Introduction: Basic Mead Recipe (Honey Wine)
An ancient drink made by fermenting honey and water. This recipe is very basic and easy for a beginning brewer. This recipe is for a 5 gallon batch of dry mead. and will be ready to drink in months, though if you can wait longer you will not regret it.
The amount of sweetness for the mead depends on the amount of honey you use. This recipe will be using the minimum amount of honey needed giving it the title of "Dry". The recipe remains the same if you want to make it sweeter, the only difference will be the addition of more honey.
Step 1: What You Will Need.....
Many homebrew supply stores will have great basic wine starter kits. This is a great way to get started if you have never made wine before. Below is a list of supply's needed for this recipe.
Gallon Plastic Fermenter
Gallon Plastic Carboy
Bottles + Corks (corker) (or flip-top bottles which I find to work well if you plan to drink right away)
10 lbs Honey
4 gallons water
2 teaspoons yeast energizer
2 teaspoons yeast nutrient
2 packets of lalvin k1-v1116 yeast
Step 2: Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize
This is is the most important step. Through out this instructable you will see sanitize this and sanitize that. Cleanliness is very important. There is nothing worse then coming back to your brew only to discover bacteria growth has ruined it. You will need to mix up your sanitation solution and use it to clean the primary fermentor, hydrometer, airlock and anything else that will come in contact with the mead.
Step 3: Primary Fermintation
Now that everything is clean, you are ready to start brewing.
In a large pot on the stove heat your honey and water until the honey dissolves.You will want to bring the mixture about 60-70 degrees. Pour this mixture into your plastic primary fermentation vessel. With a large spoon stir the mixture for about 3- 5 minutes to allow in oxygen.
Now stir in the yeast nutrient and yeast energizer. Stop stirring and add the yeast. Seal up the vessel and attach the air lock. The air lock set up can be seen in the picture above.
Once a day give the vessel a shake. This will help re-suspend the yeast and release trapped gases. I have been told skipping this step and result in a "explosion" of yeast out of the airlock once a large amount of gasses finally dislodge itself. I have never had this happen, but why take the chance.
Step 4: Secondary Fermentation
Once the bubbling has stopped and your hydrometer reading has remained the same for 2-3 days you are ready to rack the mead. This process could take anywhere 1 to 3 weeks. For me it is typically 2 weeks.
Sanitize your siphoning system and plastic carboy. Using the siphoning system, siphon the mead from the primary fermentation vessel into the carboy. Make sure to leave the must at the bottom of the primary. Re-sanitize the airlock and place on the carboy. You will allow this to sit for about a month.
Step 5: Clarification
After 4 weeks, you are ready to rack again. Sanitize another carboy and your siphon system. Siphon into the new carboy once again leaving behind any settled residue that remains. You will now let the mead sit for 3-6 months.This will allow for the mead to clarify. If the mead is clear by 3 months you can go a head and bottle. Allowing it to sit will give the mead a change to develop its flavor notes.
Step 6: Bottling
Congratulations, after all this waiting you are now ready to bottle the mead. By this time the mead should be clear and ready to bottle. You will want to sanitize all of the bottle and siphons system. Using the siphon fill each bottle and secure with a cork if using wine bottles. If using flip tops, just secure the top and you are good to go. While the mead is ready to drink now, allowing it to set an age will only improve it.
Step 7: Enjoy
Now the mead is ready to drink and enjoy.