Dominic Staun Mead
Dominic Staun is a brewer of 25 years experience and a long time beekeeper. He has married these two interests to make mead and shared this method at a meeting of the association on 13 September 2012
To 5 litres of water, for a dry mead, add 1.5 kilos of honey (SG 1100-1110)
Sweet mead, 1.8 kilos of honey (SG 1120-1130).
Other ingredients are:
Acid blend (25% citric acid, 30% malic acid, 45% tartaric acid) 1 teaspoon
Yeast nutrient (ammonium phosphate) 1 teaspoon
White grape tannin, a quarter of a teaspoon.
For this mead, I have used a champagne yeast (Lalvin EC-1118). Champagne yeasts will work at at higher alcohol content and so whatever the starting gravity, will tend to make a drier mead. I usually use standard white wine yeast.
All yeast come dried in small packets. Use one packet for each 5 litres. Simply tip into the fermenting vessel prior to adding the must and aerate well.
- 5 L Water
- 1.5 K Honey ( (for a dry mead))
- 1 tsp Acid blend (25% citric acid, 30% malic acid, 45% tartaric acid) 1 teaspoon
- 1 tsp Yeast nutrient (ammonium phosphate)
- 1/4 tsp White grape tannin,
- 1 pkt champagne yeast ( (Lalvin EC-1118))
- 2 tablets Campden tablets (use only if doing the no-boil method)
No-boil method: Combine ingredients, add two crushed Campden
tablets, store airtight for 24 hrs, then pitch yeast.
Boil method: Combine ingredients, bring to a gentle boil, skim
surface to remove scum. This should take about 5 mins. Force cool
and pitch yeast.
I recommend the ‘boil’ method. I’ve found that this brief boiling period does not drive off the honey aroma and ensures real clarity.
Unlike beer, which requires prompt racking from the lees to minimise autolysis flavours, mead should not be racked until a solid sediment has occurred. After the initial fermentation, wait until most of yeast has fallen out of suspension and there are fairly solid lees. Then rack a further two, three, four times every one, two, three, four months until no further precipitation occurs. Usual care regarding oxidation is important. Also, try as much as possible to minimise the head space in your fermentation vessel.
When no further sedimentation occurs, bottle and store at least six months before sampling.
Dry mead should come out at an SG0096-1010 and sweet at an SG1010-1030. Note that mead benefits from long maturation. A dark honey will require longer maturation than a light honey. Meads seem to improve with three, four, five years of age.
Metheglin is a spiced mead. Try soaking various combinations of spices in the mead to add flavour. I’ve even heard of a chilli mead!
Pyment is a combination of grape juice and honey.
Melomels use fruits to flavour the mead. I achieve this by doing an initial fermentation on the fruit pulp and then strain into the fermenter.
Morat is a special Melomel based on mulberries.
Cyser is a combination of apple juice and honey.
Sparkling mead can be made by creating a secondary fermentation in the bottle using either honey or sugar (sugar actually gives better results). I’ve also successfully made sparkling meads by early bottling one of those meads that just never seems to complete fermentation.
Finally, I’ve heard of mead ale (honey beer). I once tried to make this by boiling SG1045 honey must with hops and fermenting with an ale yeast. The result was terrible: dry (SG1000) and bitter. Perhaps someone might like to try a combination of a honey must with a beer wort so that the dextrins in the wort might give better balance.
Sipping mead is like the sensation of angels dancing on your tongue! I’d be very happy to provide any further advice and assistance to those who want it.
Dominic Staun (Brother Fatboy)