How to Make Mead

You can make this delicious and refreshing wine that requires no ingredients beyond yeast, water and honey.

| October/ November 2009

  • Jar of honey
    The jar of honey in this photo will be used to brew several gallons of mead. The brewing process is fast — it only takes about an hour. But it will be quite some time before the mead is ready to drink. Mead should age for a minimum of one year. The glasses in this photo are filled with mead that has been allowed to age for five years.
  • Bees mead
    If you have honey, why not make honey wine, also known as mead? If you keep bees, you can use honey from your own hives, or look for delicious local honey at your farmers market or grocery store.
  • Honey in pot
    To make mead, you begin by boiling water, then adding honey to the pot, and letting it dissolve.
  • Bottling mead
    For a basic batch that will produce about 25 bottles of mead, you’ll need 16 to 18 pounds of honey.

  • Jar of honey
  • Bees mead
  • Honey in pot
  • Bottling mead

I keep bees at my home here in Montana, and each year we use some of the honey from our hives to make mead. Not many drinks can boast the long and illustrious history of mead — most likely the first fermented beverage known. When honey combines with water and yeast, a delightful reaction occurs.

For the home-brewer, mead is one of the easiest wines to make. Traditional mead is a little on the sweet side, although it mellows with age.

Making mead requires the same equipment as winemaking. Before beginning, make sure everything is scrupulously clean to ensure proper fermentation. Yeast is sensitive, and sanitizer remnants from a previous batch could inhibit growth or taint the flavor of your finished mead.

Let the Brewing Begin!

For a basic batch that will produce about 25 bottles of mead, you’ll need 16 to 18 pounds of honey, 5 gallons of unchlorinated water, 5 grams of wine yeast and 2 1⁄2 teaspoons of yeast nutrient (optional) to aid the process. You’ll also need some winemaking supplies. Check out Midwest Homebrew and Winemaking Supplies, or a local home brewing store.

To begin, bring 2 gallons of water to a boil on the stove in a large, non-aluminum pot (stainless steel or enamel is the best to avoid affecting the taste). Reduce the heat and add the honey. Stir until it’s completely dissolved, and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim off any scum that forms on top. This helps reduce the cloudiness in the finished mead.

Pour the honey and water mix into the fermentation bucket; then add the rest of the water. This mixture of honey and water is called the “must.”

11/1/2017 11:33:31 AM

When is the appropriate time to add fruit and herbs?

11/1/2017 11:33:27 AM

When is the appropriate time to add fruit and herbs?

Sue Gee
7/24/2012 10:21:09 PM

Taking a mead making class at the Home Brew Exchange in Portland in August. Did not realize it takes a year to mellow. Guess I had better make some beer to drink in the mean time.

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