Is Mead Making Easy or Hard?

Mead Making is as Old as Grape Wine Making

Traditionally wine is made using the juice of grapes in Western Civilization. Other cultures made wine using other ingredients like rice and honey, but the popularity of these wine making processes doesn’t even come close to the Roman and Greek wine making techniques that involve pressing grapes and then fermenting them using different ingredients. Wine making using grapes became the accepted method in Western cultures, but the old Viking drink known as Mead, a non-grape wine, is still popular with people all over the world.

The Vikings or what some historians call the Scandinavian pirates of the 8th and 9th centuries concocted an alcohol brew that was considered a little more sophisticated than their normal beer and ale drink which was made from the barley that was grown in that part of the world. There were no grapes grown in that area due to weather and soil conditions so the Vikings used honey to make the drink that is now known as Mead. In those days it was called mjoo which is an Old Norse word meaning honey. Later the old English word medo was used to describe this delectable drink that was saved for grand occasions or for temple ceremonies.

Mead making has been a drinkable part of several cultures for thousands of years because it’s easy to make and tasty to drink. Mead made from honey is still a common practice in Scandinavian countries just like making rice wine is in the Orient.

Over the years making Mead has grown in popularity for several social reasons. Wine is not as inexpensive as it once was and good wine takes years to age, plus there are so many wines on the market the average consumer is lost in marketing hypes instead of great taste. Wine made from grapes will always be the first choice, but Mead drinking is certainly gaining ground especially with people who have their own Mead recipe and make and bottle their own private collection.

There are Hundred of Ways to Make Mead

There are different types of honey and a long list of Mead recipes so every batch of Mead can appear and taste different from the batch before it. Mead making is very forgiving so any recipe will produce a great batch of Mead because it pretty much makes itself. The basic process of making Mead hasn’t changed very much over the years and if the basic steps are followed Mead drinking will become a favorite pastime.

Here’s an easy way to make Mead:
1. Mix 4 gallons of water with 12 to 15 pounds of honey which is about 4 or 5 quarts. You can heat this mixture but that’s not necessary.
2. Add yeast and yeast nutrition to the mixture. The yeast nutrition can be tea leaves or lemon peels or other things that help the yeast grow. The yeast devours the honey and turns it into Mead.
3. Let the mixture sit for about two weeks or until initial fermentation occurs. At this point in the process the mixture is bubbling so move it to clear bottles and keep an eye on it. Keep it in those bottles until the activity stops which could take two weeks or as much as two months.
4. When the brew is ready pour it in individual bottles and store it for three months to a year. Aging time depends on the amount of honey in the recipe. Less honey means less storage time.

That’s just one way to make a simple batch of mead and the only tools needed to complete that process is a large spoon for stirring, a thermometer, yeast, yeast food, and a hydrometer. The area must be clean so no other bacteria invade the mixture. Off course there are ways to make the Mead making process harder, but that is a personal choice that comes with experience.