It’s that time of year again, when apples are ripe, air smells like cider, and mead is flowing at every festival. The question on every aspiring homebrewer’s mind is: how do I make mead?
First you’ll need to acquire honey or sugar (or both) for the fermentable sugars. You’ll also need water. For yeast you can either purchase a packet of brewer’s yeast or save some bread for starters! The easiest way to mix your ingredients together is with a food processor or blender.
Then you’ll need some kind of fermenter. Most people use a glass carboy for this purpose. This is a very large jug that has a small opening, a narrow neck. As long as it’s clean and sanitized, you can use just about any container for your mead. Just make sure to have some sort of airlock on it to allow carbon dioxide to escape while keeping bacteria from entering.
Fill the fermenter with cold water and add ingredients in the order given below:
1/2 pound honey or sugar (or both) per gallon of water (3.8 liters)
1/2 teaspoon acid blend
1/4 teaspoon tannin (optional)
1 teaspoon yeast nutrient (add this before the yeast)
Read: Meatballs: How to make?
Heat the must until it’s slightly warm to the touch, but not hot. Add one packet of beer or bread yeast per gallon of mead.
Cover the fermenter with a sheet of plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band. Punch a hole in the top center of the plastic and insert an airlock filled with about a cup of water that sinks below the surface.
Fermentation begins promptly after pitching your yeast. You may notice that your must begins to bubble, foam, and become frothy over the first few days. This is normal. After a week or two it will begin to clear, and you’ll see the yeast consuming the sugars.
After two weeks (or whenever you think your mead has fermented to your liking), strain out all but about an inch of liquid. This is called the “first run-off.” You can either use another bag of yeast or store your mead in the clear container for a few weeks before bottling.
Lastly, you’ll need to transfer your mead into a clean container. It’s very important to sanitize all of the bottles and equipment you use, or else your mead could go bad or have contamination problems. Plastic bottles are fine, but glass is better. Sterilizing your equipment will also help keep out unwanted bacteria that can cause off flavors in your mead.
Using a funnel, transfer the mead from the original container to a sanitized one, leaving about an inch of space at the top. You can recap using a plastic screw-top cap or cork if you wish. If you use corks, make sure to soak them in hot water for at least 15 minutes first, then seal them with boiling wax.
Your mead is now ready for storage. If you bottled it early enough, it should be drinkable after two months or so. Otherwise leave it sit for another few months before trying. Try this, and you just might develop a taste for mead.