Welcome to our brief guide on mead and FAQ.
- 1 A Brief Guide on Mead & FAQ
- 2 How do big companies create meads?
- 3 Making Mead at Home: What Do You Need?
- 4 Honey Mead Recipe
- 5 Mead Making Instructions on How to Make Mead
- 6 How to Reverse Sweeten Mead
A Brief Guide on Mead & FAQ
Mead is an alcohol-based beverage that is reasonably simple to make. It is simply a matter of fermenting honey and water to begin. Then, you can mix it with spices, fruits, or grains. It has between 8 as well as 20% of alcohol per volume.
Mead is a fun fact to know. Mead is that it is among the oldest alcoholic drinks that are that is known.
Mead was invented by the people of Europe, Africa, and Asia. It plays a crucial role in the alcohol-related culture (and legends). The origins of the drink date back to ancient times.
The drink is also known as”the mead of gods” or ” the drink of the gods“. It is important to remember that mead was cultivated and consumed around the globe for many thousands of years.
How do big companies create meads?
The method employed by large companies isn’t all that different from the traditional recipe. In large firms, there is a lot of massive production. So they pay to focus on all chemical aspects that could influence the final product.
Additionally, certain companies may employ different kinds of chemicals and additives, and the result will be how they would like it to be. The process begins by selecting the raw materials.
The honey type is crucial because it affects the taste of mead. The stronger the character of the honey, the more intense the mead’s flavor. If made with fruit, big companies generally employ infused fruits and mix them with mead for more effective outcomes.
The mix is usually processed before completing it, including pasteurization or the sulfiting. When fermentation occurs, the chemical reactions with honey and water are tested by adding suitable yeast to achieve the desired results.
Interestingly, mass commercial mead production isn’t like a home-cooked recipe.
The mead’s processing is different. This is because you do not have the same equipment as those used by renowned firms.
You can make mead at home with just a few ingredients and a small amount of brewing equipment. The two components are the only significant difference between these two types. The recipe doesn’t appear to be any different, but the fruit, honey, and spices utilized by the big mead companies are selected with care and attention to detail.
From color to taste to chemical reactions that occur during fermentation and processing. A large company employs advanced equipment to monitor and confirm the condition of the mead in all its stages.
After the mead has been made, the mead should go through the process for around two or three weeks, based on your preference. A large company typically lets it sit for months or even years. Like wine, mead can improve in taste over time.
The way that a significant commercial firm produces mead is based on the same recipe but elevated to a higher stage. It utilizes top-of-the-line equipment, tools, and supplies. One major disadvantage is the industrial process mead undergoes in these businesses. In addition, certain ingredients can eliminate mead’s health benefits. Making it yourself at home is an alternative. You can choose and track what you’ll consume at the end of the day.
Making Mead at Home: What Do You Need?
The benefits of making your mead are numerous. You can develop a new passion and determine what you want to get in the mead and what goes out. Making mead is an excellent way to improve your homebrewing skills.
To make mead, it’s necessary to require space. If you only want to make small quantities, you’ll require room in your kitchen to carry out one part. There is also space to allow the fermentation to take place.
It will require the fermentation bucket or carboy to do this, and you’ll require a place to allow it to sit for two or three weeks. It’s best if the light cannot penetrate this area, like glass or transparent plastic, as sunlight can alter the fermentation process. You will then require space to cool the mead. Finally, it is necessary to transfer the mead to an entirely new vessel, allow it to clear, and let the bitter flavors diminish.
The maturing and conditioning process of your mead is contingent on the kind of mead you’re making and can take anywhere between two and six months. When it comes to bottling, you’ll require an area to store the bottles for a time. Some experts suggest waiting a bit before opening the bottles, approximately 3 to six months. Then, all you need for your carboy to be placed are containers, bottles, and vessels.
Some space options to consider in making meads:
- It is possible to clean up your kitchen to allow space for the equipment you use to brew. If you’re making smaller batches, you will not require much space.
- Mead can be made at home in the kitchen with no problems. However, you will require a specific room for brewing or a designated location to ferment your mead. We suggest that the area you pick has limited sunlight or complicated lighting.
- You will require equipment to make mead at home and must do it correctly. To make your mead, it is necessary to begin by brewing the equipment. In addition, you’ll require disinfectant for each piece of equipment.
This way, you will ensure that your drink doesn’t contain any bacteria that could make it taste unpleasant or don’t ferment properly. You’ll need a big stainless-steel kettle, stainless steel spoon, and a large funnel. It is also necessary to have the carboy, a one-gallon glass container with a lid that works well.
I strongly recommend glass rather than plastic for carboys. The lens will last for longer and is more hygienic. In addition, the lens isn’t a place where oxygen can enter and cause your drink to suffer the process of oxidation. In the case of plastic, oxidation poses an extreme risk since plastic can be a sponge for oxygen that can expose the beverage to oxygen.
This can seriously affect the fermentation process of your brew and cause damage to the batch. This is why you’ll require an airlock and rubber stoppers to seal your bottle.
The airlock and stopper made of the rubber ensure that everything is secured inside and that microorganisms and bacteria from outside aren’t coming any further. You can use clean aluminum foil, and it’ll be able to do the job well. It is also necessary to have a thermometer for your kitchen.
To bottle, you’ll require tubing and auto-siphon along with a bottling tool and flip-top bottles in the quantity you’ll need.
Your equipment’s quality and the type you choose to use are crucial. Each component can affect the taste of the product as well as how the process of fermentation goes. This doesn’t mean that you need to buy industrial equipment.
Some fantastic brands and even products for homebrewing that will take your homebrewing to the top-notch without spending a lot of effort or money. The right equipment is crucial when trying to make and brew any beverage. The faulty equipment could make the entire making process extremely hazardous.
A sterilizer is the most crucial tool you’ll have to remember. It is essential to provide a healthy and happy environment for yeast. Any bacteria or contaminants can harm your beverage, and you should eliminate them from everything in contact with your beverage.
There is a difference between cleaning and cleaning. Cleaning removes dirt while sanitizing is an action that decreases the number of living creatures in the area. As a result, the number of living creatures is deficient.
First, it is essential to wash using mild dish detergents, mainly because they aren’t harmful. You can also purchase the brewery washer to help make the task more manageable, and it can reduce the necessity to scrub. Scrubbing can cause scratches on surfaces that germs and bacteria can quickly get into.
It is essential to select the appropriate carboy or setup for fermentation. We’ll always recommend glass carboys. A glass carboy is costly, but it will last a long time and is simpler to clean and sanitize than other alternatives. Glass isn’t easily scratched and won’t take in oxygen.
Plastic is scratchable without much effort. However, you will have to replace your plastic carboy each 5 to 7 ferments.
When you have all the equipment in place, including all the accessories and tools, you’ll be able to purchase the necessary ingredients. The ingredients you need will depend on the kind of mead you plan to make. However, you’ll always require honey, water, and yeast for the initial stage. As we mentioned earlier, the kind of honey you pick will affect the taste of the mead you make, so choose the right one.
You can’t use any yeast for yeast; it is advised to use mead yeast. Mead yeast for more extraordinary results and a better flavor for your drink.
When it comes down to the water, ensure it’s clear and safe and doesn’t contain harmful chemicals. Sometimes, water is cleansed with safe drinking chemicals but could react with yeast, which is not what you’re looking for.
Honey Mead Recipe
There are a variety of honey mead recipes ranging from simple to intricate. Let’s look at a few.
Let’s begin with the essential honey mead recipes.
The essential ingredients are honey, water, and yeast. Also, you’ll need homebrewing equipment as described previously.
Another time, be sure that you wash all of your equipment thoroughly. You can boil the tools in hot water or wash them with a unique wine-making sanitizer or brewing wash. Be aware that even the tiniest amount of bacteria can ruin a lot of mead. So take care.
If you’re planning to create a giant batch of six gallons, it is necessary to boil 1 1/2 gallons of water into a large pot. After that, you can add the same quantity of honey. However, don’t directly add the honey to the boiling water. This technique is known to ruin some highlights in the mead.
You can also add fruits or herbs to spice up the drink according to your preference. You can add frozen fruits, infusions, or cut-up fruit directly into the mix. You can place your herbs into a muslin bag. After that, add them to the mixture.
After you have added your honey, fruit, and herbs, you can add three gallons of fresh water. Spring water that has been filtered is preferred since it doesn’t contain chlorine present. Keep in mind that chlorine is known to interact with yeast.
Please keep track of the temperature using your kitchen thermometer; when it’s 65 to 75 degF, you can add the yeast. If the water has been cooled too much or hot, the yeast won’t react and will not react, so be aware of this stage. A hydrometer can determine the amount of alcohol in the mead you’re making at this stage.
The batch should be sitting in the fermentation container or carboy. Be sure that you cover the top. If you’re using the carboy or jug, it will require an airlock. The airlock lets air escape when the fermentation process commences, approximately 24 hours after the beginning.
Then, allow your mix to develop for about a month, after which, when the month is finished, it is time to siphon the mixture into a second container or fermenter; this means that the sediment is left in the bottom of your first fermenter.
It is also necessary to secure the second fermenter with an airlock and allow the mixture to sit for another month. Once that time has passed, you begin siphoning the mead into a bottle.
Alternative Mead Honey Recipes:
If you’d like to shake things up in your mead recipe, try making mead that is dry and sweet and not just the basic mead that everyone is familiar with.
For a sweet mead, include more honey and yeast explicitly designed to make sweet wine. If you’re looking for a dry champagne-style mead, it is necessary to use less honey and champagne yeast. It is also possible to make an unsweet mead!
This happens If you add more sugar or honey following the bottling. It is necessary to stop the process of fermentation and add sweets. Ensure that you end the fermentation process. It could cause your bottles to explode.
To give more flavor to the mead, you make use of herbs such as lemon balm, vanilla, rosemary, hibiscus, rose, and hops. You can mix and experiment until you have your unique mead.
Here’s another Dry Mead Recipe:
You’ll need three and a half pounds of honey. Also, you will require wine yeast, water, and yeast nutrients.
The secret to this recipe is that you begin with the yeast two days before. Then, after you have cleaned your container, add a teaspoon of honey. Finally, stir in boiling water to mix.
Cooling it down to 68°F, you can add yeast and nutrients. Cover it for 2 days.
Then, place the honey in a fermenting container or carboy, and add boiling water that is still warm. Mix the honey until it’s completely dissolved. Once it’s at 68°F, Add the yeast mixture.
It must be kept in a cool, not hot, place until the fermentation ceases: approximately 3 weeks.
This is another method of creating homemade mead that is dry and delicious. You mix it with your favorite fruit and herbs. The best combination is vanilla and peach or lemon balm and pineapple.
Mead Making Instructions on How to Make Mead
(general instructions for a five-gallon recipe for mead)
- Sanitize your equipment. Before beginning your mead-making procedure, ensure that your equipment is clean and well-sanitized. Everything that comes in contact with your should (unfermented honey and water mix) should be cleaned and sanitized, which includes the brew kettle. If you’re homebrewers, you can depend on boiling to “sanitize” the brew pot. With mead, however, there is no boiling. Therefore, it’s essential to wash and disinfect all surfaces.
- Warm the water. If the honey has crystallized, it can be liquefied in a hot bath. To do that, put the container that you have sealed in warm water to ensure that it melts enough to spill out from the container. You will need to heat 2.5 gallons of hot water to 170 degrees F in the brew kettle. Take the brew pot and the water from the source of heat. You’ll add honey to the water; however, you don’t intend to do this while the brew vessel remains at the heat source. Honey will sink to the bottom of your brew pot. If the brew vessel is not yet near the heat source, there is a significant possibility of the honey burning into the bottom part of the brew pot.
Note: many mead recipes from the past require boiling honey before making. This was required for several reasons. The primary reason is to eliminate undesirable elements from honey, like dead bees, cappings, and other debris. Honey today will not contain this kind of undesirable ingredient. The honey was boiled to kill wild yeasts and other harmful bacteria that could harm the mead. This can be done with no boiling of the honey. Heating the honey to 150degF for 5 minutes and to 140degF for approximately 20 minutes will kill any present yeast.
To keep as much of the aromas of honey as possible, it is recommended to avoid boiling the honey. Boiling honey can remove its desirable flavors and aromas.
- Incorporate honey. Add the honey to the pot to brew. The honey will fall onto the floor. If you’re as frugal as me, you’ll be tempted to take all the honey from the containers. Instead, use a spoon (sanitized, obviously)and remove some of the hot water from the brew kettle. Pour boiling water into the container for honey, close the lid and stir. Then, pour the remaining honey into the pot to brew. This is the moment you have created the perfect drink.
- Incorporate Sulfites. Add 5 tablets of Campden into the warm water. Stir until the mixture is an even solution.
Metabisulfites of potassium are employed for commercial makers of meads and mead makers at home for cleaning. Sulfites are added after the honey and water are first mixed. Campden Tablets are the most efficient method to add Potassium metabisulfite to your diet. Potassium metabisulfite is the active ingredient in the Campden tablets.
1 Campden tablet was added for each gallon. So that’s five Campden tablets in a five-gallon batch. Through the use of sulfites, mead will be able to have the stability required to shield itself from infections and periods of aging.
- Get a temperature reading. It should be between 140degF-150degF. Be careful when handling and moving the brew pot in this stage. It might not be boiling. However, it’s sweltering.
- Add 3 gallons of cool water into your clean plastic fermenter. The fermenter is now ready to accept the must. Add the warm fermenter to the must, then mix it into the water.
- It’s time to add some ingredients. Every mead kit from Adventures in Homebrewing will come with a pre-measured kit that contains 6 tsp Acid Blend, 4 tsp yeast nutrient, and 2.5 TSP Pectic Enzyme. Start adding these today.
- My most loved meads are made using honey and fruit. Adventures in Homebrewing sells numerous mead kits that include fruits. Although fresh fruit is utilized, the kits of Adventures in Homebrewing come with 6 pounds of Puree. The benefit of using Purees is that they’re hygienic they can also be added to the mix. If you plan to use Purees, it is recommended to add them now. Puree, then it must be added to the must now.
Here are a few of the Purees available:
- It’s time to begin to pitch the yeast. Follow the pitching directions for the particular yeast you are using. Typically, the must be at or below 80 degrees F before you pitch the yeast. When you pitch the yeast into the must, stir it thoroughly (with a sanitized spoon) to ensure it’s to ensure that it is well to make sure it’s well. The yeast will require oxygen to assist with its growth and get the fermenting to a good beginning. Mix thoroughly for a minimum of 5 minutes.
- Get a reading from a hydrometer at this point to document what was the original Gravity.
- Fermentation Temperature of the fermentation must be between 65 and 75 degrees F during the time of fermentation. Keep your fermenter away from cold floors and keep it away from fluctuations in temperature.
- Make a stir for about 2 mins two times a day until the fermentation generally starts in 24 to 48 hours.
- Finishing Gravity After fermentation has finished and you have a hydrometer reading, it is time to confirm. This could take a month, so don’t rush this process.
- Secondary: After you have confirmed that the fermentation has been completed and the mead is clean, transfer it to a 5-6 gallon glass container for secondary. After that, stir vigorously or use an alcohol whip until all the sulfur dioxide (rotten eggs) from the mead) has been eliminated. Set the airlock and allow the mead dry for at least 2 months. It may take longer. Make sure that you ensure that your airlock is full throughout this period.
When all sulfur has been released, you can use Isinglass in the second to accelerate the clarification process, generally for 3-7 days.
- Bottling When you are ready to move to the bottling process, ensure that the fermentation process is completed using a Hydrometer reading. When your mead is cleared, and you haven’t observed any signs of fermentation after two weeks, it is likely the time to bottle. Once it is in the bottle, the most delicious meads are aged between 6 and 9 months to ensure the best drinking experience. This is the perfect moment to choose whether you’d like a mead with a still flavor or sparkling mead.
- Still Mead: If you don’t want to add carbonation to your mead, you’ll have to add Potassium Sorbate before proceeding to the bottling process.
- Sparkling Mead: If a Sparkling Mead is required, you can remove the addition of Potassium Sorbate. Then follow the regular bottling procedure for beer. You’ll require Vichy bottles if you search for suitable bottles to make Sparkling Mead.
The challenging part is letting the mead age or mature inside the bottle. Mead will get better with maturation. Letting it sit for 6 months or a year before opening is ideal. Being patient is a good idea, and the investment will benefit you. Enjoy!
How to Reverse Sweeten Mead
One of the common misconceptions associated with mead production is that mead must be sweet because of honey being employed. This is a commonly held belief, but the truth is that most of the time, the sweetness of honey is generally gone once fermentation has taken place. This is the reason we recommend Back Sweeting.
What is back sweetening?
Back sweetening refers to adding a kind of sugar after your mead has already been fermented to enhance the flavor of the mead. The most effective method to accomplish this is to use honey. However, we don’t simply dump honey in the fermentation vessel when the mead has been fermented. This can cause the fermentation to begin again.
The process of back Sweetening
Be sure that the mead has completed its fermentation. Check the readings of your hydrometer to confirm. Next, add 1 teaspoon potassium sorbate for each gallon of mead. Then stir to stop fermentation. Potassium sorbate is not a killer for yeast but stops the yeast from converting sugars to carbon dioxide and alcohol.
- At least for 24 hours, any additional sugar (typically honey) can be added without the possibility of fermentation.
- The sweetness you desire will be determined by your personal preferences. First, mix the honey in small amounts, then thoroughly stir, after which you will test till the sweetness you desire has been achieved.
What happens if you’re looking for carbonated and back-sweetened mead?
- The most straightforward way is to utilize the homebrew kegging device. Keg systems utilize CO2 tanks to push the carbonated liquid to a certain amount, which doesn’t necessitate the yeast’s services or any other way. This is advantageous because the initial step in the back sweetening process effectively blocks the fermentation abilities of the yeast.
That’s it! Enjoy your sweeter mead!
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