Every year for (*searches memory… I was definitely still living at my parents*) … lots of years I have made at least one demijohn’s worth of mead. For those who don’t know mead is honey wine and dates back (according to the Wikis) to 7000BCE. Its awesome served at either room temperature or chilled.
The basic recipe for about a gallon (8 pints, 4.54 litres) is dead easy:-
- 3lb of Honey (I recommend anything other than the very cheapest, and make sure its pasteurised).
- Just less than 8 pints of water.
- 1-2 tsp Yeast (I’ve successfully used bread yeast before).
(You’ll have to excuse my use of non-SI units but I learnt from brewing books my Grandad gave me, which were given to him as presents by my Mum and Aunt when they were young).
Heat the water to hot but not boiling and add the Honey, and stir so it mixes well. Real winemakers would here check the specific gravity of the mixture so once fermentation is complete they will know the alcohol content. I just assume a value of >10% by vol.
Allow to cool to sort of body temperature and transfer it to a sterilised demijohn then add the yeast. Put in an airlock and you are done!
Wait about 3 months at the most then transfer to empty and clean wine bottles, cork and allow to settle. These things get better with age, I am currently drinking some Plum mead I made last year (at the end of summer with Kim’s parents plum surplus) and its damn good.
There are a few variations on the theme such as Pyment (honey and grape juice), Metheglin (spiced mead *also an awesome word*) and melomel (honey and fruit juice). The photos here are from a metheglin/melomel I made this Sunday by adding 10 whole cloves to the hot honey mix and replacing 400ml of water with apple juice. Whilst I was cooking its smelled really good, I’ll let you know how it tastes.