Making Mead

Mead Glass

This weekend I’ve decided to make some Mead. For those of you who don’t know what Mead is it is usually the alcoholic drink that elves, humans, and goblins drink at bars in fantasy stories like Lord of the Rings. Mead is one of the very first alcoholic drinks ever discovered. It is simply honey, water and yeast. The yeast ferments the sugar in the honey and produces alcohol. Because so much honey is used the alcohol content is relatively high, around 15% to 20% by volume. Mead is much closer to a wine than a beer, however there are many different ingredients that can be added to a mead that will give it different characteristics and different names.

Mead Types:

  • Mead – made with honey, water and yeast optionally with flavoring ingredients
  • Melomel – mead made with fruit or fruit juice
  • Metheglin – mead made with spices and extracts
  • Acerglin – mead made with maple syrup
  • Pyment – mead made with both honey and grapes
  • Braggot – honey and malt, sort of a mead-beer
  • Capsicumel – honey with chili peppers
  • Lactomel mead made with milk

I intend on splitting the batch into two or three different fermentors after the primary fermentation. This will allow me to make small batches of different flavoured mead. I’m going to use the No Boil method of making yeast. The hard part with that method is that the honey doesn’t dissolve as quick as if the water was boiling. The benefit is the honey’s subtle characteristics will not be boiled away. I’ve picked up about 14lbs of honey from a farmers market. I’ll dissolve the honey in approximately 18L of water, throw in the yeast, and let it start to ferment. After a couple of weeks I’ll rack the ‘must” to three separate glass carboys and then and the spices and extracts to add flavour to the mead. I think I will try a vanilla mint flavour, as an after dinner drink. I would like to try and make butterscotch mead, and some sort of tea mead.

I’ll let you know how things turn out, but it will be at least 6 months before it will be ready to drink. I’ve read that meads are best left for 2 years before drinking, but I’m not that patient!

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