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Making Mead. By Robert & Gloria Leustek. Now that you have honey, what do you do with it?. You make MEAD!. The History of Mead. Mead is thought to be the oldest alcoholic beverages know to man. The history of mead may go back more than 8,000 years.

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making mead

Making Mead

By Robert & Gloria Leustek

the history of mead1

Mead is thought to be the oldest alcoholic beverages know to man.

The history of mead may go back more than 8,000 years.

The oldest known meads were created on the Island of Crete. Wine had not yet been created. Mead was the drink of the Age of Gold, and the word for drunk in classical Greek is methismenos or honey-intoxicated.

The History of Mead

the history of mead2

The earliest archaeological evidence for the production of mead dates to around 7000 BC. Pottery vessels containing a mixture of mead, rice and other fruits along with organic compounds of fermentation were found in Northern China

The English word mead derives from the Old English meodu,meaning fermented honey drink

The History of Mead

the history of mead3

Legend has it that the word honeymoon is derived from an ancient tradition of sending a newly married couple off to seclusion for a month with much mead, to ensure their best chance to start a family quickly. Mead has been, and still is, considered the drink of love.

The History of Mead


New Jersey Statute §33:1-75 allows for the production of wine or malt alcoholic beverages in the home by persons over the age of 21, not to exceed 200 gallons per year, free from state excise tax. A requirement for New Jersey home beer and wine makers to obtain a state permit

to practice their hobby was

eliminated in January 2012.


what is mead

What is Mead?

A fermented drink made with honey, water and yeast also known as MUST

what is mead1

There are 4 main types of ingredients that are most commonly used:

    • Fruit
    • Vegetables
    • Spices, Herbs and Plants
    • Other Foods such as molasses, maple syrup or chocolate

What is Mead?

mead styles

Mead Styles:

Sack Mead - a sweeter Mead, with more honey

Melomel - with fruit or fruit juice

Metheglin - with spices

and extracts

mead styles1

Mead Styles

Acerglyn - with maple syrup

Morat - with mulberries

Pyment - with both

honey and grapes

Hippocras – with

honey, grapes, and spices

mead styles2

Mead Styles

Cyser - honey and apples or apple cider (apple juice in Europe) Can also be made with peach, cherry or pear cider

Braggot - honey and malt, sort of a Mead-beer

Oxymel - Mead mixed with wine vinegar

mead styles3

Mead Styles

Rhodomel - honey with Attar, a rose petal distillate, or rose petals

Capsicumel - honey with chile peppers

mead styles4

Mead Styles

T\'ej –with honey, water and hops. It is the national drink of Ethiopia, and has a unique taste

supplies you will need

Supplies you will need….

Starter Winemaking Equipment: $74.99 (8200 pg. 68)

Winemaking Equipment Kit Instructional DVD

7.9 gallon plastic fermenter with lid

6 gallon glass carboy, Stopper, Airlock

Bottle brush, Hydrometer

8 ounces of Easy Clean No-Rinse Cleanser

Plastic plunger corker

30- #8 X 1 3/4" straight corks

Racking cane,

5 feet of siphon tubing

Bottle filler

Shut-off clamp

supplies you will also need

Supplies you will also need….

Brew Pot – 3 gallon

Long Handled Spoon


Mix-Stir Agitator Rod

Yeast Nutrient

Yeast Energizer

Acid Blend



Bottles (ask your friends)

Most importantly… Recipes!

supplies you will also need1

Supplies you will also need….

Corrado’s in Patterson

Corrado\'sHome Beer and Winemaking Center offers everything you need to become a skilled wine or beer maker! Come see our state-of-the art equipment, supplies, and wine & beer paraphernalia! Talk with one of our knowledgeable staff-members about making beer or wine in your very own home!

terminology and calculations
Terminology and Calculations

Specific Gravity (S.G.) –This is used to determine how much sugar is present in the Must/Mead. The higher the SG, the more sugar is present.

Final Gravity (F.G.) – The measurement of the specific gravity when all fermentation has ceased. The lowest that can be reached is 0.990.

terminology and calculations1
Terminology and Calculations

Alcohol by Volume (ABV) – The amount of alcohol in your Mead, given as a percentage of the total volume. Most wines are around the 11% to 12% ABV, but it is possible to ferment up to 20% to 22%.

pH or Acidity – The amount of acid in your Must will determine the health of the yeast. A solution of honey in water will usually have a natural pH of around 3.7 to 4.6. The optimal pH for yeast is around 3.7 for best results.

terminology and calculations2
Terminology and Calculations

Acid blend is a blend of the three most common acids found in fruit: citric, malic and tartaric. It’s typically used in wines that are naturally lacking in acid, which typically results in a flat tasting wine. Acid Blend adds liveliness to the wine and helps to bring out its fruity flavors. Having a proper level of acidity will help establish a vigorous fermentation.

keep good records

Recipe Name

Brew Date – __/__/__Batch Size – ___ gal.Honey Varietal – ______S.G. goal – 1.___%ABV goal – __%

Ingredients:__Lbs. Honey__gal. Liquid (water/apple cider etc.)__Lbs. Other ingredients__oz. DAP/Energizer__oz. Yeast etc.

Process:Prep method (including times, amounts, temperatures, acid level, processes and observations)

Continued notes and comments (additions, aerations, rackings etc.) up to bottling and tasting notes.

Using a standard brewlog will help tremendously with keeping things organized.

Keep good records

the process

Determine the recipe

Gather the ingredients, supplies & additives

Prepare & sanitize, sanitize, sanitize!

All measurements are by

weight, not volume

The Process

the process1

Some of our favorite recipes:

  • Natural Sack Mead
  • Clove Metheglin
  • Fall Spice Metheglin
  • Mulberry Morat
  • Rocky Mountain Red Metheglin
  • Royal Metheglin

The Process

the process2

The Process

Did we mention………SANITIZE?

the process3

Weigh the honey into your brew pot using equal amounts of honey to water ratio.

Heat to 145 degrees for

8 minutes.

The Process

the process11

After the mixture has cooled to about 68º, take your initial Specific Gravity reading with your Hydrometer.

The Process

the process13

Pitch the yeast.

We use a yeast starter made from orange juice.

The Process

the process15

In 1-2 days fermentation should begin and after about a week, the initial fermentation should appear stop.

Then rack off into a carboy,

recap, put in a cool dark

Location. In about 1 week

Take a S.G. reading. If 1.000

Or less we go onto the next

Step. If not, wait a few

more days and take another


The Process

the process16

Once the S.G. reading is 1.000 or less then with your drill and your Mix-Stir Agitator Rod and whip the mead vigorously. Do not over-whip.

The Process

the process17

You can also add preservatives such as Sorbate and

a chemical like Metabisulfite to insure that the fermentation process will not continue in your bottles.

The Process

the process18

Then add your flocculent.

Popular flocculents are:



Mix well, add water to within 1 inch of the airlock

Reinsert Airlock, put in cool dark

place. Wait 2 weeks.

The Process


When you are ready to bottle:

Take a final Hydrometer reading, compare the values to determine alcohol content.


Clean & sanitize your bottles:

One 6 gallon carboy will yield about 3 cases of standard

750 ml wine bottles.


When you are ready to bottle:

Using a racking cane, fill & cork

each bottle.

Finally, Label & apply shrink caps.


the wait2

The Wait

“Reds” age about 1 year

“Whites” age sooner.

credits sources

Credits & Sources


credits sources1

Credits & Sources


credits sources2

Credits & Sources


Making Wild Wines & Meads: 125 Unusual Recipes Using Herbs, Fruits, Flowers & More by Vargas & Gulling

Brewing Mead, Wassail! In Mazers of Mead by Brewers Publications – Boulder Colorado

other considerations

Large or Small batch

What will your next recipe bee?


Other Considerations