Quick recipe – 1 gallon of mead
- 3lb honey
- juice of 1 lemon (citric acid)
- 1 cup of black tea (tanin)
- 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
- Yeast (wine yeast, not bread yeast)
- campden tablets (available online or at any wine making / brewing shop / wilkinsons)
WARNING – clean your equipment well before it touches anything that is going to sit for weeks, or you will end up with something that is NOT drinkable
While brewing this I ALWAYS use sterilised equipment, we are growing a yeast in ‘ideal conditions’ which means anything that gets in there will grow nicely too. Pay attention to anything that touches the mix, spoons, siphons, funnels, etc. A quick rinse under the tap or dropping equipment on the floor then using it it not ok – the “5 second rule” does NOT apply here – dipping a finger in to “try a bit” can have consequences.
You will need :
- 2 x 1 gallon demijohn – a glass (or plastic) vessel that can be sealed
- a bung / stopped with an airlock
- a siphon tube / funnel /
- sterilising fluid / powder
My method would be
- stick it all in a 1gallon demijohn without the yeast, adding 1 crushed campden tablet – this will kill off anything (yeast/mold) that might be in the ingredients that would grow when you don’t want it to.
- Put the bung and airlock on – agitate after 1 day to make sure the campden tablet has distributed well
- Leave for 48hrs – allowing the capden tablet to take effect, and that effect to wear off
- add the yeast and stir / shake well.
- the 48hrs following this will feature significant fermentation, so be aware of flying bungs. Store in a warm place, not over 25°C, not under 18°C – airing cupboards are good – too hot kills the yeast, too cold makes fermentation slow
- Agitate every 7 days, trying distribute the sediment around – you should see bubbles rising in the airlock – this is the product of fermentation (CO2).
- If you are storing in a warm place for long periods it may need topping up with boiled water (boiled to prevent contamination).
- The airlock will also likely need topping up – do not let it run dry.
- After 4 weeks* decant / siphon (‘rack’ is the technical term) into a new demijohn to separate from the sediment.
- * this should be 4 days after there are no more bubbles seen in the airlock
- It can be moved from the warm location as fermentation should no longer be happening
- Fermentation can be ‘stopped’ by adding a campden tablet, shorter fermentation will mean a dry / stronger mead, shorter will mean a sweeter mead (subject to yeast used)
- Decant again 7 days later after sediment has formed again
- 7 days later, it can be bottled and drunk – but it will improve if stored in a cool place