Mead is an ancient drink that is steeped in tradition. It is easy to make your own delicious Mead and there are lots of recipe variations. This recipe produces a dry-style Mead.
Pour 2 litres of boiling water into a pre-sanitised fermenting bucket. Add the honey, and stir thoroughly to dissolve. Tip: If you stand the honey jar in a pan of boiling water for 30 mins before use it will pour more easily. Top up to 1 gallon (4.5litres) with cold water. Add a crushed Campden tablet and cover the bucket. Leave for 24 hours. This will kill any bacteria or wild yeasts. Then add the remaining ingredients and pour through a funnel into a 1-gallon demijohn. Fit a bung and airlock and leave in a warm place to continue to ferment out completely.
The end of fermentation will be indicated by bubbles stopping emerging from the airlock. At this point check the specific gravity with a hydrometer. A reading of 0.996 means that all of the sugar has been converted to alcohol and fermentation is complete. Fermentation should take between 2-4 weeks.
Finishing the Mead
At the end of fermentation add 1 crushed Campden tablet and half a teaspoon of potassium sorbate per gallon. Leave in a warm place for 3 days to kill off the yeast. Then the wine should be left to clear in a cool place (15C) before siphoning from the sediment.
Your Mead may not fully clear on its own and it is recommended to add Harris Winefine to accelerate clearing. When clear you should pass the mead through a Vinbrite filter to obtain a professional finish before bottling. At this point, the wine may be sweetened if desired. Although a sugar solution can be added the best way to sweeten wine is to use Wine Sweetener or Glycerine (which will smoothen the wine) since these are non-fermentable and will avoid the slight risk of post-fermentation. Your Hydrometer will indicate the remaining sugar level in the Mead. Finishing gravities are:
- Dry Wine-0.990-0.996
- Medium Wine- 0.996-1.009
- Sweet Wine-1.009-1.018
Your Mead should now be bottled and stored in a cool dark place to mature for at least 9 months. During this time any harsh tastes will be smoothed out and the wine will improve in bouquet and flavour. Mead is an ancient drink that is enjoying a resurgence in popularity (partly as a result of being featured on Game of Thrones). This dry mead will produce a deliciously smooth drink with an ABV of around 12%. Although this recipe produces a dry style it is acceptable to make a sweetened version.