I sell mead horns, ale horns, drinking horns, really whatever you want to call them. What kicked all this off was making mead when I couldn’t find any available in shops, and then later moving on to needing the proper drinking gear.
Mead making might sound a bit daunting to some, could the process or the equipment that’s involved, but it’s very simple really and requires a little patience. The ingredients are simple, some honey, water, and yeast, maybe a few other bits; not to mention a container to put it all in. You really don’t even need a brew shop to get the supplies.
So let’s make a simple mead! The recipe is based off of one I found years ago somewhere on the internet and is a pretty good template to get you going. Quite honestly, after a lot of fiddling with other recipes and more “professional” ingredients, I use this one as my go to base.
So what do we need (this recipe will be for one gallon)….
-A one gallon jug with a cap, you could use a plastic one like milk comes in or if you have access to a glass one, even better.
-Water from the tap (room temperature), or if you have heavily cholorinated water I would suggest buying a jug of it.
-Yeast, get a packet from the grocery store like Fleischmans or Redstar
-One quart of honey, this is about 3lbs. Get this from someplace reputable and is very important since it is the base of what you are making. Honey believe it or not is sometimes cut with things like corn syrup and can still be called honey. I usually try to get it from a local bee keeper. It should cost you no more than about $20.
-An orange, adds a nice subtle flavor to the mead and makes it a bit more complex but not overly so. It’s not necessary, so whatever works for you.
-Raisins, maybe about a dozen. These will act as a nutrient for the yeast to do their yeasty thing.
-Something to let the gases out, but not let anything else in. If you are familiar with brewing, this would be an airlock, but again it doesn’t need to be that fancy. A balloon, a rubber glove with a tiny pin hole works just fine.
So now we have all we need lets go.
First and most important is to sterilize our jug. I won’t go into many details so here’s a link with a couple of easy ways to go about this…https://www.instructables.com/community/How-to-sterilize-a-jug/
Now that is done we can actually start making mead.
Pour your honey into your sterilized jug, it is easier and less messy to use a funnel that has been sterilized as well. Once the honey is poured in, add some of your water (about a quart). Close it up and give it a good shake to mix the two together. If it doesn’t seem like its mixing well add some more water.
Once everything is moving along nicely in the jug, add the raisins, orange (peeled and in sections), yeast. Fill the jug up with enough water, basically to the base of the neck. Put the cap back on and shake it up again to mix it all up.
Now take the cap on and place the airlock/balloon on over the opening of the jug. If you’re using a balloon, I would use a rubber band at the base to make sure it doesn’t pop off when it starts releasing gas.
Place your jug into a nice cool dark place and try to forget about it for awhile. This is probably the hardest part and the need for patience.
So when is the mead ready to drink, it will take a number of weeks. It is all dependent on temperature and how active the yeast has been. I go by visuals. The balloon would have collapsed and the liquid will look pretty clear aside from the bottom inch where everything has settled. But I wouldn’t stop there.
To help with clarification of the mead, I would rack to another jug. This is brewers speak for siphoning from one jug to another leaving the dregs in the starting bottle. At this point I also use something like cheese cloth in a funnel to catch any larger particles so they don’t go into the new bottle. Put the airlock/balloon back on the jug with the mead and again set it aside for a bit. It will clarify even more.
Once you feel that it has clarified to your liking…bottle and/or drink!!
If you find your mead too sweet or too dry, you can always add or subtract the amount of honey on your next batch. If is too dry, you can also add a bit more honey to your finished bottle at the end to sweeten it up.
Enjoy your adventures in mead making! Skål!