(Last Updated On: 20/07/2019)

A Beekeepers Traditional Mead Recipe

Mead is the oldest fermented drink known to mankind. There are many mead recipes available and many mead makers will all have various methods to make their own mead. Some will argue they use a better method and definitely will have their own mead recipe. We suggest you do your research, listen to mead makers and even beekeepers and choose the right mead recipe for you. This is a proven and traditional mead recipe. It was copied from a veteran beekeeper mead recipe by Bob Nicholas 30th May 1999.

What You Will Need

Gather the following equipment and a few extra things that you’ll need to get started.

  • Fermenting container 4 litres to 60 litres (preferably glass).
  • Plastic container or containers to mix ingredients wash equipment, sterilize equipment, rack mead away from lees and freeze mead to stop fermentation.
  • Campden tablets to sterilize equipment
  • Bottles to store mead.
  • Airlock.
  • Hydrometer
  • Starter jar to start yeast. Yeast and Nutrient
  • Bottlebrush.

Steps to Making a Traditional Mead

  1. Start with sterilizing all equipment with Camden tablets.
  2. Wash all equipment in hot water and washing up liquid. Rinse in cold water to remove soap.
  3. Crush 3 Camden tablets in 4 litres of water and rinse all equipment. This includes mixing containers, fermenting bottles and storage bottles.
  4. Next, start your yeast in starter jar. Place 1 tablespoon of honey in a jar with one cup warm water and stir to dissolve.
  5. Add one half teaspoon nutrient and yeast and stir. Place lid on the jar but do not tighten. Place in the warm spot. Leave this for a week or when fermentation starts.
  6. Measure the amount of water that is required to fill your fermentation container. Leaving sufficient room for fermentation bubbles to form over mixture without interfering with an airlock. Reduce this quantity by 1/5th to allow for the honey.
  7. Bring the remaining water to the boil and place in the mixing container. Or get your water from your house hot water system as it should be over 70°c.
  8. Place honey in mixing container at 1/5th. That is, for example, 4-litre water to 1-litre honey. Mix to dissolve honey. Leave to cool to room temp. or about 28°c.
  9. With your Hydrometer test for desired pacific gravity, 1050 to 1200. Add honey or water to get the required balance.
  10. Take your starter jar of yeast and tip into the mixture, Stir. Add one teaspoon of Citric or Tartaric acid per. 5 litres.
  11. Place mixture into fermentation container. Place airlock into the neck of the container and leave in a warm spot on the shelf or on a box. Do not place on the ground.
  12. After about three to four weeks syphon out a small quantity of the mixture and taste. Continue to taste the mixture until the desired sweetness or lack of it is achieved. Or fermentation stops.
  13. Syphon off the mead and place in plastic containers. Place the mead in a freezer till the mead freezes.
  14. Remove it from the freezer and allow to thaw.
  15. Return to mead sterilized fermentation container and allow to stand on a shelf for about four weeks. Look at mead occasionally to see that it is clearing and the lees (that is the deposit of dead yeast) are dropping to the bottom. If the mead is not clearing then fermentation has not stopped and will require refreezing.
  16. When the mead has cleared and the lees have dropped to the bottom then syphon mead into another sterilized fermentation container or into your sterilized mixing container. If you use a glass container then you can see the end of your syphon hose. Keep the hose away from the lees. Use a small syphon hose and gently syphon mead away from the lees.
  17. Throw the lees away and sterilize the container. Return the mead to the fermentation container. Place back on the shelf for another four weeks. Syphon mead into your sterilized bottles away from the remaining lees.
  18. Label the bottles with date and what you considered the mead was. For example, sweet, medium or dry.

Enjoy your Mead

That’s pretty much it. You can drink as you desire but try and save some to compare with later batches. Experiment with different kinds of honey and different specific gravity.

Your Feedback or Tell Us About Your Preferred Mead Recipe

As mentioned this is only one traditional mead recipe. We suggest maybe you can compare this recipe to others you may find. The traditional mead recipes are not always consistent with modern mead recipes. If you have a suggestion or an alternative recipe, please let us know and we’d love to try it.

Mead Recipes and Mead Resources

There are several resources on mead and mead making. We list a few of the best we’ve found below.

On-Line Mead Resources

Got Mead’s “Newbee Guide to Making Mead”

Scott Laboratories Fermentation Handbook

Mead Made Right

BJCP’s Mead Resources

Australian Mead Makers Facebook Group

Batch Builder

Mead Books for Further Reading

“The Compleat MeadMaker” by Ken Schramm

“The Complete Guide to Making Mead” by Steve Piatz