Most of you know that I homebrew, but I've also made a few batches of mead in my day! It's really simple, one of the easiest things to make at home, but it does require some special attention and a lot of patience.
The basic process is as follows:
3 pounds of honey per gallon of water... I used 5 gallons of water and 15 pounds of honey.
One packet of champagne yeast, starter preferred.
Any other flavors you might want to add... vanilla bean is one of the most common.
Bring all 5 gallons of water to a boil.
Add the honey, stirring until is all dissolves.
Cool the mixture until it's around 70 degrees, and transfer to a sanitized fermentation vessel. If you brew and have a wort chiller, great! If not, an ice bath might work, or it's okay to transfer warm and let the wort (wort is the term for the "beer" before it has been pitched) cool on its on in due time.
Pitch the yeast, stir vigorously with a sanitized stirrer.
Seal with an airlock, and store in a room temperature area with minimal light exposure.
After two weeks, transfer the mead into another sanitized fermenter, leaving the yeast sediment behind.
After two more weeks, repeat the process.
After four more weeks, repeat the process.
After four more weeks, repeat the process. This would be a good time to add flavorings like vanilla bean, apricot extract, etc., just make sure everything is sanitized.
After it has been about 6 months since brewing, it's time to bottle the mead.
Make sure everything is sanitized (bottles, caps, utensils) and fill with an inch or two of head space.
I've done one batch with wine bottles and corked them, and another with 22 oz. bottles and capped them... both methods seemed to work fine as the mead isn't carbonated and won't push the corks out.
Expect another 6 months of bottle aging to reach full potential!
Like I said, it's a long process, but it's rewarding. I've learned from previous experience that "racking" the mead often helps in the flavor as it removes the mead from the dead yeast. My first batch was very medicinal in quality, almost like cough syrup, but the second batch was outstanding. If you have any questions about the recipe or the process, shoot me a message on facebook or leave a comment here.
Enjoy, and enjoy Mead Day!
The following products will be helpful if you plan on getting started with mead making and don't have brewing equipment already!