Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Here is a simple bee related activity.  It only takes about an hour to mix up a batch of mead; then wait a month while it ferments and then another hour to bottle the end product.  Here is my recipe for making mead.  I make it in small one gallon batches.  Sometimes I make plain honey mead, but other times I flavor it with cranberry.  The end product makes a good gift for family or close friends.  Be careful because this mead has a much higher alcohol content than beer.

Instructions for making Mead

This recipe makes 4 1/3 bottles (fifths).

To stainless steel pot add 3 pints honey to 11 cups water.  Makes ~1 gallon of must.

(for cranberry mead substitute 8 cups of cranberry juice cocktail for 8 cups of the water.  I sometimes also crush fresh or frozen cranberries for their juice (discard the pulp) and remove a commensurate amount of water)

Boil for 10-20 minutes.  Remove foam/scum (pollen proteins) that forms on top.   This also kills any wild yeasts in the honey.

Cover to prevent airborne yeasts from entering.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

When cool add:                 1 ½ cups orange juice

                                                1 teaspoon ACID BLEND

                                                5 drops PEPTIC ENZYME concentrate

                                                1 teaspoon YEAST NUTRIENT

                                                1 Package MONTRACHET or LALVIN D47 YEAST

                                                ¼ teaspoon GRAPE TANNIN


Pour contents into 1 gallon bottle.  Do not completely fill the bottle (see photo below).  The CO2 bubbles will need a space to gather and deflate.  If the bubbles get into the air trap you will have a sticky mess on your hands.

Install air trap (ADD WATER TO TRAP).  Allow to ferment until bubbling stops; approximately 30-45 days. The must is initially cloudy, but clears with yellow tint (reddish tint for cranberry mead).

Siphon into bottles.  Add ¼ SO2 pill to each bottle (kills any remaining live yeast).  Cork.  Age at least 6 months.  Longer aging is better; it gets smoother with time.  

You can sweeten to taste, but unsweetened seems just fine.

 Cranberry and plain mead fermenting in 1 gallon jugs.  Note the space left at the top of the bottle. 
A  personal and colorful label adds a bit of professionalism.

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