Jump to content

Beginner's Mead recipes


Recommended Posts

For anyone who wants to take on brewing their own golden nectar of the Gods, here are two simple mead recipes that are almost fail proof, and ferment relatively very quickly as well.

Nothing's as satisfying as drinking your own handiwork, and feeling a buzz from it!


I also highly suggest you sterilize all your stuff before brewing. Bacteria eat yeast, and without yeast to ferment the sugars into alcohol, you'll just wind up with nasty honey-water- or a vinegar like liquid. Yuck.

Soap and water won't cut it. I prefer to use Star San Five Star sanitizer, no need to rinse. (avail at homebrew shops or amazon.com)


Further notes of mine are in italics.



1) No Age Sweet Mead, from www.gotmead.com


Ingredients (Makes 1 US gallon) 2 lbs 3 oz Unprocessed Clover honey (ok to substitute if you must)

7 oz Buckwheat honey (do not substitute)

.6t Grape Tannin (needed for taste and clearing)

1/8t Fermax (more will not be better)

1 packet 5g K1V-1116 (must use this yeast)

Balance tap water to make 1 gallon (don't use distilled)

4 Liter Carboy if you have one otherwise use 1 gal


Some of these items you must acquire from a homebrew store or online -

* Fermax (any yeast nutrient should do, Fermax is just a brandname)

* Grape tannin - you can also use "wine tannin", the idea is to get some tannic acid in the bad boy.

* Lalvin brand K1V-1116 Yeast. DO NOT SUBSTITUTE.

* Airlock for carboy/container. In a pinch, you can use a balloon, stretch it's lip it over the bottle neck, and use a pin to make a pinprick in the ballon.

If no homebrew store is in your area, don't despair, find it online. Even amazon.com carries all this stuff! -G



It's called sweet mead because it uses a buckwheat percentage blend and yeast combination.

If you want the exact same results as I describe, please do not alter the ingredients or procedure. There is a reason to this madness. Here goes from my notes the latest batch ready:


Batch #25

CW Mead Experiment

1 gallon recipe 68F fermentation temperature


August 8, 2004

No boil, no skim, no sulfite. Dissolve honey in quart of warm water (tap water).

Dissolve tannin and 1/8t Fermax in 8 oz warm tap water.

Add honey mixture and tannin mixture to carboy and fill to 3 inches from top with cold tap water. Shake well to mix and aerate all ingredients.

Must OG = 1.100

Rehydrate K1V-1116 in 4 oz of tepid water for 15mins in dark place according to instructions on packet. Must temperature should be between 68-80F degrees. If so swirl yeast and gently pour yeast in carboy.


Install airlock and place in dark place or basement with temperature as close to 68F as possible. Will start bubbles in one hour.

After 2 days add a little honey/water mixture to bring to 2 inches from top

August 15th - SG 1.045 (1 week)

August 22nd - SG 1.020 (2nd week) and still working well - Taste great - Gotta stop here

August 23rd - Racked (all must except lees and approximately 5 oz of liquid) into clean 1 gallon carboy containing 1/8t potassium metabisulfite and 1/2t Potassium Sorbate. No need to top off since used 4 Liter carboy for primary and it is almost done.

August 24th - Already Clearing well

August 26th - can read newsprint already

Finished 3 days early. Wait 3 days if you can but it is one fine mead to drink now while you are waiting for something a bit stronger in Alcohol to age. Enjoy.



In practice, this takes much longer than 3 weeks to clear for me, but it's still quick... maybe 2 months at the longest. I've made several batches of this, the latest just last weekend-G



2) From around the web also comes "Joe's Ancient Orange Mead", a popular recipe


1 gallon batch


* 3 1/2 lbs Clover or your choice honey or blend (will finish sweet)

* 1 Large orange (later cut in eights or smaller rind and all)

* 1 small handful of raisins (25 if you count but more or less ok)

* 1 stick of cinnamon

* 1 whole clove ( or 2 if you like - these are potent critters)

* optional (a pinch of nutmeg and allspice )( very small )

* 1 teaspoon of bread yeast ( now don't get holy on me--- after all this is an ancient mead and that's all we had back then)

* Balance water to one gallon




Use a clean 1 gallon carboy


Dissolve honey in some warm water and put in carboy


Wash orange well to remove any pesticides and slice in eights --add orange (you can push em through opening big boy -- rinds included -- its ok for this mead -- take my word for it -- ignore the experts)


Put in raisins, clove, cinnamon stick, any optional ingredients and fill to 3 inches from the top with cold water. ( need room for some foam -- you can top off with more water after the first few day frenzy)


Shake the heck out of the jug with top on, of course. This is your sophisticated aeration process.


When at room temperature in your kitchen. Put in 1 teaspoon of bread yeast. ( No you don't have to rehydrate it first-- the ancients didn't even have that word in their vocabulary-- just put it in and give it a gentle swirl or not)( the yeast can fight for their own territory)


Install water airlock. Put in dark place. It will start working immediately or in an hour. (Don't use grandma's bread yeast she bought years before she passed away in the 90's)( Wait 3 hours before you panic or call me) After major foaming stops in a few days add some water and then keep your hands off of it. (Don't shake it! Don't mess with them yeastees! Let them alone except its okay to open your cabinet to smell every once in a while.


Racking --- Don't you dare

additional feeding --- NO NO

More stirring or shaking -- Your not listening, don't touch


After 2 months and maybe a few days it will slow down to a stop and clear all by itself. (How about that) (You are not so important after all) Then you can put a hose in with a small cloth filter on the end into the clear part and siphon off the golden nectar. If you wait long enough even the oranges will sink to the bottom but I never waited that long. If it is clear it is ready. You don't need a cold basement. It does better in a kitchen in the dark. (like in a cabinet) likes a little heat (70-80). If it didn't work out... you screwed up and didn't read my instructions (or used grandma's bread yeast she bought years before she passed away) . If it didn't work out then take up another hobby. Mead is not for you. It is too complicated.


If you were successful, which I am 99% certain you will be, then enjoy your mead. When you get ready to make a different mead you will probably have to unlearn some of these practices I have taught you, but hey--- This recipe and procedure works with these ingredients so don't knock it. It was your first mead. It was my tenth. Sometimes, even the experts can forget all they know and make a good ancient mead.



My note on this last recipe: I've only ever brewed one batch so far, and it's still clearing..it's been 11 months!! However, I'm just being finnicky. When I racked this into a secondary carboy 7 months ago, (using a siphon) I got a little taste of it, and it was delicious even then. I'm saving this bad boy for the holidays this year! -G

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am brewing a honey mead right now, its my first try and its a wild brew! Anyways, it is still bubbling away in my studio, and has been for about two months, I am not sure when I should bottle it. The guys at the brew store said six months, but that seems a little long to keep it in the carboy. Oh well. I walk by it and see if it is still got bubbles and it does, so I hope that is as it should be.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 months isn't really long, Sara, generally speaking.. unless you just mean for the primary carboy.. and even then. I've read most good meads can take a year. Generally, I go by how clear it gets, once the bubbling has stopped of course. Once the bubbling stops, it can still takes weeks or months to continue to clear. The clearer, the better the mead. Ideally, you want to be able to see newspaper print through your carboy - even read it, if a small carboy.

I prefer to use a secondary carboy- once bubbling ceases, and it begins to clear, I'll rack it into another carboy and get it away from the lees (dead yeast that's settled on the bottom, as well as other bits you might've added - orange, cinnamon, clove, etc..)and let it continue to clear.



A lot of the commercial brands you can buy are either sickenly sweet, IMHO, or plastic-y tasting. There's one called "Ragnorak", OMG that is the worst plastic-chemical tasting slop I've ever had. Terrible! Totally phenolic. My own lame homebrewed mead is way better than that stuff. I do however like Lurgashall, Redstone Meadery traditional, or Chaucers, for relatively inexpensive commercial mead.


Now if only it wasn't all so calorie-laden.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

My Joes Ancient Orange batch has been sitting for almost a full year now, since Jan 9th. I just brought it up from the basement into the fridge to chill and do a final clearing, then I'm "popping" it open on xmas eve.

I sampled it's specific gravity, 1.020 is about right for this recipe. I dun it right. I also stole a sample.. yum!! I gotta make more of this stuff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My Joes Ancient Orange batch has been sitting for almost a full year now, since Jan 9th. I just brought it up from the basement into the fridge to chill and do a final clearing, then I'm "popping" it open on xmas eve.

I sampled it's specific gravity, 1.020 is about right for this recipe. I dun it right. I also stole a sample.. yum!! I gotta make more of this stuff.


Lucky! Mines almost at two months, so I won't be enjoying it for awhile. Good mead takes patience, but soooo worth it.beerchug.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm halfway done my Joe's Ancient orange already. Well, I only brewed a gallon. And shared quite a bit. Next time I brew this I'm breaking out my 5 gallon carboys.


Even better, I started a batch of the other recipe (with the buckwheat honey) around the last week of November, and that's only a 3 week recipe... though I always let it sit a bit longer. There are still some bubbles here and there, but overall, it's technically been done, and it's as clear as can be. Gorgeous color, really. I'm stoked, it came out very well. The practice does help.

I'm itching to start another batch now.


If anyone has any other simple beginners recipes, I'd love to see 'em. Post them up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...
  • Create New...