WineSnifferThis is a letter contributed by John M. Kulczynski, one of our Mead making customers.

Before I get started on the subject of Mead making let me first tell you that the discovery of Honeyflow Farm this year was an inspiration to me. I was really impressed with your operation, especially the vineyard. This is the first time that I actually made wine from scratch with grapes (instead of concentrates), and I’m sure that it will be the only way for me in the future.

I first started making wine about five or six years ago and the first batch of wine I made was Mead. Let me tell you I wish I had kept better notes back then because it turned out fantastic. Everybody that tried it liked it, even though it was never aged as long as it should have been. But who ever lets their first batch of wine age!

With what little notes I’ve kept and the books that I have been reading on the subject, I have come up with the following recipes which so far looks like they may not be bad ones, although I really won’t know for sure for another 5 or 6 years because I’m bound and determined to let it age properly this time. Well, most of it anyway!

I personally never make a batch of wine smaller than five gallons, but I have written out the following recipes for one gallon batches because not everyone likes to make as much wine as I do.

Mead (Honey Wine)

  • 2 to 3 lbs wildflower honey for a dry Mead (4 to 5 lbs wildflower honey for a sweeter Mead)
  • 1 tbsp acid blend (citric, malic, tartaric)
  • ¼ tsp grape tannin
  • 1 package of champagne yeast
  • 1 cambden tablet (crushed)
  • Water to 1 gallons

In a container large enough to fit all the ingredients plus enough room to allow for foaming, mix all the ingredients except for the yeast and let stand over night. The next day prepare the yeast starter. (Editors note - the yeast starter may also be made at the same time as the must is prepared.)

Making a yeast starter is probably a whole different subject in itself, but the way that I learned was to prepare the yeast starter as follows:

  • For 1 gallon:
  • 4 oz. Water
  • pinch of citric acid
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 package yeast of your choice
  • ¼ tsp yeast nutrient
  • For 5 gallons:
  • 2 cups water
  • 1-1/4 tsp citric acid
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 package yeast of your choice
  • ½ tsp yeast nutrient

Mix all ingredients including yeast in a glass jar with lid, shake, then remove the lid and cover with a cloth. In about 5 or 6 hours the yeast should be starting to work and then can be added to the must. (Editors note - We use a yeast starter with every batch of wine we ferment, it will insure a healthier and stronger fermentation.)

Stir the must daily about 3 or 4 times until the yeast activity slows, at which time the must should be moved into a glass carboy and a fermentation lock attached. After about a month or so the wine will start to clear and you should rack the wine to separate it from the sediment that will settle to the bottom. Put the wine away somewhere for the next 4 or 5 years to age if you can. All I’ve ever read and all the people that I’ve talked to say that it just keeps improving over that stretch of time. If you can’t wait that long it’s no big deal for if you enjoy it, thats all the really matters.

A couple of other things you might like to know about Mead are as follows: There are special yeast made specifically for Mead which I haven’t tried yet but one day will for if it puts out a higher quality Mead I’m all for it. Mead is wine made from honey alone, when you start adding other things it is no longer called Mead. Following is a list of the different variations:

  • When you add the juice of grapes it is called Pyment.
  • When you add grape juice and herbs it is called Hippocras.
  • When you add just herbs it is called Metheglin.
  • When you add the juice of the apple it is called Cyser. When you add other types of fruit juices it is called Melomel.

John M. Kulczynski, Berkley


Here is another great link to a Mead Making Article

Mead Made Easy - Winemaker Magazine
Mead, with its colorful past and mystic image, is often the first wine homebrewers try to make and the first brew that home winemakers attempt. Here are how-to hints and five recipes to get you experimenting with honey.

 

New Book on Mead Brewing Available

The Association of Brewers announced the release of its newest book, The Compleat Meadmaker. Authored by master meadmaker Ken Schramm of Troy, Mich, the book features photos from the National Honey Board

 

Other good mead sites:
GotMead.com
The Mead Hall
The Mead Maker's Page

Do you have a mead recipe you would like to add to our Collection? Please send it to us!