Thursday, July 7, 2016


Okay, I'm going to something a little different...I'm going to publish the recipe before I actually "brew" the mead.  I'm doing this so that I can share the recipe with someone.

As I was reading through Sacred Healing Herbal Beers (which I can NOT put down...), and got really interested in mead.  I reached to a good buddy of mine, and he said that he really likes mead.  I thought I'd try it...I'll have to find some at the local beverage store...but I thought that since I've already made cider (a couple of times) that mixing up a batch or two of mead would be pretty interesting.  Also, it's gluten-free, so folks who can't drink beer (at least, not without Clarity Firm added) can at least have options.

Something else to consider (from the book) is the inclusion of heather in the mead.  Fortunately, I found heather tips on Amazon...

1 gal recipes
Storm The Castle - recommends 2 lb honey for a dry mead, more for a sweeter mead
Storm The Castle #2 - this is the fastest, easiest, cheapest mead recipe
Pixie's Pocket -
Instructables Strawberry Mead
Savannah Bee Company Recipe - recommends 2 lb honey, champagne yeast, no mention of nutrients

The Storm The Castle site is great for a lot of information on making mead, including (but not limited to) the secret art of mead making.

Not a 1 gal recipe, but BeerSmith has a pretty good description of how to make mead, along with using a staggered approach to adding nutrients.  The recommendation is to add 1 tsp of Go-Ferm to 1 tsp of Fermaid-K, and then split it into 4 equal portions.  Add one when pitching the yeast, and the others added at 24, 48, and 72 hrs, respectively, by adding the nutrient mixture to a small amount of honey and water, and then adding it to the fermenter.  Recommended fermentation time is a minimum of 2 months, which is similar to the artisanal mead recipe over at Northern Brewer.

Here's Bray's One Month Mead recipe, in both 1 and 5 gal batches.

Some of the recipes I've read that just use yeast (and maybe a bit of nutrient) take up to a year to ferment.  Those the use nutrient and energizer take less time...two months, or in the case of Bray's recipe, half that.  I'm okay with letting the experiment go for a bit, as I'd like to get a nice result.


"Brew" Day: 11 July 2016

3 lb honey - locally sourced (Hall's Honey Farm)
2 oz dried heather tips
Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast
Extra honey

Heat 1/2 gal of water to 150 deg F, add heather tips (in muslin bag), allow to stand covered for several hours. Bring to a boil, remove muslin bag.  Allow to cool to around 150 deg F, dissolve honey into liquid, then pour into fermenter.  Add 1/4 t. each of Fermaid-K and Go-Ferm, pitch yeast, and add enough lukewarm water to fill the fermenter to just below the "1 gallon" line.  Place a cap on the fermenter, add sanitized blow-off tube and bottle.

Nutrient addition schedule: at 24, 48, and 72 hrs, dissolve 1/4 t. each of Fermaid-K and Go-Ferm in a small amount of warmed water and some honey, add this to the fermenter and shake slightly.  Likely the best way to go about doing this is to boil some water in a measuring cup (the boiling will sanitize the cup), and then pour out all but enough water to dissolve the nutrients and a small amount of honey.  Reduce the temperature (ice bath) to 75 - 80 deg F before adding to the fermenter.

After 3 - 4 weeks, rack the mead to a clean fermenter, add an airlock and let sit for at least another 8 weeks before bottling.

Addendum, 12 July: I looked in on the fermenter this morning, a bit more than 12 hrs after pitching the yeast (actually, it's closer to 14 hrs).  I've never worked with this yeast, nor with honey before, so this will be interesting.  The mead is fermenting much like cider...some good activity, but not a great deal of krausen.  I'll be doing my first addition of nutrient and energizer this evening.

Addendum, 14 July: Added the last addition of nutrient and energizer this evening.  Everything seems to be going very well; there are a steady stream of bubbles coming from the blow-off tube.

Addendum, 31 July: Transferred to a clean fermenter this morning; I had my sanitizer and racking rig out this morning because I was dry hopping another beer, so I figured that I would just go ahead and rack the mead to a clean fermenter.  Now, it just sits for a couple of months...

Addendum, 21 Oct: Bottled today, with 1 oz of wild honey dissolved in a bit of warm water.  I didn't
need to sanitize the honey, but I did heat up some water to make it easier to pour into the fermenter.  I got 2 large (22 oz) bottles and 6 good 12 oz bottles out of it.  I also got a little bit more (see the image to the right) to try.  Now, it's been fermenting for a bit more than 3 months, and I had added the nutrient and energizer additions early on.  As such, it had a wine-like (wine-ish) scent, but I also detected some of the same notes as you get when you smell wild honey.  Of course, it's nowhere as thick as honey, and even as someone who doesn't drink wine, this actually turned out pretty well, I think.  My wife tried it, and at first she thought it was my sour beer (which she'd just asked me about...), and she liked it (she's the wine drinker in the family).  The mead has a slight while not overpowering sweetness to it, and I noticed that the alcohol warmth lingered on the back of my throat for a bit.  I've never had mead before, so I have nothing on which to base this or use as a standard, but I enjoyed the initial sample. I'm looking forward to seeing what the yeast remnants do with the priming honey over the next month or so.


  1. That looks really dark for just honey.

    1. Well, the honey itself was dark...I chose the unpasteurized stuff. Also, it's not "just honey", per the recipe.