Weekend project: making mead

My old friend Vitus has a garden in Heidelberg where his bees collect all the good stuff for his honey. Each glass is delicious. So he makes honey, I make wine, what would be more obvious than honey-wine: mead. And that’s what we did this weekend.

You’re probably not surprised to hear that we tried to make it as puristic as we could for this very first time. Honey-water can’t ferment without additional yeast so we got a strong Sherry yeast which can go as high as 18%. But the yeast needs some kind of material that helps it floating around – with only honey water it would just sink to the ground. Also yeast needs some acidity. The solution to both was some good organic apple juice. It would be neat to replace the Sherry yeast with the yeast of fermenting apple juice. But then we’d need to produce fresh apple juice first … maybe next time.

Here is how we did it: We put a little more than three kilos of honey in a vessel.

Getting honey in a vessel

We mixed the yeast with 1/4l of the apple juice and gave it a day to reproduce.

The Sherry yeast

Next we got 4l of water and 3l of apple juice to a yeast friendly temperature (about 30°C / 86°F).

Mead ingredients

We slowly added the juice-water to the honey and stirred till the honey had dissolved.

Stirring the honey-water

And finally we filled it in a  clean carboy and added the yeast which was visibly active.Filling the carboy

And that was it!

Proud mead makers

Fermentation kicked in very quickly as we put the carboy in the heating room providing the perfect temperature. Let’s see how it goes!

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