These Easy Homemade Mead Instructions are intended to be general instructions to teach the basics of mead-making using inexpensive and easy-to-come-by equipment so that you can experiment with the process without spending a bunch of money on it right away. For example, these instructions will use a gallon water jug and a balloon as the fermentation tank and breather valve, rather than telling you that you need to purchase specially-made equipment. The specialized equipment can make the process seem more professional… However, I don’t know about you, but I’d hate to spend a bunch of money on the equipment only to find out that either I don’t enjoy making it, don’t like the taste or I would just rather buy beer. So, here we go…
A Brief History of mead
Sometimes called ‘honey wine’ mead has been consumed for many hundreds, possibly even thousands of years. Some believe that mead originated in Crete about 8000 years ago, but archaeological evidence of mead making has been found in China dating back as far as 7000 BCE, and in Europe dating back to 2800 BCE, and one story even talks about mead first being discovered in a bush in Africa when a hive became flooded with rainwater then someone decided to drink it; it is thought to be one of the oldest alcoholic beverages in the world. Mead is mentioned in numerous ancient and sacred texts from around the world so this is not a new invention. Mead is also used in a number of religious practices, and some believe that it has mystical properties. Unfortunately mead did seem to lose popularity with the rise of beer and the popularity of wine in many areas, so let’s do our part to not allow this ancient beverage to become forgotten with time.
The ingredients are very important
The water that you use for this is very important. You don’t have to go out and buy any expensive, fancy water… just pick up a gallon jug of filtered or purified water from the store, otherwise if you are on well water you can simply filter your tap water and use that. Do not use an old milk jug for this recipe unless you are absolutely sure that it is completely clean of all remaining milk residue as this residue will create mold inside of the container which will contaminate the mead that you worked so hard to make, and convert it into garbage. So, in short, don’t cut corners on cleanliness.
You will need to decide what type of fruit that you want to use in this recipe. Different fruits will give a different flavor, but also be sure to pick something that you, and anyone who you might share with, are not allergic to. The natural sugar in the fruit will slightly add to the amount of alcohol in the mead, so if this is something that you are worried about choose accordingly. For the sake of this recipe I chose canned pineapple because it is easy-to-come-by, fairly inexpensive, and not very labor intensive (all you have to do is open the can and add it to the mix). Feel free to experiment with the amount of fruit to see how you like the flavor differences. When choosing a canned fruit like this, be sure to choose something that does not have preservatives because many of these preservatives will work to prevent fermentation which will work against your yeast and can cause your batch to fail.
Honey is an essential ingredient as it is the main sugar which is turned into alcohol to make mead. Unfortunately, honey can be pretty expensive in some areas, and / or only sold in small containers which can draw some strange looks when you walk through the store with a bunch of them in your cart… If you are concerned about price, one pound will work fine, but feel free to experiment with the amount to see how you like or dislike the taste and alcohol content. (I would love to hear what you learn from your experiments.)
If possible, always buy local honey. …For one thing, you are helping out a farmer which is likely just a small business trying to get by financially with doing something they enjoy, so your purchase helps that family a lot; Also, local honey is made using pollen which is being produced around the area that you live, and consuming this local honey has been shown to ease or even eliminate the allergic reactions to these pollens. For example, if you have a bad reaction to the local tree or grass pollen, then by adding local honey to tea, coffee, a smoothy, or even just eating a spoonful of honey each day has shown to lessen that reaction for a lot of people. (Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, and can’t guarantee that you will have the same response. Check with your doctor before trusting any medical-like advice.)
- 1 needle (nothing special, a sewing needle is fine)
- Cheese cloth
- 1 funnel (small enough to fit into the water jug, but large enough to make refilling the jug easy)
- 1 empty water jug
- 1 gallon filtered water in a gallon water / ‘milk’ jug
- 1 party balloon (just a regular sized balloon that you would blow up for a kids party)
- 1 lb honey (local if possible)
- yeast (regular bread will work, but beer or wine yeast may work better and give a slightly different taste)
- 1 can pineapple chunks
- 3 or 4 cloves (standard cloves found in your grocery store’s spice section) (optional, but adds flavor)
- 1 handful of raisins (optional, but adds flavor)
- Pour out about half or so of the water from the jug, and set it to the side in a safe place.
- Pour some water from the jug into a pan then bring to a low heat (not boiling), then slowly pour in the honey stirring steadily until the honey is well liquefied. Then turn off the heat.
- Using some of the remaining water in the jug, follow the instructions on the yeast packet to activate the yeast.
- Add the cloves, raisins, and pineapple chunks with juice to the water in the gallon jug.
- Place the funnel onto the water jug. then pour the honey-water mixture into the jug with the remaining water. Place the cap on the water jug, then swirl it around a bit to mix.
- Pour the activated yeast into the water jug with the mixture.
- Place the gallon jug mixture (without the lid off) into the sink, and allow to sit for about an hour. During this time the yeast will grow and begin eating the sugar. The mixture will expand rapidly and may overflow the jug (this is normal).
- After about an hour this initial expansion step should be complete. Now you can clean up the jug and your sink from any over flow, then proceed to the next step.
- Using the funnel, fill the jug mostly full using the water that you set aside in the beginning.
- Hold the balloon carefully in your hand so that you can use the needle to poke a few holes all the way through the balloon without poking yourself. This will turn the balloon into a one-way vent which will allow air to be released from the container during fermentation without allowing anything to get back in to your mead.
- Stretch the mouth of the balloon around the mouth of the jug, and ensure that it is pulled down far enough that it wont come off on its own. (This is very important.)
- Store in a cool, dark place for 1 to 3 months. (Tastes okay after 1 month, but tastes better and has a higher alcohol content after 3 months.)
- Over time you will notice that a cloud of debris has settled at the bottom of the jug, and the fruit and cloves are floating at the top… this is normal. However, if you notice any dark mold inside of the container then your mead likely became contaminated somehow and should not be consumed.
- When fermentation is complete, carefully pour the mead out of the jug and into a clean and resealable storage container. (Another water jug works great for this.) Be careful to not shake the jug or move it around much while pouring, while at the same time separating solids from the liquid. If the mead does get mixed up and becomes really cloudy, allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes to settle back to the bottom. Strain more than once if desired.
- Refrigerate to chill, then enjoy responsibly.
Note: The fruit and remaining liquid in the container can be added to your compost pile for recycling.
Alcoholic beverage Disclaimer
The Temple of the Holy Beard does not encourage or condone the consumption of alcohol by anyone not legally allowed, those with health issues preventing it, pregnant or nursing, or personal beliefs against it. So before consuming any alcoholic beverages be sure that you are of legal age on your area.
However, if you are of legal age and without health issues, not pregnant or nursing, and have no personal beliefs against it, then consuming alcoholic beverages can be a good way to help you to relax, release a little stress, and even let go of some of your inhibitions for a little while. Have fun with it, drink responsibly, and never, ever drink and drive.
Recipe Origins Notice
Pastor Dave creates many of his recipes from scratch simply using food combinations that he thinks will taste good together. Then he uses a lot of trial and error and experimenting to come up with the recipe that he chooses to share.
However, some of these recipes began from an ‘idea recipe’ which was found from another source, we then modified that recipe with our own preferences. That combined with the fact that it is possible for more than one person to have the same idea; and the fact that at this point in human history at lot of things have been written down means that you may encounter a similar recipe somewhere else. So don’t jump to conclusions that anyone is copying anyone else… Sometimes things just end up similar.
Don’t take my word for it. Check out these great sites for more information.
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