My MEAD Recipe

For those of you who wonder how I make the fluid gold I'm bragging about all the time, here's the recipe I use:

1: The Basics

You'll need the following equipment:
  1. Stove
  2. Cooking pot that takes about 1 Gallon/4 Liters
  3. Sieve/strain
  4. Whisk
  5. Large cooking pot, 4 Gallons/15 Liters (or some smaller ones)
  6. Very Large bottle cleaner
  7. 2  wine fermenters (6 Gallons/25 Liters)
  8. Airlock for the active fermenter
  9. Large funnel
And the following materials:
  • Calcined soda/Sodium carbonate
  • White spirit
For the mead I use the following ingredients:
  • Honey: 25 x 425 Grams (10.625kg = 25lb 6.7859oz)
  • Tap water: Appr. 20 Liters/5 Gallons
  • Baking yeast: 50 Grams

2: Day 1, The Yeast Culture

Yeast Culture
  1. In the smaller pot, boil appr. ½ Kilo honey in 1 Liter/Quart tap water. Keep an eye on it, at it may boil over, which creates a very sticky mess.
  2. Use a sieve/strain to filter out impurities 2-4 times while boiling.
  3. After 30 min., remove the pot from the heat, and let cool to below 30 degrees Celcius. Cooling is very important, as high temperatures will kill the yeast. Keep the lid on to protect from contamination and insects.
  4. Add the yeast to the brew, stir well with the whisk.
  5. Place the yeast culture in a fairly warm place (remember the lid).

3: Day 2, Starting the Brew

Morning Day 2
Boiling the honey
  1. Check your yeast culture; it should look somewhat like the picture above. If there's no foam, you've killed the yeast and must try again.
  2. Boil about 4.5 Kilos of honey in 8 Liters of water.
  3. Use a sieve/strain to filter out impurities 2-4 times while boiling.
  4. After 30 min., remove the pot(s) from the heat, and put it/them somewhere cool. Cooling is very important, as high temperatures will kill the yeast. Keep the lid on to protect from contamination and insects.
  5. While the brew is cooling down, clean the fermenter with a solution of calcined soda.
    Use the big botttle cleaner.
    Rinse well afterwards!
  6. Decontaminate the fermenter lid with the hole for the airlock, the airlock, and your big funnel with calcined soda.
  7. When the brew is below 30 degrees Celcius, pour half of it through the sieve/strain and the funnel into the fermenter.
  8. Pour the yeast culture through the funnel without the sieve/strain.
  9. Use some of the remaining brew to 'rinse' the smaller pot.
  10. Pour the reat of the brew through the sieve/strain
  11. Place the fermenter somewhere dark with a fairly constant temperature, put the airlock in place, and pour som white spirit into the airlock.
As you can see, at this point I have one full brew in the works, while I just started the other one:

4: Days 3-14

About every day, rinse a lid thoroughly, replace the airlock lid, and shake the brew a bit.

5: Filling up the Fermenter

  1. After a fourtnight, using the same procedure as before, boil the rest of the honey in 10 Liters of tap water.
  2. Also boil about 5 Liters of tap water in a smaller pot.
  3. Let cool, and pour the brew into the fermenter through the funnel/sieve.
  4. If there's more space left in the fermenter, fill it up with the boiled (and cooled) water.
  5. Put the airlock lid back on the fermenter, sit back, don your fez, and wait.

6: The Fermentation

It will take anywhere between 1.5 and 6 months for the fermentation process to finish. When you count less than 2 bubbles/minute in the airlock, you're just about there.

7: Siphoning the Mead

The mead should be separated from the dead yeast, as it may become very bitter if left with it.

You'll need the following equipment and materials:
  1. The spare fermenter
  2. A siphon
  3. Water
  4. Calcined soda
Do as follows:
  1. Clean and rinse the empty fermenter thoroughly
  2. Place the full fermenter on a chair (or table).
  3. Place the empty fermenter on the floor (or a chair) - the empty fermenter has to be placed below the full one.
  4. Extend the siphon and place it in the full fermenter.
  5. Holding the other end of the siphon, suck on it, until you taste the brew (alternatively, use a siphon with a pump; it's less likely to contaminate the brew).
  6. Put the end of the siphon into the empty fermenter; the mead should now flow into the empty fermenter.
  7. When the flow stops, 1.5-2 liters should remain in the old fermenter - it contains the dead yeast, but you can filter it throgh a tightly woven cloth to use as tastings.

8: De-carbonization

The fermentation process produces a lot of carbon-dioxide. Most of it leaves the fluid, and is vented through the airlock. Some of it, though, will remain in the brew as small bubbles. We want our mead clear and bubble-free, so the carbon-dioxide should be forced out of the brew.

Several methods are available, I use the following:
  1. A stirring tooll called 'The Whip'
  2. A powered drilling machine.
'The Whip' is inserted just like a drill bit, then held into the fermenter, and then stirs the fluid for 2-3 minutes. Needless to say, the stirring tool should be thoroughly decontaminated before insertion into the brew,

All the little bubbles should have left the mead by then.

9: Settling

The various recipes all recommend that the mead is stored in a glass demi-john in a cool and dark place for at least a year, to allow any impurities to settle.

It is necessary to use a glass demi-john, as the brew will oxidate if left for that long in a plastic container.

At first, i did not have any glass containers, so I pulled a black plastic bag over the plastic demi-john and left it for 1-1.5 months, and I have earlier had good results with that approach.

Now, I have about 10-12 25-30 liters glass demi-johns, acquired from several sources for far less than the current price (some even for free), and I now let my mead settle for at least a year - again with a black plastic sack over the containers. I makes a difference!

10: Bottling

You'll need the following:
  1. A siphon
  2. About 35 bottles (75cl). Keep a few extra ready, just in case.
  3. Corks
  4. Sulphur powder
  5. Water
  6. A corker (highly recommended).

As preparation, you need to let the corks soak in luke sulphur-water for at kleast an hour. Your bottles must be ceansed and disinfected, preferably using a no-rinse desinfecting solution just before bottling.

I use a bottle-tree for holding the bottles after cleansing and also after the disinfection.
After The Corking

"After you have corked your wine bottles you will need to leave them standing up-right for at least 1 day--2 would be better. This is to give the corks time to re-expand into the neck of the bottle and create a complete seal. 

After the re-expanding period you will need to store the bottles on their sides, so that the wine is touching the cork. This is to keep the cork moist and expanded. If the bottles are stored up-right, the corks will eventually dry out and the wine bottles' seal will be compromised. Over time, this could lead to problems with oxidation and possibly spoilage of the wine." 


That's about it. Cheers!

Labels for your bottles:

No comments:

Post a Comment