Mead seems to be brewed of almost anything. I have seen recipes with exotic ingredients like honey extract, demerara sugar (farinsugar), lemons, raisins, chemicals to stop the fermentation, chemicals to make the mead clear, and so on... I have not yet found a true mead, neither in a liquor shop nor museum. If you like to drink real mead, you have to brew your own.
When you choose your honey, taste it and smell the scents like a wine expert; this will help you determine if it will be good for the mead. Ask
the bee-keeper if he has any honey left from summer and autumn for you to compare with the new honey. Taste and scent is very different from one kind
When you succeed, and have your own wild yeast culture that brews well, keep it alive - put it in a cool place and feed it like a pet, with pure water (boiled first, then cooled and stirred to mix in some air), and a little honey. You can keep yeast for many years, with care.
A safer way is to cultivate a mead yeast culture from commercial wine or mead yeast. They may not brew equally well the first time, but they will be more certain to produce something you can drink the first time. These kinds of yeast also tend to get stronger with each re-use, if you save some back from each batch and feed it like the wild yeast; see above.
The best yeast will be gotten from someone who already brews mead.
Fruit & berry in the mead:
Slice apples, mash soft fruits or berries, and put them juices and all into the container. Use about half a kilogram (a pound or so) for every 4 liters (gallon) of mead. When you transfer to bottles or a nice air-tight keg or barrel, strain out the tasteless fruits and berries and throw them away.
Some herbs can also give the mead different properties. For example, bog myrtle in the mead makes it a little bitter and keeps you awake; hops is also bitter, but may make you sleepy.
The tastiest mead I have ever had was made with fresh cowberries; red in
color and served icy-cold on a hot summer day. If you find the correct mix of fruits, berries and herbs, you will have your own special mead, unique
and only you know exactly how it was brewed and seasoned. (Keep careful
To make mead:
From now on, oxygen must not be allowed to make contact with the brew, but you must let the carbon dioxide gas out. A "fermentation lock" can be purchased from a local brewing supply store, or the Internet, or you can use a piece of small plastic tubing and a pan or jar of water to make a "blow-off" to let the gas out. The idea is to put one end of the tube into a hole in the cork that closes the top of the carboy, and the other end under the water in the jar. As carbon dioxide gas builds up in the carboy, bubbles will be forced out of the tube, but air cannot get back into the carboy.
If you wish to put fruit or herbs in your mead, wait until the brew has become strong. Otherwise, there is a risk that wild yeast or bacteria from the air will take over your yeast and spoil your mead. It is a good idea to boil the fruits and herbs or spices in a little water before you mix it with the brew, to kill bacteria and yeasts that might be on them.
Since herbs are all different, please look in books about herbs to see which parts are supposed to be used, and whether they have to be dried or otherwise prepared before you use them. BE VERY CAREFUL that you know what you are doing, since some herbs can be poisonous, or cause serious illness if improperly used. Herbs might be natural, but they can also be very strong.
You can tie up your fruits or spices and herbs in a clean, white cloth bag (linen or cotton), or just a square piece of cloth tied up with string. Make it nice and loose, so the liquid can flow around the fruits or herbs. This will make it easier to get the spent stuff out when you bottle, and will help keep the mead clearer, too.
After you stop up the container with your fermentation lock or "blow-off" tube, wait for bubbles. You should start seeing bubbles of carbon dioxide gas coming out of the lock or tube in a day or two, sometimes more, sometimes in just a few hours. If nothing happens after three or four days, you can stir the brew a couple of times in order to wake it up, but make sure to sterilize all your stirring spoons before you put them in. Never shake the container; the pressure of any carbon dioxide gas inside can rise very quickly, and may result in a small explosion.
Mead brews slowly - have patience.
Usually after 3-8 weeks, the fermenting should end. Be careful, though, it
sometimes takes 20 weeks or more, especially if you have weak yeast or lots of spices in the brew. You will notice that no bubbles, or a very few, are
coming out of the lock or blow-off. Your mead will have a strength of
When you are pleased with your mead and it has finished fermenting, it's time to put the container in a cold place for 5 to 10 days. The yeast has now stopped in a natural way, and the sediment will fall to the bottom. Now it's time to put the mead into an air-tight keg or small barrel, or into strong bottles. Use clean wine bottles, or champagne bottles, and cork them up well.
Let the mead rest at least four weeks before you drink it and start to make poetry... Enjoy!
Mead is MUCH stronger than it tastes!!
It's deceitful by nature, so be careful.
Storing the mead:
Ripe mead is not as wholesome as new-laid mead and can become dry in taste. You can renew it with a little new honey and fresh yeast, but many people like dry beverages.
To brew more mead:
Good luck !
PS: If many people are brewing mead, we can have
Wouldn't it be great if you won a magnificent meadhorn with silver
Thanks to Wes Will, also Known As Eoin Caimbeul for help with the English text.
Uppdaterad 30 juni, 2007 av Kalle Runristare All rights reserved, ©