MEAD (HONEY WINE) RECIPE
(One Gallon Recipe)
Large food grade-quality plastic or earthenware crock (primary fermenter)
1 or more clean narrow-neck glass jugs (secondary fermenters)
Fermentation locks for each secondary fermenter
Plastic syphon tubing
5 "fifth" (750 ml.) wine bottles and corks for each gallon to be made
Large plastic sheet or cover for primary fermenter
Sodium metabisulfite to sanitize equipment and bottles
INGREDIENTS for each gallon of mead to be made:
2 1/2 to 3 lbs. (about 26 - 32 fl. oz.) unprocessed honey (dry to semi-sweet)
Water to one gallon (Specific Gravity - 1.085 - 1.105)
1 tsp. Super Ferment (or 2 tsp. regular "nutrient")
2 tsp. acid blend (or 3/4 tsp. tartaric acid & 1 1/4 tsp. malic acid)
1/4 tsp grape tannin
1 campden tablet* (crushed - or substitute 1/8 tsp. sodium/potassium metabisulfite)
1-2 pkgs. wine (e.g. Premier Cuvee, Champagne, Cote des Blancs, Lalvin D-47) or mead yeast
1. Mix all the ingredients EXCEPT the yeast and the campden tablet. Stir the must until the honey and additives are completely dissolved. Cover the pail to keep out dust and air with the large plastic sheet.
2. Crush and dissolve the campden tablet in 1 oz. of warm water. Add this to the must and stir well. Cover the pail again and tie down the plastic sheet. Let the must stand for one day, stirring several times.
*ALTERNATIVE: Heat honey with an equal volume of water to 180°F and let stand for 15 minutes to pasteurize. (DO NOT BOIL!) Cool and add remainder of water before proceeding to next step.
3. Rehydrate the dried yeast by sprinkling it into 1/2 cup lukewarm (95 - 100° F) water in a sanitized jar and cover for 20 minutes. (If using "Mead" yeast, prepare a starter 48 hours prior to using.) Add the yeast "slurry "/starter to mixture. Re-cover the primary fermenter and allow fermentation to proceed for 5-7 days or until foaming subsides.
4. Syphon the mead into a sterile glass jug. Avoid the transfer of sediment and aeration as much as possible. Be sure the mead completely fills the jug - into the neck. Attach a fermentation lock and allow the fermentation to go to completion (.995 - 1.020 S.G.).
5. One week after fermentation has ceased, syphon the mead into another sterile glass jug. Again, avoid the transfer of sediment and aeration. Crush, dissolve and add 1/2 campden tablet per gallon to the mead. Allow the mead to stand for one month in a cool dark place and repeat "racking" process. If at the end of three months, the mead is clear - bottle it. If it is not clear, repeat this step every month until it is clear and then bottle it. The mead may be sweetened to taste with additional honey, if desired, after stabilization (1/2 tsp. potassium sorbate & 1/2 campden tablet per gallon).
Note: All equipment should be well washed and sterilized with a solution of sodium metabisulphite. Fermentation temperatures should be no lower than 60 degrees F. or higher than 80 degrees F.
For an interesting variation, try adding a 6 oz. can frozen juice (e.g. orange, apple, cranberry) and cut back on the acid blend by 1 tsp.
Ratio for different meads - (parts by volume honey: parts by volume water)
DRY: 1:4 (2 1/2 lbs. honey per gallon - the dry recipe above)
SEMI-DRY: 1:3 (3 lbs. honey per gallon - our most popular - the semi-sweet recipe above)
SWEET: 1:2.5 (4 lbs. honey per gallon)