Making Mead

If you have a couple of kilos of spare honey lying around, Ian has provided us with his recipe for mead. Cheers Ian!

Scale:

3.8 L of water and 1.59 (1.6) kg of honey will make about 6 L of mead.

To make more, multiply the quantities above.

EG: Want to make 18L, 18 / 6 = 3 so multiply by three, 3.8 * 3 = 11.4L of water and 1.59 * 3 = 4.77 kg of honey

This recipe will assume you wish to make 24L of mead, using 15.2L of water and 6.36 kg of honey

Ingredients:

  • Honey (measured as above)
  • Water (measured as above)
  • Water (additional, about 3 cups)
  • Yeast (I used a wine yeast CL23)
  • 3/4 cup of sundried raisins, chopped (no preservatives)
  • 4 dry tea bags
  • 3 oranges,

Other equipment:

  • 2 x 30L containers (carbouy) with airlocks
  • Hydrometer
  • Mangrove Jack’s No Rinse Sanitizer
  • Tube Syphon

Instructions:

  1. Sanitize all equipment with Mangrove Jack’s No Rinse Sanitizer
  2. Hydrate/Activate the yeast if required with one cup of water
  3. Remove the peel of the oranges, cut the peel into quarters and add the peel to a pot without the flesh. Then add the raisins, tea bags and some water. Place it on a high heat until it boils, leave for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Pour honey into a 30L container and add some water – then shake to mix. Repeat adding more water each time.
  5. Add the raisin, tea, and orange mixture, and mix again
  6. Add the yeast mixture, and mix again
  7. Take a hydrometer reading and note it. Around 1.100 should produce 13% alcohol. If the reading is too high, add water. Too low, add honey
  8. Place an airlock on the container, and then store somewhere away from direct sunlight
  9. After six to eight weeks, rack the mead into another container, using a tube syphon and ensure that you leave the sediment at the bottom untouched.
  10. Measure the racked mead’s specific gravity. It could be as low as 1, but it might be higher based on the yeast or the temperature
  11. Reattach the airlock and store for a further six to eight weeks
  12. At this stage fermentation will likely be winding down. A quick sip will tell you if there is any sugar left, and if there are bubbles then it is still fermenting. Regardless, you should rack the mead back into the original container and re-attach the air lock
  13. After another six to eight weeks, if the mead is stable (no fermenting) then replace the airlock with a solid plug and allow it to age
  14. It will take a while, likely longer than six months for the strong alcohol taste to fade. Test it every month or so after four to see when the taste has smoothed out. In general, the longer you leave it, the better it will taste. When you like what you taste…
  15. Bottle it! Well done.

Editor’s Note: After making your first batch of mead, feel free to try experimenting with the flavours during the process. For example, adding fruits or herbs during the aging process will add almost a flavour-colour profile to the mead. If you prefer it to be sweeter, then it is possible to stop the yeast early to create a sweeter mead. It can be very artistic if you want it to be!

 

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