Making Mead by Eric Kruger
Wine making of any kind was always a passion of mine. Being a jack of all trades, when a friend of the family asked me for some help at his winery; I jumped at the chance to learn more. I took a hiatus from tattooing and went back to being a farmer. I took care of the vineyard and kept some bees! All and all I loved it. I learned a lot about making liquors of all kinds. Making mead is one of the easiest of wines you can do yourself.
You'll need a few thing to get started:
1. A carboy or glass jug (one gallon at the least)
2. A rubber stopper with an air lock (These can be found online very cheap).
3. Bottles and corks (At least four per gallon)
4. A hose for siphoning
5. Honey raw and unprocessed (3lbs per gallon).
6. Yeast active and dry (I like using Fleischmann's active dry yeast)
7. Distilled water (I like Hinckley Springs because of its low PH)
8. An orange
9. Some people like using raisins. I myself like using a lime.
Now let us make some mead!
Grab your carboy (I do two at a time). Fill it half way with water. I find it easier to mix the honey if it has water in the jug already. To the water, add your honey and shake it until it has been mixed well. Once your honey is mixed, peel and separate your orange and lime. Then, add them in whole, squeezing about half the juice into your mix, but for the most part leave them whole. This gives the yeast something to eat and makes your mead a little sweeter.
Again, you can use raisins, but I use the lime cause after all its Freyja's fruit and how better to honor her! Then, fill it the rest of the way with your water leaving an inch or so to the top. Now you can add your yeast.
I have had great luck with "Fleischmann's active dry yeast" but any active dry yeast will do and can be bought in pre-weighed 1/4 oz. packets. After adding your yeast shake the whole carboy with a cap on it really well for about 5 minutes making sure to get as much air into it as possible.
This actives the yeast and wakes it up. The more bubbles the better!
Now you need to find a cool dark place, one where it does not get moved or shaken anymore. A few things are going to happen next. It is going to start bubbling and foaming, so for the first night I leave the air lock off. The foam will rise and spill over the top. For the first 24 hours, I use a wet heavy clean towel and place it over the top of the carboy.
This should keep the mess to a minimum.
After the first 24 hours, you can set up your air lock. The air lock is a device that keeps out dust and bacteria and lets air out keeping it airtight. There are a few different kinds of air locks and any one of them will do! I have even heard of people using a balloon with a hole in the top. After the mead is set up you wait anywhere from two to four weeks before racking. Racking is used to slow down the fermentation of your mead. It is just simply siphoning your mead from one container to the next. I use a second glass of carboy and siphon keeping the hose an inch or so away from the sediment at the bottom. Once you get all the mead out of the first carboy and into the next. The fermentation will slow down and you can put the air lock back on it and let it go for another two to four weeks. After the fermentation is complete, bottle it and enjoy your very own mead for blots and holidays. And remember, always tip your horn responsibly.