Mead is an ancient alcoholic drink based on honey, perhaps the first ever to appear on Earth, whose origins date back to Ancient Egypt.
Traces of the existence of mead are also found in Greece, England, Scandinavia, and many parts of Europe. In the latter, it reaches fair notoriety mainly thanks to the Celtic and Viking culture.
Mead, also known as the “drink of the gods,” is obtained from the fermentation of water (hydro) and honey. By mixing with the right proportions and adding the yeasts, the transformation of the sugars present in the liquid is triggered, giving rise to a drink with a sweet and delightful taste, with modest alcohol content and a typically golden color.
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Ingredients for 5 liters of mead
In these few lines, I will explain the steps for the production of mead according to the classic recipe.
Browsing the web, you can find various methods of mead production that differ substantially depending on the use of aromatic plants: rowan, juniper, or walnut. The only fixed point is the “base” of the mead: water, honey, and yeast. Here are the ingredients:
- 5 liters of water, possibly from the source;
- 1.5 kg – 2 kg of neutral honey, possibly acacia or wildflower;
- Yeast for wine (white). If you don’t have a sling bar suitable for low measurements, be very careful with the dosage, or you could ruin the whole procedure;
- Aromas (in this case, a Walnut leaf).
Making mead: tools
- 5 lt glass bottle;
- Bubbler (like this one).
- Pour 5 liters of water and honey into a huge pot. Stir over medium heat until the honey is completely dissolved.
- Add a walnut leaf, or possibly the aromas you prefer;
- Lower the heat and cook for about half an hour, bringing it almost to a boil and continuing to foam the residue that emerges on the surface;
- Once the flame has gone out, remove the walnut leaf and let it cool;
- Transfer the mixture into the glass bottle, taking care before filtering the liquid;
- Add the yeasts according to the quantities indicated on the package, approximately 1g for the amounts listed. Add cold as if the drink is hot it kills the yeasts;
- Stir vigorously;
- Stop with the cap fitted with a bubbler.
The mixture must now rest for about four weeks, and in this period, you should shake it daily, or at least stir it so that the yeasts do not settle on the bottom but always remain active.
Thanks to the bubbler, you can keep the fermentation process under control and make sure that this process is finished, or at least visibly more minor than the days immediately following preparation. At the end of the four weeks, it is possible to move on to bottling.
The maturation of the mead takes place over a very long period: after a couple of months, it can, in theory, already be tasted even if it will still be very unripe. The ideal would be to let it reach the year of maturation, even if every additional day spent in the cellar will only improve the flavor.
Keep in a cool, dry, and strictly dark place.
A few last tips
Looking for good water can make the difference between a pleasant product, albeit good but with an unpleasant aftertaste.
I recommend neutral honey for the reasons of “democracy” of taste or a product that everyone likes. Nothing prevents you from using other types of love, which will undoubtedly leave a much more characteristic and intense aftertaste.
As for the yeasts, you can also use those beers, that is, the classic loaves found in the supermarket. I recommend spending a few euros more but using the special yeasts for winemaking, available at agri-food consortia or Amazon.
It is imperative to meticulously clean all containers (flasks and bottles) suitable for containing the mead as any foreign body could compromise its goodness.
During bottling, avoid crown caps as the pressure developed inside the bottle would make them jump very quickly. Opt for special plastic corks for wine, perhaps fixing them with the typical sparkling wine cages. Please don’t underestimate the mead because it never stops fermenting, and it’s not strange to find some bottoms exploded under tremendous pressure.
Also read: what should I do.