By: Greg Brian
For many, Mead is a favorite alcoholic drink that’s made entirely with fermented honey and water. It’s an overly sweet libation that has numerous fans. Nevertheless, making it with raw honey is the best way to go to bring the most nutritional value.
How do you make Honey Mead? As someone who’s maybe curious about trying this drink (or serving it at dinner parties), let’s look at how you can successfully create a bottle. It’ll last you as long as regular wines.
Dilute Your Honey First
The first step is to mix honey with water to begin the diluting process. However, more people are starting to use fruit juices (or plain fruit) to dilute the honey. Adding these sweetens your Mead even more.
Adding fruit juice can take away the sweetness of honey taking precedence, though. It’s up to you on how you want the dilution process to take place.
If you prefer letting the taste of honey take over, just add water to ward off too much sugar when fermentation begins.
To Heat or Not to Heat Your Diluted Honey?
Some mead makers heat the honey next to ward off any potential bacteria. We’re here to remind you raw honey already has antibacterial properties, making excessive heating arguably unnecessary.
It’s up to you if you feel better heating the honey. Just keep in mind that when raw honey is exposed to too hot of temperatures (e.g. boiled), it loses many of the antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients inside.
Next, it’s time to add yeast, even though you’ll need a couple more things. The honey/water combo isn’t powerful enough to turn into the alcohol you need to make it real Mead.
What More Do You Add to the Yeast?
Before you pour in the yeast to your honey/water mixture (called a “must”), make sure it’s not exceeding 80F. You’ll have to stir your yeast and must together for well over five minutes.
Experienced makers of mead usually add various nutrients to make sure fermentation takes place successfully. You also need to give the concoction plenty of oxygen to make sure it converts to alcohol.
The fermentation process is going to take quite a bit of time. Remember, when you start making mead, you’re going to need to be available every day for at least a month to make sure fermentation happens.
How Do You Make Sure Your Mead Ferments?
Most mead experts say stir the yeast and must together twice per day for a couple of days until you see signs of fermentation.
Your only way to know if fermentation took place is use of a hydrometer. It’ll let you know accurately before you start pouring your mead into a storage container.
You’re going to need some patience since fermentation is not a quick process as noted. Plan to be home every day for about 30 days to get it done right.
Storing Your Honey Mead for Later Consumption
Those of you who want to try your Honey Mead immediately are going to need even further time. Once fermentation is completed, most mead makers place it in a glass jar to ensure all sulfur dioxide is released.
Storage during this step could take up to two months. Check your jar of Mead then and ensure again fermentation was completed.
From there, you can transfer to an airtight storage bottle. Then it could take up to a year before the Mead matures. Consider this similar to wine where long-term storage often helps with the overall quality.
It’s well worth the wait since the taste of Honey Mead is unique to the libation world. With proper steps and maturing, it’s an ideal drink to serve during the holidays or other special occasions.