Mead is an ancient beverage; in fact, it's been made for thousands of years. It is the oldest known alcoholic beverage, and it was loved by the Vikings. Mead is actually quite easy to make. Essentially, mix honey, water, and yeast, and then let it ferment.
Ingredients and supplies:
- 12-15 pounds honey (about 4-5 quarts)
- 2 gallons water
- Large pot
- Yeast nutrient (store-bought, or lemon peels and tea leaves)
- Fermentation bucket
- Large clear glass bottle/carboy
- Individual glass bottles
Mix the honey and water. For a batch of mead, mix 4 gallons of water and 12-15 pounds of honey, which should be about 4 or 5 quarts. Your honey will be easier to mix if you rest the containers in hot water first. For best results, heat this mixture over medium heat for about 15 minutes, although it isn't necessary.
Add yeast to the mixture. Now, add yeast and the nutrient to the mixture, which will transform the honey into mead. You can use any kind of yeast used to make beer, wine, or champagne; just read the package to determine how much to use for your mead. Make sure that your honey/water mixture (called Must) is less than 80 degrees, or you will kill the yeast when you add it. You can use store bought yeast nutrient, or use lemon peels and tea leaves. First, add yeast to warm (not hot) water, and let it sit for about 15 minutes to activate it.
Let the mixture sit. Let the mead sit in your fermentation bucket for about two weeks in a cool-dry place. This will be enough time for fermentation to start, and your mixture will start to bubble. After these initial weeks, transfer it to a clear bottle so you can watch it. In another two weeks, it should stop bubbling.
There are many different ways to make mead, and it is a forgiving process. You can make more or less mead depending on the size of your containers; just adjust the amount of ingredients you use. Once you have the basic process down, you can add different spices and herbs to your mead. Try cloves, cinnamon, lemon, orange peel, or vanilla, or add a little fruit juice, including apple or grape juice. Experiment to make mead with a delicious and unique flavor. If you make your own homemade wine and want to try something different, make a batch of mead. It's also great for beginners because it is so forgiving. You can make mead anywhere that it winemaking is legal.