Making My First Batch of Mead

I've been doing a lot of reading on the art of making mead. I'll call it an art because there seems to be an infinite amount of variables and techniques to making mead.

I struggled for a while trying to decide what recipe to use; the books and internet are filled with hundreds of recipes. Most of the recipes I found were for 5 gallon batches of melomels. I wasn't quite ready to commit to a 5 gallon batch size and wanted a baseline of how traditional mead tastes before adding in fruit or spices.

I decided to borrow the recipe from the Charge The Castle website for a basic 1 gallon batch of traditional mead. Just honey, water and yeast; no fruit or spices.

I gathered all my tools and sanitized them using Idophor. I've read it's one of several popular choices amongst winemakers as a no-rinse solution. At the home brew shop they also made the same recommendation to use Idophor but warned that it will color stain plastic tools if left in the solution for a long period of time.

After sanitizing the tools, I prepped the yeast by adding it to water, following the re-hydration instructions on the packet.

Then I added 3 lbs of spring honey to the water in the jug and shook it up for about 5 minutes. At the end of 5 minutes of shaking the jug, when my arms began to really hurt, I thought "Dang the cost, I'm going to find one of those drill attachments for aerating the must next time!"

After the water/honey mixture was thoroughly mixed I took an initial gravity reading. I won't bother telling you what the reading was, because promptly after I took the reading I made a very rookie mistake that invalidated the reading.

I pitched the yeast, and then added a bit more water/honey to the jug to finish filling it up. At that moment I realized I just made a mistake and voided the original gravity reading I took moments prior.

Oh well, if people can make mead in 7,000 BC without hydrometers, surely I didn't just totally screw up the batch. Right?

I put in the stopper and airlock, filling it with water to the indicated level, and then carefully carried it downstairs to the workshop to ferment in the cooler basement temperature.

Our spring honey this year was such a light/faint color, I wonder how the final product of this mead will look.

For my own documentation purposes, this is the recipe I followed:
  • 1 gallon of spring water
  • 3 pounds of honey
  • 1/2 package of yeast (Lalvin D47)
  • 1 tsp Yeast energizer/nutrient (Yeast Nutrient, Fermaid K)
Update: Sept 17, 2012 we bottled the traditional mead.

Comments For This Post: (2) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Dear old Dad says...
Date:   July 13, 2012, 6:54 am

Sounds like you're on your way with a great recipe. Can't wait to try it when it's ready.

Mark Martin says...
Date:   July 13, 2012, 10:45 am

Looks good.  Hoping to have a big enough honey harvest next year to give this a try myself!

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