Introduction: How to Make Mead (Honey Wine)
Mead is super easy to make. And turns out GREAT!! (most of the time)
Depending on your Recipe. It can Take as little as a month, years, or even up to a life time for it to ferment.
The recipe I will post first is great for is GREAT for first starting out. And only takes a Month or so to ferment.
Also Mead is one cheep and easy ways to gift for the holidays.
If you have ever wanted to start to brew. This is something easy and fast to try, just don't hesitate, you only live once.
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Step 1: What Is Mead?
Mead or honey wine is the oldest alcoholic drinks known to man. It is made from honey and water via fermentation with yeast. It may be still, carbonated, or sparkling; it may be dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.
Unlike beers and cider, meads (being wines) are drunk in small quantities. Therefore, we make them as strong as we can. The amount of alcohol we can make in meads is limited by the capacity of the yeast we add to withstand alcohol. And it is important to understand that yeast cannot live in a solution containing more than 14%of alcohol by volume. This is the usual amount that will destroy the yeast. But under certain circumstances and with suitable yeast the percentage might be as high as 18%. On the whole an amateur is unlikely to produce more than 16%, this is because he is unlikely to be able to carry out ferments under laboratory conditions with constantly favorable temps and a scientifically balanced must.
Depending on local traditions and specific recipes, it may be brewed with spices, fruits, or grain mash. It may be produced by fermentation of honey with grain mash, mead may also be flavored with to produce a bitter, Beer-like flavor.
Mead is independently multicultural. It is known from many sources of ancient history throughout Europe, Africa and Asia, although archaeological evidence of it is ambiguous. Its origins are lost in prehistory; "it can be regarded as the ancestor of all fermented drinks," Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat has observed, "antedating the cultivation of the soil." Claude Levi-Strauss makes a case for the invention of mead as a marker of the passage "from nature to culture."
Step 2: Honey
Honey- is made up up approximately 70% sugar, the remainder is made up of impurities. Such as yeast, bacteria, water, albumen (Egg white is the common name for the clear liquid), and ash. But our main concern is the amount of sugar, for it is what the yeast feeds on to produce the alcohol that is desired. The yeast and bacteria are also our concern, but these are going to be taken care of while brewing.
If you use Little honey the wine will be dry, if you use ALOT of honey it will be sweet! Even if you want it to be sweeter you can also add more sugar like corn sugar, if u do not have corn sugar available, cane will work but defiantly not as good.
Step 3: Varieties
- Acan— A Native Mexican version of mead.
- Acerglyn — A mead made with honey and maple syrup.
- Bochet — A mead where the honey is caramelized or burned separately before adding the water. Gives toffee, chocolate, marshmallow flavors.
- Braggot — Braggot (also called bracket or brackett). Originally brewed with honey and hops, later with honey and malt — with or without hops added. Welsh origin (bragawd).
- Black mead — A name sometimes given to the blend of honey and blackcurrants.
- Capsicumel — A mead flavored with chile peppers.
- Chouchenn — A kind of mead made in Brittany.
- Cyser — A blend of honey and Apple juice fermented together; see also cider.
- Czwórniak — A Polish mead, made using three units of water for each unit of honey
- Dandaghare — A mead from Nepal, combines honey with Himalayan herbs and spices. It has been brewed since 1972 in the city of Pokhara.
- Dwójniak — A Polish mead, made using equal amounts of water and honey
- Great mead — Any mead that is intended to be aged several years. The designation is meant to distinguish this type of mead from "short mead" (see below).
- Gverc or Medovina — Croatin mead prepared in Samobor and many other places. The word “gverc” or “gvirc” is from the German "Gewürze" and refers to various spices added to mead.
- Hydromel — Hydromel literally means "water-honey" in Greek. It is also the French name for mead. (Compare with the Spanish hidromiel and aquamiel, Italian idromele and Portuquese hidromel). It is also used as a name for a very light or low-alcohol mead.
- Medica — Slovenian, Croatian, variety of Mead.
- Medovina— Czech, Serbian, Bulqarian, Bosnian and Slovak for mead. Commercially available in Czech Republic, Slovakia and presumably other Central and Eastern European countries.
- Medovukha — Eastern Slavic variant (honey-based fermented drink)
- Melomel — Melomel is made from honey and any fruit. Depending on the fruit-base used, certain melomels may also be known by more specific names (see cyser, pyment, morat for examples)
- Metheglin — Metheglin starts with traditional mead but has herbs and/or spices added. Some of the most common metheglins are ginger, tea, orange peel, nutmeg,coriander, cinnamon, cloves or vanilla. Its name indicates that many metheglins were originally employed as folk medicines. The Welsh word for mead is medd, and the word "metheglin" derives from meddyglyn, a compound of meddyg, "healing" + llyn, "liquor."
- Morat — Morat blends honey and Mulberries.
- Mulsum— Mulsum is not a true mead, but is unfermented honey blended with a high-alcohol wine.
- Omphacomel — A mediæval mead recipe that blends honey with ver-juice; could therefore be considered a variety of pyment (qv).
- Oxymel — Another historical mead recipe, blending honey with wine vinegar.
- Pitarrilla — Mayan drink made from a fermented mixture of wild honey, balche tree bark and fresh water.
- Pyment — Pyment blends honey and red or white grapes. Pyment made with white grape juice is sometimes called "white mead."
- PóBtorak — A Polish mead, made using two units of honey for each unit of water
- Rhodomel — Rhodomel is made from honey,rode hips, petals or rose attar and water.
- Sack mead — This refers to mead that is made with more copious amounts of honey than usual. The finished product retains an extremely high specific gravity and elevated levels of sweetness. It derives its name, according to one theory, from the fortified dessert wine Sherry (which is sometimes sweetened after fermentation and in England once bore the nickname of "sack"); another theory is that the term derived from the Japanese drink sake, being introduced by Spanish and Portuguese traders.
- Short mead — Also called "quick mead." A type of mead recipe that is meant to age quickly, for immediate consumption. Because of the techniques used in its creation, short mead shares some qualities found in cider (or even light ale): primarily that it is effervescent, and often has a cidery taste. It can also be champagne-like.
- Show mead — A term which has come to mean "plain" mead: that which has honey and water as a base, with no fruits, spices or extra flavorings. Since honey alone often does not provide enough nourishment for the yeast to carry on its life cycle, a mead that is devoid of fruit, etc. will sometimes require a special yeast nutrient and other enzymes to produce an acceptable finished product. In most competitions including all those using the BJCP style guidelines as well as the International Mead Fest, the term "traditional mead" is used for this variety. It should be considered, however, that since mead is historically a very variable product, such recent (and artificial) guidelines apply mainly to competition judging as a means of providing a common language; style guidelines, per se, do not really apply to commercial and historical examples of this or any type of mead.
- Sima - a quickly fermented low-alcoholic Finnish variety, seasoned with lemon and associated with the festival of yappu.
- Tej— Tej is an Ethiopian mead, fermented with wild yeasts (and bacteria), and with the addition of gesho. Recipes vary from family to family, with some recipes leaning towards braggot with the inclusion of grains.
- Trójniak — A Polish mead, made using two units of water for each unit of honey.
- White mead — A mead that is colored white, either from herbs or fruit used or sometimes egg whites.
Step 4: Hardware
-5g Glass Carboy. (NOT PLASTIC, plastic can leach into your brew, even the smallest scratch will harvest bacteria even after being sanitizing)
---For testing new brews. You can use a smaller Carboy. They make them in many many different sizes.
-Carboy Handle (not required, but that 5g full can be extremely heavy)
-Stopper with a hole for the Airlock or Carboy cap
-Stock pot (the Larger the better, I used a 12qt originally, You will need a MUCH bigger one to make it -easier on your self)
-Spoon or Stirrer (NOT WOOD, wood is to porous.)
-Screen and or Cheese cloth
-Sanitizer (odorless and tasteless is better! Personal choice would be "Star San HB" )
-Spray bottle (for easier for Sanitizing some items)
For Bottling and Tasting:
-with Tubing and clamp
-Bottles (CLEAN ONES)
-Caps and Bottle Caper OR Corks and Bottle Corker
Step 5: Chousing Your Recipe
Step 6: Sanitizing
Sanitizing is the most important thing you can do!
Germs = bad news for the brew.
You can make your solution and use the spray bottle to spray everything down.
After you sanitize everything, Must let it sit at least 3min. Let suds dissipate or rinse clean.
Step 7: Software (Light Lemonaid Mean)
2 lbs Sugar (corn sugar is better, but i use cane sugar on my last couple brews)
5 tsp Yeast Nutrient
4 cans of Lemonade Frozen Concentrate, 12 oz cans (un-thaw to make it easier)
1 packet Champagne Yeast(or any other type you would like to use)
Sounds easy enough dussen't it?
**A note on honey. Unprocessed and raw honey will have more flavor. Many honeys out there, the bee's have only harvested from specific flowers. So the honey will have a different flavor to it, expectantly after fermenting.**
Step 8: Step 1
Heat 1 gal water to 170.
2 lbs Corn Sugar
5 tsp Yeast Nutrient
Stir until Dissolved!
Step 9: Step 2
Bring back up to 180
Add 4 cans of Lemonade Frozen Concentrate
Bring back up to 180
Add at least 1 Gallon of FILTERED water to cool off before you transfer it into the Carboy.
Let cool to room temp then Transfer your mixture into your carboy.
If there is any pulp/seeds/sediment. A smart thing to do is filter it out. You can ether get a screen or cheese cloth. Depending on how big your pulp/seeds/sediment determines what to use. I have a fine plastic round screen that fits into the funnel. Works well for seeds and fine pulp.
Add(pitch) 1 packet Champagne Yeast, and add more Filtered water. Then shake/swirl to mix! There is no need to rehydrate the yeast. There is plenty of water to activate it. If you would like to rehydrate the yeast that is fine. Just do not add water to your mix until you put find out how much room to leave for the rehydrate yeast.
Depending on your Recipe depends on how much room you need to leave at the top for Air/foam. For this one you can go a little further than i have.
The reason why it is a must that you leave room for the air is Because of the foam / bubbles that will form while fermenting. You do not! DO NOT!! Want the foam to reach your air lock. It can compromise your Brew.
It will be ready about 4 weeks to bottle!!
Step 10: Let It Sit!!!
That means DON'T TOUCH!! Don't do anything! Let it sit! Leave it Be! The longer the better.
After you put your Brew into your container, About 1 hr afterwords you will notice the Airlock moving. The Airlock is allowing the Co2 that the yeast produces to escape so that It will not EXPLODE!!
When it comes to mead or wine. You need to let it sit. The longer the better! Need to let it sit so that the sediment will fall to the bottom. Its a slow process. But it is worth it.
With mead/wine, when it is Crystal clear, it is ready to bottle or guzzle down. But with this one because of the Concentrate it will not go crystal clear. It will be ready about 4 weeks! You can let it sit for longer if you would like. But the longer you let sit the better!!
Step 11: Bottling
Bottling can be easy. Ether one of many thing you can do to get the bottles.
-Drink and save. (Save darker bottles not clear)
-You can $ them in bulk from a Brew supply store.
-Some Supply stores they have a drop off for empty used bottles and who ever can pick them up for free.
If you do "Drink and save" or get them for free or even just $ them. You need to wash them clean. Get down and dirty with the bottles. Wash them clean from the inside out. Scrape and Clean off the labels while you are at it.
After they are all clean and dry, sanitize them. Fill a bucket and use your Siphon with the Tubing attached with the clamp( or you can pinch it. but the clamp makes life easier)
Step 12: Siphoning
Siphoning. If you don't know how to yet. Then its time to learn. Just remember that Gravity is your friend. The higher up your Carboy is the faster you can fill the bottles. Hence the toy box.
If your Carboy looks like it has larger sediment (seeds, pulp, ect) use a screen and a small funnel when putting into the bottles. With this one, the pulp will not hurt anything if some duss make it into the bottles.
When getting down to the bottom. Make sure you do not Siphon any of the sediment. The nasty goop on the bottom. If you tilt or prop it so that you can get the last bit. It will give you a extra bottle possibly two bottles.
Step 13: Capping or Corking
Its up too you. Ether cap or cork. I personally would say cap. Corks allow air to come out of your bottle. Also more than likely you are going to have this all drank up pretty quick. So its your choice.
For your first time making U should just do smaller bottles and see how it goes (12-22oz).
For your next batch I will be using larger bottles. 22oz - 375 ml. Still use a had full of 12oz so you can check on how it is before you pop the larger bottles.
Some Supply stores do have the capers and corkers able to be rented. If not they are usually not very expensive.
After you cap. Let the bottles sit for a week to a month. The bottles will become crystal clear and there will be a little yeast left in the bottle to help carbonate it a little, at least make it a little bubbly. Make it a little bubbly. During the wait time, there will be a little more sediment to sink to the bottom.
Step 14: Finished Product!
About a week or 2 after bottling. This is what it can look like. Crystal clear, Bubbles!! Tastes amazing!! It resembles Champagne, go figure after using Champagne yeast.
Longer you let it sit before you bottle. The better it will get!
Step 15: In the Future!!
Started 4/10/10 "Guava Strawberry Mead" 5gl
--4/26/10 Coming along nicely, Took out a taste of it.. Not sure how much more time.
--5/13/10 Bottled 24-22oz and 12-12oz
Started 5/01/10 "Raspberry Mead" 1gl
--Starting S.G. 1.080 - 95`
--5/20/10 2nd stage. S.G. atm 1.005 - 64` - atm 9.5% alc
--6/16/10 Rack. S.G. - .980 - 76`
Started 5/01/10 "Blueberry Mead" 1gl
--Starting S.G. 1.075 - 95`
--5/20/10 2nd stage. S.G. atm 1.015 - 63` - atm 8.83% alk
--6/16/10 Rack. S.G. - . 1.015 - 76`
Started 5/16/10 "Peach Strawberry Mead" 5g
--Starting S.G. 1.075 - 75`
--6/16/10Rack. S.G. - .920 - 76`
Started 6/24 "Orange and Vanilla Mead" 1g
--Starting S.G. - 1.175 - 80` (SG is really high. should turn out sweet)
Started 6/24 "Clover Mead" 1g
--Starting S.G. - 1.175 - 80'
Started 6/24 "Cyser" "Apple Mead"
--Starting S.G. - 1.085 - 80'
"Sweet Potato Pie Mead"
"Chocolate Cherry Mead"
"Buttery Sweet Tooth"
"Raisin Clove Mead"
Any fruit I can think of, I want to trying out. If it turns out I will add it to this with the Recipe.
Step 16: Calculating Alcoholic Percentage
There are two things that you need.
2- A testing tube - to hold thing substance while you take measurements.
The readings you will need. "Original Gravity" (Starting) and (Ending), and "temperature" (Starting) and (Ending).
Alcohol percentage by weight equals 76.08 times Original Gravity minus Final Gravity divided by 1.775 minus Original Gravity. It is easier to scribble this down: ABW = 76.08(OG-FG)/(1.775-OG). ABW is used mostly in the United States, while the rest of the beer world (as well as the wine and spirits world) measures Alcohol by Volume (ABV). That conversion is easy: ABV = ABW (FG/.794).
Now you can scribble all this dun and put it to work. OR.. BIG OR.. you can click here and use this calculator to do the work for you!
Step 17: Strawberry Guava
2 lbs Sugar (corn sugar is better, but i use cane sugar on this one)
3 tbsp Yeast Nutrient
2 tbsp Pectic Enzyme (will help clear up your brew over time)
5 cans - Strawberry Guava Frozen Concentrate (Walmart brand), 12 oz cans (un-thaw to make it easier)
1 can of Welshes White Grape Concentrate
1 packet Champagne Yeast(or any other type you would like to use)
Heat 1 gal water to 180.
-Honey (more=sweet, less = dry)
-2 lb Corn Sugar
-3 tbsp Yeast Nutrient
-2 tbsp Pectic Enzyme
Bring back up to 180
-Add 5 cans - Strawberry Guava Frozen Concentrate
Stir until Dissolved! At this point you can take it off the heat.
-Let cool to room Temp.
-Filter into Carboy. If you need to filter more than once to make sure all pulp/seeds are removed. Less pulp the better.
Add water to fill
Make sure to take your readings if you want to know how much alk it will turn out to be. And do this before you Pitch the yeast.
Pitch your Yeast and shake well
After about a month or 2 when the airlock has slowed down 30sec-1min. You will notice a great deal of space has been made (from yeast feasting on the sugars). Siphon your mixture into another carboy (if u dont have a 2nd one, use any container you can use that is not plastic. Then clean out your carboy) so you can remove all sediment.
- Add the one can of Welshes White Grape Concentrate (thawed)
- add water to fill
After another month or so It should be ready to bottle. If it is not clear. Wate untill crystal clear or you will have dead yeast and other fine sediment at the bottom of your bottle. If you bottle at this point. Just wate for the bottoled brew to become Clear.