Making Mead: 5 Practical Tips for Beginners

Tip One: Patience is the biggest trait you need to have when making mead. We live in an instant gratification world where if you don’t get it now you lose interest. It takes patience to make mead because it follows its own time line. If you are thinking about tinkering with your mead you should step back and think about it for a couple more days. You can almost never go wrong by waiting. And mead will age very slowly. Typically, for average mead you will need to wait six months before it is tasty enough to really enjoy. The rule of thumb is the longer you wait the better it will taste. Up to about two years and sometimes more.
Tip Two: When should you rack into a new container or carboy? . Your mead will form a cake of sediment in the bottom and this is perfectly normal. It could be an inch or more thick. This cake of sediment (called Leeds) is the biggest reason why you rack to a new carboy. My advice is that the very first racking should come after the airlock has settled to less than 1 bubble every thirty seconds –and then wait a few more days or even a week. Then rack it off into a new container. Again the rule of patience applies and it is perfectly ok to wait even longer. After that you can rack as you see fit – once a month is pretty good.
Tip Three: Figuring out when your mead is ready to drink. This too is a very common question that people ask and there is no definitive answer that can be had without testing. Every batch of mead is different and maturity will depend on a lot of factors like type of honey, quantity of honey, type of yeast and temperature of the room that your batch is stored in. The best thing you can do is learn how to use a hydrometer. It is a simple tool that floats in your brew and tells you when your ferment has finished.
Tip Four: How does a hydrometer work? When you first mix your batch of wine there is a lot of honey in it and the liquid is very dense. It has a high specific gravity. The density of the wine will go down as the yeast ferments and transforms the honey into alcohol. Eventually, as all the honey is consumed and the alcohol content goes up, the ferment will stop. The lack of food and high alcohol content will kill off the yeast. Using a hydrometer will tell you when this has happened.
Tip Five: The biggest problem that new mead makers have is the problem of sanitation. Your batch of new honey wine is an environment that is very friendly for bacteria to grow in. And you want your yeast to be the only thing that grows. But if there are other bacteria, or strains of yeast in the batch, they may take over and ruin your batch or give it off flavors. To avoid this you should always sanitize all of your equipment and tools with a wine maker’s sanitizer like Easy Clean. This isn’t washing, it is sanitizing with a chemical that kills bacteria.
Mead making really is quite easy and for the most part you just need to set it aside and leave it alone for long periods of time. By following these simple tips you should be able to make yourself some delicious batches of this nectar of the gods.

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About The Author, Will Kalif