You may have 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 your own mead! I’m going to show you how to make one gallon of mead with this simple blueberry orange mead recipe.
Simple Mead Making eBook
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, detailed instructions for brewing and bottling your mead, and simple mead recipe ideas! Be sure to check it out if you’re new to the mead making process and want a step by step guide.
One Gallon Mead Recipe
Here is my simple method for making one gallon of mead!
What is Mead?
Mead is a fermented alcoholic beverage that is traditionally made with just honey and water, and maybe some yeast (wild yeast is often used).
Whenever you add fruit to mead it’s technically called a melomel rather than mead. I still usually default to calling it mead, though.
You could also use apple cider instead of water and then you’d have what’s called a cyser. If you add herbs and spices or other flavorings it’s called a metheglin.
Mead Equipment and Ingredients
There is some special equipment and ingredients that you will need to make this mead.
Rather than list it all here, I’ve created a page that has links to all of my favorite mead ingredients and equipment: Mead Equipment & Ingredients: Everything You Need to Get Started.
There you will find links to the sanitizer, brewing jugs and buckets, airlocks, yeast, tubing, bottles, and honey and I recommend!
How to Make Mead: One Gallon Mead Recipe
Alright, let’s get started on making this mead!
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.
The first thing to do is sanitize everything that will be used in the brewing process: the jug, airlock, big pot, spoon and funnel.
Simply 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).
Make the Mead Must
Once everything is sanitized, put about 1/2 gallon of non-chlorinated (filtered) water in a large pot on medium heat. When it’s warm, but not boiling, add the honey and stir until it dissolves.
Using two pounds of honey will make a very “dry” mead (not sweet), while three pounds will create a sweeter mead.
The type of yeast you use will also affect how dry or sweet the mead is.
Turn the heat off. It may be a little foamy, but that’s ok.
In the meantime, put the berries (or any fruit of your liking), orange slices (skin and all), and raisins into the one gallon jug.
Raisins are added as a natural nutrient for the yeast. You will not notice any flavor from them in the finished mead.
Then, using the funnel, carefully pour the honey water mixture (technically called “must”) into the jug.
Top off the jug with cool non-chlorinated (filtered) water, leaving at least 2 inches of head space on top.
Then put the lid on the jug and gently mix everything around a bit. If you bought a jug that came with an airlock it may not come with a lid, so you’ll have to find a lid that fits or improvise a bit here. A solid cork (without a hole for the airlock) would work.
Pitch the Yeast
The next step is to add the yeast, but you need to make sure that it isn’t too hot, which will make your yeast inactive. It should feel lukewarm, no more than 90° F (32° C). I recommend using a thermometer before adding the yeast to be sure.
Once it is less then 90° F you can pitch the yeast into the jug.
You don’t need to use the whole package of yeast for one gallon, 1/2 package is enough (it doesn’t have to be an exact measurement). Store the opened yeast package with the remaining yeast in an airtight zip top bag in the refrigerator for later use.
Now the fermentation fun can begin!
Once you’ve pitched the yeast, put the lid back on tightly and this time you’re really going to shake it up for several minutes.
It’s a good workout for your arm muscles, so you can skip the gym on days when you make mead!
Add the Airlock
Put a little water in the airlock to the line, then put the rubber stopper into the jug.
In a few hours you should start to see bubbles forming in the jug and in the airlock.
After several hours or overnight, you may see a lot of bubbles rising up the neck of the bottle! The whole top might get a little foamy at first, but things will settle down.
Don’t worry if the bubbles rise up into the airlock for the first couple of days, that just means that you have a very active (and happy) batch of mead! You can periodically remove the airlock to rinse it out, then replace it back into the jug.
I love watching all the little bubbles! Fermentation is so cool.
Set Aside to Ferment
Keep the jug in a cool (not cold) dark place out of direct sunlight to ferment.
Mead can take longer to ferment than hard cider or beer, depending on the ambient temperature it will take anywhere from 3-6 weeks.
I usually give it 5-6 weeks before bottling to be on the safe side, as you don’t want any broken bottle 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 before bottling.
Bottle the Mead
Bottling one or two gallons of mead is the same process as bottling hard cider. Follow my tutorial there to get a detailed process.
You may want to wait a while to drink your mead as it definitely gets better with age.
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.
More Mead Recipes
Now that I’ve shown you how to make this simple one gallon of mead recipe, chances are you will want to make more soon!
I have one gallon mead recipes for Wildflower Mead, Dandelion Mead, Blackberry Mead, Elderberry Mead, Elderflower Sparkling Mead, and Maple Orange Mead that are all delicious and follow this same basic mead recipe.
See my post on 15 Easy Mead Recipes for Beginners for even more!
Be sure to check out my Simple Mead Making: A Beginner’s Guide to One Gallon Batches eBook for more detailed information on brewing, bottling, and recipe ideas!
Cheers and happy mead making!
Simple One Gallon Mead Recipe
- 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 4-6 weeks of fermenting, once all bubbles have stopped rising in the jug and airlock, the mead can be bottled and aged.
- Please see my Mead Equipment and Ingredients page for a detailed list of what you need to get started.
- Use my tutorial on Bottling Hard Cider to bottle the mead - the process is the same. The flavor of homemade mead will improve after bottling and aging.
- My Simple Mead Making eBook is a helpful resource if you are just getting started with making your own mead.