MEAD CHEAT SHEET
HOW MUCH HONEY?
* the "per gallon" mentioned below refers to total starting batch size (honey + water)
2.5 lbs per gallon
1.090 - 1.100
3 lbs per gallon
1.110 - 1.115
3.5 lbs per gallon
1.130 - 1.135
4 lbs per gallon
1.145 - 1.150
PROCESS POCKET GUIDE
Always make sure to start with cleaned & sanitized equipment
Make sure to keep fermentation temp based on yeast being used
Proper yeast rehydration is an important and sometimes overlooked step
Step feed nutrient additions at the 24, 48, 72-hours & 1/3 sugar break
Measuring out your honey and adding water to reach your desired sweetness
Rack Off Yeast
Make sure to transfer your mead off of sediment once fermentation is complete
How you handle this step can make or break the outcome of everything
Whether by time or the use of chemical clarification additions
STEP BY STEP BEGINNER'S GUIDE
This will walk you through the steps in making a traditional mead.
Use the suggested honey addition listed above to reach your desired sweetness level.
CLEAN & SANITIZE
Cleaning and sanitizing all of your equipment (bucket, spoon, hydrometer, thermometer, measuring cups, etc) is the first step you always want to take. Basically, anything that your mead or even yeast will come in contact with should be free of contaminates. Some commonly used products in the homebrew scene are PBW (cleaning) and Star-San (sanitizer).
REHYDRATE YOUR YEAST
If you are using dry yeast as most mead makers do, this is an extremely important step that will dictate the success of your mead. In short, rehydrate your dry yeast in the right amount of 104F water along with the proper amount of Go-Ferm. A very detailed overview of this process can be found on our Yeast Handling page.
DILUTE YOUR HONEY
Common practice is to add in your measured amount of honey first, and then top off with water until you reach your starting batch size. Best thing to use for this is a bucket with graduated gallon markings! Tip: Don't be afraid to add in a little warmer or hot water first, just to help you get that honey diluted a little easier.
PITCH YOUR YEAST
Always make it point to avoid adding your yeast before it is at least within 18F in temperature of your must (honey & water mix). Adding it in at any greater of a temperature difference can risk killing off your yeast due to temperature shock. Again, our Yeast Handling page provides a good technique for prepping your yeast before pitching.
Keeping fermentation temperature within your yeast strain's preferred temperature range is always a good idea. Keeping your fermentation vessel in a cool place in your home, like a cold basement floor, is usually a decent alternative if you do not have a method of precise temp control. In warmer regions or seasons where there isn't exactly a "cool spot", stick to using yeast strains that do well in slightly warmer conditions. A catalogue of commonly used yeast strains can found here for your perusal.
This is what makes the difference between a mediocre mead that might take a year or more of aging, and a spectacular mead that can be ready to drink within 1-3 months. It will also mitigate risk of developing any off-flavors or fusel alcohol production. In short, we recommend using the TOSNA method for nutrient additions. Follow the instructions on our TOSNA Calculator for how much of what to add. A lot more detailed information on this can be found on the Nutrient Additions page.
RACK OFF YEAST
Transferring your mead off of the sediment at the bottom of your fermentor once fermentation is complete is a recommended step. While there are some yeast strains that can offer benefits to prolonged sur lie aging, leaving your mead on others will result in unwanted off-flavors.
Some mead makers like to allow time to clarify their mead. Others who are not so patient use clarification agents. Some of the more commonly used and effective clarification agents are Super-Kleer, Bentonite and Sparkaloid.
* Links for products mentioned above are simply for quick reference. Always support your local homebrew supply shop!