Tuesday Try A New Taste – Mead and How To Make It

May 18, 2010 at 9:50 am (Asatru, Cooking, Honey, Litha, Magic, Mead, Midsummer, pagan, Recipe, Tuesday, Witch)

Mead and How To Make It
posted by Aradiann

Mead, or honey wine, is probably one of the most ancient known alcoholic beverages known to mankind. Making good mead is not difficult, so long as you keep your equipment perfectly clean and you use the best available ingredients. As for legalities, its perfectly legal as long as you brew it non-commercially and entirely for the use of you and your friends.

You can find a recipe for non-alcoholic mead here.

Here’s what you need…

Equipment:

  • One gallon jug
  • Brewing pot, 4 to 6 quarts (steel or enamel, not aluminum)
  • Clear glass primary fermenter, 6 quart
  • Fermentation lock and stopper
  • Wire mesh tea strainer (used for skimming the froth from the mead when you boil it)
  • Long-handled brewing spoon, plastic (if you use a wooden one, you must boil it every time you make a new batch of mead)
  • Racking cane
  • Plastic siphon hose, about 3 ft. long and intended for handling foods
  • bottle brushes, assorted sizes
  • Bottles (recycled wine bottles will do)
  • Plastic Funnel
  • Corks (for the bottles)
  • Bottle capper/cork compressor
  • Sulphite Tablets, to terminate fermentation before final bottling (optional)

Explanation of Equipment:

  • One gallon jug – Your typical "MoonShine" jug
  • Brewing pot – any large pot will do, as long as its not aluminum (poisonous)
  • Clear glass primary fermenter – Your typical "Moon Shine" jug
  • Fermentation lock and stopper – A small device that fits upon the top of the jug. It allows the gases from fermentation to escape while preventing air and dust from entering you jug.
  • Wire mesh tea strainer – self explanatory
  • Long handled brewing spoon, plastic – Any long handled spoon as long as its clean
  • Racking cane – (see fig. 1) It’s a long tube that has a cap on one end and a hole about inch from the bottom on the other end. The siphon hose attaches to the cap, and the end with the hole is inserted into jug. The purpose of this device is to siphon the mead from the sediment without aerating the brew and exposing it to airborne bacteria (which will quickly destroy your mead)

||=========

|| FIG.1

|| ———————- Racking cane

||

||

|O| ———————- Hole at the bottom

|__|

  • Siphon hose, plastic – used for transporting the mead from one jug to another, use a hose made for handling food
  • Bottle brushes, assorted – brushes on the end of wire handles
  • Bottles – Recycled wine bottles will do ( make sure that they are cleaned and preferable have been boiled and have been allowed to cool)
  • Funnel – every household has at least one ( Don’t use the one you use to add oil to your car…)
  • Corks – Self explanatory (don’t use old corks)
  • Bottle capper/ cork compressor – for putting the corks into your bottles

Ingredients for Mead:

  • 2 quarts of water (purified, bottled, or distilled water is best)
  • 2 1/2 lbs Honey
  • 1/2 cup lemon peels ( Alternate: 3 teaspoons of Malic Acid)
  • 1 tablespoon strong tea (Alternate: 1 1/2 teaspoons Tartaric Acid)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Grape Tannin
  • 1 teaspoon yeast energizer
  • 1 packet mead yeast ( Alternate: Champagne yeast, Montrachet yeast, Tokay wine yeast)

Makes 1 gallon of mead. All items can be found at your local Brewers shop, check the yellow pages. Stir the honey and water together, heating slowly. Stir in the lemon peel and tea (or the malic and tartaric acid). When it gets hot, stir in the grape tannin and the yeast energizer. Most brewers will then bring the brew to a full boil, though this is not really necessary. Use the tea strainer to skim off the froth that rises to the top. Let it cool for a while, then "rack" or pour into your primary fermenter and let the brew cool overnight. The next day, carefully pour it through the strainer into your gallon fermentation jug. "Pitch" or add the yeast, stirring a packet of yeast into four ounces of 80° water (more or less), let it sit for about 10 minutes and then stir it into your brew. Carefully move your jug into a dark, moderate-temperature place where it will be completely undisturbed, and put on the fermentation lock. Make sure you set the jug into a large bowl or pan of some sort to catch the foam-off that occurs during the first few days of fermentation, and clean it up after a few days. Otherwise the bottle shouldn’t be touched except when absolutely necessary.

After a few days the mead will start to clear, and there will be a good bit of sediment at the bottom of the jug. "rack" (siphon) the mead into another jug, being careful to leave the sediment behind. Then top off the jug (with the mead) with distilled or purified water, and reattach the fermentation lock. Clean out the jug with the sediment. If after a week or two the mead again has sediment, rack it again into another bottle. It’s a good idea to check monthly for sediment, and re-rack if there’s more then a trace. When your mead has gone for a month without sediment, it’s ready to be bottled and corked. At this point many brewers prefer to terminate any residual fermentation by adding a sulphite tablet, crushed and dissolved into two ounces of water and then stirred into the gallon of mead. After allowing the mead to set overnight, it is funneled into bottles and corked. If you don’t want to use the sulphite tablets, you must make sure that all fermentation has ceased, or you might have a few of the bottles explode from pressure build up caused by residual fermentation. Let your mead age for three months or more. Then when the mood strikes you, pop open a bottle and enjoy! 🙂

Tips:

  • Malic acid, citric acid, or grape tannin will hasten the fermentation
  • Unless you pick the lemons your self, soak the store bought lemons in hot water for a few minutes to remove wax, dirt, and insecticide contaminates
  • Mead making takes time, BE PATIENT!!!!
  • While fermentation is taking place, the mead will become very cloudy. Sometimes it will clear up, and then become cloudy once again as secondary fermentation takes place.
  • As a general rule of thumb, the mead should be ready for bottling when you have been able to read newsprint through a gallon jug of it for at least two weeks (If you used a dark variety of honey, then your mead will be dark and this rule doesn’t apply, instead shine a flashlight through it, if you see that the mead is clear and has been for at least two weeks, then its probably ready for bottling)
  • Find a good area around your house or garage where you can leave your brewing jugs safe and undisturbed, with a temperature range of 55 to 85°  Fahrenheit.
  • Get your honey from a Bee Keeper, if possible; if not buy it at the supermarket and make sure its RAW honey (processed honey sucks for making mead) The darker the honey the better the mead will taste!

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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