How to Brew Mead: The Step by Step Guide to Meadmaking! One Gallon Recipe
Are You Interested in Making Mead?
Learn how to make mead from our award-winning commercial mead maker, Derek!
The delectable beverage that is a glass (or goblet) full of mead holds a long and illustrious history. And because of its rich history, it’s easy to place mead atop the brewing pedestal and think “Oh, the drink of the Gods? I could never make such a thing!”
Whoa there, soldier. In reality, brewing mead is much simpler than you might think. Consider this - the basic ingredients of mead are water, honey, and yeast. With that in mind, does brewing mead sound so difficult?
Sure, like anything, there’s more than meets the eye, and brewing mead with absolutely no guidance (and perhaps a healthy splash of hubris) can end in catastrophe.
Luckily, we here at Batch Mead got your back. We’re talking step-by-step instructions on how to devise the perfect tasting of the Gods’ nectar. If it’s your first time brewing, go ahead and take a deep breath - this is going to be fun! If it’s your ninth time brewing, by all means, use this as a refresher.
(Reviewed and edited by our Award-Winning Mead Maker)
Brewing Mead Step #1: Get Yourself a Kit
You’ll need some special equipment to put together this celestial libation. Here are a few suggestions from Amazon to help you get started:
Note that this one is the most basic kit available; meaning, you’ll probably find yourself purchasing a few “extra” items in advance of your first mead-making session. In particular, this kit doesn’t come with any siphoning equipment or sanitation supplies and, as you’ll soon learn, sanitation is the KEY to great tasting alcohol.
This kit is the real deal. It’s advertised as a one-stop shop for everything you need to make your first batch of mead, and it looks to walk the walk (you’ll still need to get honey, of course). Something else worth mentioning, too - you’ll only ever be able to make one-gallon of mead with this kit. Not bad at all for your first go-round, but if you’re looking to mass produce later on, you’ll need a bigger carboy.
The Mighty Mead Kit lives up to its name - everything you need to make your first batch of glory!(honestly, it’s not much different than the Homebrewstuff kit)
Additional Equipment for mead-making that you may find useful:
- A Food-Grade Funnel (for transferring your mead from the pot on the stove to the jug you will ferment in)
- Bung for your jug to place the airlock into
- PBW + Star San
- 4+ Quart size pot to brew in
- Thermometer to check brewing temperature
- Cup to culture your yeast
- Bottling Wand
Brewing Mead Step #2: The Ingredients
All recipes will vary based upon what type of mead you’re planning to make and how much. Check out our comprehensive list of mead types here!
Basic ingredients you’ll need regardless of what mead you’re making:
- Grade-A honey
- Water (purified spring water is highly recommended)
- Wine yeast (any of the above kits include yeast!)
Brewing Mead Step #3: The Instructions
Again, mead recipes vary (and vary greatly). However, here are step-by-step instructions on the general process so that you have an idea of just how quick and easy it can be to make magic in a pot!
*Start by having all ingredients laid out before you in a clean working station. Then stick half of the water you intend to use in the fridge, preferably doing this part the night before. (You’ll see why on step 3)
1. Sanitize ALL of your equipment. This is uber important. Whether it's using the sanitizer provided in your kit or boiling each item in hot water, it is imperative that you sanitize. Even the smallest amount of bacteria can derail your entire mead-making operation.
2. Boil your water in a large pot. Once boiling, pull it off the stove and mix in your honey thoroughly (this is the point where, if you were creating a recipe that included various spices and/or fruits, you would also add those).
3. Add cool water from your fridge to your mixture in order to bring the temperature down and form an acceptable climate for the yeast (if it’s too hot or too cold, the yeast won’t properly activate - think Goldilocks and the Three Bears mentality here). If electing to use tap water, make sure you add a ¼ of a crushed campden tablet to remove excess chlorine.
4. Use a [sterilized] thermometer to measure the temperature of your water and honey. When it’s between 80 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, transfer your liquid over to whatever you plan to ferment it in (most likely a bucket if you purchase a mead-making kit). Then add your yeast, yeast nutrient, vigorously stir (the more oxygen the better at the start of fermentation), measure your starting gravity via Hydrometer and seal your top. You’ll want an airlock of some sort filled with sanitizer or clear liquor that allows air to escape during the fermentation process while deterring bacteria on the outside.
5. Allow the mixture to ferment for about a month in a cool, dry area (closets work well). PRO TIP: Leave a few inches of room in your fermentation bucket to allow headspace for the fermentation. Otherwise, you will have to run a tube from an airlock into a half-full jug of water. This will help any “blow off” from the fermentation process run directly into the jug instead of exploding all over your closet.
6. After your mead has fermented, the next step is to carefully transfer it to the glass jug. The best results can be had by placing your bucket in the refrigerator a week before you anticipate transferring (ensuring fermentation is complete; no more airlock bubbles). Using your siphoning equipment, transfer the mead from your bucket via higher location than your jug to ensure a speedy siphon. NOTE: A line of sediment will form at the bottom of your jug during fermentation – try not to let this seep into your jug (and whatever recipe you’re following, particularly if it’s from a kit, should have ample instruction on how to effectively transfer your mead from the fermentation vessel!).
7. After your mead has clarified and aged for about a month, the next step is to bottle. Use a hydrometer to check the ABV of your mead to make sure it’s at the level you want (mead ABV can range anywhere from 5-20%). The difference in starting gravity (day 1, before fermentation) and the final gravity is the amount of alcohol you have created. If satisfied, use a siphon to transfer your fermented mead into bottles. CAUTION: If you elect to add more honey or fruit (really anything with sugars in it), you will start the fermentation process all over again and have to wait or you risk exploding bottles from the active fermentation C02 release.
Brewing Mead Step #4: Mead Life
BOOM! You’ve done it. Once your mead is bottled, you’re free to drink it. However, also remember the Golden Rule - the longer it sits, the better it tastes!
Want to taste some mead? Hop on over to our shop to order some meads! Batch Mead Shop
MEAD (HONEY WINE) IS A PASSION FOR US
We started Batch Mead in 2019 to leave our Silicon Valley tech careers and pursue our real passion, MEAD!
We love locally sourced honey, apples and other ingredients. We focus on small batches to keep taps rotating and deliver delicious meads and hard ciders.
We believe mead is an experience, and our tasting room reflects all the notes of that ideal experience.
We recently won Best in Show from the San Diego International Beer Festival (2020, 2021 & 2022)! As well as several other wine, beer & mead awards!