Making Mead

Ok, I might end up embarrassing myself on this one. But I’ll go ahead and put myself out there. I wanted to make mead but I wanted to do it in the laziest way possible… just to see how it goes. Maybe it will come out like crap. No fear.

It took me much longer to write this post than it did to actually make the mead.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 tsp of Red Star Premier Cuvee yeast from San Francisco Brewcraft
  • 1/4 tsp of Yeast Nutrient made by Brewmaster of San Leandro, from San Francisco Brewcraft
  • 1/4 tsp of Red Star Cote des Blancs yeast from San Francisco Brewcraft
  • 3.7 lbs Raw Blackberry honey from Rainbow Grocery. $3.59/lb flower honey
  • empty glass 1 gallon bottle (from this organic apple juice they have at Rainbow Grocery)
  • empty 64 oz juice container from Trader Joes
  • 1 gallon Crystal Geyser bottled water

What I did:

  1. At the store, I put about 32 oz of bulk honey in a 64 oz container, total 3.7 lbs.
  2. Last night in the kitchen I put 1 splash of bleach in the glass bottle and filled it with water. I let it sit for 20 minutes.
  3. I emptied the glass bottle and filled it a couple times with tap water, swishing it around a bit
  4. I poured a bit of the bottled water into the honey bottle and shook it around so the honey would flow out of the bottle better.
  5. I poured the honey into the 1 gallon glass bottle and filled it to about 3/4 with bottled water.
  6. I put 1/4 tsp of Yeast Nutrient in the glass bottle
  7. I capped and shook the bottle for about 10 full seconds to mix it all up
  8. I put 1/4 tsp of Premier Cuvee yeast in the bottle and shook it again
  9. I stuck the rubber stopper and airlock on it (it didn’t fit well so I used lots of packing tape to attach it :-( )
  10. I stuck it in the corner inside a plastic bucket (to catch any honey goo that comes out if it gets too bubbly)

Done

I had some leftover honey in the 64 oz container… I’m not sure how much because it was mixed with water… maybe 0.5 pounds. I filled the container with the rest of the bottled water, 1/4 tsp of nutrient (oop, I probably should have added 1/8 tsp) and 1/4 tsp of Cote des Blancs. I splashed it back and forth into the now-empty water bottle a few times to try and get more oxygen into it (I read in a couple places that helps) and stuck a stopper and air lock in it.

Both bottles are now sitting next to my bed.
Research time: 3+ hours
Actual preparation time: 15 minutes

We’ll see how it comes out in 6 months or so…

The sites I found most useful:

San Francisco Brewcraft, 1555 clement st, San Francisco, CA 94118 in the Richmond betw 16th & 17th Ave. 415-751-9338
http://www.otolith.com/howitt/mead.html
http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=28&Itemid=14
http://www.doctorbeer.com/joyce/mead/BeesLees.txt

6 Comments

  1. Rick! says:

    You’ll need to let the pressure out of the jug every once in a while, or your upstairs neighbors will be knocking on your door at some point, and asking if this cork is yours.

  2. lee says:

    Yup… the airlock is one of those bubbler things that lets the extra air out. I’m hoping that by later today the house will start smelling of mead… It’s supposed to start up in about 12 hours.

  3. lee says:

    Update 12-5-08: After 20 hours the gallon of Premier Cuvee isn’t doing anything. The 64 oz of Cote des Blancs are bubbling once every 5 seconds.

    I sterilized a glass juice bottle with bleach and poured the 1 gallon into this container a few times to get some air into it. We’ll see how that goes.

  4. lee says:

    Update 12-8-08: Both are bubbling away. I think both were ok to start with… the airlock seal on the Premier Cuvee stopper wasn’t perfect so the airlock wasn’t bubbling. A #7 stopper is too large for the apple juice container so I used electrical tape to seal it (poorly, apparently).

    PS, the air near the airlock smells yummy meady!

  5. lee says:

    Both came out fantastic. I’ve been drinking both meads for the last few months. I’m now sadly staring at the last quart of Premier Cuvee and the last few ounces of Cote des Blancs.

    The Premier Cuvee: thick and gooey on the tongue and throat. A bit sweet though countered with a strong bite. Quite alcholic. Quite fun to drink.

    Cote des Blancs
    : bright but full bodied flavor. The first taste has quite a bite but subsequent tastes had much different flavors. Ray and I agreed that the flavor evolved with each taste, less bite, more body, a little peppery.

    Both meads came out tremendously. A joy to make and even more of a joy to drink.

    Simple. Simple. Simple.

    1 – honey
    2 – water
    3 – east
    4 – stir
    5 – airlock
    6 – sit for 1-6 months
    7 – drink
    8 – enjoy!

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