What is mead?
Mead is a fermented alcohol made of honey, water and yeast. It’s a fermented alcohol (like beer) compared to distilled alcohol (like whiskey). It can either be still or sparkly and can contain either aromas or stay natural.
Mead is one of the oldest alcohol ever made and was drunk in the northern countries during the Middle Ages.
How do you brew mead?
Brewing mead is quite simple. Mead is not an alcohol that is too sensitive to bad manipulation or bad temperature.
You will need the following recipients for the preparation and storage of the mead:
- 1.3 kg of honey
- 2.9 liters of water
- yeast (I used bread yeast as a test, but you can use other yeast as well)
- a jug or bucket for the fermentation process with a 3.7-liter capacity
- an airlock
- a sanitizing agent (I use percarbonate sodium mixed with water)
- a pot with a capacity as big as the fermentation container
- a big recipient that will contain your sanitizing solution
You will also need a funnel if you use a jug.
I use the gloves when manipulating the sanitizing solution.
Sanitizing vs cleaning
I’ll start with a word of warning. Don’t confuse cleaning and sanitizing. These two operations are needed when brewing alcohol and are complementary to each other.
Sanitizing will only clean bacteria while cleaning will get rid of dirty parts.
Sanitizing the recipients and utensils
Whatever touches the liquid that will be your brew needs to be clean and sanitized. I can’t stress this part enough. The consequence can be that you get other bacteria in your brew. That could either alter the taste or destroy the brew. To prepare the sanitizing solution, you can mix one table spoon of sodium percarbonate with one liter of warm water.
Don’t forget to rinse what you sanitized with clear water.
I usually sanitize the pot first.
I then sanitize the funnel and other stuff that can touch the brew. That includes the spoon you will use to scoop the honey.
At the end, I sanitize the brewer itself using the already sanitized funnel.
And again, make sure that you rinse everything you sanitized.
Preparing the mead
You can pour the honey in the pot as well as the water, once everything is sanitized and rinsed.
Slowly warm the mixture so that the honey mixes nicely with the water. The goal is to get a solution with no solid parts.
While you are warming your mixture, you can enjoy a sample of your previous batch.
As soon as the mixture is ready, you can use the funnel to pour the solution in the brewer.
If you have a bit too much liquid for your recipient, you can dump the excess. As you warmed everything together before, the liquid should be pretty homogeneous.
You can add your yeast to the mixture at this step. Shake the brewer to let oxygen enter the mixture to wake up the yeast.
The last step is to add the airlock on top of your jug with water to create an one-way valve for the CO2 to escape.
Waiting to enjoy the mead
You can place the brewer in a dark place at ambient temperature for two weeks. In the following days, you should hear the airlock letting bubbles escape. If that is not the case, that means there is probably something wrong with your yeast.
This is everything you need to do to create a delicious mead. But if you liked the experience and want to go further, you can always mix up ingredients during the fermentation process to flavour your mead differently.