How to Make Mead: One Gallon Mead Recipe
Do you love mead? Have you ever thought about making your own batch of mead? It’s actually a straightforward process that anybody can do at home. Mead, a fermented beverage traditionally made from honey, is one of the oldest known alcoholic beverages.
People have been making and enjoying mead for thousands of years, and the simple processes used have hardly changed. I’ll walk you through how to make a simple one-gallon recipe of honey mead at home.
There are a few different ways that you can make mead. It is often enhanced by adding fruits or different varieties of spices or herbs to the fermentation process. Technically speaking, mead with fruit added to it is actually called a melomel. This was once used as a method of preserving summer fruits for winter consumption. Mead that is made with spices or herbs is actually called a metheglin.
Whether you want to jazz it up with fruits, spices, or herbs, or if you want to just make a simple honey mead, the process is the same and will yield great tasting results. We’re going to go through a simple one-gallon recipe for making a basic honey mead. If you choose to get creative with it, just make sure to thoroughly wash anything that is going to be added. Proper sanitization is a crucial step in fermentation.
One-Gallon Honey Mead Recipe
Equipment you’ll need to make Honey Mead:
- One-gallon glass jug
- Large stainless-steel pot
- Large stainless-steel spoon
- Sanitizer- recommend Star San
- Airlock and rubber stopper
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Ingredients for making 1-Gallon of Honey Mead:
- 2 1/2 to 3 lbs. raw unprocessed honey (dry to semi-sweet) Buy here
- 12 cups of water (Do not use chlorinated water! If you are on city water, use spring water at your local store. If you are on a well, your water should be fine unless you have a water softening system)
- Optional flavoring ideas:
- berries or fruit of any kind fresh or frozen, and raisins
First, you’ll need to sanitize all of your equipment. I cannot overstate the importance of this step! Failing to properly sanitize can render all of your efforts useless. The presence of bacteria or other microorganisms can ruin your mead before you really even get it started.
There are various varieties of sanitizers that can be used. Anything that thoroughly kills bacteria will do the trick (do not use bleach), but in my home-brewing, I’ve always used Star-San. It’s a simple but effective liquid sanitizing solution that can be purchased at any brewing supply store or on Amazon.
Make sure that your entire working area is clean before you begin. Often, I will use a 5-gallon bucket to sanitize all of my equipment. This allows me to easily sanitize pieces of equipment between uses as well.
Once the jug, airlock, spoon, pot, airlock, funnel, and thermometer are sanitized, you’re ready to get started.
You’ll want to put about a half-gallon of water in the pot. Non-chlorinated tap water is best, if possible. Filtering the water to remove impurities can be great, but do not use distilled water.
Add 2-3 lbs of honey and heat so that it is warm enough to stir in and dissolve, but do not bring to a boil. Stir in with a long-handled stainless-steel spoon.
Bottling Homemade Mead
While the water is warming is a good time to add to the jug any fruit, berries, or herbs that you would like to use to add flavor.
Once the honey and water have been heated into a slightly frothy mixture (the must), you can carefully pour it into the jug by using the funnel.
Then add cold water to fill the jug just above the base of the neck (leaving about 2 inches of space at the top). Put the lid on the jug and give it a little swirl to mix everything well.
“Pitching” the yeast:
Yeast doesn’t do well with temperatures over 90° Fahrenheit. The water should be cooled to lukewarm before adding the yeast. Once the water is below 90°, you can add the yeast, put the lid back on the jug and give it another good shake. This time, shake it up vigorously for a few minutes to make sure it is fully mixed.
Now, put some water in the airlock to the line, pop the rubber stopper in the top of the jug and affix the airlock. Put the jug in a cool, dark place to ferment.
You should see some activity happening in the airlock within a few hours, maybe just a few bubbles at first. After a while, you’ll see the airlock come to life and bob up and down in intervals of a few seconds.
The first fermentation of mead will take 4-6 weeks.
You will want to check on it daily throughout to make sure that there aren’t any leaks. Once the airlock stops moving, the mead will be ready to drink or to bottle.
Secondary Ferment of the Mead:
After a month has gone by, you can begin the process of “racking” or siphoning the mixture into a second container leaving the sediment at the bottom of the first container.
Cover again with an airlock, and let the mead sit for at least another month or even longer. This time, you can siphon the mead into bottles and cork them.
Making mead is a simple and fun process. It requires a little bit of patience, but the end result can be something really great. You can enjoy it fresh, but many people say that it gets better with age. People have been making mead using this simple process for thousands of years. Get started making your own batch today!
Before you start making your first batch of homemade mead it is important to make sure that you have all of the right equipment handy. Here is my recommendation for a great homebrew 1-gallon winemaking kit that has everything you need to help you get started on your homebrewing adventure.
Brewing good mead can be a highly satisfying experience. Just don’t expect to win any awards with your first batch or even your second one. Like anything else that’s worth doing, it’s going to take time to master the process of making mead, wine, or beer at home. But with patience, the right ingredients, the right equipment, and some practice you will.