (author)UnclTodd2016-05-15

Blackberries are pretty similar to raspberries in terms of how they ferment. Since I'm not using a large amount in this recipe, I'd say you could use similar amounts.

eagle26241 (author)UnclTodd2016-05-15

not all raspberries are "tame".

NatashaB7 made it! (author)2016-06-01

Great instructable, thank you. I made mine in a 5L carboy, but I think I stuffed up the measurements. It tastes delicious but not very alcoholic. I'm going to try again though.

How long after bottling do you think until it is ready to drink? I know the last batch of mead that I made, it was ready after 6 months, but it gets better with age.

jimbles (author)NatashaB72016-06-02

Looks great! If it's ready to bottle, it's ready to drink. It's possible yours petered out early. You could always try to restart the fermentation by adding more honey and nutrients. Mead should be sweet, that's why it's the nectar of the gods!

NatashaB7 (author)jimbles2016-06-02

Thanks Jimbles, I'll give that a try :)

ecjones (author)2016-03-16

considering doing a 2 gallon batch in my 7 gallon bucket ( to give enough headspavce to prevent over foaming) and then racking into 2 * 1 gallon jars. How long between start and first rack and racking to bottling?

jimbles (author)ecjones2016-03-16

It really depends on ambient temperature and nutrients. This was about 4 weeks but it could take 3 months. Rack when it's completely clear.

ecjones (author)jimbles2016-03-20

Thanks! Started it today, now we wait.....

NatashaB7 (author)ecjones2016-06-01

Hi ecjones, how did your mead go?

manicmonday (author)2016-05-17

I never bottle my wine. I brew it in a 5 gallon stainless steel turkey frying pot with a tap at the bottom. I dispense it into my glass and drink it in one fluid motion!!! ;o)

OffGridGeek (author)2016-05-16

Very nice, with a good overview of the entire process. Thanks for the labels link.

I also love raspberry in meads but make them a bit differently. Show mead first, then rack with fruit. That way I can get more variety from a 5 gallon batch. Tart cherries and blackberries are also great with sweet meads. I'll have to try cinnamon with fruit. Cinnamon and vanilla in plain clover is an surprisingly good combination.

I did a blog post a couple of years back, which describes the first part in more detail - how to make a proper starter, and the natural vs campden tablet choice. I'm firmly in the no-boil camp!


Stewgal57 (author)2016-05-16

Thank you for not boiling the honey. Boiling kills all the good stuff in the honey, making it just another sugar. Meanwhile raw honey is very, very good for you!

shallnot (author)2016-05-15

Le Sanitation? That probably should be either: 1. "Le Sanitation" to show you are just using a faux French term for ironic effect or 2. La santé to use the French noun and it's appropriate feminine article.

There, I've exhausted all the cereal box French I know (it's a Canadian thing).

jimbles (author)shallnot2016-05-15

After D-Day, I think we pretty much earned the right to use the French language however we please. (It's an American thing).

Wild-Bill (author)2016-05-15

You have got me tempted. Don't use a funnel to fill your bottles as you will introduce too much oxygen and this will cause some off flavours. Get yourself a self priming racking cane and a filler tube with a valve on the bottom.

jimbles (author)Wild-Bill2016-05-15

Nah. I'll keep doing it the way I like. You're free to use a racking cane if you're worried about oxidation. But it's never affected anything I make.

BrandonW72 (author)2016-03-22

Using a 5 gallon carboy, how long does it take for the rasberries to lose their color and rack? I started two days ago and the color is pretty much gone, rack already?

jimbles (author)BrandonW722016-03-22

Mine took about 5 days before turning completely white. There's no harm in keeping in there an extra couple of days. Good luck!

sysiphus (author)2013-07-02

Twice you mention your drill attachment, once as "the fancy drill attachment" and once saying "I can't speak highly enough about this drill attachment." But the only photo you have doesn't really show what it is, only that it is long and on the drill. Any more description, or a name, or a photo you could share?

Verdann (author)sysiphus2015-08-11

I see it's been a while since you made this comment, but just in case there are others looking. The fancy drill attachment he speaks of is called a wine degasser. it's made to help remove CO2 from wine during/after fermentation. There are any number of variations on style.

TechnoWarlord (author)2015-06-19

I started this last night (first batch ever) how long before the bubbling really gets going?

TechnoWarlord (author)2015-06-19

I started this last night (first batch ever) how long before the bubbling really gets going?

TechnoWarlord (author)2015-06-19

I started this last night (first batch ever) how long before the bubbling really gets going?

TechnoWarlord (author)2015-06-19

I started this last night (first batch ever) how long before the bubbling really gets going?

gareth.mckeown.33 (author)2014-11-17

You mention racking the mead once the fruit has lost its colour, do you rack even if it's still bubbling strongly?

Sorry for the late response. Yep, and fermentation will probably kick up again once you re-rack into secondary, so no worries!

Immortals (author)2014-12-10

Maybe I missed this but how long did you leave it in secondary before bottling? Anybody have any suggestions on bottling primer? Id like to make it carbonated. Also im doing 5 gal

jimbles (author)Immortals2015-02-25

Sorry. After the raspberries cleared, I stuck it in the fridge with super kleer and once the whole thing was clear, I bottled.

juniiper (author)2015-02-12

Is cap management an issue with this recipe. Other recipes I've seen talk about the necessity of punching the cap. I want to ferment in a glass carboy not a plastic bucket and am not sure how easy it is to punch the cap with such a small opening.

Also, do you ever add tea for tannins?

Thanks for the recipe, a lot of fruit mead recipes sounds overwhelming but this one seems doable.

jimbles (author)juniiper2015-02-25

Nope. Yeast will find it. I made this in a carboy, it's really not a problem. I once made a metheglin (mead with tea), and I've added tannins. Both came out really bad in my opinion. To my tastes, they don't require any tannin additions.

mandocommando (author)2015-02-24

You said if you removed the honey this stopped being a Mead. This stopped being a mead the moment you added Raspberries. This is a Melomel(Mead + Fruit).

jimbles (author)mandocommando2015-02-25

Well, I'm glad your learning more about Mead, but I'd encourage you to keep up with your research. Melomels, hydromels, and a host of others, are variations of meads with their own identifiable name relating to the type of subset of mead they are. Like a lager or an ale- both are still considered beer. Don't confuse the fact that them having their own name that they are no longer meads, and are now some new separate, non-mead libation. They are still considered meads.

SuzukiDHP (author)2014-10-24

Did you end up putting the Rasberries in whole? I wonder if you could do this with the strawberries?

jimbles (author)SuzukiDHP2014-10-24

I did use whole raspberries. Here is a link to my Strawberry Mead

codycnnn04 (author)2013-07-04

If your feeling cheap, you don't really need the yeast, but it will take longer to ferment, there is natural yeast in the air, so it will ferment on its own if you don't add yeast, but it will take a lot longer. I made a batch of black berry mead and it took about 5 months before it had an alcohol content at all. But for all you wondering, mead is like a wine, it will get better with age. So if you have been graced with patience, then more power to you.

jimbles (author)codycnnn042013-07-04

So I've read and am totally into the idea of spontaneous fermentation projects. But as the author of this Instructable, I can't recommend this. Most of these people are going to spend nearly $100 on the honey alone. To suggest leaving the fermenting up to chance in order to save $1.50 on the yeast is not frugal advice. And there's no guarantee that the bacteria in the air will result in a good flavored brew. You're also leaving it open to all sorts of infections. Since honey is the most expensive fermentable sugar there is, I wouldn't even try this with a mead. Are you sure that your blackberry mead fermented from bacteria present in the open air, or the natural yeast already present in the honey/blackberrries? How did it turn out, and how many gallons did you make?

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