Maybe you’ve heard of mead before or maybe you haven’t, but one image that always seems to come to mind when mead is mentioned is Vikings drinking their grog. I don’t know a whole lot about Vikings, but I do know a bit about mead! Mead is a fermented honey and water mixture, some call it honey wine, and it is quite possibly the first fermented drink that humans purposefully made. Luckily for us, it’s quite easy to make! I’m going to show you how to make a gallon of mead, blueberry orange mead to be exact.
Want to learn more about making mead? I have a Simple Mead Making for Beginners eBook just for you! It has ingredient and equipment checklists and detailed instructions for brewing and bottling your mead, so be sure to check that out if you’re new to the mead making process.
I should mention right now that whenever you add fruit to a mead it’s technically called a melomel. You could also use apple cider instead of water and then you’d have what’s called a cyser. Also, this is a recipe for one gallon of mead, but I’m always of the mind that if you’re making one you might as well make two, especially if you already have two glass jugs from my hard cider recipe, as it’s really not any harder.
I’ve created a page that has links to all of my favorite mead ingredients and equipment here:
Simple One Gallon of Mead Recipe
How to Make a Gallon of Mead - Blueberry Orange honey wine!
- Water non-chlorinated or filtered
- 2-3 pounds honey depending on how sweet you want to end product to be. Trader Joe's usually has a good price on a 3 pound can of mesquite honey that works well.
- Berries or fruit of any kind fresh or frozen, about a cup
- 1 orange
- 10 raisins
- 1/2 package champagne yeast
- Sanitize everything that will be used in the brewing process.
- Heat about 1/2 gallon of non chlorinated water in the pot on medium heat. Once it's warm, but not boiling, add the honey and stir it so it all dissolves. Turn off the heat.
- Put the berries or other fruit, orange slices (skin and all), and raisins into the one gallon jug.
- Use the funnel and carefully pour the honey water mixture into the jug.
- Top off the jug with cold (preferably filtered) water, leaving at least 2 inches of head space on top. Put the lid on the jug and gently mix everything around a bit.
- Make sure that the temperature of the must is below 90°F, then add 1/2 packet of champagne yeast. Put the lid back on tightly and this time shake the jug for a minute or two to distribute the yeast.
- Put a little water in the airlock to the line, then put the rubber stopper end into the jug. Put the jug in a dark place. It should start bubbling within 12-24 hours.
- After about 6 weeks of fermenting, the mead can be bottled and aged.
How to Make a Gallon of Mead
Alright, let’s get started! The first thing to do is sanitize everything that will be used in the brewing process, the jug, airlock, big pot, spoon and funnel. Just follow the directions on the sanitizer and don’t throw it out until you’re totally done (just in case your dog licks the funnel or you drop your spoon).
Once everything is sanitized, put about 1/2 gallon of water (non chlorinated if possible) in the pot on medium heat. When it’s warm, but not boiling, add the honey and stir it so it all dissolves.
The next step is to add the yeast, but you need to make sure that it isn’t too hot so that you don’t kill it. It should feel lukewarm, use a thermometer if you’re unsure, no more than 90°F. Then you can add the yeast. One yeast package will make up to 5 gallons of mead, so if you’re doing 2 gallons you can just split one between the 2 jars.
Keep it in a cool (not cold) dark place. Mead takes longer to ferment than cider or beer, depending on the temperature it will take anywhere from 4-6 weeks. I usually give it 6 weeks to be on the safe side for bottling as you don’t want any explosions! I’ve definitely had some very champagne like mead before. You want to wait until you don’t see any bubbles in the jug and your airlock is still.
Bottling the Mead
Bottling one or two gallons of mead is pretty much the same process as bottling cider. You may want to wait awhile to drink your mead as it definitely gets better with age, but I often drink it “green” (young) as I enjoy it either way. It is fun to save a couple of bottles for several months, or even a year, just to see how the taste changes with age.
Now that I’ve shown you how to make a gallon of mead, chances are you will want to make more soon! Lucky for you, I have also written a posts on How to Make 5 Gallons of Mead and How to Bottle 5 Gallons of Mead.
Be sure to check out my Simple Mead Making: A Beginner’s Guide to One Gallon Batches eBook for more detailed information on brewing and bottling.
Cheers and happy mead making!